Archive for ‘Projects’

Doing things the hard way

By , 5 June, 2012, 4 Comments

I think I need to invest in a vacuum press. Actually, I think I should have invested in a vacuum press last week. Would have saved me humping 700 pounds of lumber onto the top of the workbench just to glue up some veneer base. Hindsight, and all that.


Ode to a doorknob

By , 26 May, 2011, 3 Comments

Occasionally, a really unique project makes its way into my shop.  Such was the case recently when my friend Don Harkey called.

“Jason, can you make my mom a coat rack?”

(Well, yuup).

“Sure, Don.  Does she have anything specific in mind?”

(Like nails in an old board?)

“Well, she has a box with six glass door knobs and four glass curtain hooks.  Can I bring them to you?”

(Ummmm…. sure?)




“Ummmm…. sure?”

So, I have a box of glass knobs and hooks.  I’ve mentioned before that I like things that are well made.  I said that in the context of tools, but apparently my affection extends to other things (who knew?), because these are really fantastic.  These aren’t cheap clear plastic hooks or knobs, either.  These are glass.  Heavy glass.  Solid glass.  Some of the knobs have been painted at one time or another, but most of that’s gone now.  And one of the knobs is brass.  Just a standard brass knob, but it certainly seems to have earned it’s place with its cool glass cousins, so I’m leaving it in.  And I’m not cleaning any of that paint or tarnish off.  It took a long time to get that patina and I’m not touching it.

In addition to being in great shape, the Art Nouveau style is classic.  If I had to guess, these little treasures are close to a hundred years old – straight out of the late 18 to early 1900′s.

So, what to do with them?  I refuse, REFUSE, to just mount them to a board and hang it on the wall.  First of all, I have to consider and pay homage to the fact that these were part of a house, specifically a door, at one time.  (Actually several doors, but let’s not get nitpicky).  Second, I have to respect the Art Nouveau styling, with its sinuous lines and abstract motifs.  And finally, this has to be a functional rack, not just a pretty thing to hang on the wall.  (When I was a kid I got in trouble if I hung my coat on a door knob.  Now I’m encouraging it!)

So, this is the start of that project.  More pictures will follow in a couple of weeks.  Enjoy!

Bloodwood Butterfly

By , 11 September, 2010, 1 Comment

I recently went out to New Horizons Hardwoods in Springfield to tour their showroom and familiarize myself with their product line.  New Horizons imports exotic  hardwoods that are sustainably harvested in Ecuador.  What’s that mean?  It means that a government agency picks what trees they can take out based on acreage (one tree per acre) and age or condition of the tree.  The harvested trees are milled and shipped to the US for flooring or furniture.  While there, I picked up some lumber for a pair of barstools I’m designing and we began talking about their need for a conference table in their showroom.  Long story short, I went away with enough Cherry Sappele for my project and enough Bloodwood to build a conference table.

Bloodwood blanks

Bloodwood is an interesting species.  Member of the Mahogany family, so named for it’s deep red color, and very hard.  The odd thing about this particular Bloodwood is that it is not nearly as red as normal and has some unique figuring.  The folks at New Horizons spec all of the material they import with the USDA so that they know exactly what they are selling.  On this log, the USDA confirmed it as Bloodwood, but had never seen the coloring that was evident in this tree.  Needless to say, I was a bit nervous about cutting up a load of lumber that is very rare and so unique.

I got over that reservation pretty quick.  One of the boards had a dark pattern through the heartwood that resembled half of a butterfly, so by splitting it and bookmatching the pattern, I was able to inlay a Butterfly shape set within a deep red border.  The other material selected for the top has a figuring that makes it appear to be waterspotted.  I don’t know enough about Bloodwood to know if that’s normal or not, but the organic nature of that figuring tied in nicely with the Butterfly.  The last detail on the top is a fingernail profile cut into the outer edge.

Completed top

Stay tuned!  I start on the base structure next week and should have the table completed shortly thereafter.  Further updates as events warrant!