Friday, April 29, 2011

Project Wish List

I have a long list of things I want to build. Some I don't have enough experience to build, others I don't have the tools to build. I know that sounds like excuses but for now I have to work with the skills I am comfortable with and the tools I have.

There are a few projects that I am wanting/going to build that will be gifts, so those can't be discussed. But here are some things I would like to eventually make.

  • pie safe

  • Morris chair

  • a large book case/display cabinet

  • a dinning table and chairs

  • a large outside dinning table and chairs

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wood Working on TV

I believe the gold standard for woodworking TV shows is "The New Yankee Workshop." I watched that show from childhood until a few years ago when the shop stopped. Norm made it all look so easy and the show has always inspired me to do woodworking. Some PBS channels may still show reruns, but our local one does not.

There are few shows that are trying to fill the gap such as "The Wood Smith Shop" and "Rough Cut." "The Wood Smith Shop" is pretty good but is more like a cooking show where they show you a few steps on one piece then pull out a piece that is more complete, just like how they can put something in the oven on a cooking show and then pull one out and try it all in the same take. "Rough Cut" to me seems to be more about showing the final project and less on how to get there.

You Tube has some very good wood workers on it. Charles Neil builds beautiful furniture and has very good free instructional videos on you tube. He also has a site that you can pay for other videos and offers classes. Marc aka The Wood Whisperer has a good You Tube channel and a very informative site. Another good one is Wood Working For Mere Mortals. Which can also be found on you tube.

Wood Working For Mere Mortals is where I learned how to make a bandsaw box. Charles Neil has a series going on right now on building pie safes which is very informative and is teaching a lot more wood working technique than just showing how to build the pie safe but how to build anything. These are just a few of the things that inspire me and make me want to become a better wood worker.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Spring was a bad time to start this blog. I will do my best to do some wood working and write about it, but spring time is very busy for me.

The grass is growing like crazy, it is about time to start working in the garden, and like most home owners I have a to-do list of things on the house that seems to grow daily.

We had a severe storm come through on Tuesday so that meant I got to do some gas powered wood working. Over the winter our large sycamore tree lost a large limb, while cutting up other storm debris I cut some rough boards from sycamore. I am not sure how the boards will turn out, I cut them with the chainsaw and placed them in the wood shed to dry. It will probably be next year before they are usable.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bandsaw Box

I was inspired by a few videos on you tube to try and do a few things with the bandsaw. One of them is to do some small scale saw milling from firewood pieces and trees from our property. The other was making a bandsaw box.

One problem, I don't have a bandsaw. However my dad got some of my grandfather's tool when grandpa passed away. So I have brought grandpa's bandsaw to my shop and have been putting it back to use.

I have some walnut that the power company cleared at our old house that I had been saving because I wanted to mill some boards from it. And I saw some nice looking pieces of apple wood while I was splitting fire wood (apple is a very good wood to smoke with.)

So after I did some cleaning and tuning on the bandsaw it was time to try and cut some planks. I cut one of the smaller piece of walnut at around 1" (4/4 for the wood workers reading this) and then just made a squared up blank of the apple wood. I set the walnut aside and then used a hand plane to smooth up the apple blank. Now I had a apple blank that was roughly 2" thick and 8" long and 3" wide. I knew I wanted to make a bandsaw box but had to stew about what shape to make it and where to go from there. I ended up making a oval shaped box. I will do a how to write up next time I make a bandsaw box. I applied several coats of boiled linseed oil to the box before putting 4 coats of spray on poly on it. For my first attempt at a box I am happy with how it turned out.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shoe Storage Cabinet

I think most people have a mess of shoes in the entry way that is used by the family, I know my family had a mountain of shoes in our mudroom. I follow Ana White's Blog which was previously know as Knock Off Wood . Back around January she posted a shoe dresser. We thought it would be great in the mudroom since it didn't take up a large foot print.

The project was built from pine 1x material and was assembled using the Kreg jig pocket screw system. Building this was a good learning experience and I like to think of this one as a prototype since I found somethings I would do differently next time.

Here is how it looked after assembly. It needed finish sanding and hardware at this point. And here it is installed after 2 coats of Valspar Kitchen and Bath enamel

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Shop Furniture

My 3 year old daughter likes to come out the shop and "work." She has her own tool bag that has smaller hammers and a few screwdrivers in it, along with her safety goggles. She needed a work surface that was her height. So one day I built her a kid sized work bench.A few weeks later we built her a chair so she can sit at her work bench and draw or snack. I am going to let her paint these items once it warms up more outside. Then once she out grows them little brother can use them. Both these projects were built from scrap and material I had on hand.

A little back story

As a kid and even still I watch wood working shows on TV with dreams of being able to build my own furniture instead of buying it. Norm Abrams on The New Yankee Workshop always made it look so easy. My passion to build furniture is still fueled by some of the magazines I read that are full of large bookcases, and entertainment centers that would look great in our house. We would rather have furniture made from real wood, and not particle board with plastic veneer.

Previously most of wood working experience has been using construction grade materials to build outdoor furniture. I have done some carving but not much beyond tiki pole looking faces, and I have attempt some other small projects that failed.

Back in the fall of 2009 there was a book case in The Family Handyman magazine that my wife and I like and she wanted me to build. For Christmas that year she got a Kreg Jig Jr with the plan being me building the bookcase. Well the idea of building a bookcase from $400 worth of material scared me away figuring I would mess up and have $400 worth of scraps.

Since then I have been trying to find good projects to practice on. I've built some simple projects in the shop for my 3 year old daughter to use, and recently finished a shoe cabinet (more to come in a future post).

I have most basic hand power tools and am working at adding other tools needed for this hobby. I got myself a miter saw during the black Friday sale at Lowes, and have some of my grandfather's wood working tools that I can use. I recently started working on tuning up Grandpa's band saw. I am looking forward to learning more and trying my hand at making some more traditional joining methods (mortise and tendons, and hand cut dove tails).

So that's a little history of my wood working experience and where I want to go.