How To Create Your Own Outdoor Retreat


This year, transform your outdoor area into a family retreat with an "out-of-the-box" vision, careful planning and the appropriate tools.

To begin, gather your family together for a brainstorming session and target what you want to do in your outdoor haven. Next, make a to-do list of the projects required to make your vision a reality. Finally, round up the tools and supplies you need and get to work! To help you, Woodcraft offers a few suggestions to make your work easier.

Advice from Tommy Mac

Tommy MacDonald, host of "Rough Cut -- Woodworking with Tommy Mac" on public television, has a few tips for your outdoor adventure.

"Before you saw a board or drive a screw, make sure you have all the tools, supplies and plans you need rounded up and ready for the project at hand," says MacDonald. "Stopping and starting to hunt a tool or make a trip to buy materials wastes time and energy better spent on building. Don't forget the safety gear and first aid kit and work with a partner on the big projects whenever possible."

Gathering Places

Decks, patios and porches, both open and enclosed, invite people to gather for a meal, share conversation or play games.

To start your building projects, use a tool such as the Bosch 12" Dual Bevel Miter Saw for your crosscutting chores. The saw's patented Axial-Glide System expands horizontal cutting capacity to 14" and affords a compact work space that saves up to 12".

Make quick work of building a deck or porch floor with the Kreg Deck Jig that creates a strong wood-to-wood bond with self-tapping screws that are hidden for a smooth, splinter-free surface.

Compatible with composite deck boards, ACQ treated lumber, and native softwoods such as redwood, cedar and pressure-treated pine, the jig comes with Kreg Coarse Protec-Kote (anti-corrosion) deck screws that are sold separately and can also be used as simple face screws for a variety of outdoor projects.

Add a Pinnacle Three-Piece Combination Square (blade, square head and center finder), a Woodcraft 6' tape measure and a selection of HIGHPOINT stainless steel exterior grade screws to your tool lineup for general measuring, marking and joinery.

Comfortable Furniture

Whether you're on the deck or on the lawn, comfortable furniture will enhance your outdoor living experience. Woodcraft offers a wide selection of outdoor furniture plans, including Adirondack chairs, swings, garden benches, rockers, picnic tables and benches, arbors and much more.

For your furniture projects, use the a portable, multipurpose precision cutter that uses any T-shank jigsaw blades to make straight, curved or controlled cuts, allowing you to use both hands to guide the material (wood, metal, ceramic tile, aluminum or plastic). A cutter like this can be wall mounted, but easily detaches for use at your work site and has a dust port for attachment to a shop vacuum for continuous cleanup.

To hold workpieces together, Jorgenson offers its ISD3 Expandable Clamp in 6", 12", 18", 14" and 36" sizes. Two clamps can be joined to extend the clamping length by 6". Use the Festool CSX Lithium-Ion 10.8V Cordless Drill Driver Set for all your drilling and driving chores, especially in tight spaces, dark spots and corners.

Activity Areas & Secluded Spots

Wooden playground equipment, game courts, garden benches, arbors, gates and trellises organize your outdoor living area for fast-paced play and quiet relaxation.

For cutting chores on these varied projects, use the Festool Trion PS 300 EQ Jigsaw, a 720-watt tool that cuts 43/4" wooden beams, 3/4" aluminum or 3/8" steel with ease. Electronic Multi-Material Speed Control provides the correct constant speed for the material you are sawing, which prevents overheating.

If you need a second pair of hands for large or awkward tasks, the Rockwell JawStand can help. The easy-to-use work support stand is ideal for holding, clamping, and feeding large work or sheets of material.

Protect Your Projects & Your Hands

Ensure a long life for your outdoor wood projects with a product such as the OneTime Wood Protector, a proprietary acrylate resin blend that penetrates wood, actually becoming part of the cellular structure, and cures by exposure to UV radiation.

Curing requires two dry days with no precipitation. OneTime is guaranteed to protect new wood, old wood, or wood that has had a previous coating removed -- for seven years.

To protect your hands, cover them with YGC General Utility Gloves. Made of high quality, man-made materials, the gloves are form-fitting, lightweight, washable and tough.


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