"Harbour Island" Console Table

This past December, we took a trip to Harbour Island in the Bahamas.  It was beautiful!  Having come back with many wonderful souvenirs, we decided to make a new console table for an empty space in our basement that could display some of them.  The staining and painting of the table is meant to give it a nice beachy, drift-woody, Bahamian look.  Very fun to build!

Christmas 2017!


I made four backgammon sets this year for family members.  Though there are some variations among the different sets, most were made from walnut and cherry like this one that I made for my brother and his family.  My wife had fun making the dice and checkers.  I finally learned how to play while making the sets!

Candle Holders

I also made eight sets of candle holders as stocking stuffers based on the design here.  The design is particularly fun since it's sort of a woodworking "puzzle" and I've always loved the contrast between walnut and maple.

Soap Trays

More stocking stuffers . . . and a great way to use leftover pieces!  These were cut from what remained of the 4/4 slab of cherry I used in building my new Cherry Writing Desk.

Cherry Writing Desk

I've wanted my own writing desk for quite some time but kept putting it off because, well, I wanted it to be really special and I couldn't quite land on what I wanted to do.  I was originally thinking something in the Shaker style out of Walnut but, alas, I was thoroughly inspired to move in a different direction after watching this series of videos from "Guy's Woodshop". 

The techniques I used are mostly the same as Guy illustrates in his videos if you want to get an idea of how it was made.  I've included some images of the desk at earlier stages of the build, prior to the "aging" process which, notably, makes use of potassium dichromate to speed up time by bringing out the Cherry's own natural beautya method I far prefer over a topical stain which I believe interferes too much with the grain.  I parted ways with Guy on the finish and went with a three-stage process of Walnut oil, Shellac, and paste wax.  There is also a single bowtie on lower right side of the table top to replace a knot.

As I type this post, I'm happy to say it's on the new writing desk which I'm thrilled with.  The desk should last for an eon.  Hopefully it'll be cherished for as long too!

Finally, my "helper" applying some finish to the top :)


This past summer, my wife and I took a trip to Custer, South Dakota and completely fell in love with it.  We spent four days exploring the Black Hills by foot and ATV.  On a lark, we stayed at Calamity Peak Lodge, adjacent to state land.  It was awesome!  Joe, the proprietor, is a terrific guy and has a lovely family.  We couldn't help ourselves and went back just a few weeks later!

Right down the road from Calamity Peak is the site where General George Custer made his encampment for the 1874 Black Hills Expedition.  In the hundred forty years since, numerous artifacts have been discovered at the site and I was able to collect a few from an antiques dealer in town.  I'm not sure what some of them are, nor whether they're all genuine pieces from the expedition, but they're really cool anyway.  There are a few nails, a buckle (for a horse), an arrowhead, what looks to be some sort of surveying instrument, and some other mystery pieces. The frame is made from some old fence boards.

I also made a sister frame for a stunning photo of a Black Hills buffalo taken by J. Lowe, a highly regarded South Dakota photographer who I got to meet.  Check out his website here:  J. Lowe Photography.  His title for the photo is: "It's My Park".  Yes . . . yes it is.

New Workbench!

Earlier this summer, I finally got around to building my dream workbench.  It's already been put to good use!  I designed it more or less in the classic Sjƶbergs style, but went with Hard Maple rather their standard, European Beech.

I made my own bench dogs based on Peter Sellers' oak-dowel and spring-hanger idea (covered here in a fun video by Wranglerstar).  It's a perfect system and the dogs look much better than store-bought ones which are often blue or neon plastic (or metal which might look nice but can damage your tools!)

The front and end vises were purchased through Rockler and are SOLID.  I have little doubt they'll last a lifetime, just like the bench!

Watch Box

Recently made this watch box for a member of the family.  The box is Walnut with Maple and Ribbon Mahogany inlay.  The inside tray that holds the watches is removable so that watch-related items can be stored below.  The wood for top of the box was book-matched giving it that cool mirror effect which is especially noticeable at center-right (looking from the top).  Another fun project! [Note: I blurred out the name in the brass plate].

"Friar Tuck" Silverware Chest

Most silverware chests are designed to house the utensils separately in "racks" against a rigid foam backing or the like.  We wanted one in which we could simply stack the silverware inside neatly without all the fuss.  We also wanted a chest that has an elegant, "old world" look about it.  In this case, I really went for "old" in fashioning my own wood hinges.  Very fun diversion, even though I totally messed up on the first pair and had to toss them.  After a few colorful words and then a switch to some more calming music, I got what I hoped for.  The hinges almost look like a medieval artifact . . . like something Friar Tuck kept his flasks in.  Ha ha.  The hinge pins are simply a couple of 4d galvanized nails that I snipped to size and then slipped through the pieces.  I then back-filled the holes with some dowels.  The lid for the chest wound up looking a little "heavier" than I had intended but I've grown to like it.  Inside, there are two levels, with the top level being a deep, removable tray.  The finish is walnut oil and Mahoney's Wax.

Walnut Caddy

I thought this would be a nice use of some small pieces of figured Walnut that I had around the shop.  The design that I inlaid into the handle was made from red oak and poplar.  I had intended it to look sort of "botanical", but it wound up looking a bit more like a dog bone.  Oh well.  I'm a dog lover!  In woodworking, like painting, "happy accidents" are a common occurrence, as Bob Ross used to call them.