Graduation

For those of you who have read my blog from the beginning, you know that I started this as a requirement of my Information Technology class in the UCONN Executive Masters of Business Administration program.  I am happy to report that on April 9, 2011, I graduated, with honors, from the program! 

SCHOOL’S OUT FOR EVER!!

GrandMa’s Urn

My mom called me up and asked me if I could make and Urn for Grandma.  I was flattered when she asked; however, I asked why didn’t she just buy one ( I was hoping she would tell me that my Grandma said she would be honored to be buried in an Urn built by her grandson!)  My mother replied she was too cheap to buy one.

So I build a couple of Urns like you see in the pictures:

Grandma’s Urn

These are made from oak using raised panel bits.

They finished with a golden oak stain and many coats of polyurethane on the exterior.  The inside is painted with a glossy white enamel paint.  The hinges are brass and I include a keyed lock to make sure the Urn stays closed.

My Grandma is 94 years old and still going strong.  Her mind is slipping but I expect she will live for a very long time before she ends up in the Urn.

My father pasted away shortly after I built these Urn’s.  His ashes were intended to be dumped into the Mississippi river, however, my brother never got around to that.

Now my father resides in the other Urn and sits on top of my brother’s fire-place.

You can buy Urns on the internet for under $200.  I am sure time and material for this project greatly exceed these prices!

 

January 2012 – Update

Grandma died on Christmas day 2011.  She finally ended up in the urn.  Rest in peace.

My Computer Room Desk

Every woodworker who owns a computer dreams of building his own desk.  This is mine.  It is actually part of a grand project to redo the library in my house.

I looked for a design for some time.  I finally found this one in a woodworking site.  I think it cost me $10.

The material is oak.  I used walnut inlays to accent the top

As always, raised panels and full extension draws

 

I found this new stain from General Finishes.  The color is Candlewood.  It is a beautiful and deep color.  I have used this on many follow-up projects.

The Rest of the Bedroom Set

I finished up my son’s bedroom set by build a corner desk and three drawer dresser.  The material again was birch and I matched the design rounding all corners with no exposed pieces of hardware.

 

I must have finished the bed set sometime in 2002 or 2003.  This furniture served us well but in 2009 my son finally grew out of it.  I ended up keeping the desk for my wife’s hobby room and I sold the bedroom set to a college student for a couple of hundred dollars.

Garage Project

In 2002 I moved to Connecticut.  I confiscated a portion of the basement for a woodworking shop but it soon became apparent that it would not do.  I decided to build another garage and recreate my workshop.  Below you will see a picture of the finished workshop.  It is a long story and I have dedicated a page called “The Work Shop” to explain what happened from start to finish.

Turning

A friend of mine posted a comment about his woodworking experience.  He like turning bowls on a lathe.  It turns out that the next project in my history is turning candle holders.  The picture below is of my boys and the candle holders we made together.  They presented these as a gift to their Aunt Gail.  The material is cocobola.  Great turning material.

Everyone who owns a lathe ends up making a lot of bowls.  Here are some of mine.  The material is walnut.

Bird Houses and Feeders

Probably every woodworker at sometime in his career builds bird houses.  My wife loves to watch and feed birds.  I have been building this Bavarian style bird feeder shown below for a very long time.  I have probably built more than 20.  They make great gifts!

I started out building these from cedar.  They turned out great but cedar is expensive and the bird feeders only lasted one or two seasons.  The cedar weathered ok; however, the birds and squirrels like to chew on the wood. 

I switch over to composite material (plastic deck boards) and these bird houses last for many seasons.

I am often asked how I make the roof tiles.  I start with a 1 x6 board and I cut 1/8″ wide strips.  I stack these up and cut them into 1.5″ long blanks.  Each roof requires a little more than 350 tiles.  The next step is to cut the 45 degree chamfer on the bottom on both corners.  This is easily done with a jig on a router table.

All the tile must be glued onto the roof before the roof sections are cut into the final triangular sharpe.  Fortunately, my wife does not mind gluing the tiles.

The spindle on the top of the feeders are custom made on a lathe.

Here is another picture of the last batch of bird feeders.  (You can also see some of tools in the background of this picture.) I am still looking for a picture of the matching bird house.  I know I have a  one somewhere in my database.

Bird House

If you click on the link above, you can see a picture of the matching bird house built from cedar

The Bed

The next couple of years I was busy with a new home and I did not have much time to build furniture.  I did build a custom three-tier deck with a hot tube and a 12 ft tall play set for the kids in the back yard.  Once these things were done, I got back to building furniture.

The next major wood working project was a captains bed for my youngest son.  I took the photo in 2003; however, I build the bed somewhere around 1995 or 1996.

The design came out of a woodworking magazine.  As I remember, there were a number of projects that I built out of that one magazine, but the bed was the most ambitious.

This is called a “Captain’s Bed.”  All the corners are rounded and there are drawers integrated under the mattress inside the bed frame.  This seemed perfect for a little boy.

The bed is made out of birch.  This is the first time I used birch on a woodworking project.  I had to go to a mill and special order the material.  This was also a first in my pursuit of woodworking.

Later you will see that I built a matching dresser and desk.  This will be a post for another day.  I recently sold the bed, nightstand and dresser when my son decided after 13 years in the bed, it was time to upgrade to another bed.

I found another picture of the bed just before I sold the set (2009).  This will give you a good idea what the three-piece set looked like and how it functioned.  Not bad considering I started this around ’96 and I sold it in 2009!

Where It All Started

So this is how it all started……Back in 1992 my father gave me a clock kit.  It consisted of a clock movement, a set of plans and 1 x 10 x 10′ prime walnut board.  My father wanted to do woodworking; however, he never seem to find the time to do it.  He offered the kit to me stating that he would never get around to building the clock.

I was intrigued at the thought of build the clock.  I had never worked with walnut and I believed I was capable of excellent work.  Unfortunately, right after I received the kit, I was transferred to Rochester, NY from Detroit Michigan.  It took several months to get established and finally I started working on the clock.  I had a small workshop in the basement of my new home.  In retrospect it was a terrible place to do woodworking.

My first attempts were an utter failure.  I ruined the entire walnut board trying to cut, router, and assemble.  I still have all of the pieces I tried to make.  I put the kit away for several more months and during this time I read many magazines that taught woodworking techniques

I bought another walnut board ($100).  My second attempt was better but still not acceptable.  I finally finished the clock in 1994 and judge for yourself but I think it turned out pretty good!

Walnut Clock

I presented this clock as a gift to my father in February 1994.  When I gave it to him, I asked to get it back when he passed away as part of his will.  In 2003 (the year I photographed the clock) my dad passed away and the clock was returned to me.

The clock sits proudly in my office.  I look at it every day.  It reminds me to think of my father and it was the beginning of a life long passion. 

I will publish a larger picture of the clock and follow-up with the next story later this week.

Making Progress Setting Up My Blog, But Still Work-In-Process

Today There has been a lot of changes made to my blog since yesterday.  I am working through the tutorial and I have changed the theme, layout and description of this blog.  This is still very much work in process.

Since this site is going to be dedicated to my woodworking passion, I thought it might be nice to show you a picture of my woodshop under construction.   (Really what I am trying to do is figure out how to add content to a post and to see what it looks like when it is published.)  There is a long story to tell about the woodshop; however, I need to lay some ground work on how I got into woodworking.  I will start with this once I finish setting up the website.