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Although Linker Logs are made with the aid of a computer— once complete, they’re a great way to get kids (and parents) off the computer for an afternoon of old fashioned fort building and pretend. The techniques shown here—including pre-finishing the plywood, programming correct joint tolerances, arranging parts, locating hold-downs and placing tabs—can also be used for other plywood projects. The inspiration for making these building planks comes from a story titled “Plywood Play Planks” that appeared in the December 1953 issue of Mechanix Illustrated magazine. They used 3/4” plywood and a dado blade to cut the joints. That technique can still be used but limits design options to pretty much only straight parts. Bill Young (a ShopBot guru from Virginia) adapted the idea for the CNC by creating a selection of standard sizes and notch spacings. The playhouse shown below is similar to the original Mechanix Illustrated design—but I added the puppet theater window and marquee board.

Start by finishing: A coat of shellac followed by a water-based topcoat provides a durable finish for Linker Logs— and most other plywood projects.


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