Hands On

Volume 45/Issue 5

Project Articles
The Toy Train
The Cold Frame
The Toy Puzzles & Kitchen Helpers

Ask Smitty
Owner’s Gallery
Letters from Owners
Academy Notes
Using the Shopsmith Mortising Attachment to Drill Square Holes
Service Pointers
MARK V Wedge Locks & Way Tubes
Safety Tips
Using the Shopsmith Safety Kit

What's New
Incra Miter Gauge 2000

Find A Shopsmith Woodworking Academy Near You

National Woodworking Academy in Dayton, OH

Online Accessory Catalog
Request Printed Accessory Catalog
Online Replacement Parts Catalog

Find A Shopsmith
MARK V Demo Near You

Request MARK V Information Package

Links Worth Visiting
Free Woodworking Tips

Contacting Shopsmith

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Shopsmith, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

The Cold Frame

Build this hinged-top Frame in a single weekend and enjoy your flowering plants or vegetables a little longer!

With the increasing popularity of gardening these days, more and more people are discovering the benefits of cold frames. Not only can you save money and extend your growing season by using them, you'll also be able to start your own plants from seedlings that will be directly acclimatized to your locality.

Just as the name implies, a Cold Frame is a FRAME with sides and a top, but no bottom. We built the one shown here from scratch using purchased glass panes. You can also use clear plastic material such as Lexan® or Plexiglas®...just be sure they're UV-resistant to prevent “clouding”.

However, if you prefer, you can also build one from an old window or two that you might have laying around the house, or be able to find at a local flea market. The glass inserts from discarded storm doors also make excellent cold frames. If you decide to recycle some old windows, you will, of course, have to adjust your dimensions accordingly.

Start by choosing the lumber you plan to use. Since Cold Frames are intended for use outdoors, we suggest that you build your Frame from a weather resistant wood such as Western red cedar, pressure-treated lumber or cypress, depending on what's readily (and economically) available in your area. Redwood also makes an excellent choice for durability, although it's usually quite expensive.

Remember, you can make your frame any size you like to accommodate the plants you plan to protect. Just adjust your component sizes accordingly.

For our example, we started with wide 11" to 15" boards for the ends and sides of the frame. Doing so ensures that the windows rest about 10" above the surface of the ground. Another important point of consideration is the insulating properties of the wood you're using. If you're building with standard “2-by” lumber (about 1-1/2" thick), your frame will be self-insulating. However, if you use 3/4" lumber, you'll need to mound-up the soil around the outside edge of the frame for added protection from the elements.