Welcome to Woodworker++

This blog is intended to be a journal of my progress as a woodworker. Grab a drink, maybe some popcorn, sit back and enjoy a glimpse into my woodworking projects, both failed and successful. Why should you care what I do, or what I have to say? You shouldn't, but just maybe I can keep you from making the same mistakes that I had to learn the hard way.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I took the summer off

Without even meaning to!  I keep up with woodworking podcasts, forums, etc.  I always marveled at the guys/gals that said "oh I take the summer off", or "I only do woodwork when it's the cool seasons".  I thought "How can they live with themselves"?  Well, now I know.  I accidentally took the summer off from woodworking.  I didn't even mean to.  It just kinda happened.  I'd like to blame the dining room to office remodel... but that'd be a lie.  I was just too busy to even sneak in a weekend here or there.  Well, it seems as the cool weather of fall is coming, I can get back into the garage.  First I have to clean it!  What a mess.  I still have to finish up the office, but all that is left is to wash the walls, spackle & paint.  Should be a fairly easy weekend.  We'll see.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Woodworking during the summer...

I was always curious about the guys/gals in woodworking forums that talked about taking the summer off. Some say heat is the reason, others time. I've not had to deal with either of those in the past. This summer, though, is totally different. The heat does not bother me. I've lived in Alabama all my life, I'm used to July & August heat. It's the time that I'm having trouble with. This is the first summer where I've been so busy I couldn't get to my woodwork. That's ok, I've been having fun all the same. Keep checking the blog, eventually I'll get back to the cabinet, the workbench, and maybe even that small tack box.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm not dead...

I'm just busy. Too busy to get into the garage. One day I'll make it back to my ugly cabinet, legless wordkbench, and 2 sided tack box.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New camera!

Finally got a new camera. I'll try and take pics of the really, really... really red cabinet tonight.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Not much lately...

I've been so busy the last month I've not had time for woodwork. Hopefully, that will change soon. I plan on getting back to painting the Krenov Cabinet and finishing up the small box.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Busy day today...

I got an early start this morning and it payed off. I started out doing the quick 220 light sanding on the cabinet. I was sanding the seal coat in preparation for the dye. Once I had everything sanded I mixed up the dye. I'm using W.D. Lockwood Oil Dye (Brown Walnut). The instructions on the Tools For Working Wood web site said to mix it with a little bit of denatured alcohol and some oil. So I mixed it with a little alcohol and some mineral oil. Luckily, I was smart enough to to test it out on the back of the cabinet. It took a little while to get used to how quick it dried. Once I got it down, though, it was a breeze to use. I know everyone one says if you're using an oil dye you're supposed to spray it. But I don't have a sprayer, and I didn't want to use a water based dye. So I took a chance on wiping it using a rag. All in all, I think it turned out much better than the gel stain. Still not perfect, but I like to think it would've been twice as good if i had not gel stained it first. It looks similar to the gel stain, but it's different some how. If/when I get a camera I'll be sure to post pics.

While the cabinet was drying, I decided to work on the tack box a little. I got the front and back panel glued up. I got to use the mitre box my grandfather gave me. I'm still amazed at how accurate and easy that thing is to use. So, at this point the dye & glue are drying.

While I'm still waiting on something to dry. I decided to clean up my table saw. There were a couple of rust spots starting. I used 600 grit to sand off the surface rust, and made sure the entire top was clean. I then applied a coat of Johnson's Paste Wax. Guess what, I had to let it dry too.

So now, I have dye, glue, and was drying. What to do? I used some 220 & 600 grit to clean up 3 of the hand saws my grandfather gave me. The cleaned up really nice. Took me a while because some were pitted, but for the most part they came out good.

By this time the paste wax had dried so I buffed it out. Now the table saw is ready for duty.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Should get the dye today.

FedEx says the dye is on the truck for delivery today. No cabinet work this weekend, but I did start my next project. I'm going to use some maple I had left over from my workbench to build a small tack box for wifey. I cut up the back panel Saturday morning using the old Miller Falls miter saw I got from my grandfather. Wow, that 90 degree cut was perfect. It was a heck of a lot better than the cut I could do on my table saw. I hope I'm not becoming a true galoot.

I also cleaned up my wood pile a little. I can pretty much walk all around the tools in the garage now, which is not only nice but safe.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ordered the dye...

I ordered my dye yesterday. Tools For Working Wood was having a sell on their W.D. Lockwood dyes. If you buy 4 you get 10% off. So, I bought 4. W.D. Lockwood dyes seem to get good reviews and they're $10 cheaper than TransTint and basically all of the others I saw. I doubt they'll get here before this weekend, but I can hope.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Weekend doings...

I spent Sunday sanding, quite literally. I started with 80 grit and worked up to 150 on the cabinet. Once I got it smooth enough, I put on a wash coat of Bullseye De-waxed shellac. I made up a 1lb cut using the unique and scientifically reliable method that The Wood Whisperer used in his latest finishing episode. Basically, I eye balled it. A couple of weeks ago, I picked up Bob Flexner's book "Understanding Wood Finishing: How to Select and Apply the Right Finish" and it has been a great resource. After reading most of the book, I realize all of the things I did wrong the first time I stained the cabinet. Wrong is not exactly right. I realize all of the things I did not do well. So, I got the cabinet & legs shellac'd this weekend. I've decided to use dye on the poplar instead of stain. There's 2 reasons for this. First, I want to learn how to use dyes. Second, I have some figured hard maple that I want to make the grain pop. From what I've read in Bob's book and seen on TWW, dye is the best way to do that.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend happenings

I sanded the cabinet down to bare wood. Well, at least the outside of it. I have to sand the inside as well.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Not much this weekend...

I didn't do too much this past weekend. I played around with the stain some more on the cabinet. Think I'm going to strip it all the way down and start over. The walnut gel stain just didn't work. I picked up a book Saturday on finishing and have already discovered a few mistakes I made.

I also worked in cleaning up the garage some. I can walk through it now without tripping, which is very nice. I'm still not finished cleaning up. I wanted to take before & after pics, but my camera is dead.

Monday, April 14, 2008


... so wifey and I were out of town this weekend. We ended up in Franklin, TN. While she worked, I got to visit Woodcraft. I love that store. There are two within 2 hours of our house. So it's not easy for me to get to go. I spent about an hour and a half in there just looking and talking to folks. I did buy some toys tools. I only picked up a couple of small things, but I'll list them out.

  1. 12" steel rule
  2. Veritas Scraper Burnisher (can't wait to try & review this)
  3. Magswitch Pro featherboard (another item for review)
  4. General Finishes Mahogany Stain (oil based)
Yeah, that does it.

P.S. OOTO, just in case you're not familiar with it, is an abbreviation for Out Of The Office. A commonly used term around these parts.

Monday, April 7, 2008

More Horror!

Posted by Picasa

"The Horror!"

Posted by Picasa

The Cherokee called it "Valley of Death"...

... or at least so goes local legend. Apparently, when the Cherokee were around this area they got sick a lot. Mainly allergies and sinus problems. Speaking of sinus problems. I've had a mild sinus infection all weekend. So I didn't get to work in the garage. The cabinet is still ugly... I'll post pics soon. I have an idea for the door that may detract from the disgusting look of the legs.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I finished staining the cabinet and legs this weekend. The cabinet looks pretty good. I hate the legs again. The legs came from a different tree than the cabinet and you can really tell. They look different. Not only that, they look distressed. I can see blemishes that I can't feel. I hate the legs. I took pics but am too disgusted to post them at the moment. Maybe later this week.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A good shellacing...

The cabinet & legs are drying in the sun at the moment. I did a light sanding of the first coat of shellac on the cabinet and applied the second coat. I put the first coat of shellac on the legs. Like I said, they're drying in the sun right now. I didn't bother with pics, cause that would be like watching shellac dry. The legs looked fine where they had gotten wet. We'll see how it goes when I put on the stain in the next week.

Oh yeah, I've gotten a few toys in the past 2 weeks. I need to take pics an post about them. Maybe later today.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Water damage...

Last week our washing machine leaked. No big deal, we had it fixed and now all is good. Little did I know, though, that the water had made it across the garage. All 4 cabinet legs wicked water. The legs had water marks between 3" & 5" high, the grain had raised and the legs were still damp in the center. I sanded the outside and it seemed to remove the water marks. I may end up having to amputate the legs at about 6" from the bottoma and make some feet. I got so disgusted this weekend I gave up and just hung out.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 2, 2008

All day sand fest...

I spent most of the day sanding. By hand. I started around 8 am using 220 grit to put a mild round over on all the corners of the legs & apron. I cleaned up the glue squeeze-out as I went along. When I got the corners like I wanted I took a double-cut file and rounded over the tops of the legs. Then I sanded those too. Once the legs and apron were acceptable I started working on the stand-offs that attach the base to the cabinet. I ended up make three because I split one when drilling out the holes. I like the idea of having the base separated from the cabinet with the stand-offs. I don't think wifey cared for them too much, though. Maybe she'll change her mind when it's all finished.

Two observations:
1. Hand sanding detail is tedious and makes you sore.
2. The result of hand sanding detail is worth the time.

Oh yeah, and I don't absolutely hate the legs anymore.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Tapered the legs...

I got up early this morning to taper the legs. I wanted to have them kind of curve and taper, but they're a little to small for that. I ended up just going with a straight taper. I tried to make a simple table saw tapering jig, but that was going to turn out to be a bunch of work. So, I did a quick band-saw tuneup and cut the taper. The first cut didn't go as expected. At first I thought I had hit a really hard knot. Turns out the drill press was in the way. Mistake #221. After moving the drill press, the tapers went fairly quick.

Unfortunately, at this point I got pretty into what I was doing and forgot to take pics. Basically, I cleaned up the horrible bandsaw job I did to get the tapers. I used my No. 7 plane and got it down nice and flat, then I took my cabinet scraper and cleaned up the transition. They're by no means perfect, but they'll do.

Once I finished the cleanup, it was time for quick sanding and a glue up. Again, I was on a roll so the only picture of the entire leg & apron glue-up that I have is the one you see here.

While I was letting the glue dry I did a final sanding on the cabinet. I progressed from 100 up to 220 grit and put a 2lb cut of shellac on the cabinet, then set it outside to sun dry. Worked pretty well.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Here's the pic...

Here's a couple of pics of the legs. Notice that my mortises are so sloppy I had to use a band clamp to keep everything together. I'm still learning, though. I hate the legs. I don't know why. I'm hoping I'll like them more after I get the taper on them, but right now I just hate them.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Got the apron done...

I got the apron done today. Didn't have too much time in the garage this week. I'll post pics tomorrow maybe.

Friday, February 15, 2008

No updates this weekend...

Wifey and I are out of town this weekend. So there probably won't be any cabinet updates for this weekend. There is, however, a Woodcraft store and a bunch of lumber yards in Nashville. Oh, yeah.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


In earlier posts you saw the legs were quite wide. At first I was
going to make them 1 3/4" x 2 1/2" x 36". Then I got to looking at them and that was just ugly. So, I decided to make them smaller & square. They're still 36" long but now they're 1 1/2" inches square. I spent most of the day making these legs. I was able to dimension them fairly quick. Then came time to make the apron. This is my first attempt at mortise and tenon joints. I'm actually quite proud of them. I did the first one entirely by hand with a small backsaw and some chisels. After the first I used the table-saw to cut the tenons, and the drill press to hog out material for the mortises. There's a pic in the list where you can see the comparison between the handcut tenon, on the left, and the tenon cut with the table saw.

I have a tenoning jig for my table-saw. Unfortunately, the cheek cut on the tenon was so small I couldn't use the jig. So I made the tenon the way I've seen Norm and David do it. I nibbled it away a little at a time. I always thought this would take forever, but it's actually very quick. Especially when the alternative is hand cutting the tenon.

Clamped up!

Glue-up first thing in the morning is awesome. I needed to get to work on the legs for this cabinet and gluing up the carcase was a good way to ease into the day. The clamps went on easy enough. I wish I had larger F-Style clamps, or smaller pipe clamps. 3/4" x3' pipe clamps are heavy. I used Titebond III for gluing up the carcase because I wanted a long open time. I thought I may need the extra time to get the carcase square.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Stain part 2...

It was a gorgeous day today. Unfortunately, all I had time to do today was put another coat of stain on the inside pieces. It didn't really darken the piece any. So, I figure one of three things has happened.

1. Between the seal coat and the first coat of gel stain all of the wood pores are filled and there's just no place for the stain to go.

2. I didn't leave the second coat of stain on long enough.

3. Gel stain is a one shot deal.

I'll probably post in some of the wood forums soon and try to figure out why the second coat failed. It's not big deal, though. It didn't hurt the color of the cabinet.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Retro project...

Here's another one from the way back machine. This is, pretty much, my first true woodworking project. I needed a place to hang up my guitars. They're not the finest instruments in the world, but I still take care of them. The boards are cherry, that Dad picked up from a co-worker. I sanded them smooth and used a router to round over the edges. Then I made the noobie woodworker mistake and tried to stain the cherry. Not only that, I stained it with "American Cherry" colored stain. Hey that was over a year ago, I wouldn't do that now. You can see in some of the pictures the classic "blotchy" stained cherry. From a distance though it still looks good. And yes, that's wood "stickered" on the guitar hangers. It seemed like as good a place as any. I used wood screws to attach the boards to the wall. Those boards are going nowhere. Then I attached the Herculese guitar hangers to the cherry. At least I was smart enough to drill pilot holes as not to split the cherry.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Cabinet legs...

I got all of the leg blanks glued up for the cabinet too. In the first pic you can see 2 leg glue-ups after they were sanded. The second pic shows one leg that just came out of the clamps and the second one clamped up.

Visit to the sawmill...

I went to the local sawyer this morning too. He hasn't been able to saw because it's been so cold lately. Water is used to cool the saw blade as it cuts, ans since it's been so cold the water freezes and the blade can't be cooled. Ironic isn't it? So, I still don't have my workbench legs, but I did pick up some very nice poplar for the legs of the cabinet.

Lesson learned...

The stain job on the back of my cabinet didn't come out quite as well as I had hoped. It seems my sanding job was, well... it sucked. Notice all the scratches down the center line of the board? (The center line runs left to right). Apparently, in my haste I bore down on the ROS and gouged it the wood. So, now I'm making a "distressed" Krenov Cabinet.


I made a drying table so the finish could cure. The fist pic is my drying table. In the second picture you can see the contrast between the stained poplar, on the left, and the natural shellac'd, on the right. The last pic is all of the pieces drying.

A lot done.

I hand sanded the last coat of shellac with 220 grit. Then I popped the top on a can of walnut gel stain. The staining process was a little easier than I thought it would be. It took a about 45 minutes to stain all the inside pieces.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 1, 2008

Forcast looks good...

So far, the forecast for this weekend looks good for woodworking. The highs are supposed to be in the mid 50s. I hope I'll finally be able to get the stain on the inside pieces of the cabinet. If not, I can at least work on the legs and base some more. I may have to go to the local lumber guy and pick up some clear poplar for the legs. I have about 30 bdft, but it's knotted pretty good and I would like clear legs at least.

Not only that, I can check on the legs for my workbench. He never called to tell me the walnut was done. Maybe he just hasn't gotten to it yet, but we'll see tomorrow.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Still cold....

too cold. In the low 40's so it's still too cold to do the staining. That's OK though, I started working on the legs for the cabinet. I sawed up some poplar and have one leg glued up. 2.5" x 1.25" x 36". I have another almost ready to glue up. Takes me a while to get lumber milled because I have to hand plane the faces. No pics, but soon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tractor Supply & Jet?

I had to make an emergency run to the local Tractor Supply yesterday evening to pick up 6 bags of oats (this is a story for a different blog). While walking back to the feed I noticed the word "Jet" out of the corner of my eye. It seems that our local Tractor Supply Company sells Jet & Wilton power tools. Tractor Supply had a few drill presses, a couple of horizontal bandsaws and a vertical bandsaw. I did some research on Tractor Supply's website but they do not list Jet or Wilton. So it must be a regional thing. I searched Jet's website and Wilton's, which by the way Jet and Wilton are owned by the WHM group, and they both list my local Tractor Supply as dealers. How do the prices compare? They're about the same. But if your in the market for a new tool and want to see it, maybe a trip to your local Tractor Supply would pay off.

Oh yeah, and from my research, Wilton is to Jet like Plymouth is to Chrysler.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Long cold weekend...

So, this weekend was my comeback weekend. Unfortunately, it's been in the 20's all weekend and my garage is not heated. That means I couldn't apply stain, shellac, or glue. Well, actually, I could have but it's supposed to screw up the finish if you use it below 40 degrees. By the end of this week it's supposed to hit the high 50's. So maybe I can get the inside of this cabinet stained by then.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"I'm feeling betta"

Well, I got hammered by the sinus infection. Missed almost 2 days of work. Still recovering, but I've pulled through the worst of it. Hopefully, this weekend I'll get some garage time.

Friday, January 11, 2008

No progress...

I've been fighting a losing battle with a sinus infection. Hopefully, I'll feel well enough tomorrow to put the first coat of stain on the interior pieces of the cabinet. We'll see.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Seal coat part 2...

I just got done doing a light sanding of the first seal coat on the interior of the cabinet. I applied another coat of shellac and made sure to blue tape all the glue surfaces. I forgot to do that on the first coat, so I had to sand those extra. Hopefully tomorrow I can do a light sanding and put some stain on.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Finishing the cabinet...

I'm getting close to assembly for the cabinet, so it is time to start planning the finish. I know since the cabinet is poplar I want a dark finish to hide the green hues. I decided to finish the inside of the cabinet before assembly. I read an article in Fine Woodworking (membership required) about seal coating particular woods so they wouldn't blotch. Woods like, pine, poplar and cherry are notorious for blotching when stained. So, I used a 2lb cut of Zinsser Seal Coat (de-waxed shellac) for the inside of the cabinet. I got the first coat on, and it is ready for a light sanding before the second coat.

I also seal coated a piece of scrap poplar for testing stains. I applied 2 coats of the seal coat, with a light sanding after each coat. I then applied 3 different stains in 3 different sections of the board. Unfortunately, my camera batteries died. When I get batteries I'll post the test piece and let you know which one I chose.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Cold... too cold.

The past 2 or 3 days it's been 15-25F. Too cold for me to be in the garage with power tools. Hopefully, tomorrow will be warmer.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

RIGID drill press review...

I wrote my review of the RIGID DP-1550 15" 1/2 hp drill press. You can find a link under the "Reviews" section on the right.

I'm not necessarily a RIGID "fanboy". It's not that I like the color orange so much. Here are some reasons I like RIGID tools:
  1. They a good quality tool for the money.
  2. They repeatedly get good reviews from magazines and really good from users.
  3. The RIGID warranty is pretty good.
  4. I can take it back to Home Depot if I have an issue. (There's a "good" Home Depot in my area).
  5. Home Depot usually has a 6 month to 1 year no interest deal going on. That's hard to beat.
So it's not just being a "fanboy". Although, I do hope to get the RIGID 13" planer with the 3 cutter head soon.