Kids Stool Finished

I was back in the shop this weekend cleaning up the stool for my daughter and teaching her how to use some of the equipment. Here she is giving it a test run.

Sized perfectly

Sized perfectly


Here’s what it looked like pre four year old. Not bad.

I was ready to put on a few coats of shellac, but she had a better idea.

“Daddy, let’s paint it pink.”

“Ummm, I don’t have any pink paint. We do have leftover purple paint from your bedroom.”

“PURPLE!!! Yeay!!! Do you have a little kids paint brush”?



Instead of watching Frozen for the 100th time, she asked to put a second coat on last night. Then during breakfast this morning she asked if we could check and see if the paint was dry. She rarely thinks of anything other than food, Ana, or Elsa. Smitten would be an understatement.

Testing out the paint job

Testing out the paint job

I try not be be precious about my stuff. If I was, I wouldn’t have taught my daughter how to use a paint brush for the first time. She wouldn’t tell other people about the purple stool she made with her dad. And I’d be lame…

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Stand Up!

Last month I saw a post from Bill Schenher at Billy’s Little Bench about getting kids in the shop. His daughter is a year or two older than my oldest. I was intrigued by the stool she was standing on so he put out a special post about the stool. Thanks Bill!

I showed my daughter the post and she asked if we could make one. Off to the scrap pile…


Oak and ash from the scrap pile

Using some scrap oak I was able to come up with enough material to make a nice little bench. It’s mostly a hand tool build with some Follansbee-esque techniques for cutting the mortises and rabbets. I was working in straight-grained oak after all.

Here are some shots of my progress so far.

The best part is that my daughter was so excited that she came down and helped me put some of the pieces together. You’ll note the costume change because she came down two days in a row. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Really.

I still need to clean things up, put some finish on it, and take some glamour shots.

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Lumber Supplier: Is the Search Finally Over?

I found a little gem of a place not too far from my in-laws place. It’s called Homestead Hardwoods. It’s just south of Sandusky, OH. It’s only 45 minutes from my house and 15 minutes from the in-laws. Very doable.


This seems like the kind of place Chris Schwarz would dig since it has a Mid-West Woodworking vibe. It’s real laid back with quite reasonable prices. I think they cater to the wooden boat building crowd found around the island area of north-central Ohio. They have lots of wide teak and mahogany. I’ve never used either of these species but I might have to after seeing some of the boards available.

Check out this piece of 8′ x 24″ walnut for a ridiculously cheap price of $188; there is a matching piece tucked under the bottom shelf. Nuts. I should’ve bought them both but restrained since I don’t have a project requiring this board.

8' x 24" piece of choice walnut

8′ x 24″ piece of choice walnut

Here is a photo gallery from my trip a few weeks ago. If you ever need someone to tag along for a trip please let me know. I’m in.

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Design Decisions on the Dresser

Before going into the design decisions, let me catch you up on the dresser:

1. I attached the back. It was more eventful than it should’ve been but it’s done.

It was supposed to look prettier but that's a longer story

It was supposed to look prettier but that’s a longer story

2. I took the plunge and cut up the boards for the drawer fronts. Three perfectly selected boards with four strategic cuts. I hope I don’t screw anything up from here on out…




Point of no return

3. I glued up two pieces of pretty choice cherry for the top. Things are still rough but this was a great way to pass the time while I waited for the 8″ jointer to go in at the NCCW shop.


Top Glue Up



Straight on shot of the dresser with the top dry fit.

Now on with the dilemma. One of the key things I’ve learned in my non-career as a designer is the staleness of 3/4″ material. This is especially true for featured components like a table tops, panels, and legs. If you study historical pieces you’ll find very little 3/4″ material. Many tops were 7/8″ minimum and in the case of the dresser I’m mostly concerned about the top.

Askew shot due to the assembly table being in the way

Askew shot due to the assembly table’s location

When I went to source my top pieces from Keim Lumber, I was pretty much stuck with what they had available. This is one of the problems with being in a lumber desert like I am right now. They had some nice wide cherry but nothing was thick or in the rough. I actually don’t think it looks terrible but I want to beef up the look. What do you think? Maybe some of my woodworking and non-woodworking readers could chime in with advise.

Another shot

Another side shot

And Another

Another frontal from the iPhone

I asked my wife since she has a great design sense and always keeps me straight. The first thing she doesn’t like is the left/right overhang. She doesn’t mind the look itself but she’s concerned our girls, the intended recipients, will run into the overhang. Point taken, and I agree.

I mentioned how much I liked Marilyn’s top on her TV lift on her site and this was my original intent when I designed the top. I don’t think this approach will work with the top I currently have.

I’m looking for your help.

As I see it there are several ways I can go:

1. Trim the overhang to an inch or so and use breadboard ends with thicker pieces of cherry (or a contrasting wood). This might help give some visual weight.

2. Scab on some “matching” cherry to the perimeter of the top and go with a bevel. Hmmm, probably won’t look good.

3. Scab on some poplar to build up the top and apply a simple moulding to cover said poplar. I like this idea but I don’t think the moulding will go with the construction of the case. Specifically, I’m thinking of the way the legs meet the top.

I’m leaning toward choice #1 but the breadboard ends might need to overhang just as much as the current top to look right. That won’t make it past the planning committee. Can you help a brotha out? Please let me know in the comments below.

Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about this just yet since the next step is to test out the new 8″ jointer while milling up the drawer parts. This will help me immensely since all the pieces are larger than the capacity of my jointer. I really didn’t want to mill up the drawer parts for seven drawers by hand. Thank you Sharing Economy.

More to come hopefully since I’m on the road and have time to think and put my thoughts into electrons.

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More Cutting Boards

The summer of cutting boards continues. This time I made another nine boards for the North Coast Community Woodshop. Here is a link to my personal Facebook page where I’m selling the boards. This is an experiment to see if people are interested in purchasing them via the NCCW Paypal account. We’ve sold two so far.


If you’re interested, please let me know via Facebook or the blog. The Live Edge boards are $45 and the others are $35. Shipping charges will be assessed as well. We’re trying to keep things simple…

The next post will be about stuff in my shop. I think.

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For the Guitar Heros

I finally got in a little shop time over the past few days. I have made progress on the dresser but this is another post outside of that realm.

I was asked a few months ago to play guitar at my friend’s wedding. I’d never done this before, but was honored and said sure. What does this have to do with woodworking? I’m getting there. I had to restring my guitar for the occasion so I had to find a local place to buy strings. It’s amazing how many new places you have to find when you relocate. He’s another one if you’re a guitarist.

I walked into the store and saw this as inspiration:


Dead simple guitar tech setup. Duh!

I knew I had a scrap wood project on my hands when I got home. So, using leftover pieces from a guitar hanging bracket and scrap maple, I came up with the setup below. In the pictures I’m fixing up another friend’s guitar.

I wish I’d thought of this ages ago.

Next up is some progress on the dresser.

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Cutting Boards

photo 2

Various cutting boards with their first coat of oil

I know, I know, it’s been an eternity.

When I started this blog I knew there might be times when life interfered with writing. As Billy Pilgrim taught me years ago, so it goes. Most of the delay has been caused by scant shop time dedicated to anything other than keeping the lights on at the Northcoast Community W

photo 1My contributions included making many cutting boards and volunteering time to man the booth at a few shows. We have more to come and hopefully we’ll get some membership and students to attend classes. I took on more responsibility and I’m trying to setup a larger social media presence for the group. If you’re a regular reader (yes, both of you), I’ll probably reach out. Be on the look out.

The shows were successful and we made some money. The membership still isn’t great but we’ll keep plugging along.

The next series of pictures show a few cheese boards I started over Christmas along with three I created from a scrap board I found at the shop. They are more artistic and showcase where I hope to take my furniture. The pieces started as rough boards, were broken down with hand saws, and finished up with spokeshaves and sandpaper.


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