October 14, 2011

My first real woodworking project

   Now, I'm not exactly a spring chicken.  I framed and trimmed houses for years before trying to make anything out of hardwood.  There's a fair amount of precision involved in trimming a house, and I'm damn handy with a coping saw and crown molding.

   I got my first inspiration, as many others have, from Marc at thewoodwhisperer.com.  He made a great video about making an end grain cutting board.  I thought, "Hey, those look great!  Why not make 4? One for every household on my wife's side of the family.  You know, for Christmas presents."

   I took that inspiration and recalled a copy of Wood magazine from a couple years before on the same subject.  I took both ideas to the (CAD) drawing board to figure out a little bit of board economy.  That seems like a bit of overkill, but I wanted to figure out the best way to use 4 species, Rock Maple, Cherry, Purpleheart and Mahogany, to make 4 different board patterns.  I was set on 3/4" strips, 1 1/4" thick of varying widths from 3/4" to 2".

   I won't go into details, as you can find them on Marc's site.  The technique is fairly simple.  Prepare stock, rip to width, glue. Mill blank to uniform thickness, crosscut, assemble pattern, glue. (Is that glossing over it a bit too much?)  The last part, for me, was the toughest.  Making one at a time wouldn't have been as bad, but having 4 boards in the works at once had me using every clamp in my arsenal and obviously doing 4x the work at once.  When the blanks were dry from their last gluing, I used a card scraper and sander to smooth both sides and all edges.  I routed out recesses on the short sides to act as handles, and rounded over the top edges.  I then sanded to 400 grit and applied a few (4-6) coats of General Finishes Salad Bowl Finish thinned with mineral spirits.

   As my first project with hardwoods, I was pleasantly pleased, and they were well received.  This was the start of  a bit of a tradition with me making hand made presents for the holidays.  My wife is still asking when she'll get one. Someday, Honey.


Dyami Plotke said... Best Blogger Tips

They look great, Sean. I'd say the CAD time was well spent.

James Maichel said... Best Blogger Tips

Looks really good for your first project!

Kari Hultman said... Best Blogger Tips

GREAT job, Sean! They're too pretty to use. :o)

David J. said... Best Blogger Tips

Anyone handy with crown molding is a super hero to me. That stuff is so confusing!

I agree with Dyami, the CAD work paid off. What CAD tool do you use?

Had to laugh about the last paragraph, wives see to want everything we make, and MORE!

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