Ideas wanted for 3.5-4" poplar boards


I have a large supply of 3.5-4"poplar boards, ranging from about 1/8" to 1/2", and would like to know if anyone has any ideas for quick crafts I can put together with them. The quick crafts are for working with inexperienced wood workers. I have done some carving on them, and made some small knick-knack shelves. Because they are so thin, the 1/8" - 1/4" pieces are hard to work with. I hope to find a better way to sand them, as pushing them against the belt sander is quite dangerous. I would love to figure out a way to make "rough wood" light houses with them, or maybe some bird houses. Part of the challenge is how easy it is to snap them, so I need non-weight baring projects (no stools or big shelves.
The nicest thing about this wood is the striped configuration. Some stripes are green, others purple.
Can anyone give me ideas or recommend plans I can purchase for this type of project? I want to prepare something for a craft show this summer.
Thanks.
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"JAV" wrote...

can
inexperienced
mini dioramas featuring quaint buildings (or lighthouses)
door harps or zitherettes or mini dulcimers
finger-joined fly boxes
micro dollhouses for pet bugs
calligraphy signs with corny sayings
mini ceremonial masks of different cultures
small coats of arms hand-carved & painted on the spot (beats sitting like a lump all day at a craft fair)
-- Timothy Juvenal www.rude-tone.com/work.htm
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Awesome ideas. Now all I have to do is get a dictionary! :-)
I would love to do the finger joined boxes, but I think there's a lot more work than I can afford, since I only have 3 weeks for the fairs. Any quicker way to join the boxes?
Thanks.

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Do you have a table saw?
The finger joints are pretty easy with a miter gauge and a bit of scrap. I just started doing them, and as I still haven't gotten around to selecting a dado stack, I just make the fingers the width of my saw kerf, and it's really simple. Same jig can be used with a router table that has a miter slot, or a floating jig with a slot that can ride on a guide bushing.
It's maybe quicker to use miters, but that's only maybe. Lots of folks have trouble getting them set up properly- if the angle is off by 1/2 degree (for example), it ends up being a 2 degree gap one way or the other on the last corner- and they're not as strong.
Otherwise, you could just butt joint them and nail or screw them. If you nail them, you can set the heads and call it a day, if screwed, you can pre-drill so the head sinks below the surface, and use a dowel to cover up the screw head. Neither is high art, but you might find they sell just fine anyways.
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Drawer dividers, dancing man. Wilson

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