Friday, May 31, 2013

Nostalgia Table

Back when I was a wee (as wee as any 15 year old scrawny little fella can be) little freshman in high school, I ended up enrolled in the equivalent of Woodworking 2. Did I skip Woodworking 1 due to my talent? Test out of it? Nope... It was pretty much just the ineptitude of the guidance counselors, but hey, any port in a storm right? Woodworking 1 was for chuds.

Anyway, in this class we built this end table cabinet thing. More or less, it was my first real woodworking project. (I built a Nativity Scene when I was in middle school, but it's not the right season, so I'm just not going to count it).

Why am I posting about this? Mainly to show where I started, and to give you a sense of how far I've come.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Update: What Am I?

Interwebs points, but not many, to whoever can tell me what this is.

Answer: Pattern for the reclaimed tile wine rack.

Friday, May 17, 2013


I built this chessboard in 2007. The "black" squares are made of bloodwood, which has a naturally-occurring deep red color. The "white" squares are maple. The light border is also maple, and the dark wood framing the entire chessboard is walnut.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Latin Cross

My brother and his wife honored me by asking me to be the godfather to their daughter, Alexia. (She's adorable). I was trying to think of something good to give her for her baptism. I didn't want go out and get something kitschy, so I decided to grab some afromosia and make a cross for her.

(I talked about afromosia at length here)

My mom was big on putting crosses in rooms throughout the house, so I hoped it was a Catholic thing and that my sister-in-law would find a good place for it. This was a while ago; Alexia's talking now. A couple days ago my sister-in-law said, "We love it; that's why it's in a prominent place." She put it above the door to her washroom/laundry room/door to the garage. It overlooks the kitchen and dining room, which in our family is a prominent spot indeed. Most all of the family gatherings are located about 90% in the kitchen.

I really wanted to give a gift that was something that they would like to display, and then maybe when Alexia grows up she might want to display it in her home. I decided to go with a simple latin cross. I thought about trying to make a celtic cross, but I decided that because we aren't Irish, it wasn't really worth making it more complicated.

The latin cross is simple. Its simplicity is, I think, part of its theological character. It's not ostentatious. Its purpose is obvious. In this case I think it was perfect.

Other reasons aside, I do think that it's easy to fall into a trap of wanting complexity because "complexity is fancy and fancy is good."I think there is a great deal of beauty and power in simplicity. I think this is a great example of that.

I'd be happy to put together a cross like this (or any cross design for that matter) for anyone that's interested. All you have to do is ask.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Also, I'm new to this interwebs voodoo, but I think I made it so anyone can comment. You can do so under the all-powerful armor of anonymity (maybe? I really have no clue), so feel free to comment.

Reclaiming Tile

You might be asking yourself, why is this mook two-toned? Well, this just happens to be what happens when you take a wet saw to 90 year old roofing tiles.

What's that? Why is this mook wet sawing 90 year roofing tiles? Oh, well, you'll just have to wait and see.

Oh, and yes, that is my soccer sweatshirt from freshman year of high school.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cutting Board 1.0

This is a cutting board/chopping block. It's roughly 12 inches by 12 inches and one and a half inches thick. The main surface is red oak, the border is hard maple. All I did to finish it was wipe it down with food-safe butcher's block oil, which is a common mineral oil. Also, that is an avocado; they are delicious.

More pictures and explanation after the jump.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bird's Eye Bedside Stand With Bloodwood Trim

This is a bedside stand  I made in 2009. I used bird's eye maple, unfigured maple, walnut, and bloodwood. I put six coats of finish on it. It took a silly amount of time to complete, but the end result is pretty striking.

This design is largely based off of the work of a famous woodworker named James Krenov. His style is elegant in its simplicity of form, but incorporates high levels of detail. In some sense, that's an oxymoron (a simple high level of detail), but if you take a moment to google image search his work, or look at examples on his website, you will immediately see what I mean. Wikipedia states it well:

"[Krenov] shun[ed] ostentatious and overly sculpted pieces, stains, sanded surfaces, and unbalanced or unproportional constructions. Krenov felt that details such as uniformly rounded edges, perfectly flat surfaces, and sharp corners remove the personal touch from a piece of furniture. His books extoll the virtues of clean lines, hand-planed surfaces, unfinished or lightly finished wood[...]."

The detail, to Krenov, is the wood itself. It is the grain pattern, the color, the contours.

Lots of pictures follow after the jump...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Magnetic Knife Strips

What you are looking at is a strip of spalted maple, 18 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 7/8 inches thick. Embedded in the back of the wood are 17 rare earth magnets, each of which is rated with 50 lb pull strength. All I did to finish it is wipe it down with mineral oil, the same way one would wipe down a butcher's or chopping block. Routed into the back of the strip are two keyhole-mounting slots. Put a couple screws into the wall; it will hang securely.