Thursday, June 25, 2020

My new chair repair record...

Even though the state of Nevada is slowly coming back to life, I think that some people are still cooped up in their homes, and working on projects around the house. Yesterday was a record for me, four people brought chairs to the shop for me to repair.

I used to dread these repairs, but honestly, after you've done a few, they're quite easy.  

This one had a broken side stretcher, 

and it was a little tricky because of its odd size.  It was basically a dowel, but an weird size - 7/8" in diameter. Of course, I had smaller ones at the shop. And bigger ones. But not that exact size. 

I didn't feel like pulling out the lathe and turning a new one. So the next best thing was to make a quick one - by cutting a strip of wood 7/8" square, 

and then running over the corners with a router bit. 

I used a bit that wasn't exactly the right size, but in a pinch, I made it work. I rounded the corners over, and them shaped the ends to fit into the holes on the chair, where the broken piece fits. 

Of course, they used a pocket hole on the stretcher (anyone who know me will know how I feel about those!) so I had to drill one on each end. A little sanding and the new stretcher was ready for finishing. 

There's nothing like using Mohawk spray Toners to match a finish.  I tested these - one was too golden, and the other was too red. 

But the perfect match was this... 

Dark Walnut. Perfect. 

I love it when the right color pops out immediately, instead of having to blend colors together. I taped off the ends, so they would remain clean for gluing, 

and made a small "rotisserie" out of cardboard, for spraying the part. 

Honestly, this piece was a super quick fix - from old to new in 45 minutes. You could barely tell the broken part from the new one. Another happy customer in the books!  

Other small repairs are piling up - a bunk bed ladder to re-size, a few new drawers to make, and a rocking chair repair. As much as these small jobs can be tedious, they actually make me a much better woodworker, teaching me about matching finishes, re-engineering poorly designed pieces, and more. 

One thing is for sure - people want these repairs done quickly and for a fair price. 

What's your latest home project?  Working on anything fun?

Thursday, June 18, 2020


This pandemic has been a blessing and a curse, but one things is for sure - people have been taking care of small projects around their homes. Not a day goes by when I don't get a call about a repair,  a new project,  or someone interested in taking a class. 

Honestly - most business owners I know tell me they're busier than ever. Sure, things are different.


But most have adapted with curb-side pickups, online sales, distance learning, Zoom meetings, etc. It's working.

One of the constants in my life is people calling for repairs. I get calls about everything from broken furniture, to refinishing, to building new projects, but one of the most popular calls is for drawer and door repair. 

Property managers constantly have apartments or homes that have damaged components, and well.... who wants to rent a place that has missing kitchen drawers? Or broken doors?

This door came to me with a panel that had a giant hole in it. (Of course I forgot to take a picture of it before I removed the panel.)  Suffice it to say that this repair was pretty stressful!  The tenant was threatened with having to pay for all new doors in the kitchen, because of this one broken door. 

 I made two plunge cuts on the tablesaw, cutting away the two strips of wood that held the panel in place. 

Luckily, I had parts of the old panel that I could use as a template for the new panel. 

And one of my neighbors in my warehouse complex had a piece of plywood that I could use, thus avoiding having to buy a whole 4x8 sheet. 

But I knew the challenge would be matching the finish.. that's ALWAYS the biggest problem! 
I pulled out my trusty Mohawk catalog, 

and tried to find a close match. I ended up going to my local Mohawk store,

 and the clerk tested a few different shades until we found the closest match. It's not perfect; one was too white, another to yellow... but we finally found one that would work. 

I ended up with a shade in the middle - maybe not a perfect match, but as we say.... close enough!

 Putting the panel back in was a bit of a challenge. I had to coax it in place gently - so I grabbed my "small" mallet. 

One whack later and it slipped into the slots. All that was left was two small strips of trim on the back of the door, to keep the panel in place. Repairs like this are more tedious than difficult. 

Taking a trip to the Mohawk store was probably the most time consuming part, honestly.  I feel like there's so much stress going on in people's lives that taking on small jobs like these are the least I can do to help out a bit. It's not much, but it sure saved my customer a ton of money in the long run. 


(That's - Thank God for Mohawk!)