My goal is to create items with intention, for individuals not the masses.

working through

The jewelry cabinet is beginning to look more like an actual piece furniture, or maybe that is just in my head, after all it is not even glued up yet. After flattening all the panels I thought it would be a good time to finish applying the koa applied edges, first on the back, then sides and lastly the front.  Done in this order so the only end grain visible is from the forward facing sides. Before applying the edges I smoothed and squared each surface.blog1

On the front of the cabinet there will be subtle convex curve, so before applying the edge on the front I mocked up a curve out of poplar and traced it on to the cabinets top and bottom. From there it was over to the bandsaw to rough out the curve. Below you can see the curve after it was fared and smoothed with a small block plane.

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After all the applied edges were complete I moved on to beginning the coopered door process. Using the same template for the convex front, I laid out the individual staves the will make up the core of the doors.

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Each stave will get a bevel and then matched to the bevel marked on the template and glued one at a time.  After all the staves have been glued they can begin to be coopered and readied to apply the first layer of cross-banding (1/16 poplar). Below you can see the shaping. This process just involves planing then setting the door onto the template to check the progress.

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When the shaping is complete, into the vacuum press they go to get their 1/16 poplar cross-banding. Here you can see a good look at each individual stave and the 1/16 cross-branding after they have come out of the press and received a little clean up.

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While the doors were in the vacuum press I moved on to arranging the koa I had previously re-sawn for the doors. From side to side the cabinet is roughly 22″. I had three, 8″ resawn pieces of koa that could have easily been jointed to make the span, but doing it this way would give and interrupted look in the grain. If you have seen commercial vertical grain plywood then you know what I am talking about. By taking a few extra cuts you can rearrange the grain pattern to give it the look of one large tree section, one uninterrupted grain pattern.

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Cheers

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Last coat of oil on the the top…

DSC_1378With the top all wrapped up, I spent some time making the mounts to attach the base. I’m not the biggest fan of metal work but knowing just enough to be able to make custom hardware opens up new possibilities in your work, not to mention not having to pay and wait for a product to arrive.

These mounts are fairly simple. Start with flat brass stock, cut them to length, some quick layout and start drilling.

I made a quick little jig out of some scraps to ensure the holes are centered and uniform on all six mounts. First, drill the straight hole through, then change out the bit to a countersink (not moving the jig) and proceed with countersinking for the screw heads.

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The holes that attach the top to the mounts need to be more of a “slot” to allow for seasonal movement.  The two mounts in the center do not have the slot, ensuring that when the top does move, it stays centered and all the movement will be forced equally towards the sides. I believe the general rule is about a 1/16″ for every 8″ of solid wood. Since the top is 16″ wide and mounted from the center, I can anticipate roughly 1/16″ movement on each side. Definitely not visually noticeable, but needs to be taken into consideration when making the mounts.

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Well that about wraps things up on this build, thanks for reading!

Cheers

It’s always nice to be able to yield the entire top from one piece of wood,  to me, it just gives the piece a good feel.  Since I do not have the equipment to process and flatten such large pieces of wood, I still needed to cut the plank into small enough sections to fit over my jointer.

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Below you can see after the top was selected, I ripped the rough plank into three sections on the bandsaw.

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After these three separate boards were jointed and planed, I could begin the process of putting them back together. A seamless fit is what I want, showing no signs the plank was ever cut into three.

With a light shining behind the seam, you can see that even off the jointer, there is still small gaps. This could obviously be clamped together with force, but when doing so you are introducing stress back into the board, making seasonal movement all the more unpredictable.

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 Even and light passes of the hand plane, the gap is easily closed without any pressure.

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Ready for glue up.

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Cheers.

Skipping forward, since the last post I have cut the mortises on the inside leg and stretcher assemblies to receive the cross members that brings the base together.  The cross members that support the top are thick enough that I was able to squeeze a double mortise and tenon joint in, while the smaller side pieces receive a single. I’ll move onto the making and fitting of the tenons

I start by milling small strips of teak to a thickness that will fit snugly into the mortise. Since the bit that cuts the mortises leaves the sides rounded, instead of squaring them off I just round over the tenons. Here below you can see the rounding off the strips of tenon stock by using a small block plane.

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After I dial in a radius that fits into the mortises, I can begin to cut the strip into individual tenons. Next is to hone them to their exact length with a shooting board and block plane.

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And before you know it, you start to have a nice little pile of custom fit tenons.

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I prefer doing it this way so each tenon gets a snug fit into its mortise, as each mortise can be a fraction bigger or smaller. Here you can see the top cross bar with the tenons fit and the side stretcher assembly with the corresponding mortises.DSC_1374

Pretty tight.

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Next up…finding the top in this rather large slab of western maple.

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Good night.

shape

 One of the first things I notice on a piece of furniture, whether or not I like it’s aesthetic, is the attention given to the details. This tapered leg would be fine, left square all around and only softened on the edges, but with a little extra thought an ordinary leg can be given the chance to be worth the second look. With the pillowing of a couple, or all sides of the leg, new shadow lines are created, making the leg appear thinner and keeping most of its strength. For this table I decided to pillow the inside and outside of the legs, leaving the sides flat.

Working on the outside surfaces is straightforward, multiple passes with the plane until you see a look that’s right.

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Here you can see the beginnings of the pillowing process, checking often to make sure material is removed evenly.

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For the pillowing around the joint, a low angle spoke shave works great.mm

The shaping of this inside joint is a little more tedious. Beginning with a rounded rasp, I work my way down to the finer files to complete the look.

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A days work.

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After the pillowing is done, and surfaces prepped, the base assembly is ready for its first coat of oil.

Good night.

Joinery

After the parts were rough milled they had the weekend to sit in the shop and settle. Monday morning saw all the parts getting milled for the leg and stretcher assembly to their final dimension. From there, the layout for the joinery began. Technically, the joint that connects the leg to the stretcher is the most complicated part of the build, nailing the angles is key to a perfect fit and a good looking joint.

Here is a look at the joint in the dry fit stage. I’ll just go over how the angled part is executed and spare you the rest:) The legs are kicked out at 4.5 degrees, so that amount is subtracted from the vertical shoulder on the leg and added to the the haunched (small angle) portion of the leg.  The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to set the table saw at 45 and leave it; you will have to come back to it multiple times for this joint and it’s easier to add or remove a shim than trying to exact the blade angle over and over. The small 45 angle on the legs are cut first, and then the shoulders are cut (I use the bandsaw … straight and simple cut). At this point I then cut the angles on all the leg ends and stretcher ends. I save all the off cuts, this is how you make the shims to set up for the small angle cut in the stretcher. Also, the off cuts are used to make a sled to rest the legs on when cutting the mortise and tenon on the bandsaw.DSC_1392

The table saw is still set at the same 45, but in order for the small angle to fit on the inside curve you have to subtract 4.5 degrees from the stretcher by using an angled shim (shown with the blue tape on it in the pic).

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Now that all the angled cuts are out of the way, and I know the joint will come together, I just want to clean up the machine marks on all the cuts. For the tenons I like to make the cut from the machine a shade too snug and clean them up with shoulder plane, as seen below.

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Here, I am using a chopping block and a plane iron to make sure each stretcher has a perfect shoulder.

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From here the legs get their shape roughed out on the bandsaw. I will come back and do all the shaping after the legs are glued to the stretcher. Blue tape just makes the pencil mark easier to see.

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This is a look at the joint after glue up and before all the flushing and shaping gets started.

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From here, the sides of the leg and stretcher assembly get flushed and smoothed and ready for shaping.

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Cheers

It has been a while since I have done a process blog on a build, so I thought this would be a good time to throw one in. This past year I’ve had the opportunity to be creative and just build a few portfolio pieces…very enjoyable. I designed and built a coffee table you might be familiar with this past summer with a western maple top and Burmese teak base. My initial intention was to not reproduce it, but recently I was asked by a client to do so and agreed. Mainly, because I knew I had the remaining slab of maple, which would allow an almost identical match in color and grain pattern. This process blog will probably only include a few post along the way, being that it is not a terribly in depth project, but nonetheless, equally as enjoyable and important.

For myself, the material and tools are a huge part of why I love to create. I always try selecting the best wood I can, paying close attention to color and grain patterns to best compliment the piece. For this build the western maple for the top was sourced from our local urban forestry mill at the community college. More than likely from a tree that was fallen due to disease, storm damage, etc. Teak on the other hand is harder to come by, but I did take my time to source FSC wood and hand select the best I could find.

On to the build

 

Really happy with my finds, the build began with milling up the parts for the base. Cutting for the grain, to some this is a waste of wood, but like I was taught, it is better to get one perfect leg than four “ok’ legs. This being said, I was able to get all the rift-sawn parts for the base and manage to not “waste” that much material. “Rift” meaning the end grain pattern is diagonal, producing straight grain on all for sides of the leg.

Rough sawn and stickered…breathing on all four sides.

I had to wait a few more days to get these guys down to final size; we had three of our seven rainy days a year here in San Diego in a row, sending all my wood into a bending frenzy in the shop!

From here it’s on to joinery…until next time.

Cheers.

 

Autumn

Lighting was never on any list of things to build, but when it became a need, a lamp seemed like the right thing to work on. This floor lamp surprised me on how fun it was to build, not only in the construction, but also the design. It begun with Haley and I sitting in our living room one evening when we both mentioned how we could really use a lamp, as the days were getting shorter.  A little on-line research about parts, a few drawings, and a couple weeks later… we had solved are lighting issue. The main concept came from the classic tripod floor lamp, then evolved into this quad pod, partly because I thought joining four legs at the top would be easier than three? I think I was a little right and wrong…the top ended up being a four-way, angled bridal joint, with a half lap in the middle to make the cross, sorry if I lost some of you on that, there is a pic below of what I am describing.

Another fun detail was hiding the cord in one of the legs. Every tripod floor lamp I have seen, the cord always dangles down the center or disturbingly gets wrapped around one leg.

I was able to source all the parts from the States, which did take more time, but I was happy to do. In the end, I paid a bit more for the parts, but I am very pleased with the quality. The lamp hardware and cord was sourced from an east coast dealer who had this sweet nickel-plated brass socket, with a dimmer and some of that old school cloth cord.

 In the pic below, is a look at the middle cross bridge. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but I put a slight arch in the bottom of the cross to give something that could end up looking clunky, a bit of lift.

Lastly, a the burlap lamp shade.

The ‘Autumn’ floor lamp is the only piece in my collection of work up to know, that I am reproducing and taking orders. If you would like to have one in your home, they are hand-made to order, one at a time.

Materials:

Walnut/Burlap/Nickel plated brass

A bit more about us, as a team. Haley is my best friend, and most of all, she believes in me and the my work. I do have a unique opportunity and that is to just create work in this short season of our life. I do have a side job (that has nothing to do with woodworking, and that is a good thing) but I still manage to get about four good days in the shop a week. I know most woodworkers don’t have this opportunity and I feel very fortunate, so not only do I get to work on my portfolio, but I also get to stock our house with things we need and will cherish forever. Instead of selling my portfolio off, or at least having them “for sale” they are pieces we can add to our home.

In the middle of me starting a new business, Haley decided she wanted to go back to school to get her BSN for nursing, all online. Well, here was a good opportunity to create something we need and make something especially for her.

The top is a piece of spalted mystery oak given to me by a close friend. I am not usually one for leaving a live edge but the hard lines in the base seemed to contrast well with the organic edge.

 

Matching shelves and done.

 

The chair was salvaged from an old church in El Campo Texas.

 

I was in the wood room at my old school and saw this piece of maple that was an off-cut from a 18 foot, straight, clean board. The piece was being trashed because of the large crack running through the middle. Seemed like a nice coffee table top to me. And in case you are wondering there are bow ties on the underside to keep the crack from spreading.

Burmese Teak base

I have been wanting to try this joint for a while. I’m not sure what it is called, but it is a through mortise and tenon with small haunch on the inside curve that corresponds to the angle in the leg.