Extending Trestle Table

I was recently commissioned to build a Trestle table.  The only issue is that the client wanted the table to extend and accept a leaf in the middle.  This is tricky as trestle tables generally aren’t able to extend due to the stretcher that goes between the two leg assemblies.  Because of this I came up with a rail and guide system that allows the top to slide apart with out the base moving at all.  Take a look at the video to see how I built the table.

If you are interested in any of the tools that I’ve used during this build visit the links below to get more information.  These are Amazon affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of my links you won’t pay anything extra but I’ll get a small kickback from Amazon.

To see a list of all my tools visit http://mccauleysdesign.com/about/tools/

If you like the content I produce consider becoming a Patron over on Patreon!


A New Handle…

We have a hairbrush and the handle broke off of it.  So instead of throwing it out I turned a new one for it from a walnut scrap.

This was a really easy and simple project and I debated about whether or not to film it at all.  However, it afforded me the opportunity to begin to get used to using my traditional turning tools instead of the carbide tools that I typically use.

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

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.



Making a Marking Knife

If you’ve been following my work for the last few months you know that I’ve been working on my hand cut dovetails.  In fact I recently finished my first project with them, a dovetailed keepsake box.  During this project I realized that I needed some additional tools, mostly a marking knife.  So instead of going out to buy one, I set out to make one.  Here’s how I did it!

Make a Marking Knife

Recently I’ve caught the hand cut joinery bug.  You probably know that I’ve been practicing my dovetails and completed my first project, a dovetailed keepsake box.  I had a lot of fun with that build but it was clear to me that I was under-tooled.  I needed a marking knife.

I decided to try and make my own.  I’m not a frugal guy by any means.  I could just purchased one but I thought I’d challenge myself and see with I could come up with.  The end result is pretty good, has a unique look and works really well.


I started with a high speed steel jig saw blade and ground off the teeth and formed one end into a point at my disc sander.

Next I grabbed a scrap of walnut and turned a quick handle.  Nothing special here.  It’s about 6″ long and seems like a fancy pencil or pen when you hold it.

Next I took the blade over to my WorkSharp 3000 to hone the bevel and flatten the blade.  I was surprised to see that the jig saw blade had a series of curves in it, like a serpentine.

With the blade prepared, I cut a kerf into it to accept the blade and used a two part epoxy to attach the blade.  Once the epoxy had cured I scraped any squeeze out off the knife and wrapped it with bailer’s twine in stead of using a traditional brass or bronze ferrel.  I did that because I didn’t have a ferrel on hand.  I’ve seen other people use twine so I figured that I’d be good to go.  I wrapped the twine around the knife and secured it with CA glue.

With the CA glue dry it was time for a finish, Danish oil.

Dovetailed Keepsake Box

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If you’ve been following my posts or videos lately you know that I’ve been working on hand cut dovetails.  Well, this project is the reason for all the practice.  I wanted to make a nice keepsake box with a sliding lid.

Here is the build video:


This is probably the first small piece I’ve ever made.  Typically I work with large stock to make large pieces of furniture.  I found that there are completely different challenges in working with smaller pieces of stock and there seems to be a lot less room for error.  Meaning that correcting mistakes is much more difficult when you don’t have a lot of real estate to work with.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 12.20.43 PMI started as you start any project by preparing the stock.  This stock was resawn from a piece of walnut.  I used a No. 4 plane to clean up the bandsaw cut marks, then I cut the stock to length.  With that done it was time to start cutting the dovetails.

I picked up a 12″ dovetail/small tenon saw from Bad Axe Toolworks at WIA last year and I’ve been chomping at the bit to make a project with it so I was happy to get to use that to cut the dovetails.  I used a coping saw to remove most of the waste between the tails and pins then used a chisel to get down to my scribe lines.  Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 12.21.30 PMI did have to do a bit of paring to get the joints to fit but surprisingly not as much as I thought I’d need to.  The joints fit relatively well off the saw.  Of course I’m new to hand cutting dovetails so I did have some gaps that I needed to repair.  I did this by smearing some glue into the gaps and sanding over them forcing sawdust into the gaps.  This worked well but if you look closely you can tell the gaps have been filled.

With the box assembled it was time to work on the lid.  It slides in dados that I routed out when I routed the dados for the bottom of the box.  This means I needed to cut rabbets on the sides of the lid to fit into the dados.  This was easily accomplished on my table saw.  Next I used my block plane to fine tune the fit of the lid in the dados.

InsteScreen Shot 2016-02-15 at 12.23.47 PMad of sanding the box I planed it with my No. 4 smoother.  I had to be careful though.  I couldn’t plane the
whole way across the box for fear of tearing out the back edge.  So I had to plane approximately half way across the box, turn it around and plane half way across from the other side.  This worked out well.  I used my block plane to work the end grain on the maple lid.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 12.24.52 PM


With everything fitting nicely it was time for finish.  I chose to go with three coats of Watco’s Danish Oil for this piece.





Making a Carver’s Mallet

I recently cut my first set of hand cut dovetails.  In the process I realized that I needed a proper mallet, among other tools.  I decided that I’ve been woodworking for too long not to have a mallet so it was off to the lathe to turn a carver’s mallet.

I make the mallet from a glued up blank of walnut and maple.  If you’d like to see how I did it check out the video below.

Turning a Harry Potter wand

I love being a woodworker. Primarily because it allows me to make things. This morning my Son asked me if I’d make a Harry Potter wand for him. He is very interested in making movies and he is always trying to come up with different props for his films. Personally I think he is more interested in collecting the props (read: toys) than he is actually making the movies. He has only completed a few stop motion Lego movies.

At any rate, I knew that I had a scrap piece of Walnut in the shop that would be perfect for this quick project. So I went down to my shop, chucked the wood in my lathe and turned out this wand.

I get a great sense of pride knowing that I can whip something up really quickly that my children will have fun playing with for a long time. Even if he breaks it tomorrow, I can always build a new one and the new one will probably be better than the last. It makes me wonder if Makers had the same sense of pride when they made something 100 years ago, when most kid’s toys were made at home. Perhaps it was so common that they thought nothing of it. Now it might be more of a novelty sensation. We live in a “throw away” society. Most people buy furniture designed to last 2 years at best that is made from particle board and screws. In my house that stuff is luck to last 6 months. I’m pretty happy knowing that this wand will be around long after he has lost interest in playing with it.

iPhone Charging Dock

A year or so ago I built a pretty crude charging dock for my phone. It was meant to be kept in my shop to prevent me from dropping my phone all over the place. Because it was more like a piece of equipment or shop furniture it didn’t have to be pretty. 

Ever since building the first one I’ve wanted to build another. I have this vision of charging docks and stations strategically placed throughout my house. Recently I built these charging stations to act as a central hub for the main living floor in my home.  One holds and charges our 4 phones. The other holds and charges our iPads. 


Here’s a video I made showing how I built these charging stations. 

I also had to do an update video for the charging station because my original plan didn’t work as I thought it would. 

After building the charging stations I decided to build a bunch of single device charging docks. While I was at it I built some to include in my shop for sale. This batch is made from walnut. I used Apple’s lightning cable which means these docks are compatible with iPhones 5, 5S, 5C, 6 and 6 Plus. These docks were much simpler to make than the multi device stations but essentially the idea is the same. For this reason I didn’t produce a video for these docks. 


The phone pictured in the above photos is an iPhone 6 to give you an idea of the scale. If you’d like to purchase one of these charging docks, head over to the Shop section of my site to place an order. 

Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.