Arts & Crafts Style Cabinet


Were were in need of a storage cabinet for my daughter to use in the reading room to store her art supplies and other odds and ends. I designed a small cabinet to fit with our current Arts & Crafts themed study.



Work for me invariably begins in my sketchbook, sometimes making a stop in SketchUp but sometimes for simple one-off projects, straight to the tools. In this case, I am using the dimension from the sketchbook to ensure I am placing the mortises in the correct locations in the side rails.


Once the components are cut, the dry fit takes place to ensure things are correct.

I love traditional joinery and I try to use mortise and tenon and dovetails in all of my pieces. Sometimes I can’t because of cost or material constraints, but these traditional joints ensure a lifetime of use.

The top, doors, and drawers are where the real time lies in these types of projects.

The piece is finished with shellac for the main carcass and drawers with polyurethane for the top to avoid rings and damage from wet glasses.

Overall, a fairly quick cabinet that will serve its purpose for many years to come.


Magazine Tables


My grandmother used one of these style magazine tables as long as I knew her. She used it every day and sat her coffee and crossword puzzle on it as well as a tiny Christmas tree during the holidays. It was passed down to my father and I inherited it upon my Mom downsizing to move into her apartment. Needless to say, it was a perfect project for me to take on in the hopes of passing on a few of these to my family.


The original table on the left and the reproduction on the right.

The work began with creating a template for the sides and for the profiles of the  magazine racks.

I used a router and template guide to trace the main shapes and refined the pieces with rasps and sandpaper to get a reasonable finish in the tighter curves.

Production runs like there are best done with very precise steps with minimal fussing about. The time you spend properly setting up is multiplied by each piece you are working on, so taking the time to do it right is essential. Very different from my usual one-off production I usually work on.

Glue up and finishing were fairly straightforward for the four tables.


Grandfather surrounded by grandchildren.

It was a fun project and one I really enjoyed.


TV Stand

20180622_091723We have needed a new TV stand for our living room, even though we don’t have cable and only use it to watch the occasional movie, it was getting pretty cluttered so we needed a better solution.

I started the same old way, developing an idea in my sketchbook and then transferring it to SketchUp to figure out the lumber required to build it.

TV stand V2

SketchUp design of the new cabinet. I changed my mind and went with plywood panels for the doors to help hide the clutter.

I opted for a plywood carcass with solid wood doors, drawers, and top. So the first step was creating the carcass.


Dry fit of the carcass components.


The drawer guides were set into dados in the side panels to help create some strength.


The dovetailed drawers are being fit into their openings.


The finish is applied. I opted for a very light dye in the shellac and a water-based acrylic finish for the top.


The completed TV stand installed.

A Custom Table

I recently completed and delivered a custom table for a client. It was designed to fit a rather unique space inside a banister in her kitchen. The space was approximately 23″ deep and nearly 8 feet wide, creating a perfect opportunity for her to have a custom table built to solve this unique challenge.


The completed table awaiting delivery.

The table was designed to match her existing decór as closely as possible: she has existing banisters that we wanted to simulate with the table legs, and there were hardwood floors in the remainder of the house (not in the kitchen) that we could simulate the stain for the top.


The table installed in the client’s home.

The build process was lengthy with the large top and the two drawers. The photos below show the process to build the top. It included breadboard ends and was glued up from three red oak boards. A router was used to create the tongue and tenons of the table end and a small doweling jig helped create the mortises in the breadboard ends themselves.



The base itself took the most time as there were numerous structural members involved in getting a base as long as this to remain strong throughout its life.


In the end, the base was assembled and ready for finish. We decided on a painted base and a stained top. The base was first primed with a quality primer, sanded, and them painted with two coats of an interior satin paint. I ended up sanding this and applying a wax over the top to give it a bit of luster that more closely matched the top. I could have potentially used a semi-gloss and achieved a similar end result.


The top was stained with a water-based dye stain and then sealed with shellac and finally received three coats of a durable water-based urethane finish. It was then rubbed with 0000 steel wool and waxed to give a nice matte sheen.


It was nice to finally deliver the table (thanks to my cousin John for the help!) and see the expression on the client’s face. She seemed pleased with the final result and I hope it brings her many years of enjoyment.

Refinishing my Father’s Highchair


This highchair was my father’s and had been sitting in an attic in Georgia for several years before it was brought down and moved back to Indiana where he grew up.

I spent a few days cleaning and sanding it and refinishing it before applying a new finish and getting it ready for another generation of use.

Here is the chair as I received it.

Here are some photos of the refinished piece. I tried to keep the same look and feel and didn’t really want to change how it may have appeared over 70 years ago.

Quarter-sawn White Oak Cabinet

Finally getting around to posting some updates on some of the woodworking projects I’ve been working on this year.

This quarter-sawn white oak cabinet was completed in October. It is standard table height (30″) and is meant to house those odds and ends that always seem to need a space: spare pencils and pens, paper, batteries, stamps, you name it. It will be fun to watch this one mature over the years.

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…