Sunday, March 31, 2013

An amazing antique desk

Check out this desk - it is incredible.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Time for a new Cote

With the arrival of Spring, most people are finding some rust on top of their tablesaws. Here's an easy way to fight it - although instead of using paste wax to polish the top, 

I like to use TopCote. Well, it used to be called TopCote. The new name is GlideCote. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My least favorite woodworking task...

It's time to work on this tall cabinet - I need to hang the drawers and attach the drawer fronts. Hanging the drawers isn't difficult - I usually attach the slide member to the drawer on the lower edge of the drawer box. 

I generally use scrap pieces of plywood as spacers for attaching the slides to the cabinet. It's easiest to work from the bottom up, so that you can rest the spacer on the slide below. 

Here - three of the four drawers are hung. The drawer faces are next, and every woodworker I've ever met had their own method for attaching these fronts.  Believe it or not, it's one of my least favorite tasks in the shop. 

I need a little sustenance and a whole lot of shims. In this case, I pull out a chain full of laminate samples. And some Girl Scout cookies.

But first - I have to drill some mounting holes in each drawer box. I drill the holes, and countersink them from the inside, so the screw sits flush.

Here I've shimmed the bottom drawer face into place, checking the margins all around. Once everything is aligned, 

Add a couple of clamps  

and screw the box to the drawer face from behind.

The plastic laminate samples are a hair under 1/16 on an inch, so two of them stacked together gives me nice spacing. 

For all of my complaining - this actually went pretty smoothly, which isn't usually the case! 

The bottom two faces are in place, but when I measured the opening above those two, I found it to be ever so slightly out of square. The best thing remedy for this was to hand the top drawer face, and compensate on the second one down from the top. 

Here the top one is in place, now I need to fit the last one into place. 

I marked where the next face needed to be - first on the left side, 

then the right side. 

This last face needed to be tapered just a bit - about 1/16 on an inch taller on the right side. So - I set the jointer to make a verrrryyy small cut, and machined a slight taper into this drawer face. Once it was cut to the proper size, with the perfect margins all around, I attached it the same was as all the others - by first removing the top drawer and clamping the face against the drawer box. 

You'd be surprised how much there is left to do - I need to rout and sand these drawer faces, and then start carving them. Meanwhile, I need to figure out what sort of knob or pull I'm going to use on them. Decisions! Decisions!

All in all, hanging these drawer faces went on rather easily. It's funny - I went into the shop not looking forward to this chore, but in the end - it was a breeze. I wish every day in the shop went this way!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Resource Furniture

This furniture is amazing. 

I can barely wrap my head around some of these pieces, like the Murphy beds that come out of the wall - with perfect balance. Crazy engineering!

Check out the green desk at the 3:15 minute mark. I totally want one of those in my office at work! Imagine how well those would work in college dorm rooms.

Not to sound corny, but when I see pieces like this - it makes me want to up-my-game in terms of dual functionality. I love the dual purpose of all these pieces.

Add to it - a lifetime warranty - I'm sold. 

Except for the upholstered couches and two Thomas Moser stools - I built every piece of furniture in my home. But - I would totally make an exception and be willing to share my home with one or two of these pieces. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Take your Meclizine for this one....


Meclizine is used to prevent or treat nausea, vomiting and dizziness caused by motion sickness. 

Or off-center turning.

I actually got a little queasy watching this. What this lathe chuck accomplishes is pretty interesting, but I just don't think my stomach could take it. 


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Extreme Woodworking! Or...guys with planes

One of the big things I've noticed recently is that guys just love their hand tools. Maybe there's something Freudian to that; I don't know. 

There's a common "discussion" going around the shop of hand tools vs. power tools, but I suppose it boils down to something more basic - time.  Yes, time. If you have it, you tend to use hand tools, which admittedly gives you better surfaces. There's no doubt that a hand planed surface is much nicer than a surface achieved by a power planer, and then sanded smooth. 

Still - we're talking about time.  And time-is-money. Especially for a professional furniture maker. Most clients don't want to pay for the romantic feel of a hand planed table top. 

My buddy John E. sent me a link to this video, which shows some of the most amazing wood planing ever. Great video! - but again, I feel like - only a guy would get that turned on by this. 

Maybe someone ought to come up with a woodworking reality show - Extreme Woodworking!

Monday, March 11, 2013

More celebrity woodworking...

Do you watch Portlandia?

I've only been to Portland once, but I love the diversity and culture. It's like Austin, only with rain and colder temps. But - at least they're doing some cool woodworking there!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Tying up some loose ends around the shop...

Did you ever wonder about the origin of the phrase - the cobbler's children have no shoes?

Origin unknown; however the essence of this phrase is used to describe the phenomenon where certain 'professionals' in any given area are so busy with work for their clients and their teams that they neglect using their professional skills to help themselves or those closest to them. For example - the painter & decorator who never decorates his own house, the web designer that hasn't finished their website, or the accountant who is late in submitting his own tax return!
That's what's happening in my life - I've been without dining room chairs for two years, and this bookcase/dresser has been sitting in my shop for three months. 
It's enough to make me scream!

I've been thinking about carving the drawer fronts for this piece, and since there's a Carving Class running for the next four weeks, I thought it might be a good time to finish this one up.

I'm planning on four drawers in the lower area - but before I start anything, I want to make the drawer fronts. 

The digital protractor proves that everything is square. Gotta love right angles!


I chose a couple of beautiful straight grained boards for the drawer fronts - carving oak is going to be tricky enough. 

I don't want to encounter any knots or difficult areas to carve. 

Here they're rough cut to size, carefully chosen for attractive grain management. 

As I started trimming them to final size, I propped them into place. 

The top two pieces were slightly warped, so I flattened them on the jointer, and then planed all four drawer fronts to a uniform thickness. 

Hopefully, I'll be carving these drawer fronts later this week. It's just a start; I still have to choose the design to carve, and that is a much more difficult decision!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Woodworking with The Beavers

"The best beaver experience of my life..."