Dining in style

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Earlier this year, I volunteered to host Christmas festivities for my immediate family, which meant that we’d have eight to ten people over for dinner. The dining table was still the same one I had purchased on clearance years ago for my 1-bedroom house. It had served me well over the years, but it could only comfortably seat four, with six as the absolute maximum. Plus, with a rather large dining room (around 12′ x 15′), it was underwhelmed by the scale of the room.

For  a while now, I’ve been trying to find a dining table that I like enough to buy or build, but haven’t had much luck. Around the time that Christmas plans were being made, I stumbled across this Festool promotional video with a basic design that I really liked (the completed table is just after 2 minutes in). With the basics of the design settled, I used a giant piece of cardboard to help figure out the size for the tabletop. Then it was off to SketchUp to draw up plans and figure out just how much lumber I would need. A quick call to my favorite hardwood dealer, and I had a nice pile of walnut boards a few days later.

Dining table Dining table

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Honing in

Friday, September 16th, 2011

I’m pleased to report that the second of my shop projects is nearing completion. I use water stones for sharpening my chisels and plane blades, and it’s something that I haven’t really enjoyed. Since the stones require a good source of water, both for lubrication and cleaning, I always wound up doing my sharpening in or near the kitchen. That, of course, meant having to clear up enough counter space to work efficiently, be careful about how much of a mess I made, and then put everything back when I was done. It was enough of a hassle that I had been putting off sharpening my chisels and planes, despite them being frustratingly dull.

That is all in the past, as I have put together a dedicated sharpening station. My inspiration for this came from William Ng’s setup, which I saw in this video from The Wood Whisperer: Scraper Sharpening w/ William Ng. I liked the idea of a having a basin to keep the stones wet, and using a stone holder directly over the basin to make flushing the stones easier. From what I understand, his is built over a standard restaurant bus bin, with an aquarium pump driving the faucet.

William Ng Sharpening Station

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Bringing down the house

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Since purchasing my house around two years ago, I’ve looked at the house next door with a bit of disdain. It was a two-family rental property that was clearly not maintained by the landlord (or the tenants). The yard was perpetually overgrown, windows were broken, the exterior walls and roof had holes in them. Luxury living, you know.

Last fall, the tenants suddenly moved out, and the house sat vacant. Apparently, the city finally noticed what rotten shape it was in, because it was condemned earlier this year. And finally, it is no more…

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It’s a twister!

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

It didn’t take long for me to get the first of the shop projects done. This one was a Thien cyclone dust separator – sort of a scaled-up version of the cyclone technology in those expensive British vacuums. In the shop, I’ll be using it to separate out a good portion of the sawdust and wood shavings before it reaches the vacuum and clogs it. Since I built mine on a 30-gallon steel trash can, it can hold quite a bit more stuff than my shop vac.

Thien cyclone separator

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Setting up shop – a new series

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Recently, it’s become apparent to me that this woodworking thing is turning into a genuine hobby. And with that comes the realization that I need to get serious about my shop space. What I have now is a haphazard mess that was piled together to build some bathroom cabinets; what I need is something far more orderly and functional.

Pardon the mess, I’m “rearranging”

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The final countdown

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

It’s taken a while, but we’ve finally made it: all of the major work on the bathroom is done! The only things remaining are minor tasks like touching up nail holes, paint, etc. Everything else is D-O-N-E! So without further ado, I give you the view from the doorway…

Before After
Before and After

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A cantilever Christmas

Monday, March 7th, 2011

It started simply enough last September. My brother and I made a surreptitious visit to our parents’ house in preparation for Christmas. The idea was to build a simple set of shelves to use some otherwise useless space in their kitchen. Our parents had looked in the past for shelves that would fit, and came up empty-handed. With my recent interest in woodworking (and significant investment in Festools), we thought some custom shelves would be a perfect gift. Nothing too fancy, just something able to store a cordless phone and a few other trinkets.
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Brass hole

Monday, January 10th, 2011

While installing the cupboard latches for the built-ins, I have so far snapped off three screw heads. The first two times were during the dry assembly, before everything was painted or in place, so it wasn’t a big ordeal. This most recent time, however, was after the face frame had been secured in place. Luckily, the experience from the first two times made it easier to come up with a strategy…

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Trimming down

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Between the holidays and a top-secret project (more on that soon), it’s been a while since I’ve had any reportable progress. But with the new year, it’s time for progress… and a new post! I’ve spent the past couple of weeks doing more work on the built-ins and trim, and it’s starting to make quite a difference.

The first order of business was assembling the face frame for the built-in cabinets under the window. Since the spacing and sizing of the cabinets was determined by the spacing of the existing studs, all of this had to be built to fit.

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Making space

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

As I mentioned in the previous post, one of the sub-projects for the bathroom is to add some built-in storage. While it is still underway, I figured that it was time for an update. For the past few weeks, I’ve been building the four cabinets that will sit below the window. While they’re all similar in height and depth, they will be installed in existing stud bays which are not evenly spaced, so each one is a different width. This meant that while some of the pieces could be cut identically (the sides), everything else was unique to each of the four cabinets. In all, I had 24 pieces to be cut to 17 different sizes. Fortunately, everything went together on the first try!

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