Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dining Table - Finished

As you can see the Dining Table is finished.  As always it took more time than estimated, but it turned out alright.  The top was dyed with General Finishes Antique Cherry and the maple legs were left natural.   The finish I used was my go-to General Finish’s Arm-a-Seal.   I used about 3 coats of gloss followed by two coats of satin. 

While this was simple build, it did have some challenges due to the size of the parts.  The most challenging operation was the bevels on the underside of the top.   The top is a little over a 1” thick, and rather than just using a chafer bit to bevel the underside I wanted something a bit more graceful.  To that end, the bevels are about 2 ½” wide leaving an apparent edge thickness of ¾”.  The hard part was handling the top on edge at the table saw.   I wouldn’t recommend the operation, but with a tall auxiliary fence and a couple of feather-boards it wasn’t quite as difficult as I expected.  I then used my smoothing plane to clean the bevels up.

Before I began my next major project, the corner china cabinet, I am going to go ahead complete my Christmas gifts I have planned for this year, as well as, three picture frames my wife wants completed.  BTW – the gifts I have planned are some nice boxes to hold tea-bags.  I’m using the design Robert Lang built in the last Popular Woodworking Magazine.  I plan on making 5 of them.  Let’s see if I can get them all done before Christmas.

Thanks for Stopping by,


Friday, July 6, 2012

Famous Last Words (and Dining Table)

Well, since my last post I have change jobs, bought two new cars, and my wife was away visiting her family for a month.  So needless to say shop time was non-existent.  But now that I’m getting settled into my new job and my wife has returned, I was able to get back into the shop.  So far I have completed the base of the dining table and glued-up the top.

While there is nothing earth shattering in the construction I’ll go through a couple of details.  The maple legs were tapered on the table saw using the Rockler Tapering Jig, which works fairly well.  I ended up making the tapper on the legs a little thicker than the SketchUp model.  No reason except it just seemed to look better.  Then aprons were joined to the legs using Festool dominos (two 8 X 50 dominos for each joint).  The mortises on the legs were placed a little lower than on the aprons to allow for a ¼” reveal.

The Top was glued up from 4 boards of cherry.  I again used 8 X 50 dominos per joint for alignment purposes only.  The overall dimension of the top will be 30” X 42” which should comfortable seat 4 and fit perfectly in our breakfast nook.  Next I will be dimensioning the top and cutting a 3” wide edge bevel on the bottom. 

At this point my plans are to stain the top after I pre-treat it with Charles Neil’s Pre-Color Conditioner to prevent blotching.  Of course, I will be making up some sample boards to dial in my finishing strategy and formula.

Thanks, for stopping by,


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Corner China Cabinet Design (and Dining Table)

Well, the Greene & Greene inspired Corner China Cabinet has morphed into two projects; a new Dining Table for our Breakfast Nook and the China Cabinet.  I believe I will start on the Dining Table first.  We just need something simple, so it should go fast (famous last words).  All of my kitchen cabinets near the Breakfast Nook are all maple and I would like to introduce some darker woods into the area.  So I have decided to make the table top out of cherry and the legs and aprons out of maple in a simple shaker style.  Below are the SketchUp models I have come up with so far.  Any and all comments are welcome.  


As for the G&G Corner China Cabinet, I still have a few issues to work out.  I may, or may not, need some embellishments on the side posts that become the feet.  And I’m still working out what type of hinges I want to use for the door.  For my G&G Jewelry Cabinet (see blog archive) I used SOSS hinges.  While I liked the incognito appearance and functionality, I found them quite fussy to install.  Call me a blasphemer, but I would really like to use some soft-close blum euro hinges for this.  I believe they would support the heavy door and could be adjusted down the road for any sagging.  But I don’t believe they make any models that would work with the design I have so far.  Please let me know if you have a solution or better idea.

I hope to get started soon and will post with updates.  Last weekend I purchased most of the wood I’ll need for both projects.  It has had almost a week to acclimate to my shop environment, so I will probably start milling the boards for the dining table this weekend.

Thanks for stopping by,


Monday, March 19, 2012

Thoughts on my Next Project – Corner China Cabinet

After much deliberation with the finance and requisition committees, it was decided that my next project will be a Corner China Cabinet.  This will be the first project I will have an opportunity to blog about during the design and build.  For now, I have been searching and looking at various types and designs of China Cabinets for inspiration (or to find the perfect piece to rip-off).  Of course my go-to meme is Greene & Greene, but I may look at something a little more contemporary this time.  But before I can address the overall design, there are some preliminary issues I need to resolve first.

·         One door or two?
·         Do we need storage in the bottom of the cabinet?
·         How much extra support do I need for glass paneled doors?
·         What is the best way to add lighting?

I plan on starting with some SketchUp work this week to help narrow the options…so stay tuned

Thanks for dropping by,


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Get Woodworking Week – Pocket Holes?

This post is geared toward those that are thinking about taking a dip into this wonderful hobby/craft we call Woodworking.  The brainchild of Tom Iovino of Tom’s Workbench, bloggers around the Woodworking community will be posting articles geared toward the beginning Woodworker.  So, if you have been perusing the forums, blogs, woodworking websites, and the occasional PBS woodworking TV show, the techniques, tools and required competence must seem overwhelming.  Rest assured anyone considering this hobby has been in your shoes. 

So, where do you start?  My first and strongest recommendation is to start with Popular Woodworking magazine’s “I Can Do That” articles.  They are free and very informative for the beginner.  Each project can be completed over a weekend with a basic set of tools.  Start out by reading their free Online Manual that will go over the basic tool-kit and techniques. They have quite a variety of projects to build, from the traditional to the contemporary.  Not only will these projects build your confidence and skills, but will also please that certain someone on the finance committee. 

Speaking of the finance committee, what is the one starter tool I would say you can’t live with out?  Easy – the pocket-hole jig.  In my opinion, the one area that frustrates most beginners is joinery; the “simple” task of fastening one board to another.  The pocket-hole joint allows you to join two boards together, simply, quickly, and strongly.  Don’t be intimated by naysayers who say the pocket-hole joinery is not “fine woodworking”.  You can build many “fine” projects with pocket-holes joinery.  Once you have mastered a few projects, your confidence will grow and will start to try other more complicate joints.  But trusty pocket-hole jig will always be useful tool in any shop.  While, I rarely use the pocket-hole joint any more in my furniture projects, I use them all the time in my shop furniture and shop made jigs.  The miter saw stand, out-feed/assembly table, and the tool stand pictured below were all made using pocket-hole joinery. 

The biggest drawback to pocket-holes is that they are visible from one side.  Yes, they make plugs to fill the pocket-holes, but to be honest don’t waste your money on those.  They will never truly conceal the pocket hole.  What you need to do, is plan ahead and make sure the visible side of joint is hidden or concealed from view, like on the underside or back of a piece. 

So what pocket-hole jig should I buy?  I have one of the ever popular Kreg jigs and have been quite satisfied with it.  One of the best things about the Kreg Jigs is that they and their accessories (screws, clamps, etc.) are available at most, if not all, Lowes stores.  So, if you run out of the specialty screws you only have to go as far as your local Lowes to pick up some more.  Although I have not used one, the Porter-Cable Pocket-Hole Jig also looks to be quite good.  The two things I would strongly recommend is buying a surface vise-grip like clamp and a right-angle clamp.  With those in your arsenal, you can handle just about any situation. 

I hope this post has given you some food for thought from my perspective.  Be sure to check out Popular Woodworking magazine’s “I Can Do That” articles.  And please feel free to give me your feedback.

Thanks for stopping by,


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

G&G Frames and WIA 2012

Okay it has been awhile…work, the holidays, my Wife’s’ birthday, our anniversary, and my Mom’s birthday have taken their toll on my free time.  To that end, I wanted to share some of my gift projects for this season.  They are both derivations on a theme; Greene & Greene frames that is.  The first are two picture frames for some prints we bought on trip to Ireland last year (Dyami was kind enough to reference it one the projects he recently completed for his Dad).  The other one is my Christmas gift to friends and family.  I used the same basic design (ref. Popular Woodworking #187 and “The Woodwhisperer’s” holiday calendar frame project) to build four G&G calendar frames.  All of these frames are from African mahogany with ebony plug accents.  All the joinery was done using Festool Dominos.  This used up my last stash of African mahogany.  And from now on I’m using real stuff.  Despite any snide comments from Shannon or any hand-tool enthusiast, African mahogany’s best friend is a drum sander.

On anther note, it has come to everyone’s attention that WIA 2012 will be held in two locations this year, Pasadena, CA and its old stomping grounds in Covington, KY.  I agree with most everyone in the blogging community that this may split the community.  Anyone who has been to a WIA or two knows the best part is reuniting with old friends and meeting new ones.  Sure the classes are great and the Marketplace is superb, but the best times are getting together talking shop, life and beer (not necessarily in that order).  So yeah, I want to go to the one where the cool kids are; but I fear that the east-coasters and west-coasters will spilt and that trolley will only be half-full next year.  Please visit modernwoodworkersassociation.com to add your two cents.

Thanks for stopping by,