Intro: Easy Wooden Doormat
The main thing about this wooden doormat is not the shape but that, unlike other wooden door mats, you only need to tie four (4) knots. The key is to use short sections of PVC pipe between each wooden slat. To make this project you will need:
13 ft. of 1" thick x 3" wide (I salvaged a bunch of short pieces of pallet wood)
12 ft. 3/16" nylon rope (get 15' if you are buying it by the foot)
20" (minimum) 3/8" ID PVC pipe
1 pc. 5" x 14" x 1" scrap wood for a jig
Electric drill (a small drill press makes it easier)
1/4" bit (or slightly larger)
Tape measure or yard stick
Sandpaper, stain, paint, sealer etc.
Sharp knife or wire cutters
Matches and candle
Step 1: Preparing the Parts
Cut nine pieces of the 3" wide x 1" thick wood to 17" long. On one piece, measure in 5/8" on the 3" end. On the other 3" end measure in 2-1/4" and put a mark. Draw a line diagonally along the length of the piece to connect the two marks. The line you drew should separate the piece into two tall right triangles, now referred to a slat.
Lay one of the slats on the piece of scrap at an angle so that the cut edge is parallel with the edge of the scrap piece. Lightly draw around the slat. Carefully slide the slat 1/4" to 1/2" towards the edge of the piece of scrap, keeping the two edges parallel. Use the light line you drew to help you. Draw dark lines along the two sides of the slat. These are your cut lines. Cut out the triangle. You now have a jig to use with the rest of your slats.
Fit one of the two slats into the jig (see the first photo) and position the fence so the blade follows the edge of the slat. Replace the slat in the jig with one of the 17" x 3" pieces and cut it into two slats. Repeat until you have eighteen slats.
Mark the hypotenuse (long side) of all the slats at 6-1/2" from the narrow end and at 1-1/4" from the wide end. Prop the narrow end of the slat up on a small scrap of wood (see the other picture). Using a 1/4" or slightly larger bit, drill holes for the rope in the center of the 1" dimension. Be consistent on how you prop each slat.
Mark eight (8) of the slats 3-1/4" from the narrow end and cut off the end. These are now the short slats.
Set up the fence to serve as a length stop on the table saw, if you are using one, and cut sixteen (16) pieces of PVC 1/4" long. Reset the fence and cut sixteen (16) pieces of PVC 1" long. A band saw works really well for this if you have one. Otherwise, a handsaw or a hacksaw works just fine.
Step 2: Finishing and Assembly
Give the slats a light sanding to take off just the roughest parts. Paint or stain to your taste. Fuse the cut end of your nylon rope before you start. Do this over a match or, better yet, a candle. Hold the end of the rope over the flame so the fibers melt together to prevent them from unraveling. BE CAREFUL NOT TO TOUCH THE HOT END
While the fused end cools, lay out the slats and pieces of PVC. Starting with a long slat, feed the fused end of the rope through the hole nearest the wide end. Feed the rope through a long PVC section. (see the first picture) Next feed the rope through a short slat and another long PVC. Continue alternating long and short slats until you have just one short slat left. Stop and tie a knot to keep it from slipping back into the hole. (see the second picture) Move to the first slat you threaded and pull the rope as tightly as you can. Tie a knot to keep it from slipping back into the hole. Cut the rope with a sharp knife or wire cutters. Fuse the cut ends. DON'T BURN YOURSELF ON THE MELTED NYLON.
Repeat the threading process through the inner set of holes in the slats, using the short PVC sections as spacers. Tie off the rope, cut and fuse. Sign and date your project.
An easier version of the project would be to make a rectangular mat with just straight slats with no angles to cut. Try alternating light slats with dark stained ones. Or try school or team colors. The PVC spacers will make it much easier to make mats for yourself or as gifts.