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Walnut Side Table Top Update

April 25, 2022 Leave a comment

As several of you pointed out the last post concerning the crack in the side table top was unclear and incomplete. I must have accidentally sent it out over the weekend before I finished writing. Here’s the full story….

The underside was chamfered to lighten the appearance of the top. While I was using the router clamps were used to hold it in place. Unfortunately I did not ensure that the top was fully supported and after completing the routing and putting the router away the top cracked. It is a clean break over most of the length with a jagged edge on one end. I do not have pictures of my poor clamping method which consisted of a couple of boards underneath to allow the router to travel around the outside without touching the table top. I certainly should have used a better method.

Categories: Uncategorized

Walnut Coffee Table Top Refinish

April 10, 2022 Leave a comment

The finish was Shellac, covered with water based poly. Used many times without a problem, however this time it looked like there was cracking and scratches across the top.

My best quests is there must be something that interacted with the polyurethane so It all needs to return to bare wood and start again. Not what I wished to do but I need to correct the finish.

Categories: Uncategorized

Walnut Side Table – Legs

March 29, 2022 3 comments

As I looked for designs and possible dimensions for the table I came across an article and really liked the design and the challenge of using a Bridal Joint. I also like the original design used a few years ago with the exposed through mortises. I have used the exposed joints on a couple of projects from Paul Sellers, Coffee Table and Arts and Craft Side table. Use the links if you want to go to those project pages. I think that the table should use both joints. It also will allow me to try a couple of things that I have not done previously.

The article that I saw the bridal joint was actually a video series #193 Sept/Oct 2007. I also looked at other sources.

I spent some time making sure that the grain worked for the project and then squared everything up. I found the card shaper handy with the tear out that I’ve been experiencing. Anyone used one of the high angle frogs in heavy tear out?

The mortiser again made quick work and only a little clean up was needed with a chisel. Next the bridle joints which I did with hand saws and my band saw. I measured very carefully and it paid off, only minor plane work on the tenon to get it all together.

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Tidy Shop

March 19, 2022 Leave a comment

The sound was normal, the swish of the plane communicating its sharpness and performance, air blowing through the vent with a sigh of warmth, a hammer’s tap as someone builds a garden shed. Turning around, looking for the source of my discomfort, it hit me like a sudden scent of danger….my shop is a mess!

There are three projects in different stages of production, boxes that have not been put away from a move a year and a half ago, drawers left open from hastily grabbed tools and a great need to sweep the floor, oh and a full dust collector and trash can.

I did not see it coming but my mind sounded the alarm through a sense of discomfort that something needed to be done and it need doing now. A couple of hours later the bench and table saw were clear and the floor swept but there was more that needed doing.

Categories: Uncategorized

Walnut Coffee Table, Chamfer and Finish

March 13, 2022 Leave a comment

Finishing is certainly not my strong point and not my favorite part of a project, however it’s the final step to seeing it all complete. I have been struggling with chip out on the edges of the table top and finally decided to chamfer them to remove the damage and prevent any more from occurring. Not sure if this is a Walnut normalcy, but I have not had this problem with other lumber.

The finish for the table is shellac, polyurethane and wax. Simple, and allows the wood to speak for itself.

The final step is attaching the tabletop to the base. Fortunately when I was cutting the side rails I remembered to cut slots for the

Lumber Yards

December 25, 2021 Leave a comment

Glancing at the sign I attempted to determine what lay inside. Perhaps the typeface would provide a clue as to the quality of service? Instead I could only see the words Dakota Hardwoods nothing more nothing less, pulling into a parking space I glanced around for the entrance and spotted a smaller sign with the word office and an arrow pointing to a glass door. No bars on the door first impressions….

There are many blogs and articles about purchasing lumber and it’s interesting seeing how different companies and countries provide the service. Relocation to a new town or state always brings me a little trepidation, will they let me sort through the lumber, will they have the thickness I desire, will I have to deal with the grumpy know it all clerk?

Since I began making furniture this will be the 5th state that I’ve sought a new vendor and the last couple of moves the internet makes finding options easier. Here in the San Antonio area I asked the local woodworkers guild for recommendations and wow what mixed results! I’m sure that is the most common question asked on the guild site (perhaps someone who knows how could add a link that gives the options) and I also recognize that everyone is looking for a different set of services. in my case I wanted to sort through my own lumber and in particular wanted 5/4 material. After some calls and a couple of false starts I ended up at Dakota Hardwoods. It was a good experience; however they certainly use a system that I’ve not seen before.

There are the lumberyards that let you sort through stacks of lumber, there some that make you take what is there, lumber may be vertical some horizontal and at the best places someone stands over your shoulder. At Dakota, I checked in at the office they wrote out roughly what I was seeking, 5/5 Walnut and Cherry and 8/4 for the legs. Backing my truck up to the loading dock I handed my request to the forklift operator. He then drove off appearing with a stack of lumber that I picked through and loaded into my truck, he then noted the sizes and drove off to get the next size. Again I sorted through the stack, he noted my choices and went off to find the next stack. Very different from what I had done before but if was efficient and the selection was good.

30 minutes later I had lumber selected, loaded and paid for and was on my way back to the shop.

Categories: Uncategorized

Box Making – Installing a shelf

September 1, 2021 Leave a comment

The box design has a shelf approximately 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. The shelf is installed with blind rabbets so all of the work must be done prior to glue up. There are many ways to make rabbits and after some thought I decided to use my router plane and a chisel to provide a stop for the blind end of the rabbet.

The shelf is wider than the boards that I have on hand so I did a quick glue up and planed it down to 1/2 inch. It’s been some time since I used the router plane and it is definitely one of the most useful specialty planes that I own. This one happens to be a Veritas since I had a very difficult time finding a used plane when I first began using hand tools. Needless to say I have been very happy with it. Since the rabbit was in a couple of inches from the edge I cut across the board with my marking knife and then used an edge guide. You can see a corner of the guide at the bottom of the plane in the photograph above.

It only took a few minutes to cut each rabbit and square up the blind end with a chisel.

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Box Making – Bottom

August 25, 2021 Leave a comment

The sides of the box completed, I begin to look at the bottom design. the previous boxes that I completed had a bottom glued to it, simple and looked great but since this box will actually be turned on its side, it needed something different. Insetting the bottom into a groove will make the best use of space and provide a great look.

There are several ways to inset the bottom, I used my plough plane and set it to make a groove just inside the edge.

A couple of the rabbits ended in a dovetail so I had to use a chisel and router plane for these rabbits.

The actual bottom also was trimmed around the edges to fit but I did not get a photograph. on to the next step.

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Woodworking and Gardening

August 15, 2021 Leave a comment

We all have multiple hobbies and quite often there are subtle links that tell a story of our personalities. Clearly in my case there is a very reasonable link between woodworking and white water kayaking. We all have those two base hobbies. Another likely hobby that we share is gardening. Since moving to Texas a couple of years ago we bounced between aprtments and renal homes until finally moving into a home of our own. While in those other properties I never had the chance to get a garden growing. This year I managed to get some basic vegetables. Unfortunately the tomato plants have struggled and not been overly productive. I attribute this to a lack of nutients and will be proceeding to a local farm to pick up some manure. In the mean time one of the easiest ways to improve soil is to add compost and since we all love woodworking and grass cutting we have some of the basic ingredients. Add some of the boxes and waste paper from our many incoming tools and we have the makings of some fine soil.

I placed a layer of grass clippings, followed by a layer of wood chips, then some scrap paper and a few shovelfulls of dirt. Next a little water and repeat for several layers.

After it is built I will turn it every coupe of days and occasionally add moisture. Hopefully I will turn these two waste products into more productive soil.

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Humidity in the shop

July 17, 2021 Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago I noticed on my weatherstation that the humidty outside was 97%, definately on the high side of comfortable and certainly high enough to begin having an effect on everyday life. I am very fortunate to have a shop that is climate controlled and living in TX it gives me the ability to woodwork comfortably year round. Most of my shop furniture however was built much further North often in cold dry winters. I’m see the impact of the lower humidity and have made several adjustments.

My tool cabinet which has hung on the wall for many years needed extensive changes to the doors to enable them to close. Seems like I just did work on it but a couple weeks of high humidity and the plane had to come out and make some changes. Next it was of to the drawers on my small tool chest. I had not been able to close the lower drawer for a couple of weeks so I planed the top of the drawer and got it closed.

The last piece was the movable portion of the tail vise. Although I could use it it was very tight and I actually had to drive it out with a rubber hammer. a few swipes of the plane and all is good.

Categories: Uncategorized