For my first project in the amazing Autodesk Pier 9 Workshop, I wanted to tackle my fear of wood shop power tools (those table saws!). With a few test tubes laying around and a serious flower obsession, I decided to make a wooden test tube vase.
- Wood (I used oak originally cut into four 12 inch x 1 inch pieces)
- Test tubes (Amazon has some options)
- Wood glue
- Saw (I used table and chop saws)
- Drill or drill press
- Sand paper or orbital sander
- Stain, gloss, oil or polish (I used polyurethane)
And a BIG thank you to Mike (aka mikeasaurus) for helping a woodworking newbie each step of the way!
Step 1: Glue and Clamp Your Wood Pieces Together
To make a thicker base, glue your pieces of wood together. Use wood glue and a scrap piece of wood to spread the glue evenly along the top surface. A nice trick it to apply glue to only three of the four pieces after you decide which piece you'd like to have on the top.
Then clamp the smallers pieces together to make sure they dry into one sturdy piece. Use a damp paper towel to wipe away any glue that oozes out.
After a few hours (or overnight), undo the clamps and use a saw to even out all of the sides. I used a table saw on the long edges and chop saw on the short ones.
Step 2: Drill Holes for Your Test Tubes
Measure the diameter of your test tube and find a drill bit that is a tiny bit bigger than the tube.
Mark where you're like to make the holes with a pencil. I went for the middle of the piece with the test tubes evenly spaced.
Drill into the center of each mark to make the holes.
Step 3: Get Creative With Additional Cuts!
While just a rectangular block with holes would function as a test tube base, I wanted to have a more angular, geometric look. Using a pencil and ruler, I played around with the angles I wanted to cut on the table saw the next day. You could also use a band saw for a more crystalline effect or for cuts that would not work with a table saw.
Step 4: Sand and Meditate :)
With the power tools out of the way, grab your orbital sander or preferred sanding tool and smooth out your wood so there aren't any rough uneven pieces when you slide your hand along each surface. You could start with a rougher grain and move up to a higher one for a smoother finish.
Step 5: Stain, Add Flowers and Enjoy!
Use your preferred finishing stain/polish/gloss/oil. I did two coats of polyurethane with a light sanding between coats.
Put water and flowers in your test tubes, put the tubes into the base, and smile :)