Monday, September 26, 2011


they may be small but I made 'em!

So this is how it feels

to carry something for nine months,
every waking moment in awe and wonder
and fear and whatever else you might assign to its despicable yet haunting existence
the light of day only a footstep outside your understanding
a glimmer in the distance

these dovetails will NEVER come apart

when it's over that's it

it's just over

why does it have to be?

funny thing is, when one project ends, another begins

the former piece of furniture was lovely 
beautifully made, exquisitely finished
but so completely wrong for the room I'm (oh so freaking) slowly creating

as it was relocated to a more appropriate part of the house, I decided to check what was under the carpet

mmmm oak
unfinshed oak
oh man

lucky for me dewaxed shellac and  water based poly's are quick, easy, and durable
hey look, a new floor!
thanks, Arielle, for being understanding of my obsession

so here it is, a new room

sans paint
and a stepback

and some new moulding
and the table I started two years ago
and the other three chairs

oh crap

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An Open Letter to the Schwarz

What have you done!?
Created a monster you have

I figured it out tonight

I'm not an addict
I'm a user
BIG difference

perfect dovetails made easy

an addict keeps taking more and more to satisfy that ever increasing craving
a user takes what he needs and only enough to get off
a user takes a break occasionally to recharge
or rather purge the affect

to make it better the next time

I still have to buy
but only to get er done

a week ago my first square
turned out to be not square
every other damn first tool I bought met pretty much the same doom

Jer's chair

I replaced it

although only a small square; four inch overhang
it seems to be the single most used tool in my shop
well, there is the pencil

so i scoured the bay for  good BCTW rosewood square
then PWM published a transfixing article by none other than god himself
and I realized
sure would be nice to make my own counterfeit BCTW try square
could take weeks, like my custom infill smoother
but it's gotta be SQUARE

then I remembered that little nagging voice in the dark nether region of my primate brain
just go buy one!
but the Schwarz spoke from beyond and said unto me
buy a damn good one you moron!

so I journeyed to where the trees are like gumdrop pillows, and unicorns and fairies play beer pong among twizzler tufts
and put my cash on a Vesper
even sounds cool huh?

this will be my fourth Vesper

yea, I'm a user

some of my best tools, my most reached for tools, my most beautiful tools

bear his title

and all you internet power tool junkies can scoff and bitch and troll at how much a Vesper costs

then you can use one every day for a year

then write me back and apologize

and apologize to Chris while you're at it

yea both of them.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


i knew it would come to this

the time would come

I'd have to face the mistakes 

how do i cut a rabbet to house the case back after I've already glued up the carcase

I thought up a hundred ways, each more ridiculous than the last

how long would it take to cut it with a coping saw, let see, nope that would take forever

but then again, if I take the kerf long enough to get my Japanese saw in

but really, maple?

well there's no time like the present, and BCTW still sells replacement blades

umm, and then there's the hinges

oh yea, the hinges

I got these really cool (expensive) invisible Swiss hinges and realized they need to be morticed in, but not just regular mortices, round ended mortices with a stopped hole in the middle inside!

time to make a new tool!

there were just enough resaws to supply the back

a series of ship laps

don't forget this stuff WILL move

a quick set of drawer stops

and a slot and screw for each drawer bottom

my new rasps have arrived so i can finally move on to the 68 bottle nooks

and yes a hand cut French rasp of the finest calibre is a thing of beauty

but rasps still rasp, and these guys are way too small to scrape

the rule of power tools still applies, but power tool accessories, now we're talking

intense debate over the wide chamfers raged until I finally caved I did one, then ten, then realized I really liked the softness they conveyed

not to mention the added ding resistance

It's almost there, another week of bottle stretchers and pre-assembly finishing can begin

damn good thing i checked the supplies

not a drop of finish to be found


Thursday, July 14, 2011


the beauty of this piece lies in its complete lack of electronic assistance

countless weeks have been spent doing what a power tool could in a few hours

and certain duties common and easy in the power tool shop have required research and pondering

instead of jigs there exist techniques

clever ways to hold down the piece

so hand tools could do the job

I love my plow plane, in fact I think I'll never again touch the table saw to cut a groove

but what to do when there's no reference face to guide the cut


same thing you do when you cut a dado in a carcass.

strike the line, chisel a kerf, cut it with a saw,chisel out the waste, then use the plow (sans fence) to even out the bottom (even though on a carcass you would use a router plane)

so many lessons, taught so many times

I actually caught myself today saying to a co-worker, "dovetails are easy"

and I heard him reply "yea well, you've got practice"

yea, every day, plus all day on weekends

no matter how tired, sore, hot and humid it is, I can still find the time for a few steps

I've been waiting for an Aurou rasp to arrive from France so I can finish the bottle racks, there's sixty eight nooks that need refining and smoothing, and I'm NOT going to do it with sandpaper

that means the outer carcasses can't be glued up, thus the final refinements to the undertop mortices, thus the finish smooth to the top


in lieu of all this, the drawers must go on

each piece must be resawn from 5/4 to 3/4 and a 1/4, the last bit being taken up by the kerf of my D-8 thumbhole ripper

one side becomes a side or back the other a bottom

two drawers are now complete and the matching ambrosia Maple is stunning

the back dovetails are pure function while the fronts are all about style

Monday, June 20, 2011


As I wait for my primrose to blossom (and by the way there's a video but it's well beyond the capacity of both the blog server and my abilities as a videographer) I'm reminded of why I work wood by hand.

 It's the dedication, the patience, the knowing that is will all work out in the end, whenever that might be.

And just like the primrose it seems to happen all of a sudden after weeks of wait and toil or months in the case of wood working, years sometimes in gardening.

It's been over a month since my last update and that's OK by me, a lot of the work had been simply redundant, photos you've already seen directions you've already ignored. It is after all, a mirror image of the left side.

Some aspects, however, have been groundbreaking

how to cut the big bevel along the front

devising a sixteenth of an inch wide drawer divider
really learning my Stanley 113

Sucking it up when I know I could do this in five minutes with a power tool

 I'm finally to the point of assembly, dry though it is, the sucker is strong, I could practically smooth the top

it has been six months now, learning and mastering tools long forgot, discovering techniques no longer taught, with tools someone found in grandpa's shed and didn't know what price to put on them at the yard sale

as I've said before, I'll say again, there is NO substitute for experience

the stretchers are finally in place, the drawer fronts cut

spacers made (these will come in handy down the road!)


the biggest problem I have right now is horizontal surface on which to stack the ever accumulating pile of parts

I know I said 124, but it's final at 122, all done, no more mortices to hog, thank whatever deity you worship

and I'll talk again in another month, there's a bunch of smoothing, scraping, rasping, and sanding
oh yea, then finishing and glueing
then maybe I'll have something to write about again.