This is the current page, posts from 10/12/22 through today.
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We're still making boxes. This one is salvage wood, hinges that our friends Rich and Sue provided, and a purchased magnetic catch.
Lars and Lex took their wooden battleships to the creek the other day. Joe and I built them winter 2021/2022.
A wooden mallet is a good tool to have. We made this one a while back and gave it to our friend Mark, who has bestowed so much furniture-building wood on us over the years. Yesterday it got used tapping a length of rubrail in place on his Sunfish sailboat.
In 2017 we built a hard maple board to fit into the top of the bureau in the forepeak of my sailboat Terry Ann. It's gotten a lot of use over the last six years as I have reconditioned the 1964 vintage Alberg 35, and there is plenty of work still to be done. The board has held up fine. Maybe I'll clean it up with a sander, not that it would improve the functionality. The forepeak is the utility section of the interior of the boat, though my crew Taylor likes to sleep on the starboard settee up there.
A box we made using a technique that Paul Sellers uses to make picture frames - stacking end-grain sections of wood for visual interest.
There are a couple of routers in the shop, but they don't get much use. I never had much success with them, and Joe doesn't enjoy them, even though he usually can get decent results. But today, after spending a fair amount of time wrestling with seemingly intractable issues cutting dadoes in a set of wide boards, we turned to the router and managed to get the job done. Maybe this means we will start using the routers more. With practice, I might be able to make some simple cuts with one, and Joe could learn to like the things.
The chisel roll wore through in a corner. Joe had some thin leather available, so I took it home and patched the roll on my Sailrite machine.
Paul Sellers demonstrated using end-grain cutoffs sandwiched between contrasting wood to make nice picture-frame stock. We adapted the technique to make the front to a box.
The yellow pine stationery box we made for Marie in 2018 has picked up a few marks, but is still as solid as the day we built it.
Marie asked me to repair a chest of drawers for her and help her move it into another room. The repair was simple, the bottom was coming out of one drawer and I slid it back in place and added a few brads. On moving it, I found an inscription showing Joe and I did repairs on this chest in 2016. Hope must have been in the shop that day because she signed it too. Lars would have been two years old when we repaired it, Hope would have been nine.
The treasure box is done. It ought to help keep the boys occupied when they come for a visit. It holds marbles, shells, stones, badges, dice, coins, and other interesting things.
I took this little treasure box we built for Lars and Lex home for finishing and will put a couple more coats of poly on it. Then it will go back to the shop for hinges and a latch.
The woodshop is packed with masses of salvage wood, since it is bulky item pickup season in Winston-Salem, and Joe has scored truckloads of items from the curbside. Recently we have been experimenting with leaving remnant paint on salvage wood to get an antique look, and it worked out pretty good on a set of shelves we made for Marie in February. Last time we worked, while I planed and beveled a couple of boards for a boat project, Joe cut out some shelving boards with at least three coats of paint on them and started building a couple of his patented moving crate/bookshelves, shown here with one of the earlier ones that is still hanging around the shop. I think they are going to come out just fine.
In a recent post, Paul Sellers showed some picture frames with end-grain blocks sandwiched between strips of contrasting wood. We decided we could do that, and it might make a nice front to a box. Ours has outer strips of light wood, probably Douglas Fir, then narrow strips of walnut, and end-grain cutoffs of oak.
An under-bed storage tray for Marie. The ones Joe built for Marcia and himself are already pressed into use. It's almost a shame to push this nicely-figured yellow pine tray, built from salvage wood, under a bed, but on the other hand, there's plenty more where it came from. People aren't going to quit throwing out furniture, and Joe is not going to quit picking it up. We have plenty more to build things that will be on display.
Something new, under-bed storage boxes. Marie asked for one, and Joe liked the idea so decided to make a couple for Marcia and himself. We worked out the dimensions and designs ourselves. If you see something like this at Lost Art Press, remember, we did it first. Eat your heart out, Chris Schwarz!
Here's something we built for Lars and Lex. Shelving board case, cherry top and facings, painted plywood back. This uses up all but a few scraps of the 200 board feet of cherry we bought to build the kitchen hutch for Levi and Marie in 2020.
Making simple things out of wood has gotten so routine that it has changed the way I go about all kinds of projects. I am working on rebuilding the battery bank on my sailboat, and am realizing just how much bigger the deep cycle GC2 case 6 volt batteries I want to use are than the Group 24 batteries that I am replacing. Measurements are good, but this wooden model built to the actual cube of a Trojan T105, including the terminals, will be the best way of verifying that the planned batteries will fit. Joe and I made it in less than an hour.
When we built the first of these trays, designed to hold three half gallon bottles of rum and vodka, Joe christened it "the liquor cabinet". I found enough room in front of it to fit in a second, slightly smaller tray which could be called "son of liquor cabinet", currently holding kitchen sundries, though fifths would fit nicely. When I took this picture, the liquor cabinet was woefully short of liquor, but I do have a handle of Gosling Black Seal earmarked for the boat which will help a lot.
I found some fixtures on Amazon and drew up plans for this lamp. We cut out parts for two and each built one. Joe's turned out better, so this picture is of his.
A small step-stool out of some oak scraps that were laying around the shop.
Another small box. I took it home to hold sewing supplies. It replaces a blue plastic mushroom carton. Part of my campaign to rid the house of plastic.
This one is from salvage wood that has laid around the shop for too long to remember where it came from. We decided to leave the remnant paint on, to give it an antique look.
Last work session we applied finish to a massive table full of projects. In the back, a moving crate/bookshelf. We built this out of salvage wood, and just to see how it came out, left the existing whitewash on, rather than planing or sanding it clean. In front, three big DVD cases that Joe built over the preceding week - each will hold, I believe, 57 DVDs. Some member of the household suggested they could be hung vertically on the wall, a great idea that would save space in a small apartment. Also, a large tool tote that Joe built for himself - despite us building who knows, maybe 50 of these things, he found that he didn't have one himself, and needing to be able to take a selection of tools to wherever work was to be done, made his own. There is also a small box hidden behind the in-process work, that I will use to hold sewing clips and weights.
I spotted this toolbox at Marie and Bobby's apartment recently. We made it for them back in June and stocked it with tools. Since then it has acquired a vital roll of duct tape.
Last March we built a bookcase for Marie's DVDs. She has put it to good use.
To build it, we bought shelving boards from Home Depot. Lumber prices were high at the time, but shelving boards are about the cheapest thing you can get, outside of salvage. I doubt if this piece has more than $50 worth of materials in it, and as far as I am concerned, its quality and appearance are superior to anything Marie could have bought at retail even for twice that price. So this goes back to one of our initial premises of having the woodshop, to make solid, attractive furniture for young people who otherwise would have to settle for pressboard or worse, plastic.
We kitted tool totes for Lars and Lex, figuring Lars would enjoy the gluing and screwing and driving pins home, and if it was too hard for Lex, Lars could do his. That turned out completely backwards, as Lars had no interest in putting together a tote, but Lex eagerly spread glue, drove screws and pounded pins. Finishing the first screw gave him a real sense of accomplishment.
Making kitchen tongs, Joe said he wanted to make a really long set, but he couldn't think of a use. I suggested that young fathers might find one useful when learning to change diapers, but we decided to pass on it for the time.
The next week, aboard my Alberg 35 Terry Ann, while draped over the engine, head down, trying to reach the transmission case oil drain plug, I dropped a puck light, which slide down under the motor mounts and into the bilge. I could see it shining down there. but the boat has a deep bilge and there was no way to reach it. At the hardware store, I found a "reacher grabber tool", but they wanted $25 for it, far more than the puck light was worth. The other hardware store had the same tool, but they wanted $27 for it. The clerk did have an idea, though. He said I should flood the bilge with a hose until the puck light floated into reaching distance. That sounded like more trouble than it was worth.
I figured I could get a "reacher grabber tool" from Amazon for a lot less than $25, and filed that idea for when I got home and put together my next order. On second thought, I realized this was the perfect use for a really long set of tongs, and that the puck light probably wouldn't be the last non-ferrous thing to slide into the bilge. (I have a strong magnet on a lanyard for retrieving tools and such.)
Our custom extra-long tong set may prove to be an essential tool for deep-drafted boats like Terry Ann.
Not having a project going on means we have plenty of time for small utility jobs like the tongs we worked on last month or more slide-top boxes. Yesterday we made a fixture for an SAE connector that I can install in the galley on my boat so I can plug in a fan or a light. I prefer this type of connector over cigarette-lighter sockets.
Back in 2017 when we built this box to hold my rope and canvas-working tools and supplies, Joe was interested in why I would want such a long, narrow one. The reasons were, the length would accommodate my Swedish fids, used in splicing double-braided rope, and the narrowness would allow it to fit on a shelf over the starboard settee on my boat.
I went into the box earlier today to get needle and twine to whip the ends of a dockline.
Marcia and Joe were driving on the Parkway when they passed a store selling crafts, and saw some wooden tongs at an exorbitant price. Joe decided we could make these things in the shop and that they might be good items for the Firefighters' auctions, if they ever start having them again. He explained to me that they were used for extracting bent toast that had gotten jammed inside the toaster, without burning your fingers. I was a little sceptical, sounded like the solution to a kind of middle-class American type problem, but I don't have a toaster. For all I know this is a pressing issue in many households. Then Joe mentioned that they could be used to remove toast from under the oven broiler. OK, well I could see that, so I joined him in making three of these devices - one for his kitchen, one for mine, and one for a shop sample. They were easy and quick, made from cherry scrap.
I took mine home and tested it out. Yes, it worked! It plucked the toast right out of the oven, no need to scorch my fingers. I'm waiting to hear how it works in the toaster.
Two more slide-top boxes with clear lids - one is polycarbonate, the other acrylic.
There was already a drilled boss on the flywheel of my Sailrite, so it was a simple job to cut a length of dowel, drill a hole in the end and thread it onto a bolt run through the hole from the back. 15 minutes, max. Sailrite will sell you a plastic one for $9.95.
The handle makes precise needle placement easier.
A glue joint in a plywood edge is weak, so mechanical fasteners to supplement or replace the glue are called for. Simply nailing or screwing into the edge of a plywood sheet is not much better than glue. One alternative is a metal corner bracket, but they're not pretty and they can be pricey. A better alternative is to drill a hole close to the plywood edge and then fill it with a dowel plug. Then the screw run in through the face board seats into the plug, which will hold it better than the joints, voids and glue of the plywood edge. This technique also works well on end grain of solid boards.
We considered attaching the sides of this Little Free Library with brackets, but decided that the method described above would leave a cleaner interior for books, and be just as strong if not stronger. In other words, a more elegant solution.
We used this method before in a shoe rack that we built for Levi and Marie (posts March 15th, March 17th and April 24th, 2017, April 23rd, 2022). It's still in use.
This little box keeps sewing bobbins organized and protected from dust. I drew up a plan, but we ended up running into difficulties hinging the top so for the next one we will try something different. Since the top won't swing all the way down, I had to add 9 ounces of lead wheel weights underneath to keep the whole box from tipping over backwards when it was opened. So, a redesign is in order, but if we can come up with something workable then we could make several to give away and donate to auctions.
Nothing pressing in the woodshop today, so we took the opportunity to cut out parts for three slide-top boxes. We used all our bar clamps to glue up two cases, so next time we can glue up the third and make the lids.
This is the current page, posts from 10/12/22 through today. Older posts -
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