Thursday, February 26, 2015

An Inheritance

Most folks can appreciate when wonderful tools are passed down from previous generations. I hadn't really counted on an inheritance myself. I never met my paternal grandfather, nor did I care to. My father passed while my mother was pregnant with me. Shamefully, when my mother went to collect my father's tools from the foundry where he worked, his co-workers had already looted his toolbox. Nice. So, I took silly pride proclaiming that everything in my shop I had worked for, and paid for myself. You'd think I would would have learned by now,  every time I puff out my chest I'm setting myself up to be humbled.

My wife and I moved to the midwest about a decade ago. I soon learned I had a great aunt and uncle whom I'd never met. This would be my paternal grandfather's youngest brother. To our delight, Wayne and Ethel are wonderful, salt of the earth folks. And wouldn't you know it, Wayne is a woodworker too. He mostly makes wooden toys that he donates to churches, fundraisers and the like. Not just any wood toys either. Wayne made complete functioning train sets, airplanes, and so on.

Unfortunately, I got to know Wayne just as his woodworking days were winding down. He was in his 80's, his eyesight was getting worse, and he no longer trusted himself with power tools. Poor fella had to start living his woodworking dreams vicariously through me. He didn't seem to mind. He's very proud of my shop and the the furniture that has come out of it. And I have to say, I have a renewed pride in my heritage after spending time with him.

Fast forward to this year. Wayne and Ethel are selling their homestead and moving into an assisted living apartment. I was honored when their daughter offered some woodworking tools that had been in the family for generations. I know some of my woodworking friends enjoy this sort of thing too, so I thought I'd share.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Solid Wood Drawer Slide Install- A Tutorial

Alrighty folks, I'll try to ‘splain my wood drawer slide process.

First, find some sort of hardwood in your rack or cutoff bin that would be good for the slides. I used some 5/4 red oak in this case. Hard maple would be even better. 

Then, I make a jig out of scrap plywood and brads. I like to "sandwich" the drawer slide piece(oak in this case) between the plywood scraps. Then I nail it with a crosspiece and edge runners on the underside (pic below). This makes the jig the exact width you need.

Also, I make it so the groove is centered on the drawer side. This way the same jig will work on both sides of the drawer. With your jig made, rout out the groove with a pattern bit.

Routing with the jig in place.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Shop Blog Part Two: Decking it Out, Making it MIne

This is part two of my shop remodel. If you missed part one, you can find it here.

Where were we? It’s the summer of 2013 and I had just finished up my lumber rack. A few other woodworkers gave me grief for using 8/4 oak for that build. Lo siento, it's very reasonable where I live. So, just to rub it in, I was about to "waste" a lot more white oak and walnut in my shop (snicker).

After I moved all that stuff into my new shed, I had a big empty wall in the back of my shop. I sorta missed the ugly old construction lumber bench I had moved into my shed. But I had big plans for a joinery bench in that space back yonder.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Crohn's Curse

Preface: Along with the woodworking madness, I’ve decided to author a few personal blogs. Personal, meaning I’m likely to ramble about my faith, my family, and just about anything else that relates to “worker” as opposed to the “wood.”
I suppose, in a way I’m relating to the throngs of online bloggers out there. It’s a form of expression. Perhaps a way to organize thoughts that seem stuck in my head until I can write the down. I don’t even care if anyone reads this stuff. I just know I need to write it. 

The Past….

In college I met this beautiful girl named Heather. Lucky for me, she was just as taken with me as I with her. We were dating within days of meeting, and we have been inseparable ever since.

Late in our college years she got sick, real sick. The doctors in our little college town were pathetic. A year went by without a diagnosis, so she was in pretty bad shape by the time her parents had to take her back home for some proper care. Diagnosis: Crohn’s disease.

Basically it’s an autoimmune disorder where your immune system inappropriately attacks your own digestive system. The attacks cause ulcers throughout your digestive track and wreaks all kinds of havoc on your body. There is treatment, but no cure (yet!).

Shop Blog Part One - How My Little Slice of Heaven Came to Be

My woodshop is really an extension of our home. I think my kids enjoy it as much as I do. Here's the story of how my little slice of heaven came to be. Just don't call it a garage (chuckle).

I don't have any great "before" pics. You can see my shop in the background of our activities. About five years ago; a tablesaw, drill press, a bench, and my little buddy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Solid Bookmatched Furniture Panels- A Tutorial

They seem simple, but there is some technique to achieving great looking bookmatched panels. On a piece like this blanket chest I'm working on, I always start with the panels. They get the choice cuts, and I want to have some flexibility on the project dimensions depending on how the panels are turning out.