Finally finished this bench I’d been slowly working on. This was the second attempt at a similar design. Both found homes with friends. The first one will live near a firepit and this one will end up inside as a bench near an entrance. Final size is about 33″ wide by 16″ tall.
The wood came from scrap 2x4s and the box joint configuration created a surprisingly strong bench!
Started by milling the 2x4s on the thickness planer and table saw to get square edges and flat faces. None of them were acceptable without this step for the finish quality I was going for.
After milling, I cut the top and sides to slightly longer than needed. Then I attacked worst part of this project: the glue up. I didn’t want to have any screws or nails involved so gluing involved a lot of clamps and annoyances. Once it dried I evened out the legs and top ends with a circular saw, chiseled and hand planed everything reasonably flat and then sanded (a lot). Finished with a few coats of clear shellac.
I’d been wanting to try this technique for a while. After trying it? It’s neat, but oh-so-fiddly to get right. What I learned is that I never want to use 2x4s for “fine” furniture again if it can be avoided.
Made two cutting boards yesterday! I have the week off from work and so naturally spent a few hours in the shop. One is spoken for, but another is still available as of yet ($40). Edit: Both are sold! Talk to me if you want one though since I’ll do another batch later this month!
Dimensions are around 9″x12″ with rounded edges. Pattern is: red oak, oak, walnut, red oak. The walnut came from a friend who had it in his basement and the rest is from Urbanwood. Finished with Howards Butcher Block Conditioner.
Finished this cutting board yesterday. Made from oak and walnut. I love the grain on this, it’s wild and varied and unexpected. Measures about 8″x12″ with rounded corners and two usable sides.
The knot at the top is filled in with clear epoxy, which worked well and is a nice detail. I’m curious to see how it will wear over time.
Finish is a beeswax+mineral oil blend from Howard called Butcher Block Conditioner. Wood is from Urbanwood.
If you like the look of the above and would like one of your own, I’m open for commissions. Contact me and we can figure out a price and delivery date!
About halfway through making this I did something very dumb and ended up with four stitches in the side of my index finger. I’ll spare you the details, but will tell you the lesson I learned:
Your hand is not a clamp. Never use it as one, even if it seems convenient.
It was nice to confirm that my chisel sharpening technique is good. The wonderful person who stitched me up said it was a clean cut. Something I do after I hurt myself is google for similar injuries. It’s comforting knowing you’re not alone and a great relief when you don’t pull up any obits.
Due to the circumstances, I’m going to keep this cutting board because you should always keep your enemies close.
My friend, Kyle, needed a table for an upcoming performance art show related to playing and running tabletop games. He wanted a table that could act as a physical document of play. The table as a sort of participant in the games. After his shows he’ll be using it for running other games over the years, and likely it will also become a dining room table.
Beyond that the thought was to make something that looked natural and would also show its scars visibly. Over time, and with use, the table will pick up scratches, dings, and nicks. If someone spills something on it, the finish might run or dissolve and that is okay (and desirable!). The hope is that over time the table itself has a clear and readable history.
Here’s some additional shots of the table:
I source as much of my wood from Urbanwood as possible including everything for this project:
A Gnarly Slab
After a lot of searching I found the perfect slab of pine for the top of the table. Plenty of knots “ugly” spalting and damage from bugs. The price for it had been reduced and reduced again. Under many other circumstances it would be a terrible piece of wood to use for a tabletop. However, for this the gnarlier the slab of wood the better!
To get the right length and width for the top it needed to be subdivided and glued back together.
Here are some shots of dividing the slab up so I could get the right width and length from it and then planing it down to the right thickness:
Apron and Legs
For the apron and the legs I went with oak. It’s hard and stable and matches the pine top well. Similar to the top, we wanted legs with interesting details. The knots here don’t have much of an effect on the strength of the table, but they make the legs far more interesting to look at and give it a tactile feel. Here’s some progress shots just before glue up matching the boards together, and then after the hanger bolts were installed.
The table is finished with an amber shellac. Shellac should probably never be used for the top of a table. It’s not terribly durable and can dissolve in alcohol. At a minimum if you want to use shellac you should do a final coat of wax. Again though, it’s perfect for this: provides a nice finish that will degrade over time as people use it.
Here’s a before picture alongside a detail shot of it after the shellac was applied:
This was a really fun project! I can’t wait to check back in on the table in a year or two or ten to see what has happened with it. Woodworkers can often get obsessed with making our pieces as permanently perfect as possible. It was a refreshing challenge to make something that was intended to be used and show its scars proudly.
If you’re interested in collaborating on a project, or commissioning a table like this of your own, please reach out!
This past week at the farmer’s market Cobblestone Farm was teaching kids traditional candle making. My daughter happily jumped in line and made two candles. Today I put together a few candle holders out of scrap wood in the shop:
Our kitchen peninsula was in dire need of some organization. We also had a blank wall directly above it so…shelves!
All of the wood for this project came from Workantile’s storage room: pine slats from someone’s old ikea bed and shelves made from the Baltic birch plywood from an old phone booth project. The screws and edge banding from Home Depot.
I made the shelf supports out of pine based on a google image search for DIY shelf supports. The hardest part was figuring out the order in which to attach everything together to have room to screw things in. For the supports I had to attach the bottom of the angled support to the “L” and rotate it out of the way. Then mount the “L”, then rotate the angled support into place and screw it in that way. There are better ways to do this, but it went pretty quickly.
Finished with shellac and wax. I really like this finishing technique because it looks good and requires minimal drying time.