Dinosaurs Rule! Do you have someone in your life that loves dinosaurs? Use the scraps you probably have lying around to build some T-Rex bookends that will make that special someone smile every time they see them.
The following are additional notes and reflections on the build and is meant to supplemental information to the video below.
Here are the two free templates that were used in the T-Rex skull construction.
The skull is made of layered 3/8″ and 3/4″ plywood for the upper portion and 3/4″ plywood for the jaw.
T-Rex Plywood Layers
If you don’t have the different thickness of plywood try to use 3/8″ or 1/2″ plywood. You’ll have to glue 2 layers of the material together for the jaw and in-between the outside layers of the upper skull.
T-Rex Skull Construction
A fine jigsaw blade was used in cutting the upper and lower pieces. I tried to use a spiral cutting bit on a Dremel but was taking too long and sometimes became unbalanced. I quickly changed back to using the jigsaw.
Tip: Depending on your jigsaw you can configure tensions so it is able to make turns better. Read the directions to find out if this is possible. Also, don’t be afraid to remove waste areas to make it easier to get to a certain angle.
Paper Template Removal
When I tried to take off the glued on paper template it started to tear. At that point I reached for the 80 grit sandpaper. I saw a trick from Steve French where he used a heat gun, or hair dryer (Don’t grab your wife or husband’s good hair dryer and tell her I said to do it!) to heat up the adhesive and pull the paper off.
Flush Trim Routing
I was using a cheap $30 Harbor Freight trim router with a pattern bit. This was easier to control than a larger fixed based router.
Trimming Excess Off T-Rex Skull
When you flush trim route the 3/4″ plywood in-between the upper skull pieces don’t try to take off large pieces. Start on the outside and work your way in. I started to tear chunks out of the plywood when I tried to follow the skull outline and remove big pieces.
T-Rex Skull Paint
The paint used was 3 coats of Rustoleum Orange spray enamel. The painting rack was just some 2x4s quickly nailed together. Just cut up a wire hanger and bend it in a S shape to hang the pieces.
Painting T-Rex with Rustoleum Orange
Milling Rough Lumber
If the material you’re going to use for the bookend is already the thickness you want it then you can skip this. For the sake of time milling the walnut was left out of the video. The vertical pieces were too large for the for the jointer so I used a technique I saw from the Renaissance Woodworker using a hand plane and planer to flatten larger boards.
To get them flat I
Hand planed one side close to flat
Ran it through the planer with that side down
Lastly, flattened out the hand planed side with 1 or 2 passes
What I ended up with 1″ thick stock, but you can use 3/4″ plywood or glued up 3/4″ thick stock.
The back is 8″ x 9″ with the 5″ x 7″ foot piece fitting in the cut out section of the back.
Tip: When you use your table saw to cut out that 5 inch section at the bottom of the back piece, use a knife to scribe the horizontal line. This cuts the grain and helps prevent chip out.
The post that the T-Rex skull sits on to attach it to the bookend is made from 3/4″ material or whatever thickness you’ve used in-between the upper skull outer layers.
Bookend Post Dimensions and Placement
1 3/4 inch general purpose screws were used to attach the post to the back piece.
Bookend Glue Up
If I was doing this again I would apply the clear finish before gluing the bookends up. Since I didn’t there is a small glue line where the 2 boards meet that I’ll always see.
Gluing and Screwing Bookend Base
The screws used were 1 3/4 inch general purpose screws.
Before assembling the T-Rex skull to the bookend piece 3 coats of spray polyurethane was applied to the walnut. Varying grit sandpaper was used starting at 120 grit and moving to 220 grit in-between coats.
If you are painting this
Fill any holes
Lay down 2 – 3 coats of your paint.
During the final assembly PC-7 two part epoxy was used to make sure that dino head wasn’t going anywhere. This is an optional step but if you decide to do it, mixing it is just a matter of combining equal parts from the two containers.
Mixing PC-7 Two Part Epoxy
Tip: Just make sure you put the epoxy carefully in the skull. I tried putting it on the post portion first and ended up cleaning up a mess.
From there it is just a matter of putting a couple of brad nails in the side of the skull to attach it to the post.
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