Sunday, March 2, 2014


After cutting the top more than 3 months ago, the carcase was assembled last weekend and the facade was planed flush at all its joints today.

Now for the drawers and door. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

An old friend

I have owned this slab of walnut for eight years. It stands at 4/4 x 20" x 8' and at the end of last summer I bit the bullet, cut the board into three lengths for a sideboard, and shipped it West.

There is enough lumber in the slab for a top, a door panel, and three drawer fronts. The rest of the sideboard will be white oak, my favorite wood to pair with walnut. Their colors merge over time. 

This is the closest rendering I have of the final design. The only difference will a slight overhang and a small crown molding between the top and the case.

After making a pact with a woodworking friend that we would build no more gifts, favors or barter items until we had each built something for private use that we were truly proud of, flattening began.

I always begin by flattening the convex side. The board rocks less.

After getting one side flat, I flipped the board and marked the thickness gage to the thinnest corner of the board.

At this point I noticed I still had a quarter inch of material along the one edge.  This would be enough to leave a spill guard on the back edge. A router would be out of the question on such an uneven surface, so I used my 1/2" hollow plane, and the groove was done in a minute.

The remaining stock was quickly removed and work began to establish the bowed curve on the front.

I won't have time to touch it for three weeks, but the next step will be joinery and assembly of the base with drawer and door dividers. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Going heavy

So this project began with a large slab of granite my friend, Mike, salvaged from a tear down. The granite already had a mildly elliptical shape, so it seemed natural to reflect these curves in the base. 

 The redwood fence posts we salvaged for the base were a dream to work with. Very dry and very straight grained. A little trick I learned on this project: if you score your layout lines very deep ...
 The tenons will split along the score lines. 

I obviously didn't try to split the long faces of the tenon, but splitting worked out great on the short face.
After soaping (timber-frame trick) and dry assembling the base, I cut the curve with a backsaw, large chisel and drawknife. I missed my bandsaw that day.
I opted for straight cuts on the rails. The slight radius in the original design just didn't seem worth the effort, and I stand behind that decision. 

 Things moved forward pretty rapidly from there. The end assemblies were draw bored and pegged with white oak and the long aprons were attached via threaded rod. One note on draw boring: make your pins twice as long as they need to be. A long, gradual taper makes the assembly so much smoother. No broken pins, no splitting.
Once the base was carried over to Mike's it only took the 4 of us to place the granite on top.

Friday, September 6, 2013

New sewing technique

This shortcut worked pretty well: 10oz. Canvas rolled 3x and "sewn" with hot glue.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

First successful report of a Roubo-style veneer saw

I have been considering building one of these for ages, but this is the first time I've heard a positive story associated with one.

Image and design are from Ryan Mails blog. He only made a few posts, but I hope he resumes blogging.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back saw repair

I picked this saw up on and there was a slight wave to the blade. Matt Cianci diagnosed from a photo that the saw back merely needed removal and reinstallation. There is an excellent video from Logan Cabinet Shoppe on the process of removing and reinstalling a saw back.

Reinstallation is funny. After reinstalling the blade in the back and seeing it straight, it warped terribly (albeit temporarily) from the saw nuts going in under tension. It's a finicky process, but one getting down, if only for the treasure trove of used saws it makes accessible to you and few others.

TV console

Installed the knife hinges today on the TV console.

I was concerned that we had made the sides appear too thick with the three-inch mitered returns. Three inch returns ensured a lot more structural integrity against racking, but seemed massive next to glass doors with thin frames.

Once the doors were installed, however, I was really happy with the look. I think I'll do smaller returns next time, but for this project the proportions don't seem too heavy.

Also had some fun prepping stock for another workbench.