Friday, December 23, 2005

I blame the holidays!

About the only place that presents can be dealt with here where the kiddos won’t venture is the area I had been affectionately referring to as the “finishing area”. There have apparently been a couple things down there that my wife hasn’t wanted me to see either, so I haven’t been able to venture down to the dungeon much at all this week.

That’s all going to change tomorrow! I just don’t handle Christmas Eve very well. I’m not sure if it’s the kid in me or what, but I just can’t help but pace about the house in anticipation of the biggest dang day of the year! So my wife has already warned me that instead of dealing with my goofy ass hanging about the upstairs driving her nuts, I’m being cast off the dungeon to do what ever it takes to stay out of her hair.

Now what will I do…that's the big question... there are a couple options available. I have a few pen kits still kicking around, I can work on those. I need to build a drawer for that Red Oak nightstand. That could be a good option as it’ll take some time to tinker with the dovetail jig to make sure everything is just right. I also have enough Pine to put another Adirondack chair together. I’ve got a guy at work that would like an unfinished one…

I guess you’ll just have to check back and see what happens…

Friday, December 16, 2005

Better to give than receive

This saying comes up quite a bit this time of year and seems to really go well with today’s experience.

I made another pen today. This one was for my father-in-law. I gave one from the first group to my mother-in-law and apparently the father-in-law felt a bit slighted. I designed this one differently from the rest. One of my favorite aspects of making these pens is that every single one is different.

So while my wife was making dinner, I trotted off to the dungeon and began turning some wood. Everything was going well. The shape of the pen came out just how I had pictured. There are a few things that I think could be improved, but let’s not forget, this is only pen # 6. I know I’ll get better, so I’m really not sweating the small stuff. AND I think the pens have been coming out fairly nice so far.

After snapping a couple of pictures and showing the new pen off to the wife and my little assistant, I headed to the in-laws. They live right next door, so it wasn’t a long trip! I handed the pen to my father-in-law who was, as usual, in his recliner watching six different TV shows all at the same time. I told him this was his pen. Apparently this is the perfect example of how “it’s better to give than receive”. I felt pretty good about giving him something that I made specifically for him. He didn’t seem overly impressed with the shape I went with…

So here’s what it looked like:

who knows, perhaps I'm just reading too much into his reaction...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The gift that keeps on giving

I mentioned earlier that I’ve already opened my Christmas present from my wife. That’s right, the lathe. I had the opportunity to make my first “thing” on it today! Rather than turning a square piece of scrap wood into a round piece of scrap wood, I made my first pens.

I did get a little anxious though. I don’t actually have any finish for them yet. (Apparently shellac is one of the top recommendations...?) So I had to improvise a little. What I ended up doing is sanding the pen blanks down to a 400 grit sand paper and then wiped them down with a tack cloth. I used an old linen napkin to then buff the residue from the tack cloth to remove that sticky (or tacky!) feeling. I’m pretty happy with the results.

Here is a picture of all of the components used to make a pen:

This is the first pen I made:

Here is a picture of the three pens that I made today. The first pen is on the bottom, the second pen in the middle and the third on top:

All three of these were made with Rosewood. Now that I kinda know what I'm doing, I'm really looking forward to getting several different types of wood to see which I like the best! My favorite online store Woodcraft has a great sample pack of exotic woods that I want to get.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Back to the Beginning

Having little girls running around the house introduces mass amounts of Disney movies to the home. And Disney, being the pain in the ass that they are, can’t simply use the simple card/paper type boxes like everyone else. Noooo, they have to use these great big bulky plastic air-filled things! These cases are of course bigger than any other movie, and we must have close to 75 movies with this style case, so none of the traditional movie storage solutions really work well for them, and this is where my story starts…

I’ve never really been a true “handyman”. One of my best known projects (not because of what was accomplished) was the installation of a toilet paper roll hanger in our bathroom. At that time, we only had our oldest daughter Jasmine. Well, due to the unbelievable stream of “sailor talk” coming from my mouth and the random screwdrivers being thrown about, my wife and daughter sought shelter on the front porch until this little task was complete. I have matured, a little, since then…

At this point in my life, I had precisely ZERO tools. But I had to find a way to store these movies and get them out of the way. My wife had one simple request: “please keep it small, I don’t want this thing taking over the living room!” We recently had a Home Depot open up locally, so this place was going to be my new “home away from home”. I came up with a design that I thought would get approval from my wife and set out to getting my supplies and borrowed a miter saw from my brother-in-law. After a bit of initial hesitation, and my wife telling me to “get down there and get it done.” I set off to work. I made sure to keep the cardinal rule in mind through out this project “measure twice, cut once”. Oh, and the other one “don’t cut off your fingers!”

Everything went together rather nicely. A quick painting and we were in business!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Sweet Success!

Not only is the Vin Rouge project complete, but it's still monday! I get to hold my head high knowing that I hit my goal and got the chairs done this weekend. Ok, so it's not much of a victory, but it's still a victory! It'll help me go to sleep even though I have to head into the real job in the morning...

So do you want to see the end result of the Vin Rouge project? ok then, let's take a look...

I must say, I think they look pretty sweet. I'd like to find a similar shade of blue to make another set. I think I'll be waiting for warmer weather to paint something that can't be completed in the dungeon though. It's too cold to do anything on the porch, and I'm not going to risk my little one getting her hands on anything that I'm working on! I've reached the point where I can tolerate painting now, but I'm certainly not ready to touch up something that hasn't even left the house yet!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

My Assistant

you may not have considered that I would have an assistant, but I do. And if you've read my profile carefully, you might even be able to guess who it is!

My four year old loves the dungeon. anytime I go down there, she's usually hot on my tail! she's got projects of her own you know. in fact just the other day she assembled a new measuring stick. apparently this is a device that can be used to track how tall she and her sisters are getting! it's amazing what can be made of scrap oak and packaging tape. of course for this project, I was her assistant. I don't let her use the box opener that I've got (hopefully for obvious reasons) so I was tasked with supplying her with pieces of tape. I think I did an ok job!

I got a lathe for christmas. of course I've opened and used it already!

The lathe is used for woodturning. round chair or table legs are made with a lathe. One of the reasons I wanted one was to make my own pens.

Apparently this is one of the latest hot hobbies among woodworkers. seems cool none the less. I'd also like to take a shot at turning my own bowls, but first things first.

I find it kinda fun to have one of my kids take an interest in what I do, so while I was flipping through my Woodcraft catalog tonight looking at some of my options for pen blanks I decided that perhaps I should get the opinion of my assistant. Well, the girl's got taste, because she wants to get some Padauk to make some pens with. It's not an overly expensive wood, but it is a cool looking reddish wood that comes in from West Africa. It should be fun to give her one of these pens when I get them done. with her help of course!

PS~ thanks to Woodcraft for today's pictures!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

FEAR: the great motivator

I threw down the gauntlet the other day saying that I'd like to get the Vin Rouge Project out of the dungeon this weekend since I have Monday off and all. The last thing I want to do now is to have to come up hear and report: "I laid around and did nothing all weekend and the chairs haven't moved..."

So I got my @SS down in the dungeon today and got to work!

It has even paid off. I got one chair up in the living room so I could get the arm rests attached and get the wood filler in the screw holes so they can dry overnight. Chair #2 will be coming up tomorrow.

I ended up going with six coats of Vin Rouge on these babies and I must say that I am happy with the results so far.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

they won't finish themselves

ok, I was bad yesterday, I can admit it. I didn't work on the chairs... I hang my head in shame.

So I made sure to head down to the dungeon tonight to get some more paint on the Vin Rouge project. I'm at that point where I need to make sure all of the nooks and crannies are done before I put that final coat on the chairs... it just get so tedious. It's that point of the project when you spend all this time working and nothing looks any different... blah.

The plan is to at least get them up from the dungeon so I can get the arm rests attached by the end of the weekend. I don't think that's too much of a stretch that I can't actually make it happen... and if I don't, well then I have to face all of you...

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Vin Rouge Report

yes, I am still working on the Vin Rouge Project. I was hoping to complete the project while on vacation last week, but sheer laziness is a bitch to overcome! I wasn't completely lazy last week, here's a quick breakdown on how the week went:

Monday and Tuesday I worked on the Vin Rouge chairs.
Wednesday I went with my brother-in-law to pick up his daughter at the airport.
Thursday was spent overeating Turkey and other goodies.
Friday was recuperation day from overeating on Thursday!
Saturday I got a new toy that we'll talk about later.
and finally Sunday, I got back to working on the chairs.

I've now got one full coat left to apply and then some touch-ups in the nooks and crannies. Here's an updated pic on a closeup of the bottom:

I've also been trying to work on the nightstand that I started oh so long ago. I'm building this out of Red Oak. I like the color and it's freaking heavy! I screwed up on a couple things, so it's not my favorite project, but it should look ok when done.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

you look relaxed

So I started my week long vacation today. Everyone else trotted off to work as they normally do and I rolled my butt out of bed at the crack 9:00am! Thanks Honey!

I spent the morning getting ready for and then making the big trip to the dump/recycling center. I got home just in time to see the 4 year old off to school and figured that while the littlest one was taking a nap, I could slap some paint on the Vin Rouge Project.

After picking up the 4 year old from school around 2:30, I headed down to the office to drop off an end table that my father-in-law had refinished for one of the girls and to pick up my Thanksgiving turkey that the company was handing out.

And this is the part that I found odd... not 1, but 2 people commented on how I looked much more relaxed than usual! A third person accused me of visiting Captain Morgan for lunch, but he's an idiot and that's a different story. Apparently though, this is a much needed vacation!

So here's the Vin Rouge Project update:

In this picture, the chair in the foreground has two coats and the chair in the back has one.

Both now have two.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


I've got this nightstand that I started working on several months ago. Ok, it was back in April when I started, but I plan on finishing it before this coming April!

One of the highlights of this nightstand is the piece of Birdseye Maple that I will use for the drawer front. I want to connect the sides of the drawer to the front with a half-blind dovetail joint. I bought this Leigh Dovetail jig back in April as well. As I've posted before, I have been practicing so that I don't destroy my Birdseye drawer front.

The jig looks like this

and to show that I can do more that just build Adirondack chairs, here's a picture of the half-blind dovetail that I have been working on. I'm pretty happy with the results. Now that the jig is set correctly, reproducing the joint is fairly easy... so I'm almost ready to go to town on the real thing!

stay tuned, there will be more to come. I've got the week off!!!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Vin Rouge

so here are the first pictures of the Vin Rouge project. I was beginning to get a bit nervouse about the color, but it has been approved!

this is a picture of what I've painted so far. I started with the back just in case the color looked like cr*p. it's starting to grow on me though...
Image Hosted by

this is a picture of the bottoms of the arm rests
Image Hosted by

at this point there are FIVE coats of Vin Rouge plus the primer on what you see. As a comparison, I only had to use 3 coats plus the primer on the NY Adirondacks. Speaking of those, they are getting picked up tomorrow! I'm rather excited to hear from the person getting them on what they think when they see them in person.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Next Please!

...and they are done! Yes the NY Adirondacks are done. complete. finished. waiting to be picked up...
Image Hosted by

so we are on to the next project... another set of Adirondacks! How boring you say? NO WAY! this set is going to be WAY different. This set is going to be a lovely maroon! "Vin Rouge" to be exact.

this set is for my team lead at the real job. I'm actually getting paid for this job! tonight I finished putting on the primer and tomorrow I'll put on the first coat of the "Vin Rouge".
Baring any unforseen flooding:
Image Hosted by
I expect this set of chairs should be completed fairly soon! ...and yes, that is my workbench floating amonst what used to be the occupants of my basement workshop (a.k.a. ... The Dungeon!).

Stay tuned! now that I know how to post pictures, this blog is going to get exciting!

Friday, November 04, 2005

so close I can taste it

~ the NY Adirondacks have been moved out of the basement.
~ the armrests have been attached.
~ final painting has begun.

they are almost done!

before you see this picture, keep one thing in mind. The armrests haven't been attached yet! This picture was taken a couple days ago, but this will give you an idea of how the NY Adirondacks are going to look...

Image Hosted by

Thursday, November 03, 2005

a view of me and my work

ok, here we go. here's a picture of me with the first Adirondack chair that I sold to one of the girls at work.

Image Hosted by

Monday, October 31, 2005

nothing to it

I've got the final coats of paint drying on the NY Adirondacks, so it's time to play with that $400 dovetail jig that I bought WAY back in April and figure out how to make this thing work it's magic.

I've got this nightstand that I started way back in April (I'm starting to see a trend...) that I'm building out of Red Oak. I built a similar one with Pine for the dear sweet wife quite some time ago. Now I'd like to get rid of the ugly metal file cabinet that resides on my side of the bed! Anyway... the drawer front for this nightstand is a lovely piece of Birdseye Maple. The plan is to figure out how to use this dovetail jig to cut some half-blind dovetails to connect the drawer front to the drawer sides.

I started the other night to dub around with this jig. I used several pieces of scrap wood and successfully made more scrap wood! Persistence pays off!! I made a few adjustments and now I have a half-blind dovetail that I can be proud of! Of course is on a piece of scrap wood...!

at least now I kind of know what I'm doing... $400, six months, 10 trials... nothing to it!

Monday, October 24, 2005

you did the dishes?

ever since the flood a couple weeks ago, my jointer has taken residence in the entry way to the kitchen. it's a lovely tool that is about as tall as the average 18 month old and weighs between 100 and 200 pounds. the stand that holds it up isn't too bad, it's the massive cast iron table that's the killer.

my wife has been dying for me to get that back into the basement. so last night while she was giving the kids a bath, one of my buddies helped me muscle it back down stairs. we decided we were going to wait and see how long it took for her to notice that it had moved. 4 hours later my buddy gave up and flat out asked her if she noticed anything different. she got excited thinking he had washed the dinner dishes!

i can honestly say that it's nice to be getting things back to normal in the workshop. now that i've had a couple weeks without it, i realize how much i enjoy working down there. i'm looking forward to seeing what i can pull together out of these stacks of wood that i've got. i'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

back to work!

ok, the rain has subsided. the workshop is basically dry again. Hurricane Wilma is bearing down on Florida with a chance of coming up the East Coast. do I get my shop setup again, or wait...

honestly, it's killing me to not have my shop. I haven't been sleeping well. I can't focus at "the real job". and everything just seems to be a little off... so, back to work!

since most everything that was in the basement is now preparing for a trip to the landfill, there's plenty more room down there. I've started to setup a new area for finishing, painting/staining - that kind of thing. the lighting is a little better and there's a bit more head room over there.

I'd also like to take the opportunity to get a few other things done as well. I've got some plans for a nice portable (in case of floods) router table. I've also seen a great design of a mitre saw bench/cabinet that another woodworker had built that I'd like to modify for myself.

I do need to get those NY Adirondacks done too. I know, I know, your thinking "holy cow, I thought those would be done ages ago!" well that's not the case. and it's ok. I've talked to the lady that's getting the chairs and she reported that she's had the same flooding problems that I've had. she said another week or so is fine if I need it. I'd like to get them done though. I've got two more chairs built that I need to get painted for one of the girls at work. the nice thing is that the new "finishing" area that I mentioned earlier, has room for 3 chairs to be worked on at once!

my dungeon has expanded!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

clean enough to eat off of

I've got my fingers crossed that my water problems are over. the water has finally stopped seeping in through the cracks in the floor. I mopped bleach water across the basement floor tonight (forgetting that I was still wearing my dress pants) so I think I'm about ready to begin the process of restoring my workshop.

my dad was admiring my handy-work when mentioned that he could bring over his industrial vacuum that he uses in his cleaning business to get the remaining sand off the floor. I could only give him a blank stare and say... "you realize that 4 days after getting my tools down here there will be 4 inches of sawdust on the floor, right?"

so now it's clean enough! I wouldn't eat off it though...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

why must people be so freakin annoying?

One of the many reasons that I moved away from software development and into woodworking is that spammers and virus writing jack@sses cannot get into my woodworking.

I'm not sure how many people actually read my ramblings, but I cannot stand SPAM, so I'm turning on the word verification feature for comments. I'm not doing this to be a pain in the @ss, but simply because I find these stupid SPAM comments irritating.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Enough Already!

ok, it's been a while since I've posted. let me explain why...

in my last post, I mentioned that before going to bed, I had some water creeping across the floor of the workshop (basement). well if I had only gotten an inch or two, all would have been ok. Four and a half feet later and I'm SICK of water! Holy Cr*p!

my nephew helped me get my tools and wood up to the first floor, where my lovely wife enjoys the concept of sharing the kid's play room with my table saw, four adirondack chairs and a large stack of wood. the jointer's hanging out in the kitchen, while the downstairs bathroom is stocked with plenty of hand tools clamps and everything else!

oh it's been exciting this past week, but enough already!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

what the...?

Like my workshop (a.k.a. basement) isn't bad enough. The ceiling is so low that I can barely stand up straight, and I have to be on constant lookout for the low hanging heating pipes. Now it's been freakin raining all day and as I was finishing up for the night on the NY Adirondacks, I turn around to find this little lake inching closer and closer to me!

So I've got everything up on blocks and we'll hope for the best that we don't get more than 4-6" of water down there. I'm not really looking forward to lifting the 100+ pound jointer out of there!!

Keep your fingers crossed!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Always Be Selling

We have this phrase at work "Always Be Selling". It comes in handy sometimes... a deal feels close, push a little and lock it up. So when one of my co-workers was discussing a new BBQ grill they won, I took the opportunity to try and move the second set of Adirondacks that I assembled at the same time as the NY adirondacks (which are nearing completion). So I'm happy to report that the deal is done. I need another paint color, but she's going to take the chairs.

I've also been working on the designs for a Wishing Well that another co-worker wants for their yard. This project won't be painted (YEAH!) and not cheap either... Let's hope that his interest doesn't fade when he hears the final cost...

Friday, October 07, 2005

no pain, no gain

So I'm coming up on just one week remaining before the NY Adirondacks are due. I'm not concerned that I won't hit the due date, I'm sure it won't even be an issue. But... having a due date hanging over your head and just the right mix of Rancid on the iPod can make painting tolerable.

...and knowing that my lovely wife is going to pitch in to help out on this now public hatred of painting makes life a bit more easy going! Love you baby!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I hate painting

there, I said it. I'm not ashamed.

I'm just afraid this is an evil side of woodworking that I'm not going to be able to escape. And it's not just the fact that the paint covers the beauty in the grain of the wood. I don't really care for staining either.

It's definately the task. I just don't like it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

You can do it, we can help.

Sometimes, my self pride can get the best of me. The last couple of Adirondack chairs I built (one for my dad and one for a co-worker at "the real job") I painted white. The reason for the choice was simple: I really hate the idea of painting wood (another rant all together) and I wanted to keep the chair color neutral.I am happy to say that I am quite pleased with the results, but that's not the point of todays ramblings...

I went to the great Home Depot the other day to discuss the "Windy Pine" color I've selected for the NY Adirondacks. I've been a fan of Home Depot since we got our local store just over a year ago. I've watched their "You can do it, we can help" commercials and have thought "what a load of cr*p! you guys don't know anymore than I do and don't care what I'm doing to boot."

Much to surprise, the person working in the paint dept appears to have known what they were talking about. AND they did help me. I was going to go ahead and slap on the couple coats of white primer before applying the lovely "Windy Pine" when they showed me an example of what it might look like. Apparently the white primer would bleed through several coats of of my "Windy Pine" had I continued with my way...

So I walked out of the store happily with my cans of "Windy Pine" and tinted primer (grey in color even... not the lighter shade of "Windy Pine" that I had assumed).

I applied the primer to one of the NY Adirondacks tonight and am quite happy with the results. So there may be some truth to it afterall...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Adirondack Chairs for NY

My current project is to build to Adirondack chairs to ship to NY. I am happy to report that they are coming along quite nicely. As of today, I need only attach the arm rests to the chairs and apply a finish.

For these chairs, I've got a nice looking forrest green semi-gloss exterior paint. I'm looking forward to seeing how these look when they are done, they should look pretty nice.

Well it's back to the dungeon for now, still have a couple of things to wrap up for the day...

Saturday, October 01, 2005


This is my initial entry... just to get things going.

In my real life I work in computer sales for a fortune 1000 company. What I like doing is woodworking. In fact just the other day I received payment for the first item I have sold. It was an Adirondack chair and foot stool. I'm quite happy with the results. It's the fourth chair that I've built, but the footstool was a first.

Currently I am working on two more Adirondack chairs. I have donated these to a company that I work with at "the real job" that held a silent auction with their national sales staff to raise money for the Red Cross to help with the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

I'll post some pictures as soon as I figure out how...