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  1. #11
    Jexter's Avatar Minecraft Addicts Operator
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    Hello Addicts!

    Been awhile since I posted anything (or played much Minecraft for that matter), but I've been back in-game over the last couple of days to check in. Lately I've been busy with either a combination of other gaming interests - namely Naval Action and Skyrim - or woodworking classes and projects. Figured I'd toss a few photos on here and show what I've been working on.

    My classes last week covered fundamentals of hand tools. Some of the things covered I was somewhat familiar with, but it was nice to finally get some hands-on experience doing some joinery in a coached environment. The particular school I'm attending is run by a single instructor who limits his classes to small groups, so that means he has the time to assist each student personally... which is really cool. The guy has over 30 years of experience in woodworking and specializes in 18th century antique reproductions, so needless to say he had a very informative answer for every question I could throw at him.

    Spent a couple of days working marking gauges and getting precision marks with the exacto knife. We also did several hundred cuts with the Japanese saw to perfect "sawing to the line", with the intention of getting super tight dovetail fittings. I was really happy with how my first dovetails turned out, and was somewhat flattered by the instructor telling me they were the best first-time dovetails he'd seen a student make. Off to a good start then!





    This class had us building a basic side table, so the dovetails were needed to secure the drawer pieces as well as a couple of the front table joints (these used half-blind dovetails). The majority of the table was put together using mortise and tenons. So it was a fantastic exercise in learning basic wood joinery, and I feel pretty comfortable now with how to approach it on my own projects now. The class also covered hand-planing extensively, and suddenly made me realize just how wrong I had been doing it before (I used to think they were useless, but not anymore). In fact, the entire drawer we built was intentionally cut to be too large to fit into the table opening, and we spent several hours planing all sides and faces of the drawer to give it an exact fit. This method results in a hairline gap around the drawer and a very snug fit.

    We finished putting the table together at the end of our last Friday class, so I brought it home to start doing some final touches to it and then decide on a finish - possibly a rustic country silver finish, or maybe an amber shellac... not sure yet. I've ordered a couple of different finishes and am going to experiment on some scrap wood next week to decide what I like. I'll also figure out what type of knob to put on the drawer face.











    The table is built out of cherry, while the interior drawer pieces are poplar. Something I'm working on now on my own is a pattern I'm putting on the table top. I contemplated building a template and using the router to cut out the design I had in mind, but decided I wanted it to look hand-made rather than manufactured. So I've been doing my own little experiment with hand chisels and gone to work cutting out a pattern I've drawn on the table top. I threw together the pattern design in Photoshop, printed it, then used a technique my high school art teacher used to call "graphite printing" to trace the pattern onto the wood. It's a bit time-consuming and tedious to chisel out by hand - and nerve-racking because one mistake could easily ruin the surface - but it's fun. Hopefully I'll get that wrapped up over the next few days then move on to the finish. Will post some pics after it's done!


  2. #12
    Jexter's Avatar Minecraft Addicts Operator
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    Got another long week of woodworking classes under my belt, and the category this time was 18th century woodcarving. This was a really interesting topic as I began to get familiar with various styles of antique furniture, and even got to replicate a chair leg that was popular during the colonial era. The class was a great blend of furniture history and hands-on experience with carving - really enjoyed this one.

    Below was my first carving project, a small block of walnut band-sawn into the basic shape of a seashell, then glued down to a expendable piece of scrap poplar. We started with a seashell because they were commonly used as accent carvings on old chairs, plus it was good practice to learn some of the various types of chisels and gouges.



    After we spent a day on that, we moved on to the more complicated portion of the week - carving a replica of a claw-and-ball foot, commonly used on the Philadelphia-style chairs of the 18th century. This project really gave me an appreciation for woodcarvers that lived hundreds of years ago. A lot of time goes into carving a single chair leg, and to think they often carved 4 of these for one chair means they got points for serious patience. Not to mention they lacked many of the tools that are available today.



    First portion of the leg carving was the claw and ball. It took about a good day to finish this area, as a lot of measuring was needed to line everything up followed by a lot of careful precision with the chisel work. We used a chair leg from a real antique piece of furniture as reference. The ball in particular was tricky, as it is supposed to have a compressed appearance (like weight is being applied to it by the claw). Just about every claw and ball design has the squished ball appearance, so my instructor said that antique collectors would shun an antique reproduction even for something as simple as the ball being too round... thought that was interesting.



    After the claw and ball was finished, we moved on to carve the shell into the upper portion of the leg. When I first saw this shell on the antique, I thought it was a separate wood carving that was glued on. But no, they actually carved these directly onto the legs centuries ago. So the shell design had to be drawn onto the leg, and a lot of chisel work had to be done to remove about an eighth of an inch of wood around it.



    So there's the chair leg in its current state, after being brought home from class. I'm happy with how it turned out, but still have some finesse chisel work to do as well as plenty of sanding and rasping. Eventually I'll throw a shellac finish on it and use it as a display / reference piece. Having it available to reference in the future may prove valuable, as there's a good chance I may need to carve many more if I take one of the advanced classes that actually builds a full Philadelphia chair reproduction. My instructor is probably the best in the business when it comes to antique reproductions (he's only been doing it for 30+ years) so I'm really looking forward to taking bigger challenge like that someday. He built a replica of this exact chair about a decade ago, and it looks flawless. Apparently there are only 4 of the original antique versions left (worth $1.2 million each ), so he said collectors are always looking for accurate replicas. I'm not particularly fond of many of the 18th century designs, but they are very detailed and fun to make!

  3. #13
    dph's Avatar Minecraft Addicts Operator
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    Please please keep posting in this, I am finding this fascinating! Good job on the wood working, definitely making progress and its all so beautiful!
    I run a shop. Buy stuff!

    Vote! You know you want to: http://www.minecraftaddicts.com/show...craft-Addicts!

  4. #14

    VERY professional and creative!
    SOOO many ideas...hurts my head!

    She threw herself upon her horse and
    rode madly off in all directions!

  5. #15
    Jexter's Avatar Minecraft Addicts Operator
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    Will do dph. Hopefully me sharing a few glimpses into my early woodworking ventures will motivate others to give it a try; really fun stuff! And thank you Nana... I don't know about the professional part yet (I notice something wrong or things that can be done better with every project, lol), but hopefully one day I'll get there!

  6. #16
    Jexter's Avatar Minecraft Addicts Operator
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    With a couple of classes out of the way and some extra time to work on my own projects, I've taken the plunge into a few coffee table builds. My sister expressed her interest in a rustic coffee table for her newly-remodeled covered patio and asked if I could build her one. She provided a plan and a few images of a table design she liked, so I went to work building it.

    Building rustic / country style furniture is a good place to start, since minor defects and subtle wood flaws are something you actually want. Because I currently lack a planer and jointer to perfectly mill hardwoods to specific sizes and angles, rustic design fits in to the lowly, young shop that I have. The idea behind this particular table was to give it an old barnyard-type appeal with a weathered appearance.



    After a day or two to cut, sand and assemble everything, the next step seemed rather odd, but necessary for the whole rustic finish I had read about. Since this table is constructed from yellow pine, it evidently lacks a key ingredient needed for an oxidized finish: tannin. Black tea contains tannin, so the first step involved wiping / brushing 2 coats of black tea over the table. I gave this a few hours to get fully absorbed into the wood, which slightly darkened the color.



    After the tea coating had fully dried, it was on to the main finish which consisted of steel wool dissolved in white vinegar (this took several days to fully oxidize in a jar before it was ready to use). After a few days of soaking the steel wool had completely broken down and turned the vinegar a dark grey-ish color. I applied two coats of this vinegar solution - which smelled terrible, I might add - and after about 15-20 minutes of soaking into the wood, the table took on a dark grey color. Really interesting technique for creating a weathered finish.

    The final finish layers consisted of a couple of coats of Danish Oil, mainly to offer some water protection to the table (since a coffee table will likely have plenty of spills at one time or another). Danish Oil isn't exactly the best finish for sealing out water, but it's fairly adequate... I had discussed the possibility of putting on a polyurethane finish for maximum scratch / water protection with my sister, but the one thing we both dislike about poly is that it tends to make furniture have a plastic-like reflective quality. This doesn't really fit well with the whole rustic look, so we went with the Danish Oil to keep the aged look better.



    All done! Happy with how this piece turned out, and looking forward to delivering it to my sister's house in the near future. The Danish Oil did bring out more of the honey-brown hues than the grey, but either way it still came out with that country rustic look we wanted. I'll try and get a picture of the patio deck where this piece will go once I get it delivered.

    I'm working on a second coffee table that's more of my own design. I don't have it finished yet but have made some progress on it over the last few days. This one is intended to look a bit more bulky and perhaps slightly more modern, while still retaining a country look. The legs took a long time to assemble as all the cosmetic wood details were glued into the leg. So it was time-consuming to cut out all the mortises for the wood pieces to fit inside of. The rest of the frame was put together with screws / Kreg jig to save a day or two of time, plus they seem incredibly strong anyway (I jumped up and down on the frame a few times after the basic shape was assembled just to see ).

    I haven't decided on what type of finish I'll use on this piece yet. I may try out the rustic vinegar finish again, and this time try a low-sheen satin polyurethane just to see how that looks. I may also go with a light natural brown stain with Danish Oil... We'll see!






  7. #17
    Jexter's Avatar Minecraft Addicts Operator
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    Not posted here in awhile... been busy, but that's a great problem to have. Dropping by to share a couple of recent projects.

    This is the finished result of the partially-finished table I shared in my last post. It got the distressed vinegar treatment for a weathered, barnwood-like appearance. One of my younger brothers and his wife laid claim to this piece, and it now has a home in their living area (his dogs said to say hi btw).





    I also finished two side tables that match this same coffee table theme; the same brother also took these 2 pieces and decided to use them in their master suite as bedside end tables.



    After that project, I decided to try applying the same design to a leaner frame. Some people prefer the chunkier, sturdier look of thick legs, others the minimalist appearance of thinner legs. My older sister was needing a table for her covered outdoor patio area, so that's where this next table project began. I've built 3 of these so far; 2 have been sold to other customers (the all-gray variant), while the 2-tone gray was the one for my sister.







    (Credit goes to the sister for the photo above... she's quite the interior designer and photographer!)

    The other benefit of furniture design is that it's made me dust off my 3D software and start using it regularly again. I've been getting quite a few requests for custom furniture pieces lately, and often it's difficult to pinpoint the exact look a customer is looking for. I've found that throwing together a few design variations in 3D and then showing them the results is a great way to find out what they're after.

    The corner media table design is what I'm currently building by request (the customer liked the minimal, simple look of option #4). Most of my requests are usually for the gray finish but this particular table will be getting a dark honey stain.



    After I wrap up that corner table, I'll be moving on to another media table... much longer, and meant to go against a flat wall. This is for a customer who already purchased one of the thinner coffee tables previously, and his wife liked it enough to want a TV stand that matches the same look.



    This was an alternate design with thinner legs and a different X pattern on the end... not building this one yet, but may in the near future:



    Another person has asked me about a quilt rack design, so building one of those would definitely be a new experiment... been playing around with a few designs.


  8. #18

    Really impressed! You're gonna end up with this being your day job!
    SOOO many ideas...hurts my head!

    She threw herself upon her horse and
    rode madly off in all directions!

  9. #19
    Jexter's Avatar Minecraft Addicts Operator
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    One of these days I need to try and play Minecraft again... I'm booked with work for a long time. But that's a good problem to have, right?

    Quick post of a few recent projects:


    Custom living room set. The customer requested the pieces unfinished, as they wished to apply their own finish to the pieces.


    Custom-built two-tone TV / media table.


    42x22 coffee table with honey finish and 4 coats of water-based polyurethane. This was the first project I started doing more distressing experiments to the wood for a more rustic look. Used a nail-board I built to put scratches on the surface / wormholes, and a V-groove hand chisel to add deep lines along edges.


    Another custom-built table; this one was a bit different. It needed to support a 300 pound fish aquarium, so I built the whole thing with mortise-and-tenon joinery to make it bomb proof. And with 4x4 legs for extra re-assurance. Same distressing techniques used on the surface as on the coffee table before. The bottom was designed to be a sleeping area for the customer's 2 dogs, as they were tired of the dogs dragging their bedding all around the living room (lol). The lower wall on the right of the table was so the pets could easily jump in and out.


    Had numerous requests for side tables that match the coffee tables I build, so I put these 2 designs together.






    Lastly, an extreme rustic cabinet. This is another custom-built piece for a customer who wanted something that resembled a built-in cabinet (it's not finished yet, as it will eventually have a hutch that will make the total height of the piece 8+ feet... working on that now). The dimensions will make it fit perfectly into a wall slot the customer has in their living room. First time doing cabinets so this was a really good learning experience... it's a bit trickier then you'd think.

    Also learned some useful distressing techniques. The legs and tabletop lip are hand-hewed with a hatchet, to make it look similar to many 18th century farm posts. Then I discovered a hand-planing trick that involves warping the blade, and used it on the rest of the piece. This was to give the look of rough, circular saw marks that are common on many fine-crafted rustic furniture pieces.

    Until next time, Addicts!

  10. #20

    You could do this as a day job! I just looked thru the Pottery Barn catalog and it's filled with furniture just like this!
    SOOO many ideas...hurts my head!

    She threw herself upon her horse and
    rode madly off in all directions!

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