Why I Love Working Wood!

You can do the math but my earliest recollections of working with wood go all the way back to elementary school in the 50’s  when I made a tug boat out of a piece of balsa wood. Also remember my parents when we still lived in Holland doing some types of craft projects.  Even now, after all these years there’s something that fascinates me about wood. My experiences run the gamut from stacking and selling it in a lumber yard, building houses out of it, crafting fine furniture, and teaching kids about it for my life’s career and the saga continues to this day!  You may wonder what the focus may be of my blog today but I’m feeling quite blessed to have something that I can get myself engrossed in during these turbulent times we’re finding our country in.

By limiting the times spent on social media and watching news and making sawdust instead I’m maintaining some sense of sanity!  Yep, I’d love to be crafting some fine piece of furniture right now but that’s not always possible so let me tell you what’s happening here in our new, Phoenix home.  Well, Diane and I did do quite a bit of landscaping and are having 500 square feet of sod delivered Monday.  And there’s that load of rocks in the back of the truck that needs to be put into the walkway area but that’s another story.

There is a Monkeypod picture frame I’ve been commissioned to make.  It’s for a Hawaiian themed print and measures about 28″ x 37″.  When I met with the client for the first time I threw out Monkeypod when she mentioned what she needed the frame for.  She was surprised that I even knew what the wood was so that may have clinched the deal!  Woodworkers Source here in Phoenix had a limited supply but I was able to pick out a few pieces.  Forgotten how gnarly the grain can be but heres the profile I came up with.  It’s just under 3″ wide.  After planing it to a uniform thickness the rabbet was cut at the tablesaw and the beaded edge was routed.

At this point the miters have been cut, slotted for biscuits, and glued/clamped overnight.  It’ll be an oil finish with my hand sanded top coat, the Danish oil was applied this morning which means the frame will be completed by mid-week.

The other shop happening is making a couple of small, utilitarian storage units to go underneath the sinks of the bathroom vanity.  The vanity is higher than the standard 30″ and there are three, rather deep drawers in the center of it.  Not a good design for a bathroom in our opinion, especially for those small items Diane has.  We (mostly Diane, my design expert) decided that a storage unit behind one of the doors with small drawers would be the solution.  Of course, you know there is plumbing to contend with so that was an issue.

Cabinet with Rabbeted Drawer Front

Cabinet with Rabbeted Drawer Front

With a width of 10 3/4″ and a height of 20″ I hope to solve this problem with units made of 3/4″ Baltic Birch that is left over from the shop storage area.  Needless to say this won’t be one of those fine furniture projects I’m looking forward to!  Once again I’ll use dadoed sides which will have the drawer mounted to 1/4″ MDF that does double duty as the bottom of the drawer and the sliding mechanism.  To save room and not have a face frame I’m trying a new technique.  The drawer fronts have rabbeted edges that are wide enough to cover the plywood side and the drawer side piece.  Never seen this done before but like the title of the blog says; this is why I love working wood.  Your challenges are limitless.

It was pretty much an assembly line process to make the eight drawer fronts and I used the occasion to use my hand skills to smooth the rabbets, chamfer the edges (10 strokes with a block plane on each) and also plane the faces.  This will be finished with General Finishes EnduroVar when completed.  Sorry about these pictures, sun is great to see your smooth plane results but not so good for photos!

First time I’ve been able to use the rabbet block plane and my bronze smoother.  So there you have it; why I love this stuff.

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About woodworksbyjohn

I'm a retired woodshop teacher. I build one of a kind furniture pieces and custom picture frames. You can see some of my sell and carvings through my Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/WoodworksbyJohn?ref=si_shop Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
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