Projects, Projects Projects!

Hambot v2 EbookWhen last we spoke, lo these many months ago, it was on the subject of repairing an old dining chair.  Hardly the most creative project I’ve ever done, and one that probably ate up more time than it was worth — I’m sure I could‘ve replaced the chair outright for a few dollars used, and been done with it.  Which would have been a fine outcome for the chair situation, since it is no longer a dining chair, but sits in the basement and is used for doing laundry.  Nevertheless, the time and expense of these projects are almost never the point — the project itself is the point.  So was the chair.

I assure you I haven’t been idle since then, and have been busy with all manner of things.  There’s the day job, of course, but also coaching with a high school mock trial team.  Then, college hockey season took up a lot of time.

Somewhere in there I did find some time to work on some project or another, if only in fits and starts.  So, what’ve I been doing?

Continue reading “Projects, Projects Projects!”

Friendly Reminder Re: IKEA furniture


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.

That is all.

This Is A Door

20211029_141615There 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.

20211027_08210020211022_135850 20211026_063753

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.

Continue reading “This Is A Door”

Angled Boxes/Cabinets/Stands

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.

Continue reading “Angled Boxes/Cabinets/Stands”

Ash Coffee Table/Side Table

If I had my way, I would have made the table from maple or walnut — I really prefer the look of those two, especially together.  I mean, who doesn’t love the grain and figure in walnut in maple?  But at the time I was launched into the project I had no maple, or hardly any at all, and what walnut I had was earmarked for something else. Continue reading “Ash Coffee Table/Side Table”


In my last post about the non-jewelry boxes, which are basically jewelry boxes, I mentioned that while that I’d built a table for my coffee-maker in my office at work.  (Yes, I have a day job).  There really wasn’t a need for a table at work – after all, there was a filing cabinet that did a perfectly fine job as a stand for my coffeemaker.  And, in full disclosure, that’s all the filing cabinet did – it was otherwise empty.  Of course, when you like to build things you’re always on the hunt for something else to build that has use to you, so I decided that a table to replace that filing cabinet was in order.

So I built one.

If I had my way, I would have made the table from maple or walnut — I really prefer the look of those two, especially together.  I mean, who doesn’t love the grain and figure in walnut in maple?  But at the time I was launched into the project I had no maple, or hardly any at all, and what walnut I had was earmarked for something else. Continue reading “Ash Coffee Table/Side Table”

Everyday Carry Trays (or, Jewelry Boxes?)

UPDATE: The red laminate version of this is available in my Etsy store — go there now1

Admittedly, there’s been a minute since my last post here, but it isn’t because I’ve been slacking.  Rather, my day job has been busier than usual, which means my hobby gets pushed slightly aside.

To be fair, I’ve tried to be busy with that too.  One thing I’ve been doing is collecting junk chairs from the side of the road for repair/refinishing.  One of the chairs will need significant work in refinishing, another will probably need a top down rebuild with about half the chair being replaced.  Why do this repair/refinishing work?  Practice, I suppose.  And also because I can’t stand seeing something that’s basically useful being junked because somebody didn’t want to spend a little time with it.  Do I have a plan for the chairs once they’re finished?  Not really, but that’s not why I do this sort of thing. Continue reading “Everyday Carry Trays (or, Jewelry Boxes?)”

Art Boxes/Valise/Charger Case

Last year we swapped out some rotting fence sections in our yard and I rescued as many good pieces as I could before we did away with the rest. I used those to make wine boxes, a pencil holder, and a few other boxes with hinged lids. I put a handle on top of one and when the wife and I went away for a weekend around Labor Day, we put all our cords and cables in it and that’s how we carried them around.  It was better to have one place dedicated for them every day than trying to remember if they went in this suitcase, or that backpack, or whatever.

Unfortunately, that box was not sufficient to corral them all, so I built a bigger one from reclaimed pallet wood. It looks like a small valise. Unfortunately, the pallet wood proved finicky and while the box — and many others I made from it at the time — looked good out of the gate, the lids were all very responsive in all the worst ways to the weather.  In particular, the tops all shrunk pretty dramatically and because I’d only face-glued them, this eventually warped the box lids to the extent that they would not close. It’s lovely to be taught the lesson about wood shrinkage even at my age, and even as I should need to be taught it. Continue reading “Art Boxes/Valise/Charger Case”

Shoeshine Boxes (that are not shoeshine boxes)

If you happen to watch Woodwoorking for Mere Mortals on Youtube, you know that last year Steve Ramsey (he hosts the series) did an irregular series of videos in which he led a neophyte woodworker through creating a shoeshine box.  They made it out of pine boards, edge joined, using simple joinery.  In the end, the project is mostly basic, which is why it’s being done on a program called Woodworking for Mere Mortals.

Now, I don’t watch the show because I need help with woodworking, or anything like that.  As I said, the box was basic.  Continue reading “Shoeshine Boxes (that are not shoeshine boxes)”

Trapezoid Keepsake Boxes

Back at the start of the pandemic I set about making some keepsake boxes, intent on trying to reproduce several at a time, but also to play with angles. There was some amount of success in it, but given they were experiments, they were more learning endeavors than attempts at perfection. This is why they are imperfect, but even in perfection there is beauty.

Since these were meant as some sort of lesson to myself, what exactly did I learn? Angles are hard, and reproduction is never as fast as you’d think.

At the end of the day there are four left — a couple were given away to family. (1) Maple sides with a walnut top, (2) Walnut sides with maple top, (3) Cherry, and (4) Paduak sides with maple top.

You can buy one, or all, of them here if you life.