What has been happening since Feb 19th

I have spent some time in my woodshop working on both the corner cabinet and the butcher block kitchen island. 

For the corner cabinet I did make rail and stile doors out of cherry and went with the butternut stained with red oak for the center of the doors.  For the drawer I put in drawer guides and then found out that the drawer was not quite flush with the front of the cabinet.

I have been working on my hand plane skills a little here and a little there.  I have some hand planes that I have purchased from Lee Valley.  A # 4 smoother and a # 5 low angle jack plane.  The mass of those planes really make a difference when it comes to both learning and succeeding at planing a surface.  Anyways, I put the drawer over an edge of my workbench and was able to take some off the front of the drawer so that it is now a nice flush surface.

Anyways, all of that happened 2 weeks ago.  I have not been able to spend any more time in my shop as my wife’s mother suddenly passed away on Feb 29th.  There are all of the mother-in-law jokes and I can tell you that none of them applied to this lady.  She was a joy to have around.  Her husband died in 2008, they had been married 58 years.  They first met during WWII.  They raised 3 children and I have the pleasure of being married to the youngest and most spoiled of them all, Stacie.

Five years ago we moved Mary to an apartment in our back yard.  Stacie runs a bed and breakfast so most of the time she is home and Mary would walk across the back yard and they would talk endless.  Mary had a boundless spirit and always had a smile for everybody.  She never failed to ask about my son and my mother.  As she talked she would chuckle. 

Mary carried her faith like a torch that lit the path she walked.  She is currently with her husband and sisters who all predeceased her.  God bless her.  Now it is time to comfort the living.  My best friend has told me ‘it is not good bye but good night, as we will see each other again in the future’.  Amen

I am slowly telling others about my blog with the hopes that someday I will have a following.

I just got finished watching Lee Tigner’s 6th episode of his reclaimed lumber series.  At the end it showed a lot of sinker cypress and long leaf pine.  I worked with Capt Alec to get some of each and made a sideless side table, I just posted the picture.

If you have never gotten any or thought about getting some I strongly suggest you do.



Corner Cabinet


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So, weeks ago Stacie asked me to make a corner cabinet to replace the TV cabinet that I made last year.  She had gone in to a furniture store and saw one that she liked and decided I could make her a better one since the one in the store was $700.

There is no pattern.  No instructions.  I just need to develop it to fit the space as I go.  I am trying to follow the Golden Rule and at the same time not have it be too clunky.

I decided on the top opening being for where the DVD player will go.  The second opening is for a drawer.  Which presented the first real challenge in the construction of a corner cabinet.  Do you put in one large drawer or two small drawers side by side.  If you put in one large drawer to you make the drawer a triangle that fits in the cabinet.  Then how to you work drawer slides to try to make it so that it goes in and out smoothly.

If anybody has any comments please let me know what you have done in the past.

Finally I am putting two taller shelves behind one set of rail and stile doors.  My goal was to make the face frame, drawer front, top and doors out of cherry.  Unfortunately I do not have a band saw so to make the doors I would need to plane 4/4 cherry down to 1/4 and that seem like just a colossal waste.

Several months ago my daughter asked me to make a new shelve for a bakers rack that she owned.  We looked over all of my wood and I asked her which grain she liked the best.  She settled on some of my butternut.  I usually like to put on a clear finish; tung oil, hot rod varnish, water based polyurethane so when she asked me to stain the wood I cringed, a little.  I am still working on getting used to doing what the customer wants, even when it is family.

I asked her what stain and she said she loved the red oak wine rack I made for her and asked me to do the same.  Ok, so here we go Minwax red oak stain.  Well wouldn’t you know but I actually fell in love with butternut with red oak stain on it.  Haven’t tried it.  I seriously recommend you do.  I went on to make a coffee table, Asian style with drawers and a book shelf with butternut and red oak stain.  Stacie so fell in love with it that she is having me make ‘covers’ for our radiators out of butternut with red oak stain.

What are radiator covers you ask.  Well, we have baseboard / cast iron radiator hot water heat.  Our house is 115 years old and used to have all cast iron radiators.  You know, the big kind with lots of mass that hold heat forever.  Somebody decided years ago to get rid of all but two of them and replaced them with copper tubes with fins on them.  Over those are those tall (aka ugly) sheet metal covers, usually painted some awful color and even then the paint is chipping off.

To try to mask the ugliness of them Stacie has picked up doilies at yard sales to cover them.  She asked me to make just straight pieces of butternut with red oak stain with the corners rounded to put on top.  It has helped but you know what they say, ‘you can put lipstick on a pig, it is still a pig’.

Getting back to the corner cabinet.  For me butternut is plentiful.  I am thinking of making the rails and stiles out of cherry and in the center put butternut, planed to 1/4 inch stained red oak.  We will see.  I have a number of pieces I have made out of cherry and the color with age is just amazing.  Initially I think the blonde of the unaged cherry against the butternut will be great, will it last.  Time will tell.  I can always replace the doors sometime in the future if I want.

That is the beauty of being a woodworker.




Greetings from a new woodworker

Welcome to my blog.  I have started a company, who does not wish to make a living at woodworking, and I have decided to name it Vermont Distinctive Handcrafted Hardwood Furniture.

Now, I know that is a mouth full and I am trying to decide what to shorten it to.  So far I have come up with Vermont Distinctive.  If you have any suggestions feel free to leave a comment.  Smart remarks will be read but I will probably not pay as much attention to them as to constructive comments.

I have made a number of pieces of furniture.  My family are my current victims.  They all think my stuff is wonderful.  That feels good but it is not helpful from the point of view of making my skills grow.  In general they are happy with whatever they get.

I have some favorite pieces.  I have pictures of some of them.  I have a friend, Rich D, who is an amateur photographer who I like to take all of my photos but unfortunately right now his time is consumed with family issues so I have not been able to get any recent photos.  I realize I should learn how to do it myself and Chris S has published enough good information that even I could do it but time spent taking pictures is not time spent making furniture.

For now my priority is to learn more about Word Press so that I can post and make updates and communicate with my following, that is if I ever get a following.