" Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. "
- Abraham Lincoln
incoln's quote exemplifies how I work. I use the best tools and I Keep Everything Sharp. It's a wise investment in time and makes woodworking safe and fun. The smell of freshly cut pine mixed with the smell of well oiled machinery brings back memories of working with my Dad and my Uncle Dan. They were a great inspiration to me and instilled in me the philosophy that, "Anything is possible if you only apply yourself.". Their hands still guide mine whenever I work.
My Woodworking Rules
Plan the Procedure - Proceed as Planned
Measure Twice - Cut Once
Cut → Clamp → Drill → Fasten → UnClamp
Safety First, Last, and Always
My First Box-Joint
y first Box-Joint
. Wow! I always wanted to make one of these. It took some doing to get the spacing perfect, but it was worth the effort. The hinge is bamboo and the box is red oak. I used a table router of my own fabrication to cut the grooves, with a custom jig to progress the wood and fine-tune the spacing.
A Wooden Pantograph
his is my first Wooden Pantograph
. The entire thing is mounted on a sheet of ¾ inch thick plywood by hinges on the block at the left. This allows the pantograph and the attached router to pivot up and off of the workpiece. It is designed for a 50% reduction from the template. It works great. The stylus can be fitted with anything that matches the cutting bit in the router.
ne of the first pieces I made was the Chinese symbol for 'Serenity', jìng. I printed out the symbol and traced carefully over it with the stylus. I have since made several letter signs and designs. It's really fun to use.
Custom Desk Box
Custom Red Oak and Poplar Box. I really had fun with this one. I took my time and used some really nice wood. I finished it with several applications of 'Danish Oil' natural finish. Danish Oil seals the wood nicely and brings out the natural colors, plus it's very easy to use. I'm very pleased with how it turned out. The handle is glued & doweled into place with bamboo made from a BBQ skewer. Bamboo is exceptionally hard and durable.
Black Truss Diamonds
o you know what these 'Black Diamonds
' are? Check out your own tape measure the next time you use it. They are called 'Black Diamond Truss Marks
' and they are used for dividing an 8 foot length into 5 equal pieces
(every 19.2 inches). They are used in Optimum Value Engineering (OVE) projects for building cheaper housing. They can also be used in building roof trusses that are lighter yet practically as strong as those with 6 spaces per 8 foot length.
16" marks - Standard spacing for studs, 6 spaces/ 8 feet
19.2" marks - Truss Spacing, 5 spaces / 8 feet
24" marks - Widest spacing for studs, 4 spaces/ 8 feet
like using Shaker Pegs
whenever I can. They have a unique and fuctional design that I find very appealing. They were designed by the Shakers
, a small religious sect that branched out from the Quakers in the 18th
century. Among their beliefs is a striving for perfection, simplicity, and a minimalistic life style. They believe that, "Making something well is in itself an act of prayer"
ll Shaker Furniture
has a distinctive unadorned style and every Shaker home uses hundreds of Shaker Pegs
that run along a Peg Rail which borders every room in their homes. The Pegs are set even with the Lintel Board
at the top of the door, and hold everything from hats & coats to cooking pots & chairs (very handy when sweeping the floor) and even shelving and cupboards. While I am NOT a Shaker
by any stretch of the imagination, I do like their fabrication philosophy and I enjoy using these ascetically pleasing Pegs.
View Shaker Pegs in Room
View Chairs on Shaker Pegs
Art Deco Coin Display
ere is a Coin Display using Art Deco Style Curves
I made for one of my Peace Dollars. The Peace Dollars were the Silver Dollar in use during the Roaring Twenties at the height of the Art Deco Style. I wanted to make a nice presentation display that would match the times to the coin. The Red Oak Coin Frame rotates on bamboo pins to display the coin's reverse. This was all about design. It's made from Red Oak & Poplar on a Pine base.
have recently finished building a Jewelry Armoire
for my wife. It was a fairly ambitious project but I enjoyed it and did my best. I spent a few extra days fabricating some special Brass Door Pulls
and a Solid Brass Faceplate
so that it would have an 'Asian' feel to it. Below is the completed faceplate. It was a LOT of work but I'm quite pleased with the results. The faceplate and all the hardware are Solid Brass
. The faceplate is secured with an antique style Chinese Brass Lock
am now using Pocket Holes
to assemble furniture. My first use for them was the Armoire above. They seem to be quite strong. They're fast and easy to drill, and so much more convenient than using dowels which require gluing. Also they can be used to repair or add pieces after the frame is built. I have a simple clamp-on jig to drill the holes and I use a step drill that drills both the pilot hole & the counterbore simultaneously.
for hinge screws have always been a great challenge for me. It seems the drill always interferes with the grain and forces the hole off-center. Ugh!
I recently acquired these 'Hinge Drills
' which have absolutely Revolutionized
my approach to installing hinges. They're easy and accurate. Clamp the hinge in place and just drill the pilot holes. The sleeve on the drill mates with the countersink in the hinge and the drill extends out under spring pressure.
Result → Perfectly Centered Pilot Holes
. So so nice. 😊
his is a wooden Movie Equipment Tripod I made for my son. The Tripod rotates freely 360° on a steel ball bearing Lazy Susan. Custom filming equipment can be attached to the top mounting block which is secured with two 5⁄16-18 bolts. It provides a very strong and stable platform for his devices.
sually sand bags or other weights are added to the tripod base to increase its stability.
Close Up of Ball Bearing Lazy Susan
Sofa TV Tray
ere is a Sofa Tray
I built to hold my cup of Tea and TV remotes while I relax after a day of Wood Working, Stereo Photography, or Travel.
I added some Solid Brass Straps
of simple design, mainly because I just like Brass
. 😊 They are held in place with Solid Brass Nails
. The wood is Red Oak, Alder, & Poplar in a clear finish. Overall dimensions are 6 x 16 inches.
n a personal whim I built a Foot Stool for my front porch chair. Somehow I just never got around to building one before. Of course, I could buy one, but where's the fun in that? This one is solid Pine with 2x2 legs. It's finished in clear Urethane. It is really strong and measures 11¼ x 16 x 15 high. It is #2 Pine and I used only the clear grain sections between the knots. There are NO external fasteners showing which makes for pure clean lines and focuses more on the natural beauty of the wood grain itself.
View of the Interior Bottom
Showing Pocket-Hole Construction
The Classic Tray
his Classic Tray, I built for my sweet wife. We give each other gifts whenever the mood strikes. Our generousity and Love is NOT bound by any 'Holiday'. The tray is very light - weighing only 1.1 pounds, and consturcted from Red Oak with a Maple-ply base. The ends and sides are so precisely cut that it needs NO fasteners and makes for an exceptionally strong finished unit. Also it gives no clue as to its fabrication.
t's perfect for serving guests or as a lap tray when relaxing by the TV. The finish is a clear, hard Urethane. The overall size is 9 x 18 inches.
Side & End Panel Precision Grooves
The Gluing Operation - 3 Clamps
My First Dovetail Joint
ell it was just a matter of time, I suppose, but I had to try my hand at Dovetail Joints
. After a lot of research online about technique and dovetail angle, I jumped in. I used a dovetail angle of 14° but I really think anything between 12° and 15° is just fine - whatever looks pleasing. Less than 12° and to me it looks just too straight. Much more important is the distance between the Tails. The Tails & Pins
need to be structurally sound.
used a carbide cutter and my router table to cut the Tails. Next time I will remove some of the material with a band saw first, so as to reduce the pressure on the router bit. Next, I cut the Pins by hand using traditional methods, with a hand saw, a knife, and a file. It took some time but I was very careful. After all was said and done I am proud of my efforts.
his Art Deco Style box is made of Red Oak, and the lid is Alder & Red Oak. NO Fasteners of ANY kind
were used. 😎
Custom Sanding Block
fter the Dovetail ordeal, I decided to fix up my shop a bit - to treat myself. First on the list was to replace the old rubber sanding block I had been using with a nice professional looking block made out of Red Oak. The old rubber block left black marks on my projects from its sides - UNACCEPTABLE
. Here is my design. It is 2½ x 5 inches, and feels good in my hand.
made four indentical blocks, each one dedicated to holding just one grit size, 100, 150, 220, & 320.
SANDING TIP → When sanding, I use a new 99¢ toothbrush to clean the surface of the sandpaper. This improves the sanding operation and greatly extends the life of the grit on the sandpaper. BTW, I use only professional grade sandpaper. It is well worth the small increase in price.
Bamboo iPhone Holder
ere's a little project I also made for myself. I cut two 3½ x 8 inch bamboo boards from a thin (5/16 inch thick) cutting board. I made 15° cuts half way through the material and just wide enough to allow the halves to lightly press fit together. It's finished with several coats of Urethane and looks nice on my desk.
Wood Chisel Holder
ext on the list was to make a holder for my set of wood chisels. Wood chisels are EXTREMELY SHARP and they need to rest completely seperate from each other yet still be handy. This design is simple and effective. The ledge on top protects the edges from damage and also protects me from accidentally brushing the cutting edges.
used Forstner Bits
to drill all the holes. They are awesome drill bits, with razor sharp cutting edges. They drill perfectly round holes quickly and cleanly and they have the great advantage of drilling flat bottom holes and can even expand smaller holes and drill off-center with ease. So cool to use. →