A Thank You Gift Build - Part 2

Alright, so I went out the next morning to make sure my four sides were a match. 

So close!! 

So close!! 

They were not.  Knowing basic geometry helped me determine that if I was going to make a rectangle, I'd need two sets of equal length sides.  Well, my one of my long sides was too short.  I tried cutting it three times, but it still came up short.  Must be something wrong with the saw... 

I knew I had to make a new side, and I was semi-dreading it.   

Success! 

Success! 

Well I shouldn't have.  It took me all of five minutes to cut a new piece to rough length, chamfer the inside corner, rabbet the recess for the picture and glass, and cut my 45s.  A quick swipe on the shooting board and I was in business. 

A quick side note  - I have never been a hand took woodworker.  This moment was a huge one for me.  The fact that I could make a new piece that quickly made me realize just how much time I would have spent getting my dado blade on the saw, remembering I needed a 45, getting the dado height just right, cutting my dado, putting the original blade back on, making it 45, cutting the chamfer, making it 90, setting my miter gauge to 45, cutting the two sides, then sweeping up/coughing up the dust.  This moment really made me appreciate my wonderful hand tools.

Ok, back to the build... 

I took a few more swipes on the shooting board, but eventually... 

Practice pooch picture  

Practice pooch picture  

Success!  Now I can't describe in words the feeling that happens when the fourth piece of a frame slides perfectly into its slit, but wow.  I put on some masking tape and admired my work. 

On IG I asked if the masking tape was classy or trashy and was told it depended on where in the country you are located.  Well, I'm in VA and they're in ME, so although I figured I was safe, I decided to glue it up anyway. 

A coat of stain, three coats of poly, and a nice finish of wax and the frame is ready!

The happiest place on earth! 

The happiest place on earth! 

My thoughts on this project are completely positive.  I probably could have finished an hour faster with power tools, but I still would have had to do final adjustments by hand.  I enjoyed the quiet, listened to some music, and was able to work with my kids around which is a huge deal for me. 

Thank for reading, and leave a comment! 

A Thank You Gift Build Part 1

Alright, my first build on my newish site.  Thanks to me, for being the only one who reads this! 

Two weeks ago, my wonderful in-laws took my family and I to Disney World for the week.  We desperately want to thank them, and one of our ideas it a nice picture of the six of us in a frame.  Of course, like any good woodworker I offer to build the frame, knowing it will mean more. 

I finally made it out in the shop tonight to get started.  First thing I did was find a piece of cherry, as it will match most of their furniture.   The nice thing about a picture frame is it doesn't use a lot of lumber!  I'm thinking of adding an accent wood, but for now the cherry looks great.   

Time to cut.

I once had a very awkward three minutes with Roy Underhill when I made a joke about a CNC machine, and he played 19th century on me.  Trying to explain a CNC to a 19th century Roy is a fun game.  One day I will get there, but until I get a rip panel saw, I started by ripping the parts on my 21st century bandsaw. 

To make sure a machine was not the final thing that touches any of the parts, I quickly planed the four sides flat and square. 

 

That is the same shop-vac that the pilgrims used... 

That is the same shop-vac that the pilgrims used... 

Ok, so far so good.  I don't really care about length or the edges, since they will all be metered anyway.  Oh yeah.  I get to try to attain 45 degrees by hand. 

 

You can use the word "chamfer" in a sentence to test if someone is a woodworker or not... 

You can use the word "chamfer" in a sentence to test if someone is a woodworker or not... 

Next I decided to chamfer the inside edge of the frame.  I may round over the outside edge, but I'm still not certain on the final width or whether or not an accent wood will be involved, so for now a nice 45 (er...43,46,44) degree chamfer will have to do.   I used a marking gauge to mark out about a quarter inch from each edge.  Then with my Lie Nielsen 60 1/2 (60.5? 121/2?) Low Angle Block Plane I chamfered down to the lines.  Yes, I capitalize the names of my planes.  No, it does not mean that I treat as if they were my children.  The fact that they each have their own bedroom means that I treat them like my children.

 

Holy crap, I'm done! 

Holy crap, I'm done! 

At this point I lined up the pieces to see if my chamfer was close on all four.  Not too shabby.  I quickly played with grain orientation to determine top, bottom and sides, and then skipped several important steps. 

 

I forgot my hot dog! 

I forgot my hot dog! 

I used a crosscut saw (Lie Nielsen) to cut a rough 45 on one end of each piece.  I really wasn't sure whether a crosscut or rip would be better, as I was doing half of each, but the crosscut seemed to do the job.  Then I used a square and a shooting board to shoot (chute?) the 45.  I had no faith that this would work. 

 

Rare example of a shaker square, unearthed in New Hampshire.   Ca. 1855  

Rare example of a shaker square, unearthed in New Hampshire.   Ca. 1855  

But it freaking did! 

This is when I realized that I still needed a rabbet in the rear for the glass, picture, and hardboard to fit into.  I also should have done that prior to cutting and shooting.  Oh well.   

Curly Q

Curly Q

To cut out the rabbet, I used the marking gauge to mark a line on the back of the frame.  Then, using the Lie Nielsen Skew Block Plane, I made many cuts down to the line.  I could have used a saw to cut this corner out, since it won't be seen, but this plane is awesome.  It has a removable side and a nicker, so it scores the grain, then the skewed blade takes out perfect strips.  I have it set deep, and it makes a nice cut every time.  It also has a depth gauge to keep your cuts consistent.  It's like a block plane, a rabbeting block plane, and a moving fillister all in one.  

Plus the shavings are great fire starters!

We are at what I call "The Walmart Stage" as in I could get crap like this at Target. 

We are at what I call "The Walmart Stage" as in I could get crap like this at Target. 

I cut the other side of each piece to rough length, but am stopping for the night.  I need to run out and get a piece of glass so that I can get everything exact, and I'm not running out in my shorts at 11:43 at night.   

Of course since no one is reading this, who cares?

Nesting

Many animals (including humans) go through a "nesting" period before giving birth.  They clean (make their SO clean), organize (ditto), arrange (yup), paint (you guessed it), build a den, or literally build a nest to get ready for their new offspring. 

I'm wondering if anyone else does this before a new project?

I've got a project in mind right now, I know where to start, I've got the tools and the lumber, but for some reason I can't get started.  

 My friend traded me a beautiful piece of Mahogany (yes I capitalized that on purpose) for a Gramercy bow saw kit.  It's just lying there in my shop.  Ready to go.  I've drawn up some plans.  Rough plans, but I'm much more a "plan as you go" type of woodworker.  I've sharpened some plane irons.  Then I sharpened a few chisels.  I cleaned my workshop, rearranged the floor plan, moved my table saw, pulled my bench out from the wall and oiled it, swept, and hung some curtains.  Now I've got this beautiful bench (okay, it's ugly, but it's mine) and a gorgeous piece of lumber ready to go.

I guess it's time I start pushing...


About Me

You're probably asking yourself - Who is this guy? How did I get here? Where's my sandwich? Well, in order of importance - On the counter where you left it, probably by accident, and I'm Jonathan.

Nice to meet you too.

I'm a second grade teacher, father of two, and husband of one. I also do some woodworking. By some woodworking I mean, a dozen or cutting boards, three bookshelves, two stools, two toy chests, and a handful of other things.

However, the next time we meet, I would love to introduce myself as father of two, husband of one, woodworker. Furniture maker. Cabinetmaker, joiner, carpenter even.

When you go to college to teach, you take class after class, read book after book, and listen to lecture after lecture. Then, you get sent into a school for an hour or two a week. Then when you're ready - student teaching. Everything is real except the paycheck.

This is where you've found me. I'm student woodworking.

I've studied.

I've read.

I've listened.

Underhill, Schwarz, Lowe, Rousseau, Tolpin, Krenov, Wearing, Walker, Frid, Hack. I've had the best teachers.

I've built furniture for my home, cutting boards as gifts, and even did a craft fair. Better yet, I almost broke even at a craft fair. Now I'm going to start building with the intention to sell.  And hopefully profit.  And hopefully make a living.

Along the way, I'll have a blog where I'll talk about what I'm working on; whether a piece to sell, business decisions to make, or shop work. I'll list the tools I use and write reviews for them - a little of everything. Old and new, Lie-Nielsen and Lee Valley, shop-made and bought. I'll also discuss different publications that I've read.

I know there are a lot of people who are in my position, and if you choose to follow me, you'll get to see it all. Every tear out, split, crack, and boneheaded decision. I'd love your feedback, criticism, ideas, critiques, or even compliments.

Woodworking can be such a lonely hobby sometimes, let's do this together.