Updated Mantle

By , 24 April, 2017, No Comment
New Mantle With Clock

New Mantle With Clock

Shortly after buying our home and moving in nearly six years ago, I discovered that the rough cedar mantle, stained a dark walnut, had been broken and reattached to the stub hanging from the rock wall.  I noticed later that it also had about a half inch lean to the front because of the poor quality of the mend.  I vowed to fix it one day.

This week I took on the project, and finished it today.

Finger Joints With Ebony Plugs

Finger Joints With Ebony Plugs

Last week I found a nice piece of walnut at Midwest Woodworking in Omaha (now Woodcraft) that had a lot of character to it.  I used that to wrap the front and the sides.  The finished product shows many shades of color to it between the sap and heart wood.

Being lovers of the Arts & Crafts style, and Greene & Greene lovers on top of that, the wife and I agreed to use some of the style characteristics from Greene & Greene.  Borrowed from that style are the finger joints, ebony plugs and cloud lifts which can all be seen in the one picture of the left corner.

Cathedral Grain

Cathedral Grain

We also decided to use four 3/8 inch ebony plugs in the front center to make a bit of a statement.  The clock I made for Judy a while back, and the four ebony plugs tie into the four square boxes in the corners of the clock face.

The top was a piece of walnut that I have had for several years that I picked up in St. Joseph, MO.  It has some amazing cathedral and knot grain that won’t be seen much, but it was the right piece.

The wood was sanded to 320 grit and then given several coats of Danish Oil.  It is silky smooth, and easy to care for should it get scratched a bit.

Knot in the Top

Knot in the Top

Previously, the mantle ledge barely held the clock.  It was just wide enough that the top of the clock would not hit the rocks in the wall.  This ledge is nearly two inches wider, which provides the luxury of moving the clock into the center of the top’s width.

Unlike the old mantle which was ugly and not worth a second look, this one has lots of grain and color changes.  Throughout the day, and with different lighting, it seems to change significantly.  At the moment, it is more interesting than the items sitting on top!

I was recently reading Krenov, and he stated that he eventually moved away from woods with lots of figure.  I know he made great sense, but I hope I continue to be able to find places where beautiful figure is appropriate.  It is hard to stop looking at it!



Valentines Box

By , 11 February, 2017, No Comment
Box Front

Box View From the Front

I made a Valentines Day gift for my wife from bloodwood.   The lidded box is approximately six inches long, and three inches wide and tall.

Being lovers of Arts & Crafts, we have many pieces of furniture purchased in that style, and some that I have made for our home.

This piece contains a rose inspired by the style of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Scottish furniture maker from Glasgow.

I found one that I liked with a search, and used it to relief carve the image into the wood.

Left View

Box From the Left

The wood itself is extremely dense and hard on tools.  Because it also contains interlocked grain, I found it time consuming and daunting to plane.  I had to stop and sharpen often as I worked the wood down into flat, smooth pieces.  I also had to deal with much splintering when using power tools to cut it to general size.

But the wood itself is beautiful and tight when it has been sanded and finished.  I used a little steel wool dressing to get the smooth finish that I wanted on those surfaces which my wife would touch most often.

Box Right Side

Box From the Right

The top has about a half inch bevel all the way around the edge of the lid to reduce the appearance of the thickness.  This was done with a block plane and lightly sanded out to blend the surfaces.

I again used several coats of Watco Danish Oil inside and out, which provides a very tactile feeling and leaves the natural wood grain exposed.  I really like this product, and it is easy to renew if something were to happen to the wood that needed touch-up or repair.

The box was designed to sit on the top shelf of a desk I made for her a few years ago.  Sitting there, the carved rose will be about eye height, where she can see it often.

Box Top Open

Box Open

This particular box was filled with small tootsie rolls, my wife’s favorite.  What she fills it up with when those are gone is up to her.

I built it for her with love, and filled it with her favorite.  Happy Valentines Day Judy!



By , 5 January, 2016, No Comment

Board Banded With BirdseyeI rather quickly put together some checkerboards for my children (and families) for Christmas. All the boards are made from the same stock of Birdseye maple and Paduk.  Both are beautiful woods and bring great characteristics.

This board is wrapped with Birdseye laid on it side, so you can see the eyes in slices.  Lastly this board has a very thin band of Paduk around the outside to tie it all together.  It was the only one where I had enough Birdseye to create the frame.

Jess with board

Son Jess with board and handmade checkers.

The other two were framed with Paduk, and have a very different look. Because I was literally finishing these two days before Christmas, I spent a bit of time searching Omaha for wooden checkers and found none.  So, I made my own from 1 inch dowel rods.

I bought a 1 inch red oak dowel and and 1 inch maple dowel.  Each checker was sliced using a jig on my miter saw, and then each was sanded on top, bottom and each edge.  Whew!  The red oak I dyed with a medium brown dye.  None of the checkers have a finish.  I am relying upon the oil in the hands to create a nice patina.

The boards have a primary coat of shellac which is supposed to help keep the Paduk from turning brown from sunlight.  And then they have been sprayed with a Minwax polyurethane which should give them durability.  Finished up with a quick coat of wax on each one.

Jenny with Board

Daughter Jenny with checker box.

Here are pictures of each of my children with their boards.

My wife found little boxes that could be used to package the checkers for each set.  I put one extra maple and two extra oak into each set in case they loose one.  Of course they are easily duplicated if any are lost.

As usual, it was a lot of work to finish, but I really enjoy the process and giving them something that has a little extra meaning beyond a purchased gift.

Daughter Jodi with husband Tyler and youngest son, Crosby in Santa suit.

Daughter Jodi with husband Tyler and youngest son, Crosby in Santa suit.

Drawer Pull For My Desk

By , 26 May, 2015, No Comment
Drawer Pull Made of Oak and Ebony

Drawer Pull Made of Oak and Ebony

I finished my desk about 4 1/2 years ago, except that I did not have a drawer pull for either drawer.  I have been at a loss to know what it should look like.

I wanted something that was unique, original and complimentary to the rest of the desk.  Months ago I glued together a piece of ebony and two pieces of white oak to make a sandwich.  As I began working on the piece, I realized it did not look quite right.

Drawer Pull Made of Oak and Ebony

Drawer Pull Made of Oak and Ebony

I glued another piece of ebony on the bottom (or on the backside) of the pull, and then worked it in.  That made the pull seem more balanced, and not just an oak and ebony sandwich.

Then I shaped it with carving tools, a round cabinet scraper, hand saws and sandpaper.  I tapped the holes for regular 3 inch-spaced cabinet pull screws so that I can take it off and repair or replace if I ever wish to do so.

My final desire was that it have a very soft, almost sensuous feel to it, as some other parts of the desk have.  It was sanded with 600 grit paper and finished with a spray lacquer.   Finally, it was buffed out.

It really draws the eye, and then the hand to reach out and touch it.  Man, it feels nice.  Now I need to create a duplicate for the drawer on the other side.


Corner Cabinet Doors Hung

By , 1 November, 2014, No Comment
Corner Cabinet Closed

The cabinet with both new doors hung

The Corner cabinet attached to the top right unit above the sink is shown in this photo.  This view really shows off Judy’s choice of glass that was used in the door.

Earlier today I hung the new solid door that I built over the past couple of weeks and finished on Thursday.  We are both happy with the overall look and color.  They match the island that I built for Judy last year.

Corner Cabinet Closed

Corner Cabinet Closed

We looked at a lot of pictures online and in magazines before we decided upon this Arts & Crafts look.  Having now gotten these two doors completed and the cabinet frames refaced, we will move forward with the rest of the kitchen.

To finish off the cabinets, Judy will need to decide on the knobs.  Both of these look good, but the final decision has not yet been made.  Then I plan to trim around the tops and sides of the cabinets with a half-inch square molding that will cover slight gaps between the cabinets and the ceiling and walls.

Wide Door

Wide Door

There are three doors in the kitchen that are wider than the rest.  Each of the wide doors will have the additional center divider.  The other doors will have just a single panel.  The wide doors however seemed too wide to carry the large panels.

Corner Cabinet Open

Corner Cabinet Open

This last picture shows the corner cabinet with the door open, and the inside shelves.   The top shelf is fixed, but the bottom shelf can be adjusted.