How to Build a Wooden Perpetual Calendar

Free Woodworking Plans from Lee's Wood Projects

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This handsome custom-crafted wooden perpetual calendar has moveable plaques which allows you to change the month and the date. It is accomplished by sliding the appropriate plaques in the letter holders. It is quick and easy, and will require only a minute to adjust the calendar each month. This calendar would make a great Christmas gift. The paint colors could easily be changed to match the room colors of the person receiving the gift.

Click On Image to See Larger Scalable Drawing

Technical Information for Building a Wooden Perpetual Calendar

A. Materials List:

1 A Back 3/4" X 12 1/2" X 18" Poplar (Paint Grade)
3 B Letter Holder 3/8" x 1/2" 8 3/4" Poplar (Paint Grade)
1 C Letter Holders 3/8" x 3/4" x 8 3/4" Poplar (Paint Grade)
4 D Letter Holders 3/8" x 1/2" x 8 3/4" Poplar (Paint Grade)
12 E Month Plaques 1/8" x 1 15/16" x 8 3/4" Poplar (Paint Grade)
31 F Date Plaques 1/8" x 1 1/4" x 1 3/16"  Poplar (Paint Grade)
2 G Date Plaques 1/8" x 1 1/4" x 1 3/16"  Poplar (Paint Grade)


Yellow Poplar

B. Patterns:

  1. Scale the back (A) to the drawing dimension size. This can easily be accomplished by measuring the print out and dividing that size into the dimension size. This will give a multi-factor that can be used to figure the enlargement size for the pattern. Most companies that do duplicating can make the enlargement required for the pattern.
  2. Transfer the pattern enlargement onto poster board, and use a pair of scissors to cut out the pattern.

C. Cutting Procedures:

  1. This project will require a paint grade poplar board 3/4" x 14" x 42".
  2. Use a radial arm saw to cut off 19" of the board.
  3. Use a table saw to rip the board to 12 5/8" wide.
  4. Joint both edges until the board is 12 1/2" wide.
  5. Trace the back (A) pattern onto the board and use a band saw to cut out the shape.
  6. Use a spindle sander to finish the rounded shapes.
  7. Use a router and a 1" Roman Ogee Bit to route the outer edges of the back (A).
  8. Use a router and 1/8" core box bit to route the outline shape (H) around the calendar. The outline shape should be approximately 1/8" wide x 1/8" deep.
  9. Plane the remainder of the board to 3/8" thickness.
  10. Use a table saw to rip four 1/2" x 23" strips for the letter holders (B) and (D). Also set the table saw to rip one letter holder (C) 3/4" wide.
  11. Put on a 3/16" wide dado blade on the table saw and adjust the depth of cut to 1/8"
  12. Adjust the fence next to the dado blade cut the rabbet joints for the letter holders (B), (C), and (D).
  13. Use a radial arm saw to cut the letter holders (B), (C), and (D) to lengths of 8 3/4".
  14. Plane the remainder of the board to 1/8". To safely plane this thin of a board, place the board on a 3/4" thick board, and then perform the operation.
  15. Use a radial arm saw, with a fine toothed blade, to cut 33 date plaques 11/4" x 1 3/6". Also cut 12 month plaques 1 15/16" x 8 3/4".

D. Wooden Perpetual Calendar Sanding Procedures:

  1. Use an orbital sander, with 80 grit sandpaper, to rough sand the back (A).
  2. Use 120 grit sandpaper and 220 grit sandpaper for intermediate and finish sanding procedures for back (A).
  3. Hand sand the routed edges of back (A) and the routed outline shape (H).
  4. Hand sand the letter holders (B), (C), and (D) as well as the date and month plaques. Be sure to sand all the edges smooth.

E. Assembly Procedures:

  1. Measure down 2 7/8" from the top of the back (A) to locate the top of the first letter holder (B) for the month plaques. Place wood glue on the back side and, using a nail gun and 3/4" brads to nail the letter holder in place. Measure 2 3/4" down from the top of the first letter holder to locate the bottom of the second letter holder. Glue and nail in place.
  2. Measure down 1 1/4" from the bottom of letter holder (B) to locate the top of the letter holder (C). From that point, measure down 2 1/4" to locate the bottom of the letter holder (D). These will hold the first row of date plaques (F).
  3. Measure 1 1/2" down from the bottom if the previous letter holder (D) to locate the bottom of the next letter holder (D).
  4. Repeat step #3 to locate the positions of the other letter holders. Note: The bottom letter holder should be (B).
  5. When all the letter holders are glued and nailed in place, there should be a 1/2" space between the letter holders and the inside edge of the routed outline (H).
  6. The number and month plaques should slide into their respective holders with approximately 1/6" space at the top.

F. Finish Procedures:

  1. Use plastic wood dough to fill all nail holes, cracks, and imperfections.
  2. After the wood dough has dried, sand it flush with 220 grit sandpaper.
  3. Remove all sanding dust with a tack rag.
  4. Give the all pieces of the wooden calendar two primer coats prior to painting.
  5. After the primer coats are dry, use interior acrylic satin or semi-gloss to paint the calendar.
  6. After the first coat is dry, paint a second coat.
  7. Use transfer (rub-on) letters for the months, days, and numbers. The heights for these are 1", 5/16", and 9/16" respectively. Font is Times New Roman.
  8. If you are artistically talented, the letters could be hand painted using a fine tipped brush.
  9. Spray the project with a coat of clear lacquer to protect the paint.

Notes: Two of the date plaques will need to incorporate two dates on the same block. These would be 23/30 and 24/31 (G). These numbers should be 3/8" high. Draw a diagonal line on the number plaques from top-right to the bottom-left. Place the smaller number on the upper left and the larger number on the lower right for both of these plaques.

*Congratulations, your Wooden Perpetual Calendar is finished and ready to use.

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