Archive for ‘Wood’

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!

 

 

Checkerboards

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.

Cherry With a Curly Maple Top

By , 23 April, 2014, No Comment
Top View

Top View

This box is made of Cherry with a Curly Maple lid and a handle made of Fishtail Oak (or eucalyptus).  The cherry and the fishtail were purchased locally at Midwest Woodworkers here in Omaha.  The curly maple came from a sawmill in St. Joseph, MO.

Open From the Back

Open From the Back

I have made a couple of things from this piece of curly maple.  I liked this particular piece because it has nice curl to it, but also has a nice band of a darker color running along the front of the lid.  This gives it some extra character.  The outside and the inside both show well from any angle.

Inside

Inside

I actually started with the cherry, and picked the maple as a nice complement.  I had planned to build the entire box from cherry, but this piece of maple called out to me.

I had to call in my partner when it came time to choose something for the handle.  I held up nearly a dozen varieties of wood and even more variations with those dozen, but I could not decide.  Judy came down to the shop and we held them all up again.  She picked the one that I had ruled out because I thought it was too busy.

Fishtail Oak Handle

Fishtail Oak Handle

She convinced me that the fishtail cut in the right direction when finished would be just the right look.  I loved the way that the grain swirled around with the shape of the handle.  I think she was right.  The combination of colors and figure looks great.

I don’t make many things from cherry as I seem to go for the heavy figured woods.  But it is such a nice warm wood, and it finishes so well.  It is easy to see why it is a favorite of many people.

Right Side

Right Side

Something new on this box are feet!  I don’t normally put them on, but these were handmade of fishtail.  I took a 3 inch piece that was about 5/8 square, and chucked it into the drill press.  Using files and sandpaper I shaped it and sanded.  I then cut short little stubs about 1/4 inch long and glued them on.  I have not decided yet if I will do that again, but it works on this box.

Once again, I used Deft Danish Oil, and rubbed it down.

The box dimensions are 9 3/8 x 5 1/4 by 3 inches.

This box went home with my daughter-in-law Jill.

 

Figured Walnut Box

By , 18 March, 2014, 1 Comment
Inside The Walnut Box Showing the Figure and Curl

Inside The Walnut Box Showing the Figure and Curl

Even more beautiful than I imagined.  When I picked up these pieces of cut-offs from a pallet in a Phoenix wood store, they were really rough in most cases.  After you have worked with figure for a while, the eye knows when there is beauty below the rough exterior, but you still have to hope it is as nice as you are imagining.  These pieces did not disappoint me.  Read my previous blog for more details about this wood.

View From the Back With Lid Open

View From the Back With Lid Open

Building this box used 4 of the pieces that I brought back from Phoenix.  Honestly, it was painful to cut some of those pieces up, and setting off the remainders.  The discarded parts are just as interesting as the pieces that I used in the box.  I am determined to keep them until I find some use for them.

Top View

Top View

The lid possess an amazing amount of character.  When I laid out the pieces and selected the sides, I was left with a choice of several pieces for the lid.  I liked several, but this one spoke to me the most, and it seemed to fit the power of the body.  The curl became very pronounced once I applied the finish.

Right Side

Right Side

Finding the right piece from my box of leftovers for the handle proved a little challenging.  I looked at other woods and most were too great of a contrast.  I thought a piece of curly maple would be nice, but it looked completely out of place.  It had to be walnut.  With all of the cut-offs that I had, there were a lot to choose from.  What I wanted, I could not find.  I wanted a piece where the sapwood might follow the curve of the handle.  My second pick was a piece where the colors radiated out from the box to the outer edge.  This piece looked nice when I got it shaped and glued on.

Left Side

Left Side

Here are a couple of photos that show the two sides.  Each side really popped once the finish was applied.  I wish that the piece that I used for the right side had been large enough for a lid.  The character of that small portion is fabulous.  Things are going in multiple directions with variations of color and hue overlapping.

Front View With Lid Closed

Front View With Lid Closed

The last photo is a nice view of the front.  This seemed to be the best piece of wood when I saw them in the rough.  Unfortunately, the piece turned out very dark so it is hard to appreciate the beauty of what I was seeing.  But you get the idea.

I used Deft Danish Oil again, and rubbed it down.

The box dimensions are 9 3/8 x 5 3/8 by 2 3/8 inches.

This box went home with my daughter Jenny.

 

 

Walnut Burn Pile

By , 28 February, 2014, No Comment
Wood I brought back

Wood I brought back

Earlier this month I was in Phoenix visiting my brother and his family.  Before I left Omaha, I searched the area for woodworking stores in the area.  This is a normal routine for me, and I typically have to sort out the flooring and cabinetmaker shops from the search list.  I found one listed that looked very promising, Woodworker’s Source  only 15-20 minutes from my brother’s house.

Wow, what a great source of wood!  I saw bundle after bundle of exotics and domestic lumber.  Of course when you are traveling, there is only so much you can put into a suitcase.  They were eager to ship anything I wanted, but I was not prepared to pay on this trip.  They do offer to select wood per your specifications and send them to you, but I kind of like picking my own.

I am making boxes currently, and I went looking for figured woods that I could afford and get back home.  I discovered out in the shop two pallets of odds and ends black walnut pieces that varied in size from 15 inches to 6 inches in length and from 9 inches to 2 inches in width.  Most of them were figured wood from crotch or branch locations.  And to top it off, they were $4.00 for each piece!!!  Had I been in my own truck, I would have taken an entire pallet (if my wife had not been along), but I knew I needed to be selective.

The crazy part of the story is that they got these pieces from a furniture maker in Chicago that cut these ends off their wood and BURNT them to dispose of them.  I don’t know how they found out about them, but they said they had a market for those cast-offs.  Burnt them??!!

After discussing this with my brother and my wife, I decided to buy pieces large enough for my projects, but a small enough quantity that I could get them into a USPS flat rate box.  Later we found a flat rate box that was 24 inches by 12 by 3 inches.  I got everything into that one box with a tiny bit of room left.  So, back to the store I went the next morning to pick up a little bit more, and picked out a small piece of ebony that would fit into the end of the box.  I included 3 pieces that would not fit in the box, but I knew I could add them to my suitcase.  My brother mailed the box to my house and I carried the other 3 pieces in my luggage.  We are all happily home now in my shop!

And, the sweet gal who worked the counter gave this Omaha boy a club member discount, so each piece was $3.33 apiece.  Not a bad price for highly figured walnut firewood!

Look for some of these rejects to show up in some nice boxes in the near future.  If you plan to travel to Phoenix, stop by and check them out — but save the firewood for me.