You Win Some, You Lose Some

You Win Some? (link to photos)

So, having carved some additional seats from my last big project I decided to put a stool frame under one of them. This stool has a Birch seat and Mahogany  frame and is pretty much typical in most ways. With this stool, however, I got just a little bit lazy with the back….rather than rip veneer strips and glue them together in a form to create a laminated, curved back, I tried something different….as you can see in the photos. Some may like this look but, frankly, I don’t. Nor will I ever do this again unless someone specifically asks for it (why would they do such a thing?).  The back reminds me of something off an M1 Abrams tank which is as elegant as a crack in concrete!

All well, you win some, you lose some. This stool will prolly hang around in my shop for a while…

It’s May in October!


In April 2019 I was contacted by May, an Interior Designer based in Manhattan (that’d be Manhattan, New York City). She had been perusing CustomMade for barstools for a new Thai diner in NOLITA (just north of Little Italy)  and came across some I’d made for my daughter-in-law, Allie. Well, May needed 20 (yes, twenty) of these but did not want the frame…just the seats and backs. We’d have to come up with a way to connect them but I was sure there was an elegant but robust way of doing so. These seats would be mounted to a chrome, swiveling pedestal….and did I mention she wanted 20 of these?

So it all came to pass. I’d connect the backs via two chromed brackets mortised into the back and screwed underneath the seat with inserts and stainless steel machine screws. Of course I had to ‘farm out’ the brackets and boy did I learn a little bit about steel, bending steel (accurately),  and chroming! Especially chroming. Do not ever let anyone tell you that you can substitute chroming with “silver powder-coating”. It AIN’T the same. Anyway….

The idea was to make and finish 20 seats by 1 June and I did….I shipped on 24 May. Unfortunately, due to building renovation, licensing and permitting issues, as well as labor problems, the diner has yet to open but we’re hoping for November. Meanwhile May sent me these pictures and I’m so glad to have been a part of her project.

So, if you’re ever in Manhattan and are craving some Thai cuisine, I’d recommend “Thai Diner” located at the corner of Mott St and Kenmare St. I’m sure it’d be a fabulous experience!



Why, Heavens to Mergatroid! It’s Walnut!

Walnut Writing Desk

Finally, finally finished the Bow Front Walnut Writing Desk I’d started in January. Actually most of the work had been done prior to a vacation sprint in early March. All that was left was to finalize the drawer pull, complete the shaping and attaching of the top, and finishing. It is always amazing to me how applying a finish will ‘pop’ the grain, especially on walnut. This piece has 6 coats of hand applied oil-urethane combo and will not need refinishing for a very, very long time. And, no stain. Let the wood sing! That’s what I always say….:)

I’d seen this design, in different forms, primarily in Fine Woodworking magazine. They actually have a set of plans for a desk similar to this and, in an issue from 2018, posted a picture of a beautiful bow front desk built by a student at a woodworking school out west. I couldn’t take my eyes off it nor could I quit thinking about it so I built a similar desk. Admittedly, this one is simplified from the other designs but, in fact, that’s one of the things I love about this…simple, elegant design. Anyway, go to the gallery and take a look…please send any comments through the Contact page..

Think I’ll take a couple of summer months off…..refresh and recreate. And do honey-do’s. See you in the fall.

Wait! Hold the phone, Dories’ on!

Per my last posting (20 Feb 2019) I was working on a walnut writing desk. In fact,  just as I was finishing the ‘building’ part ( as opposed to the ‘finishing’ part) I was invited to participate in a ‘Florida Adventure’. So, my friend and I headed south on 28 Feb (my birthday) and went to Amelia Island, Jacksonville, Ormon Beach, Daytona, then across the state to Ocala National Park, and on to Tampa. From there we went to Crystal River and spent a few days enjoying the Manatee, good food, and mixed in a little business. While in Crystal River Dorie and I connected through CustomMade and decided to build her a new ladder-back bookcase for her new Study. While at it she had a ‘store bought’ desk dropped shipped to me to assemble and finish the same as her new bookcase. Take a look at the images in the gallery….I was happy with the result, she was happy, her husband was happy, we were all happy!

Still Goin’

After Kathy’s table in late fall (2018) I decided to take a break from the shop for the holidays. Although I did a few projects to improve efficiency in the shop I really have had no significant builds. I am now, however, working on a writing desk. I saw this piece in a recent “Fine Woodworking” issue and couldn’t take my eyes off of it….so I’ve decided to build it (at least my version of it). So far, so good…the legs are shaped, the aprons attached, the single drawer face has been shaped (bowed) and I’ve just finished the dovetails for the drawer. Once I have the drawer finished and ‘tuned in’ I’ll turn to the top. Hopefully I’ll be done in a couple of weeks and, to be sure, I’ll have some pics of the finished product on this website. Until then thanks for checking in. Let’s make sawdust!

Kathy’s Sofa Table

Kathy wanted a replica of an antique Irish Pine Sofa Table. After some discussion (emails, texts, and photographs) on the particulars and specifications of the table we set about a build. Kathy lives  approximately 4 hours from my location so an in-person visit to measure the table wasn’t easily achieved….. so we set about specifying and making measurements and communicating all of the above by email. Remarkably this method worked although Kathy probably took the brunt of the task. The only change from the original piece was overall height and one drawer instead of two. I’ve posted a picture of her original piece for comparison, below. The re-creation is in the Gallery.

I have to say that this was not only a fun build but very satisfying to me as a craftsman. Mortise and tenon, breadboard ends, rustic nature, and some creative fun with the aprons made it a joy to build.

Kathy’s antique Sofa Table

The Island…Finished

I had posted, earlier, an island build for my daughter and family. I finally have gotten around to posting the final pictures. Thanks for looking.


Pam’s Table

Pam’s Table

Pam wanted a farmhouse table and matching stool. Wood finished top and painted bases. And ‘chunky’ which means you could land a VW on it and it won’t collapse :). A lot more detail in the gallery…..


Into the ENTU

After some major remodeling in our home we started a furniture upgrade and a re-arrangement of our primary living space….our Family Room. With new sofas and recliners and such it came down to the smaller items…..specifically end tables. We needed two for our new space. So after various online and catalog searches my SO determined the ‘Crate and Barrel’ ENTU end table was the ticket. Me too, for that matter, until I saw the price tag.

Now, these tables are simple, contemporary design that employs very basic woodworking joinery methods. Easy to build, don’t need fancy wood, so let the fun begin!

Because of it’s color and grain patterns we chose Butternut (White Walnut) as the wood species of choice with no stain (let the wood stand for itself) and a top coat of oil based urethane so make sure the finish will resist water rings, coffee stains, etc.

Only took a few hours and most of the time was waiting for finish to dry. I admit, however, to some help. A young son (14) of a family friend, Aaron,  has been spending some time with me in the shop and he actually did a lot of the work on this. Good job Aaron!

Now, these pictures are not great and distort the geometry of the piece a bit. Once I can get around to the second table I’ll do some beauty shots that Aaron and I can be proud of. Until then, well, just make the best

of it.


An Island Unto Itself

My daughter, Jill, and husband, Allen, are doing a ‘to the studs’ kitchen renovation and asked me to build them a ‘furniture grade’ kitchen island as part of their reno. . I was very honored and pleased that they asked not only because I like to do this type of work(my hobby) and they believe my quality of work to be good, but because I will be a contributor to and part of their home for many years to come, and that’s quite an honor.

Of course there were discussions and deliberations on size, location, features, accessories, and color. Drawings were done andeverything checked: rail and stile sizes, drawer slides and hinge types, even the topcoat (oil vs. waterborne urethane). But most importantly, the wood. This was the toughie….what species….and finally Jill nailed it with Walnut. After checking availability and prices at several suppliers I happened upon a Sawer near Laurens, SC that carried Walnut and, more specifically, had a barn-find, 20 yr old, air dried SC Walnut stack. I bought ~85 brd. ft. and we were on our way.

This posting is late in the game but the project isn’t finished yet. Thought I’d post a few pics just to get started. These are not ‘beauty shots’ and were taken in my shop with an iPhone under shop fluorescents but it’ll give you an idea of the final product. Once all is in and the reno is complete (maybe in a month) I’ll take a few beauty shots and post ’em.

Otherwise this project has been a great learning experience for me and fun to build witha fair share of challenges.

More, later. If you have a question please email me… otherwise, back to work!