May’s Bar Stools
So, here are some images of May’s bar stools. She wanted 8 Flame Birch seat/back sets and 12 Curly Maple sets. She especially wanted the Flame Birch backs to ‘pop’ since they would be an initial visual impact for her customers. Most of the lumber is ‘highly figured’ maple and birch but I purchase special lumber for the backs….they are actually AAAAA figured flame birch and I must say that the figure on those backs really comes alive.
These stools are dyed instead of stained to make the most of he figure. Coming up with the perfect color was a bit of a chore…..I did sample after sample after sample after (you get the drift) before we finally settled on a combination of General Finishes Amber and Light Brown, 4:1 ratio.
The backs are bent lamination and the seats were carved by router and jig. 20 seats buried me in a sea of sawdust but did a great job of forming the seat contour.
The backs are attached to the seats using 3/8″ thick cold-rolled steel bent to 87 degrees at the mid-point. The finish was a multi-step chrome plating done by Dallas Plating in Dallas, GA. I mention them only because they did a marvelous job and in a pretty big hurry. Even gave me a tour of their process!
The last major step was top coating which is, again, General Finishes Gloss Arm-R-Seal, hand applied, 8 coats. The final result was slick, slick, slick.
I hope you enjoy the photos…..
Walnut Writing Desk
Yes, walnut. I love walnut. It works well, it behaves itself, it smells good when cut, it has beautiful grain, and the sapwood is a wonderful contrast to the heartwood. This desk is ~42″ wide, 24″ deep, and 30″ tall. It has a simple bowed drawer face that is dovetailed to a curly maple drawer. What really sets this desk off are the curved legs…roughed out with a bandsaw and shaped with small plane and spokeshave. I just can’t describe how satisfying a clean cut with a spokeshave can be! Sanded to 200 grit and finished with General Finishes Arm-R-Seal urethane (6 costs).
Wait! Hold the Phone, Dories on!
This ladder back was made of soft maple with tapered legs and a little reclaimed pine for the drawer sides. The drawer was inset. Dorie wanted ‘dog bone’ rails on the sides and all of it to be painted Dark Forest Brown (Sherwin Williams). Dorie also asked to have her new desk painted in the same color…therefore a matched set. I delivered both pieces to Dorie and her husband who live just north of Atlanta and I’m not sure which was more fun…..building the bookcase or meeting Dorie and Howard.
Kathy’s Sofa Table
Kathy’s Sofa Table is made of Eastern White Pine with a Provincial stain and a Briwax Rustic Pine finish. It features a thin top (9/16″) with 1″ bread board ends. All legs are mortised for through-tenons for the aprons and shelf supports. The aprons have small ‘cloud lifts’ on each end and there are no ‘sharp corners’ any where on this piece. The single drawer is slightly proud of it’s supporting apron and has a rounded cove moulding on it’s front perimeter. The drawer pulls were purchased from “Van Dyke’s Restorers”. Overall it’s rustic appearance is due to the natural absorption of stain on white pine (blotching effect) and the intentional ‘beating’ applied with hand tools, chains, etc. A really fun build with a fun client.
This is a one and only island build for my daughter. It is ‘skinned’ with 20 year old, air-dried, barn-find, walnut. Of course she picked the style, design and hardware and I put it together.
Pam, one of my 3 favorite nieces, contacted me and asked if I could build her a farmhouse table and matching stool. Of course my answer was ‘yes’ but I was really taken by her comment….”you build beautiful furniture and I would love to have one of your pieces in my house”. She wanted a legacy piece that could be handed down to her kids and perhaps used for generations to come. I was very flattered and proud that she would want that from me, so the fun began.
We went though the discussion of size and shape and she definitely knew what she wanted…….36″ X 72″, 30″ tall and breadboard ends. Colors were no problem either as she had sent pictures of tables she liked. General Finishes Antique White Milk Paint for the bases and General Finishes Nutmeg Gel Stain for the tops, all protected by General Finishes High Performance Water based Urethane. The wood species turned out to be White Oak for the top (Plain sawn) and painted Soft Maple for the bases. And she wanted ‘chunky’. She wanted thick turned legs (5″!) and a substantial thickness for the top. I don’t turn legs so she picked out her favorite legs online and I ordered them along with a special order for matching stool legs. The only change to her original spec was distressing. We’d planned to ‘sand’ distress as if the base had decades of use. However, in the end, the base looked so good that we just didn’t have the heart to start ‘scratching’ it up. After the fact I’m so glad we didn’t!
Finally, with all the materials in, I was able to start. There was nothing unusual about the build other than the white oak may have had some kiln drying issues. I would flatten the boards and they would bow….I would flatten again, they would bow again. This kept up until they would finally stay flat (pretty important for a dining table) but altogether I had to take 5/8″ of these boards that were, in the raw state, almost 2 1/8″ thick when I started. Thats a LOT of planing!
My big lesson learned on this project was to not take your final sanding for granted. I went through all the grits for the table top and assumed all was clean but didn’t do a quality check before applying the stain…..big mistake. Once it was done there were hundreds of ‘squiggles’ left behind by my Random Orbit sander that the finer grits did not remove. Couldn’t live with the result so I took it back to the wood (lots and lots of sanding) and did it properly ensuring no little squigglies. Much better result the second time around. Not perfect, but much better.
Otherwise all went well and I was very pleased with the final result and I believe Pam is as well. I’m just glad I didn’t have to help carry that beast up a flight of stairs into Pam’s house!
Oh, and I took a few photos of a few elements of the build itself and have included those as well.
Into the ENTU
These photos of the ENTU side table is not great…in fact pretty poor, but gives you the idea of shape and color. Actually, these aren’t too bad considering the pics are from an iPhone under harsh shop fluorescent lighting. After the next table build the photos will be much better. I promise.
Over The Top
Good friends (actually in-laws but, really, close friends) wanted to change up their kitchen and get rid of a kitchen table and chairs, not only to save space but to update their eating space as well. They came up with a booth design, Robin picked fabrics for seating, Larry laid it all out, and the project was underway. Larry built the raw booth seats and hauled them to my shop for ‘skinning’ (the process of covering the raw 2X4 construction with panels and drawer fronts). That was done using soft maple and, after a couple of days of working together in the shop, the end result was beautiful.
Of course they needed a new table for the new booth as well so Larry and I trucked to Nebo, NC and picked up a load of re-claimed chestnut for the table top. This wood was originally used in the construction of a tabacco barn in Weaverville, NC sometime in the mid-19th century. The US Chestnut tree population was devastated in the early 20th century by a blight brought in from Asia so Chestnut is rare and most often only available as reclaimed. BTW, if you’re in need of re-claimed Chestnut or Pine I’d recommend Antique Reclaimed Lumber as a source. Give me a shout and I’ll send you contact info.
The top is 1 3/8″ thick, 44″ wide and 48″ long with 5″ breadboard ends. Large nail or peg holes were filled with epoxy and the top has 8 coats of hand applied urethane. It was mounted to a round iron base and is a perfect fit for a booth as it allows easy access in/out of the booth seating.
Fun project for good people. It don’t get any better n’ that!
A Gothic Pulpit
A small Anglican Church from Upstate SC contacted me through CustomMade with a picture of an antique pulpit and asked if I could build it or something like it. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity not just to build but to, somehow, serve Yahweh. Too good too be true.
Of course the antique version had carvings that I couldn’t replicate but we overcame that and ended up with a ‘routed’ solution instead. The Rector of the church visited during the build for preferences and advise.
I cannot say that this build was without some difficulty…..stain colors were an issue, joinery was tough, and the up-front design layout was tedious. And it was complex with 3 assemblies and transitions for each. But overall this build was a huge blessing for me and allowed me to serve Yahweh in a very unique way….using skills He gave me.
I said I’d never build another but we’ll see what Yahweh has in store….
Simple Farmhouse Table
In 1904 a church (denomination unknown) was erected in what was to become, 60 years or so later, the Lake Jocassee basin. It was to be flooded and so the church was torn down and, fortunately for me, some of the heart-pine siding and raw pine studs were saved. I got my hands on this reclaimed lumber and made two 8′ long, 34″ wide tables to go into our ‘sunroom converted to a dining hall’. Recently, after remodeling, we no longer had room for two tables so one now sits in our Dining Room and the second is in my daughter’s Dining Room.
As you can see from the pictures there is an abundance of nail and peg holes as well as holes from boring bees and other critters of the countryside. These tables are “living” character.
The church lives on!
This is a writing desk patterned after a piece I saw in a magazine advertisement. I was mesmerized by the shape and complexity of the desk and decided that I had to build it. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my son became engaged and since my future daughter-in-law also loved the piece I gave this to them as a wedding present. As you can see it’s still being used!!
Quarter-sawn and Rift-sawn White Oak with light cherry staining, Curly Map drawer fronts, Ambrosia Maple ‘cubby’ doors, and Ebony pulls.
The cabinet is painted with milk paint with glazing and has a water-borne urethane topcoat. The top is Quartersawn White Oak with a light cherry stain.
Flatscreen Television Stand
19th Century Easel design adopted as a “TV Easel”
American Black Cherry (mostly reclaimed), adjustable television height. Height adjustment and TV clamp (at top) are accomplished with wooded handscrews .
Will handle up to a 72″ flat screen TV
Greene and Greene Blanket Chest
Lyptus body with Ebony highlights
(Note: Lyptus is an “Eco-friendly” tree that is farmed and harvested in South America by Weyerhauser. It is intended to be an environmentally conscious replacement for endangered Honduran Mahogony)
Design inspired by Marc Spagnuolo and Darrel Peart
Bow Arm Morris Chair and Stool
Quarter-Sawn White Oak, tapered legs, adjustable back position
Tall Bar Stools
Walnut (seats and back) and Butternut frame and legs
Seats have a carved profile
Mahogany Top, Breadboard Ends
Painted Maple Base with turned legs
7’6″ long, 34″ wide
Tatami Platform bed
Sapele (mahogany) legs and Hard Maple rails
American Black Cherry
Inspired by Gregory Paolini
White Oak Tops and Breadboard Ends and Shelves with African Mahagony Legs
Roubo Woodworking Workbench
Soft Maple, Hard Maple, Cumaru, and Mahogany
Vises by Benchcrafted
Inspired by Marc Spagnuolo