Aspen Log Glassybaby Holder

aspen log glassybaby holderThis aspen log glassybaby holder was a present for a friend’s birthday.  The wood came from a felled Aspen on their property in Winthrop, WA.  They had originally requested a coat rack for their cabin, and I had the idea while staying out there to use the aspen for it.  Not a great woodworking wood, but I love how they both turned out.  The hard part was finding the hardware for the coat rack – stalled the project for a long while, but then I came across them at The ReStore.

Aspen Coat Rack      Aspen Coat Rack

The log glassybaby holder itself is – like the coat rack – fairly simple.  The second half of the aspen log sanded flat on the bottom, with four rubber feet, and spaces for the three Glassybaby votives drilled with a large forstner bit.

aspen log glassybaby holder      aspen log glassybaby holderaspen log glassybaby holder


End Grain Chopping Board – Cherry, Maple & Walnut

End grain chopping board in Maple, Cherry and Walnut

This end-grain chopping board was a gift made for an old teammate, confidant and incredibly close friend.  A pal.  A man’s man. A ladies man. An all-round good guy. One of life’s winners. You know, the kind of guy who deserved it, and that had previously given me a piece of cherry that I had used for another end-grain board, and I wanted to make him something with the remainder.  The one I made for myself was a little smaller, and is primarily used as a cheese board.

Making an End Grain Chopping Board

The design for this board was created with CB Designer – a great little program that helps you work out the design before making a cut. There is also an online version that is handy for those that don’t manage to get the original installed… (does not work with Internet Explorer, but seems to work fine with Firefox).

Edge grain glue up

dried edge grain glue up



This is the initial glue-up, following ripping the cherry, maple and walnut to the correct widths (note: the height doesn’t really matter at this stage, as we will plane it down once glued).



Afterwards, we run it through the planerPlaned edge grain board





Crosscutting the edge grainThen we cut it to height using a cross-cut sled on the table saw, and line them up on end, and flip every second piece to create the pattern




Glue-up End-grain cutting board glue up





Then sand it down smooth board




round-over the cornersThen round-over the edges

wipe on varnish, midway through...




Then, for this one, I used the Wood Whisperer’s wiping varnish method, although



16-end-grain-board-post-varnishingI’m still not 100% convinced about it’s longevity, but it looks good at the start!




Feet on end grain chopping boardAdded feet




The finished article: End grain chopping board in Cherry, Maple and Walnut.  Even though he only uses it as a cheese board as he’s too scared to use it. End grain chopping board in Maple, Cherry and Walnut


Also, here is a test to check something

Walnut, Cherry & Maple Cutting Board

Drew cabinet cutting board

This board was a 40th birthday present for a friend.  He had asked if I could knock him together a board as his existing board was in bad shape.  He has a slot in his kitchen counter that the existing one slides into. This is a long-grain board, so not ideal as a chopping board, however, still better than the existing plywood one that has seen better days!

Walnut maple & cherry cutting board First I cut the walnut, maple and cherry stock to the desired length and widths, following glue-up, the board was run through the planer to make a straight board.  I marked out dovetails to cut and attach an extra piece of wood to act as a pull for the board to remove it from it’s slot in the cabinet. I then hand-cut dovetails and glued the pieces together.





Walnut maple & cherry cutting board   Walnut maple & cherry cutting board I then routed a juice channel in the walnut, maple & cherry cutting board, as well as adding a groove on the underside of the dovetailed walnut piece to allow for easy removal from its slot. The cutting board was then finished with several coats of mineral oil. Walnut maple & cherry cutting board walnut-maple-cherry-cutting-board5   Walnut maple & cherry cutting board Voila – one walnut, maple & cherry cutting board.  Now, only 8 months later, I managed to get round to cuting a chunk of the handle off as it won’t fit in the slot, and fixing his cabinet as the board is too thin for the existing rickety rails.  Note to self: start too big next time. Here are some more shots of the finished article with the trimmed handle and a new groove routed in to make it easer to grab.

drew cabinet cutting board  drew cabinet cutting board drew cabinet cutting board  drew cabinet cutting board

And here are a few shots of it in situ.

drew cabinet cutting boarddrew cabinet cutting board

Maple and Walnut Cheese Boards

These are two maple and walnut cheese boards made from a single piece of 2″ thick maple.  As ever, the designs were dependent on the character in the wood.  These two maple and walnut cheese boards have since been given as gifts to my wife’s brother and parents.

maple walnut cheese board      maple walnut cheese board

The maple was run through the dado stack to create the feet in each case.  Then ‘sections’ created in each board by inlaying walnut.

maple walnut cheese board      maple walnut cheese board

maple walnut cheese board

I have since changed the way I do this, following the dado stack, I now finish the underside of the cheese boards with a bowl-carving router bit to give rounded inside edges.

Update: I also started making some wooden cheese knives so that these boards get less hacked up as people use them. These ones are on the larger side for the old folks.. 🙂 :

maple cheese knives      maple cheese board with knives

maple cheese board with knives

Square Cherry Cheese Board with Walnut Inlay

This square cherry cheese board with walnut inlay was made using some cherry that my wife gave me for our 5th wedding anniversary.  Cut to approximately 7 1/2″ square.  The base was then cut out using a dado stack on the table saw. Two perpendicular cuts were made and walnut inlay pieces cut from some larger stock. Following the glue-up, all edges were rounded-over and the board sanded with some 320 grit sandpaper.  The cheese board was then finished with Odie’s Wood Butter.

square cherry cheeseboard walnut inlay

square cherry cheeseboard walnut inlay  Botched the brand a little, but my sister-in-law seemed to like it none-the-less.  Continue reading

Maple & Purple Heart Centerpiece with Stainless Steel

This was a house-warming present for two friends who had just moved into a new house.  This was a hefty piece of Maple, some half inch thick purple heart, and some large stainless steel angles, drilled and screwed into the maple.

Maple & Purple Heart Centerpiece

Once I had finished it with Odie’s wood butter, the purple heart turned more red-looking, and ultimately make this piece look like the Scotsman’s favourite: the England flag.  I thought I was safe with the American recipients, but after a few minutes, he looked at me and said, “St. George?”.  Damn it.

Maple & Purple Heart Centerpiece

Building a Cedar Storage Bench

cedar-bench-pre-clearcoatOne of my first projects was to build a cedar storage bench for the back deck at our house.  I  wanted to avoid the trips to the back of the garage to collect the cushions for the patio furniture, and also give us a place to sit with a coffee in the morning sun.  We had a small table and chairs squeezed in there previously, but got rid of them for the bench.



The design for this was based on some planter boxes that Marc Green had made.  Definitely overkill with the amount of lumber, and definitely harder without a table saw!  The cedar storage bench needed a clear-coat (and admittedly needs another coat now…), to avoid the wood graying, which would have not been a recipe for marital bliss.

I was pretty happy with the end result.  I’m sure there are things I would do differently now, and I’ll likely remake the lid at some stage, but not too bad for a start.  Functional, and (I think) pretty good looking.

Cedar storage benchWooden cedar storage bench

Buying a Bandsaw

Well, I decided that I needed to buy a bandsaw.  I’m not sure what my logic was that made me think that buying a bandsaw was the best choice at the time, but anyway.  I eventually justified it to myself and went to a store that sells Jet seconds (items that have had boxes damaged or some scratched paint, but otherwise pretty much perfect) that get sold for about half the normal recommended price.

Jet 10" benchtop bandsawI went there to buy the bigger Jet (14″ closed stand) band saw, but ended up just buying a benchtop Jet 10″ Benchtop Bandsaw (JWBS-10OS) for $100.  Screaming deal.  But I completely agree with the video review at that link – the blade that it comes with travels all over the shop, so getting good straight cuts, even with a fence is next to impossible.  I’ve just ordered the blade that he recommended, which should hopefully help somewhat.  I’ll post an update when I’ve tried it. Things to consider when trying to buy a band saw: What are you going to use it for – resawing (i.e. chopping big bits of wood into smaller workable bits of wood for your project) is one of the big uses of a band saw, but the one I bought is DEFINITELY NOT designed with this in mind.  If you are wanting it to cut wood (2″ or less?) into different irregular shapes, then this saw does just fine.  One thing that I wanted to do was cut a log – roughly 6″ diameter – in half lengthwise, but there is not a great enough gap between the table and the housing to let the log pass, which was a little annoying. If I could turn back the clock, I don’t know if I’d buy a bandsaw, or if I would still buy this one.  For $100, it was a good deal, but if you want to do ANY resawing, I’d recommend that you look elsewhere.  I’d also recommend that you start your tool collection with buying a table saw. 🙂 But I realize that is a tough purchase out of the gate…

Converting the Garage into a Workshop

The first step in making the idea of starting to create things with wood was to build a workshop.garage workshop from east door  A daunting task at first, but with the help of some friends, some books and the internets – you can do pretty much anything you set your mind to.  We were lucky enough to have a double garage on our property with three doors – one on the east side and two on the north side, but as we wanted a back yard for our dog, we got rid of the parking pad on the north side and put in grass – with that, the ability to park two cars in the garage vanished, and freed me up to make the North half of the garage into a workshop.

framing out the workshopAn architect friend, Erin, with hands on remodeling experience gave me some ideas, so I started the project, putting in a small cinderblock wall so that when a wet/snowy car is parked in the ‘garage side’ that it would not leak through to the workshop side (funny slopes because of the multiple doors…).  I then added mortar and some J-bolts to the mortar to give a solid base to attach the framing to.  Then Erin came in to ‘help’ (in a big way!) with framing out the workshop.

garage workshopOnce complete, I wired sockets, boarded up the garage side, insulated and boarded up the workshop walls.  Then, apart from hiring an electrician to run the sub-panel before I boarded up the walls, that was it!




Finished Garage Workshop

While the double-doors opening onto the grass seems odd at first, it gives good access, allows me to work with bigger stock and while losing wall space, definitely makes this half-garage workshop a lot more flexible than if the doors were boarded up.