Friday, March 27, 2015

My Boy Friday

Building your own tool chest is considered a badge of honor among most woodworkers. I get the attraction. They're clever, they're attractive and functional and a terrific way to see what tools you have on hand, rather than rooting through a drawer to find something. 

One of my favorite's is this chest, built by Chris Becksvoort. It's simple and clean, and well organized.

Or this one: 

If you've been hanging out at my shop lately, you may have spied this tool chest in the back room, 

being built by Denny, my Boy Friday. 

Boy Friday 

A 'go to' boy; a man who will help you get things taken care of; a man you can rely on when you are in need of extra assistance; a man who acts as a 'jack of all trades' and is capable of doing almost anything; a man you can count on when you are overwhelmed with your own chores and the duties must be done; a man who does most of the leg work on a project, but never takes (or gets) credit.

For example:  When you need extra help -- I'm your Boy Friday.


He was inspired by seeing this book - 

and this cabinet by Greg Radley. 

Sometimes a piece will do that to you - motivate you to create your own interpretation of it. So he hopped to it, building the top cabinet to house his favorite tools. His chisels and various hand tools will eventually hang inside the doors, but for now - he's working on the base. 

Here's a nice little detail - a hand pull routed into the bottom of each door, so that he didn't have to use hardware.

The grain on these drawers match all the way across the faces - and the drawers are dovetailed, 

as is the whole cabinet. 

He even included some cool details, like wedged tenons on his shelves.

And these cubbies were designed to hold his routers and sanders - a nice solution to an ever present storage issue. I can't wait to see what he comes up with for the base - there are a lot of options.  

There is some amazing work coming out of the shop these days....  Lupe's chairs

Beth's dining room benches and chairs,

  Ann's lathe work...

  Even the tamboured jewelry boxes we're making in the Box class ...

 everyone is inspired and doing amazing work. 

It's a very Happy (and busy!) Spring in the shop!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Who is excited about woodworking?

Classes start next week and let me just say - there's an excitement in the air! I've been hearing from a lot of the new students - they're psyched to get into the woodshop and start making sawdust!

Not quite this excited, but close....

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Private Label Project

It's true - I get some of the coolest requests  - and I love the opportunity to design one of a kind pieces. They're challenging and (sometimes) frustrating all at the same time. Maybe it's more about keeping me on my (building) toes than anything else. 

I just like the challenge. 

So when I was asked to build a box for this box,  

I knew I had to come up with something interesting. The fellow who requested it said his parents drink wine in a box, and that he'd like to make it look less ...( what's the word I want?) ... less like this parents were drinking wine from a box. He envisioned some sort of a cask or "crate" to hold the wine. 

Since I'd just finished building this small prototype for another customer, 

I showed it to him, and suggested we tweak it to work for the wine box.  Of course, we had to so some research, so he brought a box of wine for me to drink play around with. 

Taking the bladder out was easy, but working with it was like trying to work with a waterbed - hard to handle!

The bladder had a spigot on it, and I needed to figure out a way to fit the spigot through the hole. 

The easiest solution was to split the hole, and slid the front door around it. 

I love simple solutions!

Really, this was a fun way to spend an afternoon, and the best news - I got to take the box of wine home, after doing my research!

I didn't get a photo of the final piece, but I trimmed the front piece to length and added a small handle on top of it, to make it easier to pull up.  Ta da!

We left it unfinished, but discussed getting some artwork lasered onto the side of the box - the ideas are endless!

Wait - there are more....


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Group efforts!

Check out this massive project - thanks for the link, Lupe!

Monday, March 09, 2015

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Spring has sprung

 According to my educated guess, today is our last cold day of the year. 

Well, "cold" is a relative term - it's going to be 64˚ here today, and for us, that's a bit chilly. But after tomorrow... it's smooth sailing until we're begging for a break from the heat in August. 

Remember back in early February, when I blogged about starting our garden club? Here are some of the seedlings that are sprouting up at my house... 


spaghetti squash,


In fact, I've been getting photos of everyone else's plants - like Lupe's tomatoes,  

and Mel's tomatos. I have a feeling we're going to be crushed by an abundance of tomato plants this summer! 

In a couple of weeks, we'll get together and trade our plants - what a cool way to start a garden for just a few dollars! 

Meanwhile, I have a bit of a teaching break right now - I'm in-between classes and spending a little time trying to get my yard in shape. These nectarine blossoms are gorgeous right now, but in a week when they fall off, the ground will be covered with pink petals, which Stella loves to eat. 

She sure loves to get skanky while she plays! 

Hope Spring is on the way in your neighborhood!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

That Versatile Vinegar!

Do you remember being a kid and doing various "science" experiments in school?

Like the ever popular volcano-with-baking-soda-and-vinegar debacle, or the "tie a chicken bone in a knot" experiment?

(Both were favorites of mine, BTW.) Mine came out better than this one below. 

I'm doing a little experiment that I haven't thought about in ages! One of my students reminded me of it when she posted these projects that she made. (Thanks for the reminder, Ann Marie!) 

Great work, by the way!  She made her own stain, which is absolutely gorgeous!

In college, a interior design professor of mine had my class do all sorts of experiments in wood finishing - we used everything from staining wood with coffee grounds to using toothpaste for repairing small sections of broken wood molding. 

One of the coolest experiments was soaking steel wool in vinegar..again... that versatile vinegar!

I took a piece of steel wool and soaked in vinegar - hopefully in a day or so, this'll be the perfect "grunge" stain that I need for some shelving that I'm building for a customer. The grungier, the better she said... so ...I'm thinking this will do the trick. 

I'll post a photo in a few days of what this stain looks like on wood - I hope it looks as good as Ann Marie's!