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.

Posted in Shop Stuff | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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.


Posted in Kitchen Accessories, NCCW | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tips On Template Routing

I’ve been taking a quick break from the dresser to prepare for a few local festivals my woodworking club is doing. If you’re local and read this, please come see us at the Duck Tape Festival or the BAYarts Art & Music Festival (although this one isn’t confirmed). I’m working on some cutting boards from templates recently available at Woodcraft. I blogged about it here on the NCCW blog.


Grain Switch!


Tipping the router

While doing some of the template routing I thought I’d post a few things to help out my fellow woodworker. The router to me is a necessary evil but I find I screw things up more than I make things beautiful with them. Case in point, take a look at the two pictures on the right. The first shows where the grain switched directions on me and I heard the heart-sinking CRACK! sound while routing.

The second one shows what happens when you get a little tipsy with the router. It’s soooo easy to tip the router while you’re trying to move around clamps, dust collection hoses, cords, and poor lighting. In a perfect world things would be different. In my world, I just put my hybrid skillz to work. In both cases, I knew a few swipes with the hand plane could fix everything. The only difference is with the grain switch I had to break out the glue and blue tape and wait for things to dry.

Here’s how it went down:

The second problem was really a drill press problem, which turned into a router problem. I’ll save 1000 words or saw and tell you the story pictorially.

So after buying two templates, damaging one, making three more templates, damaging one, repairing both damaged templates, and then make three actual boards, here’s what I have to show for it. It sounds worse than it worse. All told, it’s really one about 20 minutes of extra work for the repairs.


I’m probably going to make some more and keep clearing out the scrap bin. It’s pretty fun and hopefully we’ll make some money for the club.

Posted in NCCW | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking Out My Backdoor

This gallery contains 11 photos.

Since I’ve been on the road lately, I thought I’d post some pictures of a trip I made last year when I headed home to Western New York to visit my mom. Growing up, I passed thru East Aurora, NY … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Little Bit of Moxy

I finished up work on the Moxon vise. This is my first experience with stuff from Benchcrafted. It lived up to the hype. The project was easy and I happened to have some leftover 10/4ish cherry about the right size.

The only downside to this great experience is now my wallet is itching to purchase their new Classic Leg Vise  and Criss Cross hardware as a retrofit to my current bench. I also want to cut a Lamb’s Tongue detail into the front but alas, I’m not really sure how to do it and I need to get started on the drawers.

Now I have to fight time in the yard to make some drawers. Wish me luck. Oh, and if anyone has a good reference for making a Lamb’s Tongue, please pass it along in the comments section.

Posted in Shop Stuff | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Not Dead Yet

I’m channeling my inner Follansbee and decided to post on several topics at once, which sums up the past few weeks in the shop.

Notes. Grandpa's Saw. Pile of maple.

Cut list notes. Grandpa’s saw. Pile of maple.

Once I got the dresser glued up, I needed to regroup and figure out my next step. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever make it this far so I only had a vague idea of what I might do after the glue up. I know there are really only three more things to do: build the drawers, build the top, and attach the back. Having never done this before I’m still not sure what the correct order is, so I decided to just start cutting stuff and see where I end up.

Nice uniform piles of parts

Nice uniform piles of drawer parts

I bought the wood for this project years ago and it’s been buried in the bottom of my lumber pile since the first part of the decade. While digging up the wood for the drawers I had to move other pieces to get to it. This turned into an exercise in culling the herd. To say it was cathartic is an understatement

I started by putting my thinking cap on and turning a bunch of “brown” maple into a series of organized roughly sawn drawer parts with just my hand saw. I still haven’t figured out what I want to do with the drawer fronts. I have a bunch of cherry waiting to be cut up but I need to think about the wood/grain selection a little more.

Yankee thrift at it's best

Old sheet goods cart (and go “Cuse)

You may have noticed in the various photos, the carcase sits a bit high on my makeshift assembly table. In fact, I had to stand on my saw bench in order to put the top web frame on the dresser. This was annoying. Fortunately, the following three things happened:

1. I’ve always wanted to build Bob Lang’s Shop Box System

2. I wanted to use some leftover CDX plywood, which used to be a sheet goods cart and had tons of weird angles.

3. I played a lot of Tetris on the original 8-bit Nintendo

All of these things culminated into a fun little power tool project, which allowed me to deplete the scrap wood pile and get the dresser into a better position for building the drawers.

The final project uses up some glued up 10/4 cherry, which I milled down to 8/4. I’ll tease out what it’s going to be with the following pics (just to add some unnecessary drama to the post). I’m sure you’ll figure it out. As I type this, the not-so-mystery project is virtually done but I haven’t had a chance to take good pictures.

I hope this post was somewhat helpful. I know it was for me. I can’t tell you how excited I am to reduce the lumber pile inventory – it speaks to both my OCD and my lumber obsession. I have a bunch of decent off cuts for cutting boards and I hope to work on those while building the drawers.

Thanks for reading.

Posted in Shop Stuff, The Dresser | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Look Ma, No Clamps


The carcase is glued up. Thanks Ed for you help.

Next up are drawers and the top. Oh, and along the way, I have to teach myself how to hand cut dovetails…but not tonight.

For now, I’m going to bask in one of life’s small victories.


Posted in The Dresser | Tagged , , | 5 Comments