Find Select Projects Easier

If you're looking for a specific project that I've done, please click here for a categorized list page.

Don't Forget To Leave A Comment

If an article interests you, please click below it where it tells the number of comments and leave one. I appreciate all input.

Get My Blog In Your Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Another Table.

Well, from what I've been told, and by the email I got from her, My Mom likes her table. As soon as I was sure of this though, I suddenly was made aware of another problem. My wife wanted one similar to it. So, since I am broke and trying to figure out what to make her for Christmas, that gave me a good place to get started.
This one is made of cottonwood. It is fifteen by twenty and thirty two inches tall. It is stained with Minwax Dark Walnut stain and then finished with Minwax Clear Gloss polyurethane.
I will finish this post out with some more photos. I was able to do the top, shelf and drawer front in the style that I wanted to do on my Mom's. I was disappointed that I could not do this on that table. I wanted to make my Mom's out of mahogany though, and I did not have pieces large enough to do it. I was able to do this on my wife's table, because it is made out of a cheaper wood, cottonwood. I had plenty of that on hand. Then, with the stain I used, I still think it turned out nicely. I hope to one day have the material though to do this in mahogany.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Simple Isn't Always So Simple

I have got to quit using the word simple when it comes to projects. My Mom needed a simple table to place upon it a small stereo she has. She provided me with the details of what she wanted and it seemed simple enough. See that word? Simple?
There is nothing complicated to any experienced woodworker about a table. Of course, I wanted to add my own spin to this table, but still, it seemed simple. There I go using that word again.
I started with the skirts. I decided that I really would like to include finger joints in the corners to add character to a simple design. This part worked fine. If you keep up with my blog, you probably remember the fancy finger joint, or box joint, machine I made earlier this year. I have used this machine on numerous projects now and it has got to be about the most useful jig I own, built or store bought.
Next, I wanted the legs to blend well with these "different" skirts. I notched the tops and middles to accept the skirts into the legs, making it all flush along the corner edges.
It's when I started gluing everything up that it all seemed to go south. I learned an important lesson with this project. Make sure your shop is warm enough before attempting to use Gorilla Wood Glue. The day I glued all this up, it was sixty degree. This is barely within the operating temperature listed on the bottle, but I thought I'd be fine.
After everything was together and I started sanding, I kept hearing an unusual noise. It was my glue joints popping loose when I racked the entire assembly around to sand the different sides. This created a problem. Most of the joints failed, but I still could not completely disassemble it to reglue everything. I wound up fixing this with a syringe of glue to get behind separated pieces and a 23 gauge pin nailer.
At this point, I was sure glad I had used finger joints at the corners. Without those strong finger joints, I don't know if this would have held together.
To tell the truth though, I was not happy at all. At this point in a project, I normally would have given up and started over to feel safer that things were right. I believe in doing things right, or not at all. The problem is though, I wanted to make this for my Mom out of mahogany, and I already knew that I did not have any more mahogany wide enough to redo these skirts. So I needed to push on and see this thing through.
Things got a little sturdier after adding stretchers. These helped push the legs tightly into the corners of the skirts so the legs did not have to depend so much on glue. They also are where the top will be attached down to, and the shelf underneath.
Then I started with the top and shelf and run into even more issues. I get ahead of myself sometimes. In my head, I had planned out this extravagant inlaid top and shelf. Therefore, I used particle board as a substructure to assure a dead flat surface to work with. What I didn't take into account was, with the angles my idea had me working with, every piece of mahogany I had to work with was either too short, or too narrow.
After a better part of a day trying to figure out a way to make it work, I had to come to my senses and change gears to something a little simpler.
I made quarter inch thick panels to cover the horizontal surface. I chose mahogany board with different shades of colors for a reason. Then I used a bevel jig on the table saw and ripped them at an eight degree angle so I could mix them up when I glued them down.
After all this was done, and the sanding was done, and the kicking myself for the mess this simple project had turned into, it was time for finishing.
No, finishing did not go well.
I have gotten better in the last year or so at finishing. For some reason though, this has to be the worst finish I have done in a long time. I planned on two coats. I wound up making three just trying to even out the unevenness in color that the first two coats made. When it was all said and done, there is no way to fix it, short of sanding down and starting over, and I know from experience that this is not a good idea either with shellac.
Of course, my wife says I'm worried for nothing. I am my own worst critic sometimes. I can see every single flaw on this thing though, especially in the finish. At this point, I need to figure out what I'm going to do. It will be sitting in my shop until I can get it to my Mom. In the meantime, I have to decide whether to chop it up for fancy firewood and try making another one, or living with it not being my best work and hoping my Mom will like it anyway.
I will have to look at it again in the coming days and weeks, when I'm through beating myself up about it, and come to a decision then.
I try to learn something with every project. The biggest lesson I have learned with this one I think, is to stop saying anything will necessarily be simple.

Friday, November 9, 2012

New Addition To The Band Saw Line Up

Some of you may remember that late last year, and into early this year, I built a band saw. Since then, I have really put it through it's paces. That thing is a beast and has taken anything I have thrown at it without so much as a grumble. In addition to that, it has proved to be more precise than the several factory made band saws I have owned.
Now, the thing is, I built this saw in conjunction with a good friend of mine. Most of the work was done at my shop. My friend took his back to his shop back around the time I completed mine. I have been considering building another one of these.
Since getting used to a larger and better saw, I have been extremely dissatisfied with the performance of my old Craftsman saw. It is a good saw for general work, but mostly I have been unhappy with the lack of precision. I use this saw mainly for curved cuts, since I do all my re sawing on my shop made saw now. I always cut outside the line though and sand up to it, simply because I don't trust the precision of it.
So, when I mentioned this to my friend, he offered to bring the saw back to me. For various reasons, he has decided that any large work that he can't do with what he has, he'll just bring to my shop. I jumped at the chance to get this saw back to my shop. Since I know it is built identical to the other shop built saw I've been using for a long time, I know it is a great saw.
The first thing I had to do was build a stand for it. I made the stand you see in the first photo of this saw. It is just a simple square cabinet with three drawers. There's nothing really special about it. I made it quickly out of cottonwood.
Next I added a guard to it. I decided to do this one a little different than the other saw. On the other saw, I wanted overly safe guards. Because of my sometimes re sawing long or large wood, I sometimes need help on that saw, which is usually one of my sons.
On this saw, I will be using it for curved cuts and I'll be able to manage everything on it by myself. Therefore, I wasn't quite as careful with the guards. For this one, I wanted something simple that protects the operator, while still allowing easy blade changes. This is because, depending on what I'm cuttings, I'll be using more than one blade on this one, unlike the other saw that keeps a half inch re saw blade on it at all times.
So, I made this guard a hinged model with latches on the front to hold it closed when using the saw. This makes for easy blade changes. The saw is ready to use now. I just have to get a smaller blade. For the time being, it has the same half inch blade as the other saw.
As soon as I get the smaller blade, so I'll have a saw to cut curves, and as soon as a different friend can make it to Vicksburg, I've found a new home for the old Craftsman. I hope my friend gets as many miles out of it as I have.  Maybe one day I'll be able to talk him into letting me help him build a shop built saw as well.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Iron Horse Wall Hanging.

This is just a fretwork wall hanging I finished cutting today. I ordered the pattern from here at Wildwood Designs. It was not a hard cutting, but a lengthy one. I stack cut two and one time, but it took me about twelve hours to complete.
If you order the patterns for this cutting, you can cut it as a wall hanging as you see here, or you can cut all of the pattern and build a shelf out of it. The pattern, as ordered, comes with two different designs. They are each similar, but different in subtle ways. I didn't understand the difference in them to begin with. Upon closer inspection though, they depict trains from different time periods.  
Both of these are made of cottonwood. I left one unfinished and the other one I spray painted gloss black. They measure seven inches tall at the highest point and fourteen inches long.
One of these is going to a friend of mine who lives in another state, and the other one I hung inside my shop for myself.

Friday, November 2, 2012

More Loading Blocks

Some of you may remember the loading block I made for my Dad a few weeks ago. If not, you can read more about it here.
Anyway, I'd been wanting to make some more, but am just now getting around to it.
In the S.A.S.S. group, my Dad is Gunn Walker. The other block you see, is for a good friend of my Dad, Mean Matt McCord.
The top and bottom ones are made of sapelle. The middle one is made of glued up layers of sapelle and cottonwood. The letters are routed into the top. Then the recesses are painted black. Then they are finished with Watco Danish Oil.

Wallet Size Photo Frames

A friend shipped me some lacewood and birdseye maple a while back. You may remember it as the wood I built the lamp for my wife with. Well, I wished to do something for him. Even though he insisted that it was not necessary, I convinced him to tell me something he needed. He says he had some photos of his daughter that needed frames. He hadn't been able to find any, because they don't really make nice frames much for wallet size photos.
So, I took patterns out of the book you see above. The patterns are actually sized for four by six photos, but I done an overlay to reduce down to two and three eighths by three and three eighths size photos.
The top, darker frame has a piece on back to allow it to sit upright on a desk or shelf. The other two are meant to be hung on a wall. All the darker wood is sapelle and the lighter wood is cottonwood. They are finished with Minwax Wipe On Polyurethane.