Just a friendly reminder to put finish on your bare-wood IKEA furniture. Not only will it help the pieces keep longer, it gives them a warmer look. You might not be able to tell as much from the photos here, but the second one does have finish on it. It does look warmer. And it will withstand more than the other, which would need sanding if it got dirty, as opposed to wiping down.
If we all stopped and thought about it for a moment, no matter how terrible the pandemic was (is?), there was some sort of highlight for everybody. Maybe it was more time with family, less spending on take-out meals, or more time outdoors. Whatever it was, I’m sure if you looked, you’d find it.
For the wife and I, there were lots of positives in there, but none of them are really germane to this topic except that it revealed a true appreciation of whiskey in my family. At least, an appreciation amongst the male members — the wife is not so much a whiskey fan, though she does enjoy a liqueur from time-to-time. Which is like liquor, but not quite. In the same way pink is like red, but not quite. Still, her appreciation for liqueur goes to prove what Mary Poppins said, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.”Continue reading “Liquor Cabinet”→
Holy crap it’s been a while since I was last here! By my count, it’s been seven months and, since you’re reading these words that I wrote, you can see I did not die, or forget about you. Which is good for me, TBD for you. Either way, I’m back!
I think it’s pretty accepted by woodworkers that if you want clamps fast, and in quantity, without paying through the nose, the best option is going to Harbor Freight. Certainly, Harbor Freight gets a bad rap in some circles for being cheap, and is why your snootier woodworkers, who aren’t me, will clutch their pearls at the very notion of using anything from Harbor Freight.
But I’m not snooty and never subscribe to the notion that ‘cheap’ means ‘not good’. Hell, some of the best tacos I’ve ever had were basically dirt cheap.
A couple years ago I bought a 9-inch Ryobi band saw off facebook marketplace.
I won’t tell you what I paid for it, but let’s just agree I paid too much for it. This overpayment proved especially true when you consider the thing never properly worked, even after I replaced the tires and bought a new blade. Even my son couldn’t even get it to work, and he’s the one with far more patience working through and calibrating the machinery than I am. In the end, that bandsaw has basically sat unused since purchase, which means it’s spent two years being nothing more than an expensive paperweight.
There are some projects I take on because of a particular need. Or, if not a need, then a want. For instance, a couple years ago I upgraded an old Sauder media cabinet with this beauty. It was not the easiest thing to build, and it certainly has lesser capacity than the old cabinet, but it also looks so much better being built out of maple and walnut, and even if there are some flaws to it — my dadoes could be better — I’m still proud of it.
Then, there are those projects we take on simply for the challenge of it. For instance here’s a small angled box I made, just for the thrill to see if it would work. To some extent, this design might make a pretty interesting coffee table. Eventually this design morphed into two other items that, again, I made just for the thrill of making them. But, because these were all unneeded, and somewhat impractical — the red and black one is only 8 inches high — they are basically art pieces. Especially the red and black one, which sits on my desk at work. Of course, the tallest of these art pieces is such a piece of art that it serves as a stand for a fan in our living room.
(By they way, my advice when making things that are wholly impractical, or just for the fun of it, is thinking of it like an art piece. It’s amazing how calling something ‘art’ will justify the existence of pretty much anything).
Then, finally, there are the projects you wind up doing not because you needed it, or wanted something, but because some bozo decided something truly unnecessary needed to be done around the house. In this case, the bozo is my son, and the truly unnecessary thing is new bedroom doors.
This is a coffee table. Like all things wood it started as a tree. Although, if we’re more precise, it started off as a seed that fell off another tree, at some point became a tree, and finally ended up as this. Or, it started out as multiple seeds, on multiple trees, because the parts of this table were 100% not coming from the same tree — more on that later.
But, really, all that is beside the point. What is the point is before this coffee table was this coffee table, it was actually three different things. Or, five different things, because two of these things were the same exact type of thing, and two other of these were the exact type of thing, too.
So, last year I built a chair. You probably remember it – the chair I didn’t actually need and built on a whim just to give me some experience at building a chair. As if I was magically going to switch careers and go into chair-making and needed the experience.
Anyway, I built that chair from a little more than one standard length 2×4 and a small piece of a plywood sheet. When I built it last year this was actually a pretty cheap build for an experiment. And, while the pine in a 2×4 is generally pretty lousy, it is fairly strong. That said, if you’ve seen the cost of dimensional lumber lately, you know it would have cost a pretty penny if I went down the rabbit hole this year.
In college I had a ‘cool’ history professor. This guy wasn’t cool in the way he’d turn around a chair and sit down to ‘rap’ with us. No, he was cool in that old-style laid-back way. He wore turtlenecks and had a beard. That sort of cool.
Anyway, I took something like three history classes with him and in each of them he showed us videos – he was a believer in videos. Which was also cool. Anyway, in the American history class he showed us various videos from Colonial Williamsburg on gun making, and other ye olde crafts. Particularly imprinting upon me was The Cooper’s Craft, which was about a barrel maker in Williamsburg, and the process of making a barrel from tree to finished product. I particularly enjoyed the video, probably because there is something satisfying in seeing a craftsman do their job well. It’s probably why these sorts of ‘build’ videos have high view counts on Youtube. Either way, I actually ordered my own copy of The Cooper’s Craft on DVD a few years ago, and added several others thereafter on the printing press, gun making, silversmithing, etc.
Last year, at the start of the pandemic, I had some time on my hands, and decided I’d try making boxes with something other than right-angled miters at the corner. I’m not entirely sure what I was going for, other than it seemed like a challenge. I decided on trapezoids, and these were mostly successful, but I never really feel like I nailed it. At least, I never really feel like I nailed the top and bottom panels, and the ones I managed to get right I almost feel like it happened by accident. Still, I managed to get a couple of them right, like the one above, and you can get one here, if you care to.