2 x 4 Projects for Outdoor Living
Stevie Henderson & Mark Baldwin
Review is by Molly
The work is a how-to book filled with glossy photos, step by step directions and a layout of various objects to be made using simple tools, easily gotten wood and a minimum of building expertise.
What caught my eye first is the lovely porch swing on the cover of the publication. The swing appears usable and used in addition to being sturdy and very, very inviting.
A 23 page section describing materials in simple terms: adhesives, fasteners, together with wood and a variety of tools sets the tone for the work. Clear illustrations are provided to explain the term toenailing and how to set a wood plug over a screw for beauty’s sake. Advantages of using screws for fastening pieces rather than pounding nails is explained. Tables are provided detailing the pennyweight of nails together with their relative length as well as nominal size for wood and the actual dimensions of the wood. Illustrations provided are both hand drawn as in the good illustration of warped, cupped, split and knotty wood in addition to the photo profiling applicators, sealant, glue and finishes to use to complete projects. Good clear photos are provided showing simple, easily had tools needed for the projects along with how to use the nail sets, hammers, screwdrivers and clamps while working. A table of recommended basic tools to be assembled is a boon to those of us who may want to actually try a project but not have a lot of experience or expertise in doing so to date.
Projects for consideration include a birdhouse table for the patio, a free standing patio screen, lawn chair, an outdoor storage center. Gardeners will enjoy taking a peek at the glistening vine covered Tuteur while envisioning it in their own garden. The plans for the porch swing are ones I do intend to use come spring. Plans for each project comprise 4 to 6 pages beginning with a large full page photo of the completed project. In the case of the swing the following page begins with a table outlining materials, hardware, cutting list for the wood and a note on materials explaining why specific hardware to be used to hang the swing is not provided. The note makes good sense, lists the chain and bolts used by the author and offers suggestions to consult someone in the know at the local supply center.
A detailed explanation for building the swing seat, back and sides is accompanied by good line drawings and large photos that an even all thumbs builder (myself included) should find easily followed.
Other project plans include a portable deck made in 16 inch squares, an Adirondack Sofa to place on the deck, and a canopy to shade the deck. There is a trellis and fountain to provide soothing melody as you gaze out at the trellis arbor, outdoor bar, a table tray, hurricane lamp, mini gazebo, barbeque table, picnic table and benches, covered trash container all made by you and placed in your yard.
Written in clear, easily understood, ordinary language Handyman Writer’s Henderson and Baldwin have put their talents to good use to produce a well conceived book meant for the do-it-yourselfer wannabe who lurks beneath the surface in many of us. The numerous illustrations, clear directions and photos of finished projects hold reader interest fast from that swing on the cover to the last fountain trellis project.
This is not a nice little book to flip through, consign to the bookshelf and forget. 2 X 4 Projects for Outdoor Living is meant to be used. Cover and pages are sturdy enough to carry out to the building site, prop up and refer to often. The reader is allowed to make copies of the plans if they wish per the fine print at the front-piece of the book. I plan to tackle the moveable patio squares first and then move on to another project when my confidence builds. Perhaps that porch swing will be hanging on my porch come mid summer.
My only question would be: are there other books in a series? I can think of some indoor projects I might like to attempt. This is a good addition to the home library, or home school library as a book to whet the interest of young men who may be reluctant to read a ‘story’ book.
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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