Since I've amassed a few tools over the past year, I decided to give home made projects a go this Christmas. But I wanted to give something that was both practical, functional, and pretty to folks.
Steve Ramsey's site, Woodworking for Mere Mortals has a lot of small projects that fit that bill, and he presents them in an easy-going, relaxed manner that makes you want to try the stuff he builds.
In any case, on his site there is a plan for a cell phone/tablet/etc. charging station that looked interesting so I gave it a go. Here is the result:
These work by putting a 6-outlet powerbar inside the box with the plug sticking out the side to allow you to make a connection. Then you plug in your adapters to the powerbar, and poke the USB or other adapters out the holes in the front, or through the slots in the top. It hides all the ugly and corrals all the wires.
The plans called for the boxes to be trimmed with iron-on laminate and pre-formed molding, but since I got the planer, I was able to shave some cherry down super-thin to bend along the edges and shape to form the trim strips. The lighter coloured box was made with cedar which bent much more nicely, but the wood crushes easily. I also strayed from the design by using pegboard for the back board on these in order to allow a little additional airflow through the boxes.
Everyone was really happy to get these, and I hope they see some good use. Only problem is I never completed one for our house!
A lesson from this project - I need a better circuit in the garage. The planer keeps popping breakers, and the bandsaw barely starts. More on that later.