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Happy hammock stand

Here’s a project that’s been on my bench for a while. A bent-lamination hammock stand:


It basically consists of 5 bent laminations (one of which is cut in half for the feet) and some hardware. Here’s the quick rundown of how I did it. Read more

Building a home for a World Trade Center artifact

When the towers fell on 9/11, we all wished there was something we could do: to help the victims and their families, to find those responsible, to make sure we never forgot. In a very small way, I feel as if I’ve finally been able to do something to ensure the latter.  My neighbor, Pete, volunteers for the Pleasant Hill (Iowa) fire department. In July he told me that the department had acquired a remnant of the World Trade Center and they were discussing ways to display it. He said all the items they looked at weren’t quite fitting for the artifact, so he asked if I’d be interested in building something. Feeling this was a unique opportunity to create something of real value for the community, I drafted this design in Sketchup and presented it to the department. Read more

Just Blocks

Just making some blocks for Parker.

These are standard unit blocks which means that they are half as thick as they are wide and half as wide as they are long. Then there are variations on those ratios. Read more

Turned Paperweights (See the process)

A few years back I was able to pick up some 2½”-thick maple burl slabs from Josh Brower in western Iowa. With a few days of rainy spring weather, I finally found the perfect excuse to turn some shot-filled paperweights from this figured stock. The first step is to cut the body blanks to rough size on the bandsaw using a 3/8″ blade. Read more

Vanity table update

I’ve got the desk portion of the vanity table built and the top on it. This past weekend I finished making the mirror frame and supports that will sit on top of a small three-drawer valet on top of the desk. I made the frame from laminated MDF after a solid-wood attempt twisted and proved unusable. For the mirror supports, I cut two uprights from 1-1/4″ poplar and joined them with a 2′-long base. I forgot to predrill the holes for the cheval swivels before cutting the supports to shape, so I had to make a jig with the matching profile to get a perfectly centered and horizontal bore. This project is coming together nicely.

My vanity is growing!

No, I’m not overly proud of myself, but I am building a vanity table for my niece. She found one she liked on the Internet, and sent me the image:

Now I’m two weekends into building it. Because she wants it painted white, I’m making it from poplar and plywood. She didn’t like the contoured legs in the original, but wanted simple tapered legs. The side drawers for the “desk” part have a curved front, so it will be a new challenge for me to make curve-front inset drawers with half-blind dovetails. I’ve finished gluing up the carcase for the desk portion (here’s a shot of a dry-fit).

Now I’m ready to begin work on the top. Next up will be the three-drawer valet that sits on top and holds the mirror. Finally, I’ll add the drawers. It’s a different feeling working on a project that you know you’ll paint: Minor scratches and gaps that I’d normally agonize over can now be filled or smoothed over much more easily. I hope to be finished with this in the next few weeks, so more to come.

A Handy Way to Build a New Hamper

Last week while cleaning dirty clothes out of the hamper in my bedroom, I discovered the back of the unit had broken away from the bottom. (That happens when kids stuff more clothes in than it was meant to hold.)


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Three Turnings, One Technique

Prior to the holidays my 13-year-old son Carter and I turned and finished over three-dozen handles for bottle openers, cheese planes, and pizza cutters. A sample of each is shown below.

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Doing some holiday work at The Box Warehouse

I just finished up a sleigh-full (well, minivan) of Christmas gifts in my shop—and just in time! I had been working on a china cabinet for my wife, but put that on hold so I could make some projects to give as Christmas gifts. As it happened, I was testing Rockler’s new box-joint jig for a router table. It works so well and so quickly that I just started whipping out simple keepsake boxes. I don’t build these from a plan, but rather make them from whatever scraps and cutoffs I can muster. Some I glue together, often mixing species, and let the size of the pieces dictate the size of the box. Then I fit it with a thin plywood bottom, make a lid and a handle, apply my mark (a cross to signify my faith in Jesus Christ), and finish it with oil and lacquer.

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Turned Cheese Planes

The list is made and I’ve got three-dozen gifts to make in the next month. One of the gifts my son Carter and I have been working on is turned cheese planes.  Shown below is a very basic PIP for this project. Craft Supplies did have some very rudimentary instructions on their site, but I cannot find the download now. The key is the correct size of rabbeted tenon for the metal ferrule. I used scrap figured maple for the handles. Read more

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