Building a Wooden Periodic Table

    When it comes to collecting elements, we need a place to put them! I began building a periodic table to collect as many elements as is possible given that some cannot be obtained. Each individual element cubby is 2"x2"x2" (I should have made them 2.5" cubes, but hindsight is always 20/20...). The wood itself was purchased from a local old-time lumber mill, this place was literally right out of the 1800's with the exception of a 1950's table-saw and planer. If you have such a place locally, I highly recommend going there if you decide to replicate this project. Its such an awesome experience, and the wood itself is much less expensive than from places like the big box stores.


Thank you Theodore Gray for the inspiration on this project. I have read your colum in popular science ever since I can remember, you inspired me to pursue engineering and chemistry in my college education. Check out his site if you havent already seen it: The Wooden Periodic Table

 I went with some beautiful 2"x.5" red oak and assisted in planing and rip cutting it at the mill. Local
lumber mill prices are astonishingly low too for incredible quality. Lowes has been ripping me off!

Here is the CAD drawing I created to determine how to cut each piece of wood most effectively.

Now to cut each piece of wood to the correct length. Remember: measure twice, cut once!

Finally all the parts are joined together using butt-joints with dowel inserts for added
strength. I'm not done the project yet, but you can get the idea of where its at.

And here are few more pictures of the build and final frame.

All sanded and looking pretty:

And just a a reference the ruler you see in the below picture is a foot long and 1" wide

So now I have created an excellent display to showcase all my collected elements, and
 dont wory, I will soon create a display for the
lanthanides and actinides!

Update (8/4/2013)

Now after staining and adding a clear gloss urethane, it really is looking great!

And the final result!

This was an absolutely fun project, and really taught me a large amount of woodworking skills. I plan to make many other chemsitry related fixutres from wood now, such as
test tube stands and whatnot. I believe that it may be beneficial to coat such items in a sodium silicate solution, making it somewhat heat resistant and fire retardant.