Getting over the hump…

It’s been a long time since the last post on the trestle mostly becuase the majority of the progress has been shaping, sanding, and pre-finishing. Oh, and also becuase a new born makes it a smidge harder to get into the shop. But none the less, the last couple weeks have been fruitful and I’m beginning to feel like I’m turning the corner which is a good thing becuase there are still at least two more projects I want to complete before a show in November.

After my sanding regiment I glued and pegged my loose tennons into the trestle uprights followed by pre-finishing all my components. Next, I assembled each of my end sub-assemblies with draw bored tennons. I found a large pencil sharpener is excellent for tapering the end of the dowels.

Finally, I did the big glue-up yesterday and got my through tennons wedged with some small bits of maple.

I still need to shape, sand, and finish the upper stretchers. Those were a mid-stream design addition but overall the base is nearly complete so I started milling my boards for the top.


Please Ex-Skews the Bad Pun

Ok, sorry.  I know that bad joke has been used a thousand times, but sometimes you just gotta love something so gloriously ridiculous.

So lately I’ve been increasingly more interested in tool making and these babies are my latest effort. They are a pair of 20 degree skew detail chisels intended for cleaning up dovetails. The blades are O1 tool steal that I ground to shape and heat treated myself. The handles were hand shaped out of some wonderful tiger maple. However, I think a turned handle would also be nice and much faster. This has got me thinking about acquiring a lathe, hah!

Trestle Table: Progress on the base.

Despite being on baby watch for the last week, I managed to make some progress on the trestle base. I was hoping to be a father on father’s day this year, but it looks like no luck. So I spent the last couple weekends in the shop rough milling components, cutting joinery and doing some initial shaping. After milling out the basic blank for the sides of the trestle I laid out all the curves and the mortise for the cross stretcher. Before cutting the curves on the bandsaw I setup the drill press to hog out the waste for the stretcher mortise and the peak of the inner hyperbolic curves.
Next the 1/2 inch mortises were cut in all the trestle components for the loose tennons.

After cutting components out on the bandsaw I faired all the curves with a combination of oscillating spindle sander and spokeshave. It’s at this point in a project when things seem like they’re moving pretty fast, but then reality sets in when your realize how much shaping and sanding there is still to come.

I’m giving this piece a subtle pillowed look. To achieve this I first used a small beading router bit to remove the bulk of the waste and leave two shoulders which I then blend away with the spokeshave.

By the end of the day today I had gotten all of the initial shaping done. I’ll leave sanding to another day.

One quick peak at the mocked up assembly!


It’s a very exciting time in life right now. Our first daughter is due any day now and our life is about to re-center around a very special little girl. In my family, a lot of time gets spent in the kitchen and I think one of great hallmarks of family is gathering around the kitchen table for meals. Up to this point we’ve had a hand me down kitchen table that is an oak monstrosity from the 80’s that we painted to make it a little more contemporary. When we built our house a couple years ago we realized that this 48″ round table really didn’t fit the space well. A longer, rectangular configuration that could possibly seat 6-8 would be much better since we really don’t have a dining room. I’ve also been sitting on a stash of walnut that came from a fallen tree on my grandfather’s farm in 1957 that I think would be the perfect application for this table.

I wanted to go with a trestle style design to again compliment the slightly narrow space and keep an open feel so I came up with the above design and sketched it up in Pro/E. I spent this past weekend rough milling the heavy stock for the trestle ends and made a few templates and full size mock up of one of the sides just to solidify the design. I think the design will still be somewhat fluid as they always are with my stuff.

Coincidentally, my sister is also expecting a couple months after us and while talking to my father a couple of weeks ago, he mentioned that my grandfather, who is 86 years old and has never flown, wants to get on a plane and fly from Arizona to Tennessee this fall to see his two new great grandchildren. I’m hoping to show him my two latest creations, my daughter and our new family table built from his lumber 50 years later.

A mail dominated household

I don’t know about your house, but at mine the mail seemed to always be something that landed somewhere on the kitchen counter when it was brought in. My favorite place was on the end of the kitchen bar, but inevitably, wifey would not see something (despite it being right on the counter!) and would get a little upset. Admittedly, one pile sometimes multiplied into several. So I figured I could build some sort of desktop mail organizer where everything can flow into and out of each month and I can keep checkbooks, stamps, and other important items.

I used some cherry that I milled up on my bandsaw earlier this year from a log I cut on my property. This was my first attempt at drying lumber, so I figured I’d use it on a personal project just in case it decided to freak out on me. The drawer fronts are some maple burl veneers I had on hand and I made the pulls from some walnut scraps. I’d say it’s been put to good use so far and the counter has been clear.

The LVL Gallery Bench

I’ve been spending some time lately over at Chris Schwarz’s Popular Woodworking Blog and was inspired by a couple things I saw. Much of Chris’s content is centered around the Roubo workbench and in particular the dovetailed tennon that attaches the top to the base. This was the first thing that caught my interest. I knew I wanted to try to incorporate this joint in one of my projects. The other posts that attracted me were the ones dedicated to Megan Fitzpatrick’s LVL workbench. Coincidentally, I had a large piece of a 12 inch LVL beam left over from the construction of our house. I came up with this small hall bench to incorporate the two themes.

I think the edge grain laminations look really cool, but I veneered some walnut on the face surfaces to cover up the ugly pine cathedrals. The LVL was surprisingly easy to work with the saws, jointer, and planer, but cleaning the mortises for the Roubo joint was murder on my chisels. I had to re-hone twice just to finish. Overall the design was rather simple, but I think it turned out well and I got the urge to try this joint out of my system!

Getting Ready for the Art Prowl

The last several weeks I have been working on getting ready for my first local art show which is coming up next weekend. This is an annual event where local artists display and sell there work. I made it a personal goal to be part of this show this year and worked really hard to get here. I’m a little nervous about opening myself up to the public scrutiny, but also about having to stand there all day and interact with people since I’m a bit of a social leper. What can I say, I’m an engineer.
In order to get ready, I had to do some minor touch ups on some completed pieces and print out some write ups about each piece and a price list, so that’s what I’ve been doing most of the day today. A couple weeks ago I spent a few hours and made these two business card holders out of some scrap walnut and spalted maple.

I also decided to make a couple pedestals to elevate my dining chair and end table pieces. These were pretty quick, just MDF and some paint!

So I think I’m as ready as I can be at this point. Hopefully I’ll sell something and have a little more tool money.