Completed Jewelry Box

I recently completed solid cherry jewelry box for a very special girl’s 5th birthday. The box is smaller version of my toolbox that I built earlier this year and is based on that design.


I used the toolbox project as the basis for my project and modified some of the proportions and layout details to fit the stock I had on hand and to include a single drawer rather than a double drawer design.

The finished box is around 16″w x 20″L x 7″H and includes a single drawer and a hinged top.


The drawer is dovetailed with poplar and includes a custom made pull.

The project took just over 4 days from start to finish. It was nicely received by its new owner. I am hopeful to make this into a retail design that can be sold locally River’s Mist Gallery in Stevensville, Montana and possible something that could be shipped across country if needed without costing a fortune.

I have include some build photos for those interested. I hope you like the overall design.

I am Finally on Etsy

In order to make ordering easier and to avoid having to make HTML coding changes just to provide new items for sale, I have migrated my sales to Etsy.

Here is the link to the new page on Etsy.

I am currently only offering the Notecards and Playing Cards for sales on the new page, but I may eventually migrate my existing prints there as well, depending on feedback. I have scaled back significantly on web sales and have mostly been selling through galleries, but the online store makes things easier for me to manage so I might promote a bit more in the future.

Also, stay tuned for potential woodworking items for sale coming through Etsy as well. I have some commissions I am currently working on so it will be a month or so, but I hope to have them available there before the end of February.

Well, THAT’S new!

It’s been quite a while since I posted anything and even longer since it was art-related. I was recently contacted by an Air Force Master Sergeant requesting the use of one of my drawings for the nose of a UH-1N Helicopter (a Huey to us civilian folks). I have gotten some interesting requests over the years requesting the use of my artwork on things like Christmas ornaments, t-shirts, even a Cub Scout flag, but this one really has to be the topper.

The image in question is a bust of a pronghorn antelope and is one of the few drawings of a pronghorn and one of the few color drawings I have done. Here is the original image.

Original pronghorn antelope study drawing in color.

Well, the nose art is completed and the Major Sergeant sent me the files after just a couple of weeks. They flipped the drawing and added a green tint so that it blends into the paint scheme of the helicopter. I think it turned out great and I couldn’t be more thrilled. What a wonderful Christmas present and a reminder of just how much I love seeing artwork put to unique uses!

DSC00488DSC00490Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!

New end tables for the living room


One of the other more recent woodworking projects I’ve completed were two walnut end tables for the living room.

I decided to make the end tables compact to help cut down on clutter than might accumulate on them if there was abundant acreage sitting around waiting for magazines, glasses, and unopened mail to pile up.

I found some really beautiful walnut at the lumber yard with a piece that was nearly perfect for the table tops. It was just a wee bit undersized by about an inch so I had to joint and glue a small strip from the same board to increase the width slightly. The joint lines are nearly invisible in the finished table tops and I honestly never see them unless I look for them now.


I created a single drawer and shelf for storage of the bits and bobs that usually pile up on top of the end tables and they have worked out quite well since completing them in November.

I checked with the boss and she said they would be okay.


There’s another one just like that one at the other end of the couch…

Back from my absence…


Well, it’s been quite a while since I posted anything and I can’t believe it’s been since May of last year since I created a post. Our daughter is now 3 years old and between taking care of her and woodworking in any spare moments I can scrape together, it’s been pretty hectic to say the least.

I will try to catch up on the things I’ve been working on since I dropped off the face of the planet, starting with the mahogany coffee table.

We had been making due with various terrible tables / combination of tables / and no tables for our living room for quite a while. I knew I wanted a pretty wide top so it could serve as a central focus for drawing, homework (in the future), writing (like I’m doing right now for this post), and general domestic activities.

After balancing all of the wood options out there and thinking of jointing and gluing up numerous boards for the top, I just broke down and went for the African mahogany since I could make the top with a single joint down the middle. It turned out to be a pleasant choice as mahogany is quite nice to work with hand tools. Other than dealing with the interlocking grain that is characteristic of mahogany, it is quite a nice wood for working with hand tools.

Unfortunately, the legs are also of mahogany but from a different tree and were harder than any oak I’ve ever worked combined with being incredibly abrasive due to the hard resinous inclusions in the wood. Mortising through them for the rail turned out to be a less than enjoyable experience. In the end, it turned out okay, but the amount of work involved for the mortising and planing the legs was significant.

I’ll probably work with mahogany again in the future, most likely for another toolbox I’m planing to make, but will make sure to test out the boards at the lumber yard to ensure the wood is workable and not extra dense.

Trestle Table completed

Here are a few photos from my most recent woodworking project, a trestle table. The top is made from Black Walnut and the base is made from some select pieces of alder.

I tried to keep the size appropriate for your relatively small dining room while allowing space for a planned side table built using similar woods.

The breadboard ends were probably the most rewarding part of the process as they required close tolerances but were quite fun to produce with only a small handheld router and straightedge. Doing these by hand would have been possible but quite challenging given my lack of a wide rabbeting plane that would have made it easier to do.


I finished the top with a wiping varnish (ala Bob Flexner), which is one part oil-based polyurethane and one part odorless mineral spirits. It took around four coats to get a decent coverage that will stand up against spills and messes resulting from eating every meal at this little table. So far it appears to be doing just fine.

The base is a combination of wedged through tenons for the stretchers (seen below) and for the leg to foot joints. This was my first project using these and I have to say I was amazed at the incredibly solid sound the wedges made when driven home in the kerfs cut into the end of the tenons to accept them. These joints were then drawbored with oak pegs to add belts to the proverbial suspenders. The joinery is conceptually sound so time will test my woodworking ability to determine if it is up to snuff.


The feet were shaped using a coping saw (believe it or not) as I haven’t found a suitable bow saw and don’t currently own a bandsaw — maybe some day. They were then sanded by hand and joined to the table using wedged through tenons and pegs, not drawbored all of the way through to avoid the end of the oak pegs standing out against the visible part of the feet. I’ll have to wait to see if this was a mistake as the table absorbs the mechanical stresses of being used every day. It’s holding up just fine so far.


So far the table looks to be holding up well. I’m not sure alder was the best wood to use for the base. If I was to do it over again, I would probably use a stiffer, more rigid wood like a douglas fir or perhaps even white oak as it would have provided a much more rigid platform for the top. As it stands now, I can easily replace the base since the top is attached using traditional buttons instead of being screwed or bolted on in some fashion. It might be a good time to revisit this after completing the side table.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of the trestle table. I’ll post more updates as my next project nears completion.

Woodworking and hand tools

Things have changed quite a bit for me over the last several months. I’ve been busy taking care of my 11 month old daughter full time and have had to find ways of fitting in my work around that busy schedule. I haven’t been drawing much except as it relates to my woodworking, which is a fairly new and serious endeavor for me. I started out building a new changing table, then moved on to refinishing some chairs, crib, dresser,

Cherry Dresser

footstool, table, traditional tool chest,

Traditional Tool Chest

and most recently a new toy box for my daughter.

Toy Box

I thought it was time to update folks on how things have been going and what I’ve been doing.

I started out doing most of my woodworking with machines but Montana winters drive you indoors and in my case into the basement to do the work. I found myself being very hesitant to use the router table, circular saw, or even the jigsaw because of the noise, the fairly limited working space, and the clouds of unhealthy dust they created. I started looking around for some non-powered options which led me to start using hand tools.

One thing led to another and I am now doing all of my work with hand tools and really not missing the power tools at all. Sure I still want to plane a board to a specific thickness or run a long board through a table saw now and then, but the majority of my work is done quickly, quietly, and fairly dust-free with hand tools and I’ve never enjoyed it more.

I am about to start on a new project, a smaller computer desk / organizer for our dining room so we can have a mobile station upstairs for occasional work and for storing writing materials, power plugs, etc. Over the next week or two I’ll update my blog with photos of the last few projects and some new material on the desk project.

It’s been a while since I had the urge to post some photos so I hope there is some interest out there in this turn of events and hopefully I can help being an appreciation to some of the hand tool skills that I am rediscovering in the process.

Here is a parting shot of two my my hand saws that I recently refurbished.

My refurbished 12" and 14" Disston backsaws.