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Paper towel holder

[More pictures]

This is a quick and easy project for anyone who is fed-up with plastic paper towel holders which never seem to work as well as they should. The project should take less than two hours to complete from start to finish and is a great addition to any kitchen or workshop.


Tools required: jigsaw, router

Wood required: Cherry (almost any hard wood will suffice)

Sides**23"3/4"5 1/4"
Base13"3/4"11 1/8"
Main rod dowel11 1/4"1 1/4"11"
End dowels25/16"5/16"1"

** Note that it is easier to treat this as one large 10 1/2" piece until stage 3 (see below).

1. Prepare base

[Side profile of base]

To make the paper towel unit look less blocky, we need to round off the base of the paper towel holder. The easiest way to do this is to use a router with a concave curve bit and run it down the length of each side (see diagram).

2. Cut mechanism groove into side pieces.

[slot position with measurements]

The side pieces hold the key to the paper towel mechanism. Each side piece needs a groove added in it (as shown in the diagram) that will allow the main dowel rod to slot in (by pushing straight back) and then drop down into the final "locked" position. To make this groove, use a 3/8" router bit, cutting the groove to a depth of 1/4". There is no easy way to make this slot (although a router table helps) and the key is to cut the groove slowly, with patience, having first marked the path of the slot. When cutting the slot in the second side piece, remember that this should be a mirror image of the first, not a direct replication.

3. Cut curve in side pieces

Once the slots are cut, round off the top of each side into a curve (diameter 3") with a jigsaw or a bandsaw. Once done, cut the single length of wood (10 1/2" long) into two separate side pieces (if you did not do this earlier).

4. Attach sides to base

Attach the side pieces to the ends of the base unit using either a biscuit join or dowels (thus hiding the joint)

5. Prepare Rod

Drill a hole 3/4" deep and 5/16" diameter in the center of each end of the main rod dowel. The easiest way to find the center of this 1 1/4" diameter dowel is to cut out a 1 1/4" by 1 1/4" square of paper and draw a line from each corner (thus forming and "X"). Place this square of paper over the end of the dowel, and the center of the X is the center of the dowel end. Once you have drilled the holes, glue the small dowel ends in to them, so that the small dowels protrude 1/4". This dowel until should now slot into the side grooves made earlier, completing the project.

6. Sand and polish

To finish the project, sand and varnish it.

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