Monday, December 28, 2009


This was a gift for some close family friends. I thought it would be really simple to glue some boards together and throw them on my lathe and make a bowl. I had never actually used my lathe before. To make a long story short, it was a lot more work and time than I had predicted and the final product is not quite what I had envisioned when I was starting out, but it still turned out really nice, all things considered. I learned that the keys to making a bowl are as follows: 1) don't make it too deep. 2) Sharpen your chisels constantly. 3) Accept that you will waste a lot of wood, and don't waste your time trying to save the wood in the middle. 4) Buy a shorter tool rest. 5) Spend a long time with your gritty sandpaper before moving on to the finer grits. 6) Keep going all the way to 400 grit- it will start to look like glass. Next time I'm going to see if I can track down anything finer- do they make 1000 grit sandpaper? Would that just be printer paper basically?

The light wood is Ikea butcher block, left over from when we replaced the counters in our condo's kitchen four years ago. I think it's birch, but my dad thought it was maple, so I'm not sure, but it seemed too soft and pliable for maple in my opinion. The dark wood is walnut that my friend and former furniture builder Bill found in one of his storage units somewhere and gave to me (does that count as salvaged, reclaimed, green, etc.?).

Thanks to my dad who came over to the shop to redirect my efforts every time I got stuck or frustrated, and thanks to Caleb for explaining to me that I was doing it all wrong and completely straightening me out, and for actually working on it for a little while. Thanks Lou for the great pictures!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wall Unit

This wall unit was commissioned by a really cool gal named Jaina in Eagle Rock who previously bought a bedroom set from me. She designed it, but I like to think of it as somewhat of a joint design, since the final product had many similar design elements to the one I designed for Jana (my wife) and I. I used this sweet wood that I'd never used before called Pecan Hickory.
I also used a biscuit joiner for the first time, which was super smooth (thanks for loaning me your biscuit joiner Ivan!), though it did make for an interesting challenge when I glued the final side to the rest of the unit- I used 16 clamps, and I was really 4 short of what I needed.

Once the unit was affixed to the wall I built a pedestal type foot to support it so that it rests about 8 inches off the ground. We originally decided on this because of a floor heater right underneath the corner of the unit, figuring that we should lift it up to avoid fire hazard. But I actually think the foot ended up adding a nice additional element to the look. Once it was installed I used a clear oil to finish it so that the light wood would have a nice contrast with the dark floors. Jaina took all of these great pictures (except for the two in my shop, which are decidedly less awesome)- thanks Jaina!