“Obscure Projects for Amateur Woodworkers”

“Obscure Projects for Amateur Woodworkers”

As an amateur woodworker looking to take on a new project, it can be challenging to find ideas that are unique and unconventional. Often, beginners start with simple projects like birdhouses or cutting boards, which are rewarding but can get repetitive. For those seeking a more obscure adventure in woodworking, here are some off-the-beaten-path projects to consider.

Small Wooden Puzzles

Wooden puzzles make for great obscure projects that allow amateur woodworkers to get creative with joinery and inlay techniques. Some examples include:

  • Interlocking puzzles – These involve cutting intricate pieces that fit together in clever ways. They require precision and attention to detail.

  • Secret compartments – Hollow out compartments and openings inside a wooden box or other object. These are fun to design and discover.

  • Maze puzzles – Cut a wooden maze with interlocking pieces the player must navigate. Add obstacles for an extra challenge.

  • 3D puzzles – Build stacking, interlocking, or folding three-dimensional puzzles out of wood. These can have complex shapes.

The puzzles can be left natural, stained, painted, or inlaid with various woods for visual interest. Puzzles are great display pieces and also make unique gifts.

Wooden Games

Crafting wooden board games, dice games, or wooden game pieces can make for rewarding and engaging projects. Some examples of wooden games to build include:

  • Chess or checkers boards – Make etched or inlaid boards with alternating square patterns. Craft playing pieces from various woods.

  • Nine mens morris – This obscure ancient strategy game has a simple board with connecting lines. The pieces can also be wooden.

  • Wooden dice – Handcraft dice of various shapes and sizes from wood blocks. Try unusual dice with 10, 20, or even 100 sides.

  • Game spinners – Fun interactive spinning boards for board games or quizzes. Build the spinning dial and wooden pointer.

  • Wooden labyrinths – Labyrinth games with wooden marbles are an ancient obscure pastime brought to life.

Puzzles and games make great gifts, whether you keep or share your creations.

Wooden Puzzles and Games Combo

For the ultimate obscure project, combine wooden puzzles and games into one multifunction creation. Ideas include:

  • A chess board that has removable pieces revealing a secret drawer compartment.

  • A wooden block that folds and slides to reveal an embedded maze or hidden object puzzle.

  • A rotating cube puzzle box that also serves as a dice box and spinner.

  • Interlocking puzzle pieces that can be arranged on a board in different ways to make new games.

These combo builds allow you to blend and highlight different woodworking skills in a single project. The end result is a fully custom game-puzzle that you designed and built from scratch.

Wooden Secret Containers

Secret compartments, hidden drawers, and puzzle boxes appeal to one’s sense of curiosity. Building secret containers is an entertaining obscure project:

  • False book boxes – Hollow out the pages of a wooden book replica to conceal items inside.

  • Nested boxes – Stack multiple boxes that fit inside one another, with the smallest holding secrets.

  • Secret compartments – Hide drawers behind panels or under surfaces for clandestine storage.

  • Puzzle boxes – Intricate boxes that require certain maneuvers to open. These can have multiple steps.

Add tricks like magnets, hinges, Combination locks, and springs to increase the complexity. Aim to create boxes even you have trouble opening at first, for maximum secrecy.

Wooden Pegboard and Hook Systems

For workshop organization, make your own pegboards, shelves, tool racks, or magnetic strips. Customize them with hooks, holders, and storage options:

  • Pegboard – Drill an array of holes to hold customized pegs, shelves, tool holders. Paint or stain for color coding.

  • French cleat system – Mount wooden strips and hangers on walls to neatly arrange tools.

  • Drill bit dispenser – Make a wall rack or tabletop holder with holes for drill bits. Add a hinged door or cap.

  • Custom tool rack – Build a rack with specific carved out spaces for each tool or supply.

Get creative mixing materials like acrylic, metal hooks, magnets, and more for utility and personalization. A custom storage solution helps organize your shop.

Wooden Signs and Decor

For the artistically inclined, make unique home decor and gifts. Some ideas:

  • Wood burning – Burn designs, letters, and patterns into planks of wood with a burning pen. Finish with paints or stains.

  • Wood signs – Carve or rout custom signs with text or silhouette images for hanging.

  • Wood wall art – Make abstract wooden wall hangings by arranging wooden pieces in geometric patterns.

  • Rustic frames – Frame photos or prints using raw natural wood slabs and branches for a rustic touch.

  • Wooden candle holders – Lathe candle sticks or blocking geometric holders from wood.

Don’t limit yourself to plaques and signs. Bring that obscure artistic vision to life through woodworking.

Final Thoughts

Part of the fun of amateur woodworking is exercising creativity through less mainstream projects. By venturing into puzzles, games, secret containers, organization tools, and decorative art, you open new possibilities to learn skills and make custom creations no one else has. Brainstorm your own obscure ideas, and don’t be afraid to experiment. You never know what unique wooden treasures you may uncover.