It seems I have been taking my sweet time in updating this blog of mine… Well, I was full of good intentions but it seems that time is just flying and that I can’t find much of it to complete the blog. So, here is what I will be doing below. I will be listing all the previous projects I have completed in chronological order. I don’t have the exact dates for each as these projects span about 15 years. I’ll put the years when I remember them.
Chest on Chest (around 1996) – Woodsmith plan #125
This was my very first “serious” project to start making my own furniture. I only had a brand new bought table saw, the same I still own today – the Ridgid 10”. Everything for these pieces was done on that table saw. Again, this was my first serious project and I had not learned the famous “measure twice, cut once” rule. I therefore cut much more than once. I have to say that I learned quickly from the first few mistakes not to trust myself and take my time in measuring and cutting wood. You can see the major mistake in the lower drawer of the top chest not being the same size as the others. Essentially, of course, all three drawers were supposed to be the same size. Well, I’ll pretend that this was my design choice and we’ll leave it at that!
Armoire (around 2004) – Woodsmith plan #102
I built this armoire before I built my bed and side tables (these were built together a year later). These items were the cornerstone of starting to furnish my new house. I had just moved from a 1-bedroom apartment to a 3-bedroom house. Finding cheap furniture was key considering all the expenditures both planned and unplanned (usually the most expensive, relatively speaking) that occur when you are buying a house. For those who have never bought a house, you should expect to spend an additional 10%, at least, of your total house cost. When this is not budgeted for, this is what hurts the most…
This piece of furniture was fairly big and unwieldy to work on. I’m happy to say that I had my father’s help on this one as, alone, it would not have been pretty. Fortunately, I had decided not to glue and screw some pieces in the armoire. I say fortunately because the weight of the thing was impressive with everything included. The box of drawers inside was removed as well as the top and doors.
The hinges I bought should not have been used on this piece of furniture. They are hanging hinges and I need to lift the doors to remove them making this an impossible process when you consider that the top actually overhangs the doors. So, once I completed it including varnish, everything was screwed in place and the doors were no longer coming off.
Nightstand tables (April – December 2005) – Woodsmith plan #124
These side tables were a fun little project to build. There were new techniques for me to learn and apply. The fun part was that I was making 4 in total. Two for me and two for my best friend. There isn’t much to say about these. Everything was pretty straightforward in the build. I took my time and they turned out great.
Living room coffee table (December 2005) – Woodsmith plan #141
The original plan for this coffee table was to use it as a working desk. However, the height of my couch is not enough for the height of the table once open. Build was fairly straightforward with nothing of note to mention. The only problem that is dogging me to this day is making proper 45-degree cuts! I can’t seem to ever get these correct whatever I try.
I have stained this piece the same color that I used for the nightstand tables and bed. You can see that color here with my then baby (3 months old) Weimaraner, Kimiko.
Wood station (December 2005) – ShopNotes plan #55
As my woodworking was progressing apace, I was ending up with lots of smaller parts that I didn’t want to throw out “just in case…” I saw this in ShopNotes and decided to build it. I had a friend help me who was not used to woodworking and to whom the rule, nay, law, “measure twice, cut once” was unknown. We had fun as I would argue that some things seemed crooked and he’s assure me that they were straight and I’d challenge him to recalculate and he’d see there were actually mistakes. There was also my workbench that we built together that fit together magically however many mistakes we made. We’re still wondering how it actually all lined up properly. Well, I imagine that if you rout enough dadoes, you get a few that are ultimately aligned! I’m not showing that masterpiece but you can see it in the background of some pictures.
So, the wood station was put on big casters, as I need to have everything on wheels, as it is a garage that actually gets used for putting cars in as well as motorcycles at that time. It served its purpose well until I changed houses and had less space. It was destroyed and the wood reused where possible. Such is life.
Bed (January 2006) – Woodsmith plan #108
This was the most challenging work I had done so far in my woodworking hobby career. There were a number of complications that I had never done before but the plans were clear and brilliantly made, especially for the lats. That was just brilliant and made everything much easier to assemble. The pictures show how it was done. For this project, I “had” to buy a few tools that have served me faithfully ever since.
Making the jig for the routing was a challenge in itself as it was incredibly important that everything be straight. I bought a new router kit – it came with a fixed and plunge base.
I then made the lats but they were slightly too proud so had to be put on the jointer to thin. Yes, you did see a brand new DeWalt planer in the background. This piece of equipment actually was taken out and used only about 3 years ago… for my home office project.
Office Desks (December 2010) – Original design inspired by the Sticotti desk design
A friend introduced me to a high end furniture store and I saw this type of desk. I was quite impressed by it and the fact that it was very minimalist and clean lines. This is what I like in the furniture I build. I used the pictures I could see on the website and made the design in SketchUp. I had no idea of the actual size and thickness of the wood used so let’s just say that I over-engineered it. The vertical posts are 1.5” thick. This is being held up by a top cross beam that is bolted in the wall studs. The three posts hang off of this via a 45-degree cut in. I later went to the store and had a look at the actual desk. The original size of the posts is 5/8”… Mine is sturdy! 😉 The shelves slide in grooves cut into the posts and are held there by this over only 3”.
The desk is somewhat larger and deeper than the original design. I was thinking of adding small front legs to it but decided against it. I wanted to see how it would hold up. It’s holding up very well after a few years of use. Both desks are being used on a daily basis as we work from home.
Hanging shelves and cupboard (January 2010) – Original design
I have build these custom made cabinets and hanging shelves for my best friend’s new house. She had an interior designer come and suggest various things for her to do to in her house’s upper level. Unfortunately, that designer not being a woodworker told my friend that it should be done in MDF… I hate that stuff. A profound hatred of it.
I made a design based on what she was telling me she wanted. She had seen my office furniture and really liked the free flow design and this is what she opted for her shelves. As everything “needed” to be done in MDF, I got a very good dust mask to start working. The whole project took me about 3 months to complete, including the paint job. As payment, she bought me the Fuji Q4 Gold. All the frustration and hatred of working with MDF evaporated when I started using the paint gun. What a complete and utter joy to use. And the speed! I just couldn’t believe it. Extremely fast and easy to use. Gave great coverage and I was able to complete this otherwise very long paint job in about 2 days. This is the tool that I use now for all staining and painting I need to do.
Fold-up desk (June 2012) – Original design
Epic fail! I need to redo this desk, at least the desk part. Well, it’s out there. I’m really unhappy with this desk. Here is what happened.
I laminated the boards using the conventional one up, one down configuration to ensure I would not get cupping. The frame was built according to my friend’s wishes and it needed to be very discrete. This meant that there would be pieces of wood that would server as a stretcher across the boards for the desktop. This resulted in an incredible curvature after 12 months of existence… I need to completely redo the top with the appropriate modifications. I think it will be easy to convince my friend that I need to put additional structures that will make the whole look a bit heavier but much more sturdy and the work surface will stay flat. I’m thinking that I could integrate metal in the cross-members so that it will be smaller but very sturdy.
So, that is it for all my past woodworking. I am slowing down on that front a bit as I have all the furniture I need. There may be some things that I will be redoing, for example the electronics and sound system cupboard that I built with crazily warped plywood.
I am now meddling in DIY electronics! I have built a pre-amplifier and am currently building an amplifier. The B24 from AMB.org. I’ve already built a pair of speakers, the Mini-Statements by Curt’s Speaker Design Works. I am currently building my second pair of speakers, the Ellam Flex 3W from Troels Gravesen. I will post pictures of the build when I am done with them.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and happy holidays!