Streamline your outdoor living/dining/playing area


Be ready when spring arrives to get busy sprucing up your home’s exterior and its outdoor living space. Invest family time to envision which projects would transform it into a more organized, inviting retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Do doors, door frames, porches/railings, gates, decks, patios, and outbuildings need to be cleaned, repaired, repainted or replaced? Do you need more furniture, flower boxes or play equipment like cornhole boards?

Once a project list is made, visit your local Woodcraft store, go online at, or use a Woodcraft catalog and call (800) 225-1153 to stock up on all the tools, materials and supplies you need. Woodcraft store employees can help with advice about products and projects, technical support is available at (800) 535-4486, and offers how-to articles and videos.

Woodcraft Magazine Classic Project Plans make it easy to build the inviting Swing Bed (pictured), as well as picnic tables, benches, hand grill carts, potting benches, Adirondack chairs, and much more. 

Restoring Outdoor Projects, a Woodcraft blog, offers tips to make Adirondack chairs and other wood pieces and structures look new again. Download the free PDF at

Cleanup & Repairs

Howard Clean-A-Finish Wood Soap easily breaks down grease, grime and wax on all wood surfaces. It effectively cleans without ammonia or bleach by using a traditional blend of gentle yet powerful, natural soaps. Use it also on plastics, upholstery, carpet and vinyl.

Blue Bear Paint and Urethane Stripper (SOY-Gel®) is Franmar Chemical’s effective, effortless and odorless coating remover made from soybeans and natural elements.

Briwax ChaiRX is an easy solution for repairing loose chair joints. Inject ChaiRX into a small hole you drill in the joint, and the thin unique formulation will penetrate the wood cells to permanently swell the joints and bond them together. In 12 hours, the chair will be wiggle-free. For other gluing tasks, consider Titebond III Ultimate Waterproof Glue, a waterproof adhesive designed for interior and exterior use that has superior strength, is unaffected by finishes, and cleans up with water.


For layout tasks, pick the Pinnacle Combination Square — blade, square head and center finder. The 12” blade features extra fine graduations in 8ths, 16ths and 32nds. Combination head has a scribe and spirit level.

Saw wood to size with the Festool CARVEX PS 420 EBQ-PLUS Jigsaw that can cut up to 4-3/4” wood beams, as well as aluminum and steel. The Razorsaw Ryobi handsaw from Gyokucho, also a powerful cutting tool, has ripping and crosscutting teeth on opposite sides and an adjustable pivot point for angled cutting in tight spaces.

Norton Hand Sanding Kits cover most sanding chores. Detail Sander fits well in hard-to-reach places. Finishing Block Sander makes general sanding quick and comfortable.

The Montana Brand 4-in-1 Drill and Driver comes in a 10-piece set that includes all you will need to drive #6, #8, #10, and #12 screws. Add the Montana Brand 3-Piece HD Self-Centering Plug Cutter Set — unique in the woodworking industry — and you are ready to build in the outdoors.  

For fastening, consider the handy Freeman 23-Gauge 1” Pinner & 2” Brad Nailer Combo Kit.  


If color is a factor in painting an outdoor project, select General Finishes Milk Paint, available in 33 colors. This high-tech, water-based acrylic paint is durable, easy to apply and rated for interior and exterior use. Colors may be mixed or used with General Finishes water-based Glazes and Wood Stains to create decorative finishes and effects.

Other coverings for outdoor projects include: 

General Finishes Exterior 450 Varnish is for outdoor use. UV absorbers minimize fading, and mildewcides help retard mold and fungus growth. It is ready to sand in one hour.

System Three Marine Spar Varnish is a urethane-enhanced film finish formulated to protect against the harshest salt water and marine environments, as well as protect outdoor projects.

To apply coverings by hand, consider Redtree Onyx White China Bristle Brushes (solvent-based finishes) or Redtree Matey Synthetic Bristle Brushes (water-based finishes).

For spraying, the HOMERIGHT Super Finish Max features a built-in 450-watt sprayer, eliminating the need for a hose or motor to move around. Spray milk paint, chalk-style paint, latex paint, enamels, primers, urethanes, stains and varnishes. (MC) 

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