Stands for Solar Lights

Submitted by moemoore on Thu, 08/11/2011 - 01:18
Starter Projects
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Living in a condo in Hawaii, my husband and I like to have solar lights on our lanai (aka porch or balcony), but most of them come as stakes to be pushed into the ground. I do not have a green thumb (or any other digit), so I needed an alternative to hold our growing collection of solar lights.

For a single light and our TV antenna stand
Close up of one of them - note the pocket holes and top hole
Stand for multiple lights

Our lanai is covered somewhat, but it does still get some rain. The poly coating seems to be handling the rain we have gotten well.

This was my first project with the Kreg Jig when I bought it, and it made the project go together so quickly! And the joints are so secure - no wobbling at all!

I own a jigsaw, but don't use it much - I simply cannot cut a straight line with it. With my limited space, I can't justify the purchase of any other electric saw, so I do my cuts the old fashioned way - a hand saw. I have done a number of projects, and it does add some time to the project, but it hasn't slowed me down much. On the plus side, it adds to my workout!


Shopping List

1" Whitewood boards - varies by width and height depending on the solar lights to be used.

spade bit or drill bit for installing door knob holes (that's what I used)

Common Materials
Cut List

Determine the height and width, and cut appropriately

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Kreg Jig
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

For each box, I measured out the size I needed.

Step 2

Drilled the holes in the top piece - before assembling, but taking into account the sides that would be under the top.

For the stand which would hold a single light, I drilled in the center.

For multiple lights, I had to measure things out and made sure to account for the width of the top of the light, and not just the stake itself.

Step 3

Using the Kreg Jig, drill pocket holes into the side pieces, and attach to the top and bottom.

Step 4

Sand it down good, then apply poly. I used 3 coats, sanding with 320 after each coat.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
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Fri, 08/12/2011 - 06:46

Glad to hear there's another hand saw user running around here. They're wildly addicting tools once you learn how to use them, and one wood working writer recently did head to head tests with a hand saw and a table saw, and found that the hand saw was the faster way for her to cut some complex joints.


Fri, 08/12/2011 - 11:31

Glad I'm not the only one! If I had the room, a table saw would be nice so that I could rip plywood, but oh well - gotta use what I have access to!

When I first started hand sawing, I was using a miter box and the saw that came with it. Took a while to cut anything. Then I decided to "invest" in another hand saw. OMG - the difference! It still works in my miter box, and no matter what I've been cutting, it goes so fast!

A lot of times I find the hand saw allows me to have more precise cuts. I measure, draw a line, and use painters tape to mark my line. I find the tape really helps me see what I'm doing.


Fri, 08/12/2011 - 11:40

There are some good tutorials out there for making really accurate cuts with a hand saw. Marking with a knife really helps a lot, and you can cut a relief line with a chisel which will really make it accurate.

I'm actually contemplating ways to get rid of my table saw. My shop is small, and there's other tools I'd rather use the space for.


Wed, 07/04/2012 - 07:01

This is more than I hoped to find, thanks so much for sharing! When it comes to building lighting devices I can only say I have no experience but I am interested to start a project like that. I'm also relying on this resource in case my project turns into a disaster.


Tue, 08/28/2012 - 23:20

Thank you for providing these interesting and useful ideas!I have solar lights in my garden and I consider it great as in this way I can save money on energy.It would be great if someone will create solar powered projector bulbs because it is more cost efficient and also eco friendly.