A wishing well adds a whimsical touch to a yard and can be a fun homemade project. A standard pre-made wooden wishing well costs a minimum of about £52, but building one at home yourself can be less than half the price. The project can be finished in a weekend, since the wishing well has only three basic parts: the box, support posts and a roof.
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To create the box, first determine the height and width measurements. Begin with eight pieces of wood. The variety of wood is your choice, but cedar has a nice look and is insect resistant. Each piece of wood should equal half the desired total height (this makes a stronger base). Make sure the pieces all have the same measurements through the width and length. Use wood glue to join together the edges, and clamp the pieces tightly until the wood glue dries. Repeat this three more times. Once all four pieces are dried and cured, create an "L" with each piece and use wood screws to attach the pieces together to form a square. Always drill pilot holes to prevent the wood from splitting when inserting screws. To give the illusion of width, a 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick piece of wood can be attached with L-brackets and 1.8 cm (3/4 inch) screws along the length of the sides, leaving about a 7.5 cm (3 inch) lip on the outer edges.
The support posts should be placed on two sides beginning at the bottom of the box. Drill pilot holes before placing the support posts. The height of the posts depends on your height preference. For a 90 cm (3 foot) tall well, use two 1 m (40 inch) long posts. The posts should be 2/5 cm (1 inch) thick for each 30 cm (1 foot) of height. Place the wood screws about every 7.5 cm (3 inches) on each edge of the post on the inside of the box. Once the posts are secured, rafter braces need to be placed to hold the roof. The four braces should be cut to a 45-degree angle on both ends using the mitre box. Fit two braces together on each post and screw them into place. The braces also should create a 45-degree angle once properly fastened so that a square can be formed once the roof is put on.
Begin with two pieces of plywood for the roof boards. For simplicity, this plan is for a pitched roof that is a total of 0.92 square metres (10 square feet) -- roughly 0.46 square metres (5 square feet) for each roof board -- and about 5 cm (2 inches) thick. Attach the two roof boards to the rafter braces on the support posts with wood screws no larger than 3.7 cm (1 1/2 inches), drilling pilot holes first to prevent the wood from splitting. Place screws every three inches along the seam of the roof to hold it together.
Cover the roof boards, being sure to start at the bottom. Use wooden shingles or shakes in an overlapping pattern. Allow about 2.5 cm (1 inch) of the shingles to hang off the edge of the roof and cut off the excess. Finish the roof by making the trim to cover the seam and the gable ends. The trim for the seam should be made of the same wood as the shingles and be the same width as the roof. Attach it with wood screws. Trim the gables with two 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick pieces of wood about 5 cm (2 inches) wide, and the same length as half the pitched roof. Angle the table saw to cut the length of each board at a 45-degree angle. Use the wood screws to attach to the roof boards. Cover all exposed screw heads with wood putty and saw dust (optional). The finished wishing well can be painted or varnished.
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