Sunday, November 27, 2022

 This is a little embarrassing, but I've been working on this cabinet for (maybe?) five years.  I remember what inspired it - I'd purchased a small stained glass panel from my friend Gayle, and thought it would look great in a cabinet door.

So I built the door. 

It had some tricky things going on - mostly that the grain of the wood wasn't oriented in a traditional direction. 

Assembling wood grains perpendicular to each another is often a recipe for disaster, so I built the door and let it rest. 

And rest.

And rest even longer.

Five years of resting... 

 It wasn't like I was sitting around, waiting for it to crack. Life got in the way, and it was put on a shelf. I'd look at it every so often. One thing I've learned - wood does what it wants to do, regardless of what we want it to do!

And finally - three things happened. 

One - I decided it had rested long enough, and it was stable. It was ready to have a cabinet built around it.  

Two -  I was tired of having it dangle around in my brain - and worrying that it would be damaged. 

And three -  I decided that this tall narrow cabinet was perfect for holding the Martin backpacker guitar that I'd purchased. So I built a cabinet for it. 

I'd long since used Gayle's glass panel in something else, so that wasn't an option. But I love little spy holes in doors, and the small "window" in the door was perfect for spying on the cabinet's contents. 

I struggled with the hanger - I'd purchased one, and didn't really like it. So I looked at different hangers when the light went off in my brain. 


Make one. 

It is perfect. 

A simple French cleat on the back simplifies hanging it. And...


A new cabinet for the house!


Saturday, November 19, 2022

Made with love, with tools that I love

Woodworking is a curious hobby - it starts out with passion and excitement, and as you learn more about it, it morphs into something different. 

I’m in that “something different” stage, where the process is slower and more deliberate, with fewer tools, but much better skills.

With the sale of the school a few months ago, all of my equipment and a lifetime collection of accumulations were gone. Do you even realize how much you've amassed until it is gone? Probably not.  

But if you take a look around your shop, you’ll find all sorts of tools and jigs and “must haves” that clutter up your drawers, along with some invaluable things thrown in there, too. 

I’ve pared down my arsenal, and let me say - it’s liberating! After working in my shop for the last few months, I realized that there were a few MUST HAVE tools that I needed to re-acquire - including this scraper, made by Kunz. 

I've used one of these for 30+ years, and it's indispensable for cleaning up your boards. 

When properly set up, it will save you hours of sanding... scrape your boards to eliminate chatter or planer marks, and hop right into sanding with 180 or 220 paper. Sweet. 

This time around - I’m building pieces I really want to build, as opposed to ones I HAVE to build. It’s liberating to have those choices, rather than let finances dictate what I have to build.  

These two boxes hold cremains, and my client and I designed a double urn to hold them. That's always a little emotional, and I'll be honest - a few tears were shed.  But it's an honor to build urns, and I take that very seriously.  

My client brought in a beautiful statue that she wanted to add to the piece. I couldn't find the origin of the statue, but it was lovely - with four children peeking out from her shawl.  

I was completely paranoid about breaking this statue while building this, BTW. 

After long conversations, we decided upon two separate boxes to hold the ashes, with the statue pointed toward the boxes, but mounted off to the side of them.  

Assembling this was a little tricky - it had to be stained and lacquered, and then put together in order, so that no screws were visible.  We also decided that the statue needed to be raised up a bit, so I made a platform for her to sit upon. 

Mohawk stains and lacquers are my secret weapon on pieces like these. Eventually, there will be two engraved brass plates on the front of each box, with the pertinent info about who is inside.  

I forgot to ask my client if it was OK to use her photo, so to be safe....

Suffice it to say - this piece will outlive all of us.  

My next couple of builds have me excited... stay tuned!