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

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bedroom Furniture Refurb

I guess there are always jobs that some of us hate. Actually, I bet all of us hate some job or the other. I also would venture to say that we have to do it anyway to grow as wood workers, or any other kind of work for that matter.
For example, I hate refinishing. So why do I take on a refinishing job? That is a very good question. One day I will figure that one out and get back to you with an answer.
When this dresser and chest of drawers set came into my shop it was a mess. I originally thought the stain or whatever kind of wood this was just simply needed a little tender loving care and it would be no big deal. Boy was I wrong.
The surface I was looking at, I should have used a light and took a closer look before I agreed to the job. However, by the time I realized this, I had already told the lady I would do it, and I am a man of my word. So the sanding began.
First though, let me show you how bad it really was so you can see why I kicked myself throughout this job.
The tops were bad enough. This part really didn't worry me and it is mainly what I looked at. It appeared to be some sort of stain on a lighter wood. Like I said, no big deal, right?
Then I started disassembling everything.
I don't know if you can see it well enough in this photo. I know it's there because I seen it up close. This was where I realized what the finish really was. It is that gunk stuff you get if you try too hard to get every last drop out of a rattle style spray can. Someone actually spray painted this.
That isn't even starting into all the runs I found that made me think that whoever did spray paint this should have their painting privileges revoked. 
So, it wound up taking a lot (A LOT) more sanding than I originally thought. As I got further into this project, my heart sank a little bit. I am not positive on the wood, but this looks to be light cherry. It is beautiful wood. I would have loved to sand this all the way out and clear coat it, showcasing the beauty of this wood. This proved to be a problem though. About two days of trying and too ruined sanding attachments later as the paint in the carved details gunked up and turned to a nightmare, I realized that it was simply going to be too large a job based on my time frame to remove everything.So this is where I had to stop on the sanding. 
I stained it with Minwax dark walnut stain so I could blend everything as best I could with the paint that was left in the recesses of the carved areas. 
Then after five coats of polyurethane, I put all the original hardware back on. 
While I was a little disappointed that I couldn't get it down to the bare wood, I am pleased at the end result. 
I just don't think I wish to take on any more furniture refurbishing projects any time soon. Every single time I do, it always turns into a lot bigger headache than I ever imagined. For the business side of this equation, I always wind up giving a price way too low. Then, since I stick to my word, I am severely underpaid for this type of nightmare. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Decorated Media Cabinet

I am a music lover.
Should I say, I am a music connoisseur?
I will be a tad more honest and say that, when it comes to music, I am a hoarder.
I've always loved music. I don't just enjoy listening to the radio though. I like having music. I don't want to listen to whatever the disc jockey decides to play. I want a collection to choose from to listen to what I want to listen to when I want to listen to it. 
Remembering way back, I remember borrowing a tape recorder much like the one shown in this photo from my grandmother. I would sit it on the floor in the bedroom between two speakers attached to an old console stereo to record the weekly top forty countdown. 
During high school, I made payments on a huge, loud, and at the time over priced, Fisher stereo system. It has stereo, record turn table, and a CD player. Soon after that, although I had hundreds of cassette tapes, I bought my first CD. I still have that CD in my collection. If you take care of them, they last. 
Fast forward to today. The town I live in does not even have a music store. Most of my music is bought online and downloaded. It is cheaper this way, but I still like having the actual physical CD. So in my collection are many store bought CDs, but also a lot of burned CDs. 
Some time back I built a new chest type CD case to go along with a similar one I already had. You can read more about that project here if you'd like. 
As it goes with a music hoarder though, I recently realized I had outgrown this chest type storage for my CDs. Actually I had outgrown it by about five smaller store bought CD boxes and one box that a ceiling fan came in that were all completely full. 
So it was time to build something different. To be honest, I've been thinking about this project for over a year now. I just finally made up my mind how I wanted to do it and got everything I needed to decorate it gathered. 
For the base of the cabinet, I wanted my stereo in it. On the left is my stereo unit and the right is my five disc CD player. The middle holds accessories that I use, such as my IPod that I listen to often and the charger for my phone and IPod. 
Yes, I know they make smaller and more modern stereo units. I like my old system though. The one I bought back in high school finally burned out and quit working about a year and a half ago. So I found this one at a yard sale for ten dollars. 
I started this build and was about to start making legs to get it up higher than the floor. Then I thought about it and decided to build it atop this desk in my shop. This is a very old, very sturdy, desk that sits in my shop. It was given to me. It was once in the First National Bank here in Vicksburg. I guess they just threw stuff out when it was shut down. When I got it I cleaned out papers that has stationary of the bank's president. 
Anyway, moving on.
Above the stereo compartment I started building the CD compartment. Since it was thinner than the bottom section, I decided to move it forward for easier reach. This leaves space behind the top part. I made holes in the back of the top on the stereo section. This allows all wires to be hidden behind the upper section without hanging down to create an ugly mess or interfering with the desk sitting close to the wall. 
The top of the CD compartment and the doors is decorated with old musical instruments. The trombone is attached to the top of the cabinet. The guitar and banjo are attached to the doors.
Then I scattered old eight track tapes all over the doors. 
In my opinion, these decorative items is what makes it more than just a simple media cabinet and sets it apart, which is exactly what I was trying to do. 
I was sure to leave enough space inside the cabinet for further growth of my music collection, because I know I can't stop my obsession. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Ever-Evolving Shop

For any of you fellow wood workers out there, do we ever stop changing our shops? I know mine is an ever evolving project that just keeps going and going. Every time I move something here, change something there, I immediately start thinking of ways I'd like things different than how I just put them. And don't even get me started on upgrading or acquiring new toys, uh, tools. This usually instantly turns into yet another opportunity to move things around a bit. 
Anyway, I was looking a few days ago at the last time I posted photos of my shop and realized that it has changed a few times since then, and thought some of my readers may be interested in some of the changes I've made.
I usually start my online shop tours by walking into the front door of the shop.
This time is different. 
We are starting near the back of the shop because something I've been doing lately is trying to streamline the operations of how I do things. 
It occurred to me that I was hurting myself moving wood from one side of the shop, to the other side to rip down, back to the other side if it needed planed. Things simply weren't in a very efficient layout. 
Anyway, here at the back of the shop is where I store most of my usable wood. The other side there, where you can't see in this photo, is saw horses I leave out. I can pull wood off the stacks to the saw horses and cut it down with a circular saw to a more usable size for whatever I may be making at the time. 
From the saw horse, if needed, I can move the wood to these nearby tools, the jointer and planer, and prep it to be worked with. 
By the way, these two tools are upgrades from what I had before. 
I didn't even have a jointer before and thought I did not need one. Since getting it though, I have really seen the great advantages to owning one.
The planer is a huge upgrade. My lovely wife bought it used. This one though is one of those tools that were made back when a man could fix it himself should anything go wrong with it. That is a huge improvement over the planer I had before that spent a month in the shop under warranty while they waited a full month for parts to come it.
This planer is a Grizzly fifteen inch. It has a two horse motor and runs on 220. I had to get help running new power lines for it, but I am thrilled to now have something that will hog through the work without bogging down.
Moving back towards the front of the shop is my ever changing sanding station.
My son got me a second Ridgid spindle/belt sander. I'd had one for a couple of years and loved it. If you only use one or the other, having both a spindle and belt sander on the same tool is a great concept. However, for a lot of the projects I do, I often need both and it was a pain switching back and forth several times in a short amount of time. He let me pick it out, so I could have gotten a dedicated tool, but I liked my first one so much that I decided I wanted the same. 
On the other side of that work station is my work table. 
Some of you may remember I built a work bench. I love my work bench. There are dirty jobs that are done though that would just destroy the looks of a nice bench. That is where my work table comes in. 
You may notice at the back of the table is my clamp rack. A wood worker can never have enough clamps. I used to laugh at that statement, until I find myself at times waiting on glue to dry so I can free up clamps to start on another part or assembly. For you who don't work wood, watching glue dry is just like watching paint dry or grass grow.
At the other end of the table you can see another ongoing project of mine, the old Craftsman band saw. That is a 1950 eighteen inch Craftsman saw. When done, I have hopes of it being my main re-sawing tool.
Behind the work table is where a majority of the work goes on. The table saw is the centerpiece, with my shop made band saw to the right and my work bench to the left. 
Here you can see the workbench.
Also note that I've added more shelf space under my table saw. I have wanted to move my routers and accessories closer to the saw for some time. 
Go around the workbench and this is right next to my lathe and lathe station where I do most of my turning work. When possible I spend a lot of time here. 
This is looking back at the lathe area. Just to the left of this photo is the workbench you were just looking at in the last photo. 
You may notice that I have two grinders set up here. The lower one is set up with course stones that I use for shaping and making a lot of my own turning tools, something I've really started to enjoy doing. The higher one is finer grits that I use for sharpening turning tools. 
I recently, after a long and patient hunt, acquired my dream saw. This is a twenty inch RBI Hawk. If you've seen my scroll work, all that I've done on a small Delta, something that is really what some would consider a "beginner" saw. It always done the work I needed it to, but I have long dreamed of a good quality saw. It was a good deal though and a testament of what you can find on Craiglist if you're patient. New, this is a twelve hundred dollar saw. We found this one for a hundred and seventy five dollars.
When I seen this saw on Craiglist, I was in a fit. This is the third one I have seen on there in as many years. Every time I see one for a good deal though, I just don't have the money. I decided when I seen this one to bite the bullet and get it. After getting it home though and fretting over how I was going to cover the cost, my daughter and son in law came to me explaining that they had no idea what to get me for Father's Day and wanted to cover the cost of it. 
This whole area here I have rearranged to create a more open area than before. I decided I did not like going all the way around the back of the work bench to get to the lathes. Now when I want to get right to the lathe I can come in the front door and go right to it.
Then in front of my work area is the usual collection of completed projects that collect so much dust. 


I hope you enjoyed seeing my shop in its current state, because you never know, I may change it up again before you see too much of it.
If any of my readers and wood working friends are ever in my area, contact me and come visit my shop. I always enjoy shop visitors.  


This is just a quick drive by on this post.
Recently a good wood working buddy named Candy gave me some of the ugliest wood you've ever seen. As some of you know, I love ugly wood though. The ugliest wood usually yields the prettiest pieces.
This is different views of the same piece.
This is persimmon. You may can tell that is has a lot of what looks to me like beetle or termite tracks. It created though a very interesting maze of crack, holes and voids. 
This is only a small piece. I have a couple of larger pieces she gave me to do some bowls with later. I only had a little time today to mess with it and wanted to see how it would turn out. It is only about two and three quarters inches in diameter and about four inches tall.
It is finished with boiled linseed oil. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dog Days Of Summer

I have been absent from posting for some time. I wound up getting a virus on my computer. Through a lot of research and frustration, I finally got rid of the virus, I think. It apparently though fried parts of certain programs on the computer. I have been unable to post photos online. 
Anyway, to make this long story shorter, I now have a computer again and hope to be posting more regularly for a long time to come.

Now that I've explained all that, I still haven't been able to get as much done lately as I'd like. I tackled a project larger than I normally do. On top of that, I don't seem to be handling the heat of these dog days of summer very well.
And yes, the title ties directly into the project.
 It is not the first time I've been asked to do a dog cage of some type. It is however the first time I've said yes. What started as a simple project though turned into something much larger and time consuming than I originally thought. 
Everything but the top is made of cotton wood and stained with Minwax gloss pecan polyshades.
The top is made of pecan.
It is actually built in two sections to make it easier to move. The top section separates from the bottom. 
The bottom has two doors that opens up to two seperate dog cages.
When put together, the whole thing is bar stool height.
The top part also has a large drawer in it to store such things as leashes, extra collars, or whatever else the man who this was built for desires.
The top is router carved with a bulldog emblem and the man's business name. 
The carving is about a quarter inch deep and then the recesses were painted black. Afterwards, the whole thing was finished with Minwax polyurethane.
The man plans on putting a large pieces of glass on top of this so he can serve guests on it. The idea behind this project was something he could put his dogs in when he has a cookout and still use the space above the dog cage to serve friends on.
I'm including an extra photo of the bulldog emblem because I've had a lot of friends already ask about it.
I do not know where the emblem came from. The man who I built it for provided the photo. I only enlarged it and went to work on the wood with it.


Before I go, I did wish to show one more project I recently done.
The desk furthest away in this photo was brought to me. A man bought it at a flea market. When he got it home though, his two daughters both liked it. This left him in need of another. So he brought it to me to see if I could build him a replica. I gave it my best shot.
Here is another view of the one I built.
I wish I had more to show you at the moment. 
In between all this, I have also been doing a lot of shop improvements and rearranging as of late. If I don't do anything else soon, I know I'll soon be ready to show you all a new shop update. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Work Bench

The lowly work bench.
To a lot of people, including myself I must admit, we don't think much about our work bench. We toil away on whatever surface we can convince ourselves is flat and stable enough to work on.
At one time I had a worse work bench than the one above, an old door on two saw horses.
Then one day I was going down the road and seen an old kitchen table someone had thrown out. So I picked it up from the curb and carried it back to the shop, fixed a leg on it, and had a nicer work bench. As time went on I banged it up so bad that the top was terrible. So I screwed some plywood on top. As that plywood got banged up, I added another layer.
Somewhere along the way I threw together shelving under all that plywood. Then I added the pipe clamp vice on one end. It is a nice work bench. It did it's job. Let's face it though. It really is just an old kitchen table that I've built up around.
Please do not misunderstand it. This is a fine work bench. I am not at all making fun of it. It has served it's purpose well. I've always liked it because I can abuse it day in and day out, cut on it, finish on it, write measurements on it, and if it gets bad, add more plywood. This bench will probably be in my shop for years to come. It is my go to surface finishing. You may notice on the top where I have gotten stain all over the top.
Yes I am getting to a point.
For a couple of years now I have been thinking that maybe, just maybe, I'd like to have myself a proper, nicely built, solid work bench.
I've seen other's work benches. I've drooled over a few in various wood working magazines. It came to my mind a while back that the whole time I've been admiring all these benches, I was also making mental notes of what I might want in my own work bench, just in case I ever decided to take the time to build one.
Well, that day has come.
A couple of the obvious things I wanted in my bench were for it to be solid, and I wanted to use up wood that wasn't good for much else, just so I could say I did not waste expenses on it.
So I have had a pile of broken cotton wood planks in my shop for what seems like forever. I made it out of that. I ripped those broken planks into widths, working around cracks and bad imperfections, to get all the usable wood I could out of it. Then for the solid pieces I used Titebond III glue and screws to assure that it all held together good. Actually, I used way more screws than needed because I want it to hold together long after I'm gone from this world. I figure one of my kids will one day have a nice bench, or they can all get together and have one helluva wiener roast with it.
I wanted a wide bench. I wound up making it thirty inches wide and five feet long. I've looked at wide benches and like the split top design. This allows one to use clamps in the middle of the bench if you need to for clamping down items.
For each slab I glued up cotton wood to make them twelve inches wide, five feet long, and five inches thick.
On one end of the slabs I mounted a vice. In that vice I attached a block with double holes in it. This allows clamping straight in the vice, or placing dogs in the holes to make use of the corresponding double row of dog holes that run the length of the table for clamping long materials.
On the side of the other slab is another vice for clamping small items.
Both of these vices did not add to the cost of the bench. The one on the end was given to me by a friend who upgraded to a larger vice. The one on the side if a Record vice that my Dad brought to me from Georgia where he picked it up at a yard sale.
For sturdiness of the base, I set out to make it as beefy as the top.
The feet and the stretchers for the split top are five inches tall and four and a half inches thick. The legs are five inches wide and three inches thick. All of this was built in layers, with two of the three leg layers passing all the way through the feet and stretchers, and everything glued and screwed together.
Between the foot and leg assemblies I wanted to put drawers for storage. So instead of a simple stretch, I rabbited, glued and screwed two horizontal board and one vertical board up the middle. This created space for drawers on each side.
Then both slabs for the split top were rabbited a quarter inch to match the base. Then they were glued down and held firmly in place with seven inch long lag bolts.
At that point, I stopped and stained everything done so far with Minwax dark walnut stain and saturated it all with boiled linseed oil.
The drawers on each side are made of cottonwood and ride on three quarter inch runners that are glued and screwed to the inside of the base assembly. I used box, or finger joints as some people call them, to assembly the drawers.
I left the drawers light colored to contrast the bench, then added dark handles to contrast the drawers. I was actually torn on how I wanted to finish these until I got it all done. Then I stood back and looked at it and couldn't have been more happy with the result. So I went ahead and finished the drawers with boiled linseed oil.
You may have noticed that one side has four drawers while the other side has six.
This is because on the side with the dog holes I wanted two deep drawers for hand planes.
I have started making dividers for the drawers to hold different tools I want to store in them. None of this is glued or attached in any kind of way because I may change these layouts several times before I am happy with them.
So here it is again. I am extremely happy with it. I have pushed myself to the limit working hard on it. I think I have a bench that will, short of some natural disaster, out live me though.