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.


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!

Start of a modern end table

Here’s the start of my latest project. It’s a take on a modern end table. This is my own design but is definitely influenced by the stuff I’ve been looking at and been interested in lately. As usual, I’m going with walnut and using some cherry accents.

I started by milling my stock to dimension and making some bridle joints to form the legs. I formed the bridle joint by using my home made tennoning jig and band saw. Later I added a square cherry peg.

The next step is to add a dovetailed box to house a drawer that will be floated between the legs with either steel or copper standoffs. I’m still a bit undecided on the top. Originally I was thinking of just going with a solid walnut top, but I’ve had thoughts of doing a picture frame with a veneered center. Something’s telling me that less is more in this situation and I should just go with the solid top.

School House Desks

My sister recently asked me to build a couple of children’s desk for her step daughters.  And by recently I talking in woodworking time, so about 3 months ago.  Anyway, the goal was to build two matching desks that resembled the old flip top school house desks.  The design is really simple and we just chose some knotty pine for the material to match some of their existing kid furniture.  The pine was a little a little difficult to work with in the sense that it tended to want to move a bit and and definitely gummed up my table saw and chop saw blades, but on the positive side this stuff was like butter with hand tools so I took the opportunity to break out the hand planes and saws when ever a good opportunity arose.

Cutting Mortises I started by routing some 1/4″ mortises into the legs a milled up from some laminated 3/4″ stock.  I haven’t yet settled on my chosen method for routing mortise, so I just clamped guide board to the bench and put my leg stock in the vise.  This seemed to work just fine.

Next I cut the tennons on all the rails on the table saw with my homemade tennoning jig and then did some fine tuning at the bench with the chisels and rasp.

Here are two of the leg sub-assemblies being glued up.

Both tops were flattened and smoothed by hand after glue up.  I did have trouble with one of the two tops.  One of the boards I got for the top was extremely cupped when I got it and didn’t notice, or it freaked out when I got it home in the shop.  I tried to cut it apart and re-glue, to remove some of the cup which seemed to work, but I still had some twist.  Eventually I just decided a new board was well worth the time spent.

Here’s the final product.  Two beautifully simple little desks that should provide years of good service  and enjoyment for my new nieces.  With a little luck, they should be around for years!