Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"New" Bathroom Vanity

Up north and east, the Woodchuck Canuck, Jim Barry, is posting photos of his latest home improvement project, the installation of a new bathroom in his basement. His photos and descriptions take you through the project from the beginning almost to the end.

One of the many interesting parts of the project is the bathroom vanity he's using. Actually, it's an old dresser he bought at an auction. By cutting a hole in the top for the sink and reworking the drawers a bit, he's turned an old piece of furniture into a new vanity. (Click photo for larger view.)

I'm looking forward to the final photos when the project is complete.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sapele Fan

This may be the most beautiful fan ever. I don't even care if it runs. I really want one. From the CrunchGear.com blog:
The Otto isn’t just any ole fan that you can pick up at Wal*Mart, though. It’s a 45W 3-speed “industrial” fan with adjustable feet and a fancy quartered sapele wooden frame. The Swiss makes it so you know it’s got to be worth the $199.99 price tag.
They call it a Manly Man's wooden fan. Can't argue with that. (Click on photo for larger view.)

Best Workbench Finish

In the current issue of Workbench, a reader asks, "What's the best finish for a workbench? The answer:

"The best finish is one that soaks in (a penetrating finish) rather than one that sits in top (a film-building finish). That's because a bench invariably gets beat up and scratched as you use it. A film finish will get chipped and will have to be removed entirely before you can apply a new coat. With a penetrating finish, you can simply spot sand and touch-up as needed. Choose either a straight oil or a finish that blends oil and urethane. Just make sure it says 'penetrating' on the label."

You'll find lots more useful info on woodworking and homeowner DIY in the current issue of Workbench. You can find it on the newsstand, or better yet, get a free preview issue.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sometimes, the Smallest Change...

...can make a huge difference. About the only thing I don't like about my table saw is changing the blade. A couple weeks ago, Ted Raife, an editor at Woodsmith Magazine, posted a solution to my problem in the Woodsmith Weekly E-Tip. Here it is:
"When changing table saw blades, I try hard to avoid scraping my knuckles on the blade when removing and reinstalling the arbor nut. A very minor modification I made to my arbor wrench helps.
The photo shows this simple alteration. I put a slight bend in the wrench near the arbor nut hole. This makes it easier to slip the wrench over the arbor nut while keeping my fingers out of harms way.
Bending the wrench isn’t difficult. I just clamped the end in a vise and applied a little force. And I've definitely seen a good return on this small investment."

You can get more useful woodworking tips and techniques delivered to your computer each week. Sign-up for the Woodsmith weekly e-tip here--it's free.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shaker Hall Table

When I began working for Woodsmith magazine, about 100 years or so ago, one of their most popular projects was the Shaker Hall Table. It's a fairly common design. The Woodsmith twist on the project was making the mortise and tenon joinery totally on the table saw. Neat.
Well, I'm happy to say the project is still getting a lot of interest among woodworkers. In a recent post over at the Lumber Jocks' woodworking forum, member knothead posted photos of the Shaker Hall Table he recently completed. He built it primarily of cherry, with poplar as the secondary wood. I'd like to see it in person, especially to check out his finish:

[It's] finished with 2 coats of General Seal-a-Cell Clear, burnished with 4 OT steel wool between coats, then there are 6 coats of Arm-r-Seal gloss and finally 2 coats of Arm-r-Seal Semi-gloss. It rubbed out beautifully! Instructions found on David Marks Web Site.
Another photo and discussion at LumberJocks.com.

The Shaker Hall Table plans are available at PlansNOW.com.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Portable Dovetail Workcenter

This is a useful project on a couple of levels. First, it makes using your dovetail jig easier and safer. When in use, your jig sits on top of the workcenter which gets it up where it's easier to set up and to use. And second, the workcenter gives you a secure place to store your dovetail jig. There are more good features, but suffice it to say, it's just clever all the way around.

We featured this workcenter in PlansNOW.com's e-newsletter last week, not really knowing what the response would be. Buyers would have to own a dovetail jig already, and then see the value in the workcenter. Well they sure did, sales of the plans were brisk. So I thought I'd mention it here too.

If you've got a dovetail jig, check this out. And when you buy it, use the e-coupon word garage and get a 20% discount on the plans download.

The Workcenter comes from the designers and editors at ShopNotes Magazine. You can get a free preview issue here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Computerized Routing

The editors at Fast Company have an interesting article about modern wood furniture. I always find these kind of articles inspiring, sometimes surprising. For example, a curved wood project like the chaise in the photo would typically be made by steaming the wood to shape, but this chaise by SchindlerSalemeron (from the article):

...is actually made by routing two sheets of wood at ultra-precise angles, and then fitting them together like the two sides of a zipper. Tiny variations in the cuts produce the chair's curves. Forget about handworking; the magic is all in the computerized routing.

More cool furniture and photos at FastCompany.com.

Many Firsts

Things are hopping in the WoodNet Woodworking Forums. Here's a second mahogany project posted this week. The coffee table was built by member dvan1901, and he says in building it, he encountered a lot of firsts:
My first time using mahogany... first cabriole legs, scalloped corners on the top, double bead on the top, shaped aprons. The finish is a wet sanded BLO with a wet sanded Watco Dark Walnut and 5 coats of a wipe on poly.
Great job. More photos and discussion in the forum.

Window Tables

Over in the WoodNet Woodworking Forum, member kscott posted photos of his latest project, a set of window tables he made for his wife. I assume thy are called window tables because you place them under a window to hold house plants, hence the marble in the table top. The wood is mahogany.

Different colors of mahogany originally all dyed with Moser's alcohol soluble dye. Bush oil followed by Deft. First time I used either. Lots of experiments on sample pieces before I went for it. Dyed before assembly and finished after.
More photos and discussion in the forum.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mystery Solved?

Ever wonder why there's a little nib or notch on the top edge of a large handsaw? Never found a good answer, never even heard a good guess.
Well, Dan at Dan's Shop blog appears to have found the answer--on a 1930's Will's Cigarette package of all places. According to the story on the pack, it was used to clear sawdust out of a saw kerf. Hmm.
Visit Dan's blog for more info, and lots of other cool woodworking posts.

[Thanks Dan]

Friday, March 13, 2009

Retro Retro

Now this is cool: There's a guy in California, Joe Scilley, who's making record turntables out of wood. He describes himself as, "America's premier builder of burlwood turntables!" Some are modern designs, some from live edge slabs, like the Knobby model in the photo, some that don't fall into any particular category. They're terrific.

Does anyone one still have or use LP's anymore? This makes me want to go buy some.

Visit his website, Audiowood, for photos of many different models.

[Thanks BoingBoingGadgets]

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Learning on the Job

WoodNet Forums member 2exhausted designed this end table for his living room as a project in which he could gain experience using shop sawn veneer. He gives special thanks to John Fry who helped him through whole process.

Learned how to make shop sawn veneer, learned an easy way to make perfect cuts on a sled and the correct sequence of gluing everything up..doing the edge band in walnut proved to be a real challenge.
The legs and base are maple. The top is shop sawn birdseye maple over an MDF substrate. It stands 24.5" tall, the base is 19" wide, the top is 20.5" in diameter with the main area up to the roundover profile at 19". More photos along with how-to and discussion at WoodNet. Nice job!