Building the Prism Table Base

If you’ve been following for work recently, you’ll know that I’ve been doing work for a client who enjoys modern furniture.  I built several credenzas in a particular style.  I’ve now built this table base for them in the same style and will begin building them three doors in the same style.

The video below shows just how I built the base. The piece of quartz on top of it weighs around 600 lbs.   It also features flip up doors on the short ends.  This allows access to the inside of the base.

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Walnut Barn Door

Seems like sliding barn doors are all the rage these days.  Turns out I was recently commissioned to build one.  In my case, it was just the door.  The client took care of the hardware so I didn’t have to deal with that.

I built this one out of walnut lumber.  I absolutely love walnut.  The basic construction is frame and panel.  It came together really nicely and all in all its a pretty simple build.  If you like to see how I went about it check out the video below.



Reclaimed Bar Top with Epoxy Finish

I was recently commissioned to build a bar top from reclaimed 2×4 lumber that was pulled from the walls of a home that was being renovated.  The client wanted the bar top to be finished with bar top epoxy.  This is something I hadn’t had the opportunity to try before so I gladly accepted as I’m always looking to try something new.  Check out the build video below then keep reading  for information about the products I used and other specifics about the build.

The epoxy was definitely and experience.  I ended up pouring two gallons of epoxy on the top and a lot of it ended up dripping off the edges and onto my floor.  Of course I had drop clothes and other measures in place to catch all of the dripping epoxy.  While the mess was contained, it was hard for me to see all of that epoxy all over my shop.

Products used:

Festool 574447 XL DF 700 Domino Joiner Set

Festool 498899 Assorted Domino Beech Tenons and Cutters in T-Loc Systainer

Festool 561593 Carvex PS 420 EBQ Jigsaw

Grizzly G0715P Polar Bear Series Hybrid Table Saw with Riving Knife, 10-Inch

Jet JJP-10BTOS 10-Inch Bench-Top Jointer/Planer

Rockler 3-Piece Silicone Glue Brush Application Kit

Best Bar Top Epoxy

Minwax 70046 1 Quart Wood Finish Interior Wood Stain, Red Chestnut

The Make It Forward Project Auction is LIVE!!!

Vw6aaYliitkQTkW7953FgU6dLast year my buddy Mark Dolan (@markspens on Twitter) came up with the idea of the Make it Forward Project (@makeitforward). Essentially it’s a project that is created by several craftspeople and artists around the country in a collaborative effort. Then, once completed the piece would be auctioned off for charity. 

This is the first iteration of the Make It Forward Project and I’m sure there will be more to follow. 

This time around we built a chess set. Mark built the chess boards, I built the casework and drawer, Brandon Fischer turned the knob, Sean Rubino made the sculpted feet and Jimmy DiResta cast the chess pieces. 

Place your bid here!

This is truly a one of a kind piece that was made by some amazing craftspeople, builders, makers and woodworkers. 

The charity that will benefit from the proceeds of the auction is Paws 2 Care. This is a great organization that used therapy dogs to help people suffering from cancer, children with special needs and wounded warriors and their children (a cause that is very near and dear to me as an injured combat veteran). Even if you can’t bid on the piece please check out Paws 2 Care. 

Head over to the auction page and if you can place a bid. Your bid will help out a great organization as 100% of the proceeds go to charity as well as it shows support for local makers, builders, woodworkers and artisans. 

Cutting Through Dovetails – Pins First

This year, in 2016 I really want to up my hand joinery game so I’ve been working on cutting dovetails.  Until today every set of dovetails I’ve cut have been tails first.  I know, there is a huge debate about which is better or correct, tails first or pins first.  I’m of the mindset that you should use whichever technique that works best for you.  Whichever that is, that’s the best one.

Prior to this most recent set of dovetails, I’ve only cut four sets total.  I’m definitely still a beginner.  I was looking into different methods and it was brought to my attention that some people cut their dovetails pins first, so I decided to give it a try.  Frank Klausz seems to be the most well known pins first guy and his is the technique that I used.

If you’d like to see how it went, check out the video below.

I still have a ways to go in my dovetail journey before I can say that I can cut a decent set, but I get better each time I try!

Replicating Drawer Slides

My wife has recently gotten into refurbishing vintage furniture.  She picked up this old Art Deco style dresser a few months ago and got to work.

IMG_7841 She spent a lot of time working on this dresser, coming up with her design for it, figuring out how to go about making her design a reality and then tackling the job.

She started by taking the removable parts of the dresser off and removing the drawers.  Then she sanded the entire thing.

It was clear that the drawers had to go.  They were dovetailed together but over the years and abuse from former owners I guess even dovetails will fail.  Because of the past repairs that had been made the drawers themselves couldn’t be salvaged so she set out to make new ones.

With the drawers made it was then clear that the wooden slides needed to be replaced.  They were old and broken and just couldn’t be fixed.  That is where I came in on this project.  I replicated the drawer slides for my wife on this project.  I made a video about the process of replicating the slides.

IMG_8745Once all the building was done my wife painted the dresser, applied a decorative wall paper to the drawers and modge podged over it to adhere it to the surface.

Finally she distressed the whole thing.  I think it came out great.  What are your thoughts?

Building a Parallelogram Style Baby Gate

Recently my wife and I discovered that our two year old was able to climb our baby gates and access our stairs.  Obviously, not a good thing.  So I set out to build a new gate.  During my research I came across a video by Matthias Wandel of and found the inspiration for my build.

And here it is.  The gate is made from walnut and maple and instead of opening out from the bottom of the stairs it can open in, towards the stairs.

Building a Table from Reclaimed Lumber

Recently I completed this dining room table.  It is made from 150 year old heart pine that was once a floor in a Baltimore Brownstone.

Reclaimed Heart Pine Top Reclaimed Heart Pine Whole Reclaimed Heart Pine


If you’d like to see how I built it, check out the video below.

Despite the relatively simple construction of this table building it was a surprisingly large amount of work.  Most of the work was upfront in preparing the lumber to be worked.  It was riddled with nails, staples and other dirt from being walked on for 150 years.  Before I could mill the lumber all of that, or at least as much of it as possible, needed to be removed.  This took a significant amount of time.

Once I was able to mill the lumber the rest of the build process was pretty simple.  Actually even more so than usual.  Because the lumber already had nail hole and other character I was able to use brad nails to attach the pine to the plywood substrate.  This isn’t something I generally do.  The natural character of the wood disguised the small blemishes created by the brad nails.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this build leave them in the comments below.

Looking at Dad’s Past Work

Looking back, I can’t say that my Dad is the reason that I began working with wood but I can say that he introduced me to the craft.  He used to build all kinds of things for our home growing up, from wall decorations, to benches and blanket chests.

He had a fully equipped shop in the basement of my childhood home.  I can remember going into our basement and drilling holes in pieces of pine he had laying around.  I wasn’t doing anything productive, just drilling holes but it was a blast.  I can remember his radial arm saw, a very popular saw in those days, of course his drill press and he also had a lathe.  I seem to remember another tool down there but I can’t remember specifically what it was, just this looming shadow in the corner of my memory.  Maybe a table saw?  Most of the time I spent down there was sweeping up the sawdust he made.  He definitely didn’t have a dust collection system.  I’m pretty sure that I’m still waiting to be paid for completing that job.

Most of the lumber he used came from the local hardware store.  It was mostly 3/4″ pine and from the photos below you’ll see that it has held up pretty well.  I can remember Dad working the basement, building this wares to sell at local craft shows.  I can’t remember how well he did at the shows but he always seemed to be making more so I assume he must have sold things here and there.

This first piece is a blanket chest that he built.  You can see how over time the top has cupped a bit.  This must have been a piece he didn’t feel was up to standard for selling because you can see how the paint bled beyond the lines of the stencil on the top.  The construction is mostly screws, and I assume glue but you can also see how the front and back of the chest have been let into the sides.

The next piece is a garbage can he built.  I remember this sitting underneath our wall-mounted, corded phone in our kitchen.  Again, it is made from 3/4″ pine with a slanted lift type lid.  It features brass hinges and buttons to cover the screw holes, as well as a heart decoration on the lid.  I like how he used wood filler to help stabilize the knot on the front of it.

The final piece is a bench he built.  I can remember this sitting in my parent’s bedroom as a child.  Again, 3/4″ pine lumber and simple screw and glue joinery with the exception of the dado he used to attach the seat to the sides.

There are lots of other prices he built here and there. I’ve spotted a footstool and a quilt rack. All of these pieces are at least 20 years old at this point. So, again while my father didn’t get me into woodworking he definitely introduced me to it and it’s nice to look back at some of the pieces he built in the basement shop.

Extending, Turned-Leg Dining Table

This was a pretty fun build. Definitely easier to do that some of the other pieces I’ve built. Take a look at the build video. 

The client wanted a distressed table. She provided me with a very popular photo of a DIY dining table online. I’d post it here but I’m not sure if I’d be violating copyright laws or anything so for that reason I won’t. At any rate, if I had a dollar for every time someone sent me this photo I’d be a wealthy man. The table in the photo she sent is essentially a turned leg table build from lumber you’d get from one of the big box stores. SPF lumber to be exact. I wrote another post about using SPF for furniture. You can read that HERE.  The short of it is that I don’t advocate for it. At least not yet. 

The table I built is from oak, a wood used for furniture construction for 100’s of years. 

The video leaves out what I’d consider the most interesting part of the build, turning the legs. This was a lot of fun and I was looking forward to showing it. Unfortunately the battery died in my camera and I didn’t capture enough of the process to even make it worth including. 

The distressing was done by applying the stain and then sanding it back once it dried. This gave the table a weathered or ashy look, which is what the client was looking for. Here is a before and after photo of the distressing. 

 What do you think of the distressing?  Is that a style you like as well?  Let me know in the comments. 

Thanks for reading.