Old Table; New House

As it worked out, the new sunroom is the perfect size for the trestle table. Reassembling it really showed how the Douglas Fir has darkened with age. One interesting discovery was the top is cupped. Bit which i think is due to the bottom drying out faster than the top due to the bottom only having a thin layer of finish. I’m hoping this will balance out over time.

First Work at the New House

We are in the new house finally and the San Francisco house is officially on the market. We are still waiting on the moving truck to deliver most of the furniture but my shop was sent ahead via Uhaul’s U-Boxes.

My wife ordered a closet system from John Louis Home and I was very impressed with it compared to most flat pack furniture. One feature is you can convert fixed shelf cutoffs into adjustable shelves.

I managed to find my doweling jig and after trying to hold the parts stead on a bar chair I roped the family into a few hours of garage cleanup and unpacking so I could set up the bench.

House Sale Prep

The workshop is packed and on the way to the new adventure, all that remains are my portable woodworking tool kit and my 20v dewalt tool set. The house is in good shape so other than paint prep, the main work is in the yard.

The old sandbox needed a new lid so a headed over to the lumber yard in Marin County to grab some 1×8 redwood planks only to discover that 1x12s were 50 cents cheaper per linear foot (not board foot, linear). Couldn’t pass up on that.

Next came the cover for the irrigation valves (which I’ve been meaning to build for years). A frame of 1.5×1.5 svg Douglas fir (leftover from the dining table project years ago) covered with old 1×6 redwood and cutoffs from the new sandbox lid. I was even able to reuse the extra hinges from the old sandbox lid (wider boards meant fewer joints).

Looking forward to setting up the new shop in a few months.

Chairs are Done! (only 5 years late)

Well, nearly 5 years past the deadline my wife set but the dining chairs are finally done.  The final kick in the pants was the realization that we are having four adult family members join us for Thanksgiving this year and the wooden bench was shipped to Wyoming in May so we had no additional seating.  Luckily, I had assembled the undercarriages  several months ago so I needed to shape the spindles and add the tendons to the ends and level the chair legs. After seeing the effects of the reduced humidity on some of the wooden furniture that is already in Wyoming, I realized I needed to dry out the spindles before final shaping/compression so they spend a few days in an unused bathroom with a de-humidifier running constantly.

Unfortunately, during the assembly I realized that the decision to have the crest rail use a flatter curve than the back of the seat meant that the outer spindles should have been slightly longer than the inner ones; something I missed with the test chair.

The chairs then received a final “make pretty” cleanup of sanding and hide glue removal and a spray down with distilled water to raise the grain before a light sanding.  Then I applied a watered-down version of the stain used on the bench and a coat of BLO mixed with earth pigments.

Around this time, I realized I was almost out of denatured alcohol to thin my shellac for spraying.  After seeing it wasn’t listed at any of my local Ace’s I drive to Home Depot where had none on the shelves.  The paint department seemed perplexed, so I called Lowe’s who also said they had none in stock.  I’m still in California so my first thought was it must have been banned and sure enough, the state had banned it to reduce VOC emissions…

After a couple of days looking at alternatives (camp fuel and lab grade ethanol) I realized there is a distributor for Mohawk Shellac Reducer in downtown San Francisco, so I now have a commercial account (ban only applied to retail sales).  After spraying the chairs with several coats of amber shellac I all I can say is I love the stuff.  The final finish was so much smoother than denatured alcohol and well worth the 3x price.

All in, I’m pretty happy with the results though I realized I missed the joinery of my other projects so my next one will use dovetails.

Finishing an Old Project – tool chest conplete

Years ago when I lived in an 800 sqf condo I did my woodworking at a TechShop in downtown San Francisco. This meant I was carting my hand tools back and forth from home to shop so I built Mike Pecoviches portable tools chest from fine woodworking.

Once we moved to a house i stopped using Tech shop and it ended up living on a side bench for tool storage and I never added the dividers and tool storage.

This summer we will be spending two months in Wyoming which will include at least a few woodworking projects so I decided it was time to set it up with my minimum tool kit using scrap wood from the garage. The dividers were left overs from a humidor project a friend gifted me when he moved and the saw lock is from an old tool chest i found on the side of the road years ago (it is really light and strong so i suspect old growth redwood stained by the water damage that ruined the chest).

I will probably do a bit more adjusting, especially in the drawers, but overall this neatly holds the tools to do almost anything. We will see how it holds up to the drive.

Redwood Fossil Box

Its been a while since I made any progress has been made on the major projects so thought I would pst a quickie. Over the summer we were hiking on our Wyoming property looking for small fossils when my oldest found a shark tooth. While I mentally know there was a huge inland sea across the middle of the US but finding a fossilized shark tooth in a hill in the middle of a high altitude desert.

I had promised we would build a box for it and other fossils but the US2020 election was pretty crazy so it got delayed until recently. As I was packing up the shop he found a chunk of redwood 4×4 that he wanted to use for his box so I decided to make a bandsaw box (a first for me). We went with rare earth magnets epoxied in place as the catch.

All in all not bad but we glued the bottom in rotated 180 degrees and we had to use Gorilla Glue since I was out of titebond. We will line the inside with cloth eventually so the foam squeeze out is not a concern. A wet sanded coat of BLO followed by spray can shellac and finished with dark paste wax.

Quick Project

Work has been driving me into the ground so I have been having trouble getting into the shop. I decided I needed a small project and my shop is a mess so shop storage was the name of the game and Popular Woodworkings french tool rack fit the bill.

I Can Do That: Easy Tool Rack

Dimensions were determined by on hand lumber and Im happy with the outcome. Needs sone tweaking but looks good.

Chair progress (no really)

Apparently it took a pandemic but the dining chairs have reached a milestone with the attachment of their legs. Since my company went work from home i have gained 4-5 hours a day in commute time.

Once I finish trimming the legs to length I can add some black epoxy to fill gaps and then plane/sand the seats flat.

In the background you can see a pile of redwood that was originally slated for storage in my wife’s office but is now going to become a standing desk for me.

Turning Tapered Tenons

I took advantage of a day without meetings at work and snuck over to the office workshop yesterday afternoon. I had been milling the leg blanks for weeks and it was time to do the turning. After a few trys i got it down to the minimal amount of moves and managed to get the entire batch together.

After getting roughly round i marked the two spots for the parting tool.

After getting two my two depths i removed most of the material with a roughing gouge.

Then i added a rough cove.

Then smoother it out with a chisel gouge.

At home I used a hatchet to remove the left over and then finished shaving with my Veritas Tapered Tenon cutter.

My Son has his first tool.

Over the weekend my oldest and I took a woodworking class together at a neighborhood shop where we built a kid sized mallet. The owner used to be a kindergarten teacher so it was a great experience for my son who has a tendency to not really listen.

After a 2.5 hour class we had a decent kid sized wooden mallet but my sone wanted to add some wood to the gaps around the wedge but i suggested some black tinted 24 hour epoxy which we also used to fill in a loose knot.

The next day i used a card scraper to smooth off the epoxy and my son sanded everything smooth before adding raw linseed oil thinned with true turpentine.

Why yes that is a Claro Walnut child’s mallet (the owner had received some free cutoffs from someone). Once the oil cures we might add some shellac but we will see.