Friday, July 4, 2014

Fitting in

The final carcass construction for the hanging wall cabinet requires a lot of fine tuning of the drawer dividers and shelves. Even on a small piece like this, dialing in the thickness of the dividers and notching everything out to create a nice clean joint really makes the difference in a hand-built piece. Any gaps or loose joints will definitely get noticed, especially in the drawer dividers where there's nowhere to hide. This short episode also shows how important hand tools are even if you have a predominantly electron-fueled shop. Then, in the next episodes I will focus on the door fronts and then the curved drawers.


Right click to download the HD version of this video

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Divide and conquer

Well, this one isn't called the groove project for nothin'. While I now have all the shelves in place, I still needed to address the divider that will house the three drawers. Since the vertical dividers need to slide into grooves in both the horizontal divider and case bottom, this is the last step before being able to glue up the carcass. While it sounds like a fairly simple task, I decided to make these stopped grooves which eliminated a few options such as the dado stack on my table saw. But I thought of an old trick on a rarely-used jig to solve the problem.




Right click to download the HD version of this video

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Making Lemonade

Moving along in my hanging wall cabinet project, I was really starting to feel like I was getting my groove back. In this next phase of the project, however, I needed to tackle some tricky joinery with some fairly thin stock. While this project originally seemed like a good way to ease myself back into woodworking game shape, I quickly realized the joinery I decided to use - stopped dados and sliding dovetails - wasn't going to be quite a easy as I hoped.

As it turns out, my biggest challenge actually had little to do with experience, technique, or materials. But rather a simple design flaw in a tool that can be found in almost every shop. In this episode, you can find out where I ran into trouble and how I plan to make lemons out of lemonade.

Right click to download the HD version of this video

Monday, March 24, 2014

How Bois got his groove back...

Sometimes, despite your best intentions you just can't always find time to get into the shop. I hear it all the time from fellow woodworkers, but I was sure I was immune to this terrible condition. Well it finally happened to me - for about the last nine months. But I was not discouraged. I believe that in many ways woodworking is just like riding a bike - you hop back on and it all comes back. But when it comes to more refined techniques and skills, these are things you need to hone on a regular basis to stay in shape.

So with a big project looming in the future, I was a bit hesitant to just jump right back on the saddle. I decided to design something that would help me hone those skills again with a lower risk factor, while also resulting in something I could be proud of and share. You know, something to help me get my groove back. So this next episode is what I call my "groove" project. And as I'm finding out, this will take on a double meaning as you get into a few episodes. If nothing else, I hope I can inspire some folks who have been arm-chair quarterbacking to get back in the game. Or back it the saddle. Or whatever metaphor works best for you. Enjoy!

Right click to download the HD version of this video

Monday, February 24, 2014

The definitive shop tour

It's been a long time since my last post, and I've gotten a lot of emails and questions about my time off. Well sometimes life just happens. I have a job now that requires quite a bit more travel and free time has gotten tougher to come by. However, I did find the time to work on one of the most requested "projects" I've gotten over the past few years - a shop tour.

I'm at the stage now with the shop where I have the tools and the workflow in place to accommodate my design and construction methods. I have a few more tweaks I want to make here and there, and a shop is never truly done. But for the most part I'm at a point in the evolution of my shop that I'm tuning rather than filling major gaps.

I have also completed the design and dimensioning phases of my next project, which will be my next series. In my time off I also spent some time and money to upgrade my entire video and audio setup as well as my production software. As a result, you should see a much higher quality of production in this new series (sadly the shop tour was done entirely on my old equipment).

If you have any questions about my shop setup, rationale for various decisions, or feedback on any of the tools and processes, just shoot me a comment. As always I'm happy to respond (at least when I'm not at 40,000 feet).


Right click to download the HD version of this video

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A photo finish

I think I made this project far more complicated than it needed to be. But despite my mistakes and design changes, I think I actually ended up with something at least presentable in the end. I built this piece from the beginning to show at The Furniture Project, which Eli Cleveland and crew put on every year to promote hand crafted furniture to the public. Hopefully I did the show (and an unsuspecting walnut tree) proud.

Sadly, this marks the end of this project, but have a few concepts already in mind for the next one. In the meantime, I'm thinking a proper shop tour is long overdue, and it might be the perfect intermission to the next big thing.

 Right click to download the HD version of this video

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Don't get your drawers in a bunch

I have to admit, in the last episode I think I made more mistakes in a few steps than I've ever made in a full project before. Improvising on a piece of furniture isn't always the best approach. So in this installment, I made a real effort to do whatever I could to eliminate mistakes.

Because the drawers for this table go into the sides, rather than the front, there's a lot less structure to build runners and kickers into. Normally you have the back to anchor the guts of the drawer guides. So in this case, I had to fit drawer guides into the front and back aprons. And then manage to get the false drawer fronts in place. 

I didn't expect this part of the project to be particularly challenging. I was in for a bit of a surprise.




Right click to download the HD version of this video

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Not your average drawers

This episode is all about gluing up the carcass to allow me to then measure and fit the drawers. While this seemed like a fairly simple phase of the project, I still managed to walk into yet another brainless blunder. In the last episode, I learned first-hand how it can be challenging to "design on the fly". I never drew up any plans or built a model for the project because it seemed fairly straightforward. Well in this episode, I pretty much convinced myself that I need to draw up design plans for EVERY project, no matter how simple. I think even my next door stopper will have a full 3D model and full scale mock-up ;)




Right click to download the HD version of this video

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A game of recovery

You might recall that I’m building this entire live-edge hall table completely on the fly. This all started with the live-edge top dictating the exact size and shape of the carcass. While this project seemed simple enough, having no drawings, model, or even sketch started to become a limitation. I started to make some fairly dumb mistakes that I would have easily avoided by looking at a 3D model or even a sketch. But woodworking is a game of recovery and agility, and fortunately I didn’t screw anything up so badly that I had to start over. I retrospect, deciding to introduce drawers into the plan this late in the game probably didn’t set me up for success!


Right click to download the HD version of this video

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A simple solution to complex joinery

With the aprons veneered, its time to start thinking about my joinery. The trick to this step is twofold. I have a curved front apron, which would be almost impossible to clamp into my tenon jig, or even a vice to cut tenons by hand. And secondly, the legs meet the aprons at roughly a 5 degree angle, adding to the complexity. But as is often the case when I face this kind of challenge, the solution is a green one.



Right click to download the HD version of this video