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Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Iowan

This clock is called the Iowan. The plans to build it can be purchased here at Wildwood Designs. If any of you are interested in building it, it is much easier to build than it may look. It does take a while to do all the detailed fretwork. If built in stages as the plans explain though using false plates, it is a relatively simple project.

I built this one using mahogany with mahogany trim. I finished it with three coats of Zinsser clear shellac.

I usually don't put finishes on a lot of my detailed fretwork because it is just so time consuming to apply finish with all those tiny cutouts. I've been considering it lately though and wanted to do a nice clock and take the time to finish it just to see if the improvement of a finish would be worth it. I must admit, I think I will be applying finish to more of my fretwork in the future. The difference of the finished and unfinished piece is simply like night and day.

I did change a few minor details when I built this one. The final size of this clock as I built it is thirty six inches tall, eight teen inches wides, and ten inches deep.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rocking Horse Chair

This is a great project for a beginner or any wood worker who is looking for a project that looks great, but is simple to build. You can purchase the plans here. The whole project can be made using three, eight foot long, one by twelves. The plans show you how to lay it out to get it all with just those three pieces of wood. I cut my pieces out on a scroll saw. It could easily be cut though using a band saw or jig saw.

I built one of these last year for a friend of mine. This one is for that same friend's brother. It is unfinished because their mother is painting them. I seen the one I built last year after it was painted and she really added character to it.

This one is made out of cottonwood. It is meant for small children who are to small for a regular rocking horse, but can hold themselves upright without assistance. The plans say from twelve to twenty four months. That seems about right to me.

The only difference in the ones I've built and the plans is that there is supposed to be a star cut in the sides of the rocker area, and the back of the seat. I decided to eliminate this because I seen it as a pinching hazard for the small children it is designed for.

Book Stand From A Combined Effort

A good friend of mine made one of these and I wanted to make one for my wife. After he showed me how you make it though, I was a little discouraged. The way to make these involves chisels hand saws. I don't do hand tools. I would love too. I am fascinated with the skill that goes into creating things strictly out of hand tools like they did before the invention of all the power tools. I have tried though and my messed up back doesn't allow that. So I stick to my power tools. So my friend came up with an idea.

He lives about forty five minutes from me, but comes to visit from time to time. So he done the chisel work on this book stand and brought it to me. Then I cut the unicorn design in it. On his next visit, he done the hand saw work on it, leaving me to just do some sanding and finish work to complete it.

Some of you may look at this project and wonder why all the work for such a simple project. You could probably easily create something much easier to build that will accomplish the same job. I like things that are different though. This book stand is made using one solid piece of wood. There is no kind of fasteners like nails or screws. It is just a piece of wood with some angles cut into it. If you look closely you can see these angles in the last photo. Then after slicing it down the middle it opens up to create a simple book stand.

This is designed for the kitchen. The last photo shows how it folds up to be placed out of the way into a drawer. Then it can be taken out and opened up to place a book, cook book for example, on it. This keeps the book up off the counter top so you don't have to worry about it getting into spilled liquids or getting in the way.

I also enjoyed making a project with a buddy that lives that far away without actually being in the same shop at the same time. It made for an interesting time. It also gave us a reason to meet up and kill a few pots of coffee.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chinese Tea Table

Here's is another beautiful project by Willy B. The plans for this can be found at Wildwood Designs. Willy made this out of three eighths thick red oak. Of course he changed a few things to make it more his own.

He enclosed the top and the upper sides with stained glass. He changed the top to a dove design instead of what came with the plans. Then, to set all that off, he added a light under the table top that shines through, creating a dramatic effect.

I hope everyone else is enjoying Willy's work as much as I am.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jewelry Cabinet by Willy B.

This is a project Willy B. built from plans in an old Woodsmith magazine that he made some modifications to in order to make it to his liking. It stands five feet tall with a top section that he designed himself. It is made out of red oak with legs that he also designed and built himself. It is twenty one inches wide and fifteen inches deep.

The top section he designed to hold pieces that are worn often. Each drawer he made separations in and lined with red felt. The first drawer holds rings, the second has twelve small compartments for small items. The separations get larger as you go down until the last couple are full drawers. When you open the L-shaped sides it reveals hooks on each side to hang necklaces on.

Willy, this is another fine project. You can really see the dedication to quality in each of your pieces of work.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Willy B. Does It His Way

I talk to a lot of different wood workers, both professional and hobbyists like myself. There is a huge difference in how some view the use of patterns. I, myself, use patterns for just about everything I build these days. I find that it allows me to simply enjoy the wood working that I love so much without having to stop and worry so much about designing, for example, that I don't enjoy so much. I find a design I like in a pattern most times, and work from there. I usually build a project the first time pretty close to the pattern. After, that, the gloves are off. I may take that design in any number of directions.
The one argument I hear the most against patterns is that people like making their projects original. For those that enjoy designing, I think that's great. Some of us don't like designing though. So for that originality argument, I have two key point that I usually point out.
The first is that it is very, very rare for anyone to think up anything that is truly original. It may be a new take on something, but we all naturally draw ideas from what we have seen. I can take aspects of a Chippendale design and a Maloof design and combine them to come up with something that may never have been seen before. In the end though, how original is the combination of two well known designs? That isn't to put down people who design their own projects. It's to point out that even pattern users can still come up with something new using tried and true designs, but with plans.
That brings me to my second point. Just because you use a pattern doesn't mean you are limited to building a project strictly by that pattern. I compare patterns to a road map. Regular readers have read this before, but I think it is a good point to repeat again. If you are trying to get to a destination on a road map, there are usually multiple ways to get there. You can take any of those multiple ways and still arrive where you desire. The same can be said about patterns. You can take many roads with a pattern, and still arrive where you wish with a project. The use of a design on a patter is limited only by your own imagination.
That brings us to Willy B.'s Buffet Cabinet.

The plans for this cabinet can be found here at Wildwood Designs. Some may recognize it as the same cabinet I built a while back. Willy took the design and really made it his own though. That is the inspiration for my rambling before the photos on making a pattern your own way. There are no rules about sticking with a pattern. I really like the way Willy done this one. The changes he made really stand out as inspirational to me, since I have built this project myself.

For starters, Willy's cabinet is six inches deeper than the plans call for. That doesn't sound like much, just extend the depth measurement, right? Well, there is a bit more to that on this project. To extend the depth six more inches means that Willy also redesigned all the side facing scroll work and the scroll design that supports the side shelves. That in itself makes it quite an undertaking.

Willy made his own legs for this project from oak four by fours. If you ever want to build this, the price for the recommended legs can add up quickly. The one's I wanted to use for mine cost over forty bucks a piece, and you need six of them. It's not hard to make these legs. It only takes time and patience. I highly recommend anyone building this project to give it a go before spending that kind of money on legs. It's fun, and you get the satisfaction of knowing you built them instead of sticking something bought on it. The added advantage is that by building them, you can color match the cabinet they are going on easier than if you bought them.

Willy's cabinet is made out of half inch oak plywood. Another interesting change he made was too the shelves in the middle cabinet section. Instead of wood, he put in glass shelves. I am going to have to consider that option next time I build one of these. When I read that he used glass, I had one of those "why didn't I think of that" moments.

Willy, this is truly amazing work. Thank you for sharing it with us. I do hope you have plans to send me more project photos to share.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Chess Set by Willy B.

This is a chess set that Willy B. made for his son. Each square is about three inches to give you an idea of the size of this work of art. The dark squares and pieces are red oak. The light squares and pieces are maple. Willy says he can't remember where he got the plans from. If anyone is interested in building one like it, let me know, and I'll do my best to find the plans for it. It functional for a chess fan as well as a beautiful work of art.

At first glance of these photos, I thought it was a beautiful piece, with the squares being solid squares, glued up like a cutting board. Then I started looking closer. Each square also has detailed fret work in it. That just added a whole new element to an already astounding piece of work.

This is great Willy. I'll bet anyone your son may play chess with loses to him because they are too busy wishing they had this chess set for themselves.

Thank you again for sharing your work with us.

Mike T. Has Some Good Advice

One day, a friend of Mike T. came into his garage and asked Mike to make something for him from a poster he had rolled up in his hands. Being a busy man, Mike told him to set the poster down and he would get to it later. This is where Mike's advice comes in. He says to always be sure what you are supposed to be doing before you say you will do it.
That's very good advice Mike, because I would have been tempted to back out of this one. I understand though. Some of us are still around who are men of our word. I think you may be one of those men, because you not only done it, you did a fantastic job of it too.
This is called "Our Lady Of Guadalupe". It is a beautiful piece of art. Mike did say he got another friend to paint the faces. He says he does know his limitations. It is a segmented project that is made out of three quarter inch thick clear white pine.
Mike also told that he is a proud member of the Inland Empire Scroll Saw Association of So. Ca. Any fellow scrollers in that area may want to check them out.
Mike, this is some impressive work. I hope you send me more photos of your projects so we all can enjoy them. Thank you very much for sharing this with us.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Meet Mr. Willy B., A Scroll Saw Master

I'd like to introduce you all to Willy B. Willy has been emailing me some beautiful photos of some of the work he has done. I will be featuring his work over the next few days. I always welcome readers to send me photos of their work for me to feature here. My projects often take me so long that I go so far between posts that people start emailing me wanting to know that I'm alright and working on something new. If you readers would send me photos and general descriptions of your projects, I could make more regular posts so that everyone will know I'm still alive. Besides, I think we all enjoy seeing beautiful work anyway, don't we?

Willy B built this Chimes of Normandy clock and stand out of plywood for his son. He also added fifteen white Christmas lights to it to light it up. The clock design came from Wildwood Designs and you can click on the highlighted words to go straight to their site to order the plans for yourself if you like. I warn you though. I've done a few of these large clocks. They aren't for the impatient.

I am pretty sure the table the clock is sitting on is from Wildwood Design as well. I'll have to make a point of asking Willy for more details on that in the future.

Mr. Willy, I do so very much appreciate you sending me all the photos. I hope you send me more in the future. I won't post them all at once though. We don't want to overwhelm folks with all your magnificent work. Everything you have sent me has been so beautiful.