Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Getting ready to build a kitchen? You MUST read this book...

 It’s been a long time since I wrote a book report - you remember those, back in grade school, right?

I’m reading an incredibly smart book on kitchen design right now, and I thought I’d write about it, for anyone in need of kitchen help. 

But first, let’s talk about kitchen design books in the last 35 years or so. (Yes, I’m that old. )

When I built my first kitchen in 1985 or so, this book was my guide. 

Back then, cabinets were mostly traditional face-frame cabinets, and this book -

Building Your Own Kitchen Cabinets  by Jere Cary

 was instrumental in helping me along.  I did a few remodeling jobs here and there,  working on a lot of older homes, but in '88, I built a home and jumped on the frameless cabinet bandwagon. 

Paul Levine’s book - Making Kitchen Cabinets - was the perfect blueprint for me. 

In fact, it was so helpful, I bought the video that accompanied his book. It was the perfect one-two punch for making contemporary cabinets. His plan was detailed, right down to suggesting the exact cup hinge to use, or drawer slides he recommended. I build my own handsome kitchen using Paul’s book, and never looked back. 

As I started getting busier, kitchens didn’t interest me as much. They require a lot of time, with some very heavy lifting and the need for a helper. I prefer to work mostly alone, so I started working on bathroom cabinetry - smaller versions of kitchens, in my mind. They still demand some stellar design skills, and again - Paul Levine’s book was brilliantly helpful.

These days - I prefer building free standing furniture. My days of going to client’s homes and measuring walls and floors are over. A few nightmare encounters convinced me to give up making visits to anyone’s home, and... well... furniture is my first love, anyway. 

But lately, I’ve been considering building a home, and luckily - Nancy Hiller’s book recently arrived in my mailbox.  

It’s one of the smartest kitchen design books I’ve ever read. 

Kitchen Think by Nancy Hiller is... simply terrific, especially if you're a maker of built-in cabinetry.

First off - I love woodworking books with great photography. (I feel the same way about cook books, too, BTW.) This book is loaded with page after page of kitchens that Nancy has built - giving the reader SO much inspiration. These details are instrumental in showing her thought process, and...well, what a wonderful process that is!

Even better - Nancy details her design, cutting and assembly process for building cabinet boxes, and let me say - there was one detail about her cabinet building that knocked my socks off. For anyone who doesn't build kitchens, this detail wouldn't amount to much, but to me - the way she constructs her cabinet boxes is brilliant. 

And the way in which she describes scale and proportions of stiles and rails is so common-sensical, that I've never quite heard it described so well. 

Can you tell I'm a fan?

It's been a long time since I've dreaded getting to the end of a book, and though I'm almost done with Nancy's - I'll be thinking about it for a long time. She's been fighting some health battles lately, and I certainly wish her the best... I want more from this gifted writer / builder.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The VP's desk is almost cooler than the Resolute desk!

A few months ago, I wrote about the Resolute desk in the Oval Office. This beast of a desk was build from timbers that came from the Resolute, a ship that was sent to the Arctic Ocean to search for missing explorer Sir John Franklin.  

Imagine my surprise when I saw this recent headline: 

Navy Seabees Build VP Kamala Harris a Desk Out of Wood from USS Constitution

Check out this video!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Another hardware challenge solved....

There are so many new pieces of hardware on the market, it's always a challenge to build a piece using something I've never tried before.  I'm not sure if the real enjoyment is finding the perfect solution....

or if the real reward is installing it and making something cool. 

Either way, a few weeks ago, someone called me about building a low tea table. He'd asked about a small table that could be used to display photos or cards, with legs that fold up under it, so that the table could be hung on the wall as a piece of art, when not in use.

Also - he wanted to experiment with pouring epoxy resin, so he requested that the top be made of MDF, with a lip around it, so that he could pour resin on the top. 

Challenge accepted!

They allow the legs to fold down flat, but also lock into place when the table is in use. 

Another plus? They're handsome, matching the walnut that I used for this build.  

Those brackets allow the legs to tuck below the surface. I can envision this piece being hung on one of the corners, so that it is diamond shaped, rather than square.  It'll be interesting to see what he decides. 

I can't wait to see what the top looks like after he  pours it - stay tuned.... I made him promise to send some pictures of it!