Combine wood squares into a durable outdoor entry mat that adds color to your front porch.
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From the 1 x 4 cedar boards, cut 18 pieces the same length as the combined width of three boards pressed together edge to edge.
To ensure all the pieces are the same length, use the built-in stop on your miter saw or clamp a stop block in place. Cutting nine pieces from each board will leave almost no waste.
Gather the boards side by side in groups of three with the rough faces down. For each group, mark the inside edge of both outside boards and both top edges of the middle board. Use a sanding sponge to round each marked edge, leaving crisp edges on the outside boards and ends.
Each cedar board has a smooth face and a rough face, which will be glued to a sheet of plywood. If the wood is too rough for a strong glue bond, sand it just enough to remove any splinters or loose wood.
Stain three groups of three boards on the top face, edges, and ends, but not the bottom face. For the look shown here, stain three groups with Natural stain and three groups with Muted Mesa stain.
Beginning at one corner of the plywood sheet, glue and clamp three boards in place with the edges tightly together. Allow the glue to dry for about an hour before removing the clamps. Then glue and clamp three boards with a contrasting stain at 90 degrees to the first group of boards. Repeat for the remaining squares to form two rows of three squares each.
Rest an unplugged circular saw on the cedar boards with the raised blade barely touching a cedar board. Mark the location of the saw base on a cedar board. Measure the distance from the mark to the board edge and make a duplicate mark on the opposite side of the mat. Clamp a board or straightedge just covering the marks to use as a saw guide. Then cut through the plywood panel to make the plywood edge flush with the cedar boards. Repeat to cut off the remaining excess plywood. (Our finished dimensions were 20-3/4-in x 31-in, but yours may vary with the width of the cedar boards.)
Sand the plywood edges smooth and wipe them clean. Apply two coats of stain to the plywood edges and bottom, and touch up any cedar edges or ends that were cut when you removed the excess plywood. Allow the stain to dry overnight before using.