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General Woodworking

Splay Legged Table 1: Ash Legs and Butternut Aprons

JKM Woodworking - Thu, 02/29/2024 - 7:56am

“Trapezoid table” is what I’ve been calling it in my mind, but “splay legged table” seems to get more hits when searching. Trapezoid refers to the shape of the aprons, not the table top.

I wanted to build a small table with splayed legs. There are lots of examples of coffee tables with the legs splayed in one direction, but I wanted them splayed in both directions. After thinking about angling the legs I decided to make trapezoid shaped aprons. This would kick the legs out. But I was unsure if I needed to bevel the edge where the apron mated with the leg as well. So rather than making a test joint, I decided to make a test table.

rough idea

I had been thinking of making a few small items like this. They could be in different heights or shapes and made out of different species of wood. They might end up as small tables, plant stands, or stools. Also I could get some carving practice in by carving the aprons. Four aprons are just asking for four complimentary carvings like Mario, Luigi, Princess, and Toad. Although I’m not sure about that Toad guy.

Scavenging what I have available, I decided on butternut aprons and ash legs. I’m not sure on the top yet. Either species would work but the ash I have is thicker than the butternut.

ash end grain

I picked ash for the legs mostly because it’s the only thick wood I have that’s not spoken for. This is 6/4 thickness. Laying out four legs 22″ long, I tried to orient the grain to run full length with no runout. I nested the legs to fit tighter. Two out of the four turned out well, one was acceptable, and one was not ideal.

nested layout
first leg ripped

I ripped the ash with my new saw. This is a bear saw 333. I had been looking for saws longer than the common 270mm and this one was available from multiple vendors for $30-35. It seems to be more of a construction type saw, with a wide sloppy kerf. It came with a curved grip which I didn’t like for two reasons. One is that I sometimes use a two handed grip, and the other is that it gets in the way when tilting the saw low to the face of the wood. But I had an old straight handle in the drawer and was able to swap it. Overall I am happy with the saw, it rips faster than the rip side of a ryoba. The other saw I thought of buying was the Z-Saw 333, but that will have to wait.

four legs ripped, and saw comparison

When ripping the legs out I left some extra room for the kerf wandering and cleaning up. The goal was to have the tops be 1.5″ squares and the bottoms 3/4″ squares, tapered on two sides. One taper was taken care of in the initial ripping.

laying out second taper

The second taper was laid out to optimize the grain. I sawed wide of the line. A drawknife may have worked better. Then I planed to the line, marking which direction to plane to minimize tearout. I had to position the short end at the end of the bench so that the plane wouldn’t hit the bench.

hard to position a narrow piece for sawing
mark to help plane the right direction

I have a veritas 1:6 saddle for dovetails, and used it to set a bevel gauge. I double checked the 1:6 ratio with a square. My goal is to only set this once, and use it for all angles.

trapezoid aprons layout

The trapezoid aprons I laid out on a piece of butternut a bit wider than 9″. These were cut out. At this point the widths and lengths are uneven. I will have to make sure they are the same lengths before joining.

rough cut pieces
rough dimensions

Here is a rough fit after getting the pieces cut out. The width across the bottom is 20-21 inches. To have all the legs fit under the top, the top will have to be at least a 21 inch square. I considered a circular top but don’t want to obscure the aprons.

I evened up the sides and planed the ends with a shooting board. To hold the piece at the right angle, I cut a scrap wedge with a complimentary angle to place behind the apron while shooting the end.

wedge keeps end at correct angle

This table is ending up bigger than I imagined when I was thinking of stools or plant stands. I chose the 1.5″ thick legs first, and then the dimensions for the aprons to compliment that. Picking a couch that lacks a table, I decided 22″ would be a good height, so that’s the plan for now.

time to start keeping track of orientation

If I were cutting tenons that would complicate the cutting out. Either the tenons or mortises would have to be angled. I will domino these so can use butt joints. The next steps are to carefully lay out the domino locations, dry fit everything, glue the dominos into the aprons, and carve the aprons. The aprons will be tilted, so at some point I will have to bevel their top and bottom edges. The legs will also need their tops and bottoms cut parallel to the floor.

The species and size of the top is up in the air, as are the carvings and the finishing.

Categories: General Woodworking


Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 02/29/2024 - 3:29am

 Situation Normal, All Fouled (or Fxxked) up. That is how I felt after working on the new picture frame. I thought things would go as well as the practice bridle joint I did last week. Things didn't go as planned boys and girls. I got three corners fitted (they aren't pretty) when I went dead in the water. Maybe tomorrow I'll get it dry fitted and I'll assess it then.

they look ok

No pretzels and no twists or bows neither. I'll take the chance on them and make the frame.

 mostly flat and straight

The two inner ones are a wee bet wonky. It isn't excessive in either one and I could easily squeeze the bundle together with hand pressure. Not 100% sure that it won't go south after the frame is made. But if it does I'll fall back on plan #2.

 1/4" short

This is the saw I wanted to use to saw the bridle joints. I thought of ripping this off the long length so I could use it but nixed it. I have a lot of other saws that have sufficient saw plate under the spine.

 first one

This one came out as good as the practice one I sawed last week. I used a sash saw that is bigger and heavier than the LN carcass saw I wanted to use. I don't have a lot of time on the pond using the sash saw but after I got one done I felt better and moved on.

 second one

This one is off the mark. The mortise slot is thinner then the first one I did. I also noticed that the saw cut drifted on me a wee bit on the other side of it. I should have ripped the length and stuck with a saw I am more familiar with.

2nd and 3rd saw cuts

The 3rd one came out as good as the first one. I still had some drift on it as well as the last one too.

 pit stop

 Had to stop the fitting because the tenon float was getting dull. I didn't do a full sharpening but rather a quickie so I could get back to fitting the joints.

 first one dry fitted

It isn't pretty and it isn't self supporting but I think it will be a strong joint once it is glued. There are a lot of blowouts and chips along the outside edges of the tenons (from the tenon float). That is causing my nemesis (gaps) to pop out. But that is what wood putty is for.

 jig mortise on the top

It doesn't look like the top one. The black dark lines are from me using a pencil in the marking gauge lines.

 2nd one

This one doesn't look any prettier than the first one but it is self supporting. So far all the shoulders are lining up tight so I am doing something right.


Even before this split I knew I had screwed up. I was cleaning the bottom inside corners with a chisel and I pushed down and this half of the slot mortise gave up. This is the last one to be fitted but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

bridle joint D

I may or may not need this shim. The clamps were in the way and I could only fit less than a third of the tenon in the mortise slot. If I need it I'll glue it on the tenon and let it set up.

 none of them

The top one is practice bridle joint I did last week. None of the four I did today come close to how it looks. Overall I'm pretty happy with what I did today. I see a huge improvement over my past couple of attempts to do a bridle join with hand tools only. This is just like dovetails - it took me quite a while to do a tight fitting box . I'll be trying this again because I prefer using a bridle joint over a 45 any day of the week.

accidental woodworker

How to Refurbish a Wooden Rabbet Plane

Wood and Shop - Wed, 02/28/2024 - 8:30am
How to Refurbish a Wooden Rabbet Plane Bill Anderson shows how to refurbish an antique wooden rabbet plane   By Joshua Farnsworth  |  Published 28 February, 2024 How to Refurbish a Wooden Rabbet Plane   By Joshua Farnsworth  | Published 28

Paul Roman

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 02/28/2024 - 4:00am
Fine Woodworking Issue #4 - my first issue - and the latest issue FWW #309Fine Woodworking Issue #4 - my first issue - and the latest issue FWW #309
In the latest issue of Fine Woodworking, there is a very nice obituary for Paul Roman, the founder and publisher of Fine Woodworking since its first issue in 1976. Although I never met Paul, he was very influential in my life and my development as a woodworker - and perhaps in yours as well. I've had a subscription to Fine Woodworking from Issue 4 continuing to the present day. A long time. I remember getting an advertisement in the mail announcing this new publication and I was really excited. This was the first woodworking publication that didn't scream at you and was done in an elegant text that looked nice. The subjects it covered were not really about building one more entertainment center for your den. And most important, it covered a lot of the interesting techniques that I'd heard of, but understood very little. At the time I knew almost nothing about woodworking. I was a veteran of my high school woodworking class and I built models. I wouldn't call myself a total woodworking neophyte but my status was just past that.

So I subscribed. This was a big deal because I was a teenager living at home and and I needed to convince my parents to pay for it. It's hard to explain to young people who have grown up with the world of knowledge at their fingertips because of the internet, but if you wanted to know something in 1976, your options were limited. If it wasn't common enough knowledge to be found in your local library, and you didn't know a guy to teach you, you were screwed. Magazines were the lifeline. They had articles about stuff you didn't know existed, you could even write to them and ask a question and get an answer. They were the community. And here was a community that seemed to welcome me as a member. My subscription began with the fourth issue - which I still have, along with decades of issues.

One of the articles in the issue was about exotic woods by Bob Stockdale. The magazine was then in black and white, so the pictures were not as spectacular as they would be now but it was still such an eye opener. Who knew that you could get such amazing bits of wood and how exciting a turned bowl could be?

Paul Roman 2
The issue also had an article on ornamental turning by John Kelsey that I mentioned a few weeks went when I wrote about Frank Knox.

The issue's cover, which you can see above, showed it to be different from other woodworking magazines - it was a pretty arty picture of a workbench, actually a clamp belonging to a workbench. The workbench was by none other than Tage Frid. Tage Frid was a Danish cabinet maker who taught woodworking and furniture design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and his article was of a traditional European bench that wasn't dumbed down or anything. I wanted one. I didn't actually build this bench, but a few years later I built something similar - a left-handed version of Frank Klausz's bench as featured in the Fine Woodworking/Taunton book "The Workbench Book" by Scott Landis, which has since been reprinted by Lost Art Press. (And many thanks to LAP for the reprint - it's a wonderful book and the workbench is the most important tool in your shop, as Landis proves.) Tage Frid became a frequent and important contributor to Fine Woodworking.

Paul Roman 3
This issue also had an article by James Krenov. Not only is the furniture as elegant is all his work, the pictures made them something special. Fine Woodworking in those days was not just about showing you it could be done, it was showing you that you could be better than you thought you could.

Paul Roman 4

About 10 years after I started subscribing to Fine Woodworking, I began to study woodworking formally at the Craft Students League. I said at the start of this post that I never met Paul Roman. But wow, what an incredible impact he had on me.

Paul Roman 5

ktichen shelf thing done.......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 02/28/2024 - 3:30am

 It was foggy as all git out this AM. I thought I was in London England it was so thick. It didn't burn off until late morning. Initially it was cloudy but Mr Sun peeked out eventually. When I went on my post lunch stroll the temp was 55F(13C) and when I got back over an hour later it was 60F(16C). Not too shabby for the last week of feb. Fingers crossed that there won't be any more snow this winter season.

Over the past 3 weeks I've been walking after lunch starting with about an hour and I worked up to about 90 minutes. I am no longer winded walking the steep hill at the start of strolling and my calf and front upper thigh muscles no longer are sore or ache. The biggie is my feet (especially the right heel) are cooperating and are pain free even several hours later.

This past week I've noticed that I'm shaving time off my route. I've walked the same one and what was taking me 90 minutes I have gotten down to about 70-75 minutes. Once march rolls around I will add another mile and see how the body feels about that. I also intend to just stroll post lunch and maybe in april I'll add a post breakfast amble.

 basically done (at 99.99%)

I came back last night and put another coat of shellac on with the intention of doing a 2nd one. That never happened so this AM I got the final coat of shellac on. I am calling this one glamour shot #1 because I doubt you'll see any difference.

 side view

So happy that my wife decided not to paint this. Also happy with how the through tenons came out. There were a couple of me-steaks but it still looks good IMO. I had one blow out chip on the top left, left side and one on the dado at the bottom left front. I can put the shelf on the cabinet so that neither of them will see the light of day.

Lowes run

I went through the entire rack with the 4 foot 1x12s and they were all garbage. I had picked 7 boards that I could ripped out one stile/rail from with the rest being firewood. Decided to it was better to buy four 1x4s. There is much less waste with these vice the 1x12s.

Before I went to Lowes I stopped at Starbucks first. Not sure I'll go here again because I almost had another accident there. I was trying to pull out and two others were trying to beat each to the take out lane. So happy that I was gun shy and kept looking both ways as I backed up.

 need some dowels

I have the Lie Nielsen dowel plate too but it doesn't get any love from me anymore. I put it in the grandson's toolchest. This plate goes from 5/8" to 1/8" by 32nds. I find that the dowels come out rounder and straighter then the LN plate. The LN plate only has 7 holes - 5/8,1/2,3/8,5/16,1/4,3/16, and 1/8.

 glued and flushed

The hole on the left I used a screw extractor to remove a broken screw. The right hole I plugged because it went down at an angle starting at the 11 o'clock position going at an angle to the 4 o'clock position. My wife still hasn't made her mind up about the cabinet so there wasn't a rush on this. I did it to get it out of the shop before I accidentally broke the glass.

reference edge

Made one edge flat and straight before I ripped them to width.

 can't leave this

I tried to work around this knot and lost that battle. This frame is getting painted but this a red knot that will continue to dry and shrink. Eventually it will fall out and ruin my day. The plan was to remove it and fill in the empty space.

 dutchman cut out

This is an offcut from the same end of the board that the knot is on. Not that it matters but I wanted to get as good of a match between the two as I could.

 dry fit

I got a good, snug fit between the two. Self supporting without the tiniest of hints that gravity would prevail.


This is odd. One side of the insert is dead flush and the other is slightly below the face. I wasn't expecting this to be a hiccup - after all it comes from the same board. Good thing it is going to be painted and I'll fill in the depression with putty. I'll further be able to hide it by making this the tenon - the mortise will cheek will hide this face and the shoulder will hide the other. I'll have to pay attention so that this ends up facing the inside of the frame.


You never know what the wood from Lowes will do once I get it home. Usually if it has any stupid wood tricks up its sleeve it will happen between now and tomorrow. I marked them all for a bridle joint that I will hopefully start in the AM.

 now it is 100%

It was 1500 when I applied and buffed off the paste wax. After that I brought it upstairs and put it in the living room. I will let if hang out by the radiator and give the shellac a few days to chill out and harden.

accidental woodworker

kitchen shelf done......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 02/27/2024 - 3:08am

 Spent part of the morning prepping the shelf for shellac. I sanded the wood putty I applied yesterday and it was dry. The last couple of times I used it it wasn't dry the next day. Nothing in the shop changed nor in how I applied it. Go figure, eh? After I got done playing with that I started with the shellac. I got two on the entire unit with 5 coats on the bottom feet/edges and 4 on the round edge. I should be able to get the count up to 6-8 before I hit the rack.

 it set up

The wood I'm using is very dry and light weight. I don't recognize the grain but it might be alder or some similar wood. It will work for what I'm using it for now that I fixed the split.

shop vac trolley

I am cobbling this together with whatever I have on hand. There will be wiggle room R/L and fore/aft. I am screwing this together with no glue because I might change my mind on it down the road.

 four sides

It fits and lifts out and in easily. Two sides are equal and the other two aren't. I know my OCD will kick in because of this and I'll be redoing it.

casters on

Rolls around nicely with no hesitation. My cellar deck is fairly smooth and there aren't any humps or pot holes I have to worry about. This sure takes up a lot less room than the previous setup. And this one has a diffuser with a open mesh filter.

easy peasy

I really like how quiet this new vac is. It has the same running HP as the bigger Craftsman but it is over 50% quieter. No problems leaving the vac in the trolley to suck all the sanding dust off the shelf.

 I guessed right

By opening and closing this I could vary the suction of the vac. I've been thinking about it but haven't come up with a scenario where I would use. My thinking is max suction to get up every single dust particle.

road trip

I wasn't getting a warm and fuzzy with how much shellac I had left. After I got the first coat on I made a trip to ACE to buy another can. I bought a pound of dewaxed super blonde from "shellac shack dot com" for $42 (with S/H). I would have bought it from "shellac dot net" but the same shellac there was 49.95 before S/H.

4-0 steel wool

I have tried sandpaper and colored scrubbie pads but I prefer steel wool for rubbing down the shellac between coats. The other choices to me don't feel the same after using them like the one steel wool leaves. After the first coat I rub it down with 2-0 steel wool and then 4-0 after the subsequent coats.

next project

This is a painting that was done by Diane's mother (one of two we have). This isn't a sea scene so I guess she is ok with it. This painting is 30" x 30" and I don't have any stock to make a frame for it. The Gurney's trip was partially to get stock for this and the next project from Ralphie's Workshop. I'll go to Lowes and buy some pine to make a frame for this.

 building my library

I've been Eric Sloane's books from ABE books for a couple of months. I've been ordering a couple a month with the goal of getting everything he published. Most of his books seemed to have been published from the late 50's to the late 60's. I'm working off a list of his books so I don't get any duplicates. 

These two came today. The thing I like about his books is not only is he a great illustrator but he explains things. The why and how things were done and how tools were used. Even the ones that wouldn't have any relevance today.

accidental woodworker

glued the shelf up......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 02/26/2024 - 3:31am

 Made a road trip to Harbor Freight while the shelf unit was cooking. Got disappointed with what they had for stem casters.  There were only 3 choices today for them today whereas I remember them having a boatload to choose. I got nowhere on line although there were a lot of sellers. The problem I had with that was reconciling my measurements with what they were posting. Getting casters is heading down a dead street for now.

final prep

Sanded the interior surfaces, sanded the top end grain up to 220, and planed all the outside edges removing all the pencil marks, dings, etc.

glued and cooking

Glue up went smoothly with no hiccups.


The wedge slot on this side is slammed shut. This was the only one I had this happen on.


Came to a realization here that I had screwed up. I only put glue on the dado and nothing on the mortise walls or the tenons. I think I'll be ok mostly because I wedged the tenons (and I glued them). If I had applied glue in the mortise and on the tenon they might have swelled the gaps shut.

 from Harbor Freight

Struck out on the casters so I wandered around the store to see if anything caught my eye. These clamps grabbed it immediately and firmly after I saw the price of them. The 12" ones (on the right) where $9.99 each and I would have bought 4 but there were only two. The 8" (on the left) I took home for $6.99 each. I will go back next sunday and buy more if they have them.

 bessey deep reach clamp

I have had these (only 2) since I got out of the Navy. There have been numerous times I wish I had two more. Today I have 4 more to help out.

 about 3 1/4"

This should adequate for anything I will use this clamp for.

 blurry pic

Been a while since I had a fuzzy pic to post. What is hard to see is this is 8" from the back inside of the clamp to the center of the swivel head. I was not expecting this to be 8". I thought it would be some metric wanna be equivalent.

 12" clamp opening

This is with the swivel head tight and unmoving. 

 in focus

12" to the center of the swivel head. Both of these clamps are heavy and feel substantial. Both are also heavily ribbed but the threads aren't acme or even what I would consider heavy duty. They should perform alright for my uses for them.

fingers crossed

Just in case and hopefully not a bandaid on gushing wound. I wicked in super glue on the tops, sides, and bottoms of all the tenons 3 times.

almost ready for shellac

Had a brain fart when I sanded the interior and the shelves. I didn't stay away from the tenons and I should have left them alone. All 8 of the mortises have a gap caused most likely by me sanding them. Filled the sins in with pine wood putty.

 from the first vac/dust deputy rolling stand

I had planned to make a platform for this vac but held off on it yesterday to see if HF had any stem casters. Back to plan A.

 still good

I will reuse the casters and screws for the Rigid roll around.

 dead in the water

This side split when I drove the screw home. Filled the crack with glued and clamped it. I'll finish this tomorrow.

 didn't forget

I got asked about the two hoses that came with the shop vac. The non collapsible one on the right is about 10-12 feet long (guessing). I don't like this style of vac hose because they tend to be stiff and ornery. They also develop a memory and will always kink/bend in the opposite direction you want to go in.

 I love this one

I don't know how long this accordion hose will stretch too but the length I have here is probably the max I'll ever pull it out to.This is the one I anticipate being using the most.


Just noticed this open hole. There is a sliding ring that will close it shut or allow a variable opening. I think it is used to vary the suction force of the vac. This is the first time I've seen something like this on a shop vac accessory.

accidental woodworker

Rigid 5 gal shop vac.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 02/25/2024 - 3:28am

 After I got done with my puzzles this AM I got an email from Home Depot telling me my shop vac was ready for pickup. I had already decided to go to Gurney's Sawmill to buy some pine. I flipped a coin and picking up the vac won. I thought I would bring it home and then go to Gurney's. That didn't happen boys and girls. I dropped off the shop vac and started playing with it.

 bigger than I thought

It was cloudy still after I got home with it and that sealed going to Gurney's. I will try it again next saturday. 

 neat trick

This Dewalt drill 1/4" hex chuck works differently than the Bosch one. To insert a bit in it you just push it in. You have to pull the chuck up to remove it. The Bosch drill works exactly opposite. I have to pull the chuck up to put the bit in and pull it up to remove it. Lot easier using the Dewalt drill this way.


With the set up table there was zero room to maneuver here. I plan to save as much of the wood that I can for for something else.

 would used these today

My pickup bed was full of water and a couple of boards from Gurney's would have been soaked by the time I got home. When I go next week I'll put these in the bed to elevate the boards and keep them dry.

 fully assembled

I wasn't expecting this. This vac comes with a filter and all the accessories. That was the big reason I bought this one.

 don't match

I wasn't sure that the accessories were the same size as the craftsman vac. Makes me doubly glad that it comes with all accessories.


No paperwork to be found and there were a couple of questions I had about what went where and how.


I found the paperwork inside the vac which wasn't that easy to get to. Took me a few minutes to figure out how to get the top off the vac to get access to the inside. I didn't know that this vac can be hung on the wall. I don't have any wall space to do that and I would have done that in a heartbeat.

another hmm.......

This didn't come with any wheels or rollers. These look like holes for stem casters. I checked the Rigid site and they sell casters. The 'however' with that is they aren't compatible with this model shop vac (WD55000). I might go a road trip to Harbor Freight and buy some and see if they fit.

I tried it out and the suction of it is a huge improvement over the current one. The noise level is also significantly less than the craftsman vac. It has two hoses - one is a collapsible one on the shop vac and a longer one that is a wee bit stiff. I see myself mostly using the collapsible one. I especially like that all the doo dads for it are on the vac and they all have their own little homes. Nice touch and I won't have to search for anything.

 2nd tenons fitted

After my post lunch stroll I got back to the shop and fitting the tenons and mortises. 2 down and 2 more to go.

 all fitted

All the joints closed up and the dadoes are gap free. All the tenons are a few frog hairs proud.

 cockeyed gap

This gap was caused by the tenon pushing through and blowing out a piece. Its neighbor is snug and gap free.

 went 5 for 3

5 mortise/tenon joints were gap free and 3 I'm calling toast. I don't have a warm and fuzzy that the glue will swell these gaps and close them. I'll be using wedges in all 8 tenons to ensue that.

 proposed home

My wife shocked me again when she said she didn't want it painted. I gave a sigh of relief that she approved of it - this was a surprise for her. The expresso machine gave me some concern after I got the toaster on the shelf - I didn't think there would be enough room for it. My shelf was almost 2 inches shorter than the plastic one the toaster and expresso machine were on. I did my shelf on the outside dimensions of it.

 no twist

The diagonals on the inside between the two shelves were 1/8" off. I couldn't get it any better than that and I expected the bottom to be twisted and rocking. Turns out that it was neither. I'm learning to just accept some things and move on.


I made a boatload of these even though I only needed 8. These wedges are short too at only about 5/8" long.

changed my mind

The top pencil pattern on the top was the first choice. I nixed it because I couldn't make it mirror on the top in a way I liked (this is the bottom). It doesn't matter much because the bottom cutout won't be visible once the shelf is in place.

rounds done
Rounded over the top to soften it a wee bit. I didn't get it glued up today but I should be able to get to it tomorrow. If not, then monday or tuesday.....

accidental woodworker

getting a cold.....

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 02/24/2024 - 3:15am

 I sure hope that I'm coming down with a cold and not something alpha numeric that starts with a C. I woke up last night at 0130 not for a toilet trot race but to sneeze. When that happened I thought my eyeballs were going to pop out it was so strong. That was also the start of having to continually empty out my snot locker (nose). So far I have sneezed a bazillion times since 0130 and I have emptied a snot rag box blowing my nose. Fun times are upcoming it looks to be.

glamour pic #1

Waxed the two drawers and it was time to ooh and aah. Not too shabby for a pile of wood from something I can't remember. I do remember the outside carcass was made of formica and wafer board. The oak was shelves and dividers?

 side/back view

Not much to see here but I am happy with the overall color of this. I am not a fan of dark things but this (IMO) looks good.

 the top

Probably overkill using 5 screws to hold one half of the french cleat to the shelf unit. I used brass round head screws and filed them flat. I don't know why the center one came out a wee bit smaller but it is balanced by the other 4.

 the new kitchen organizer shelf

I went over this again trying to squeeze out the second idea for this that I had. I still couldn't get it work for me. The expresso machine is what is killing it now - it is almost 14" high.

 first dado

Self supporting and it isn't too snug. I tried to shoot for the shelves to fit without having to plane the ends. The other dado on this board is a slip fit and not self supporting.

 get use this clamp

I bought 4 of these clamps several years back and this is the first time I'm using them. They are designed to be used with 1-2-3 blocks.

 90° guide

Turns out I didn't need this for any of the mortises. I chopped all four walls on them almost dead nuts at 90°.

 sides are done

Only the inside gets a dado from end to end. The show face has through mortises for the tenons only.

 final layout

Marked the tenons and this is it for layout. Got a little confused on how deep to make the tenons. Finally got it straightened out by playing around with the scrap - I got see what I had to do visually.

 chopping the waste

Sawed the shoulders and chopping between the tenons was in the batters box.

 wee bit tight

The sides fits in the dado but the tenons are too tight for their respective mortises. I had to plane them before they fit.

 good fit but still too tight

I was prepared to use wedges to close up the tenons fit in the mortises. Looks like I might not have to do that. This is most likely going to get painted and stenciled by my wife but I am shooting for all 8 to fit snug.

2 mortises and one dado fitted

I had to plane the end 3 times before it fit. I think I might use hide glue on this because it won't swell the mortises before I can seat the tenons.

checking the side to side

I have a couple of inches to play with but I don't want this to be too close to the edge of the cabinet it will be on. This should come in at around 21" and I have almost 24" of real estate.

 went smoothly

I don't have a good record reading the grain on this New Zealand pine. I usually get ugly looking tear out but today was my lucky day. 3 plane runs and nothing but fluffy shavings. One fitted and 3 more to go. I should be able to glue this up tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

started the next one.....

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 02/23/2024 - 3:26am

 Hit a speed bump with the oak shelf unit. The handles didn't survive and both took the express south on me. Fixed that and started the next project which is for the kitchen. That one went dead in the water after the layout. Had to take a step back and sharpen the chisels I need to use on it. I'm hoping that this one doesn't take more than a couple of days to whack out. 

 still sticky

The stain was coming off on my fingers when I dragged them over the carcass. Before I laid down any wax I wiped down the entire carcass and drawers with a rag soaked with mineral spirits.

 time out

This door is hinge bound and won't stay closed. I fiddled around with the magnetic door catches but that didn't work out. The door can't lay flat and it is tight at the hinges and on the other end it is a good 1/4" off. I stopped working on the shelf and addressed this headache.

 16th inch shim

The gains (mortises/notches for the hinge leaves) were too deep along with the bottom one being tapered. I tried using a couple of layers of thin cardboard but it wasn't enough. I filled in the gain on the door with a piece of pine and that worked.


I made the same me-steak with both hinges. I put them in upside down. The barrel pin could fall out with it this way. Spent the additional calories and reversed the hinges so the barrel pin cap was on the top.

 applying the Briwax

I made one swipe with a paper towel and shitcanned it. I took a 1" brush and cut 3/4 of the bristles off. What a game changer, especially so on this grainy open pored oak. Did the back and outsides first and then the inside.

 it has a shine

The outside has a definite sheen to it from the wax. The drawer is dyed wood sans wax. The handle still was attached here but not for long.

 came right off

I had the drawer as is and when I pushed it forward the handle immediately said No Mas, No Mas.

 2nd one was history

I snapped the 2nd one off with my fingers. I think the the finish/dye on the box put up a barrier to the glue. It looks like I will be dealing with the handles a lot quicker than I expected to.

I scraped the drawer fronts down to clean and smooth surface removing all traces of the dye and finish. I also scraped the backs of the handles of the old glue. I put a couple of nails in the back (snipped them short) and used them as my registration. Mixed up some epoxy and glued the handles on. They got to cook from lunch till when I get back from my post lunch walk about. Also thought I had snapped at least one pic of this but didn't.

 august and september

These are the two sliding lid boxes I made in august and september of 2021. The 8/2021 looked like 3/2021 to me yesterday. I made these for the shop but never used for that. I applied the Briwax over everything - glue squeeze out and putty. I didn't go nutso on cleaning up either one.

 plywood bottoms

The wax finish feels smooth to the touch even on the plywood bottoms. It doesn't have the sheen that the oak shelf has but I intend to slap another coat of Briwax on these two to see what that does for a shine.

 5min epoxy

I didn't want to make new handles and chop mortises for them. Instead I opted for 5min epoxy and two hours later it is holding strong. I shook both boxes by the handle like a madman and nada.

 24hr wait

Stained the drawer fronts and tomorrow in the AM I'll apply Briwax to the front only. I am thinking of applying shellac to the interior. I like the look of the drawers in the 15 drawer dresser with 3 coats of shellac.

 next batter

This is going to be a simple shelf storage thing for kitchen appliances mostly. A waffle iron will be stowed under the bottom shelf, The first shelf will hold the toaster and the expresso machine (why it is so tall 1st to 2nd shelf). The top shelf is for the radio or maybe not. That will depend upon whether or not my wife can reach it - she is 5 foot nothing tall.

I thought of doing this differently to lighten it up. I liked that idea but I had already cut this stock to width and length. The alternate was to make the ends with stiles and rails with thin pickets to fill in between the stiles. But I wouldn't have enough wood to make it - I'd be short on the rails and pickets.

1 2 3 blocks

These blocks are great for layout on 1, 2, or 3 inch multiples. The shelves will have two tenons that are 1" in from either edge and 2" wide.

 story pole

This is basically what I am doing. There is a dado on the inside that goes from edge to edge and the opposite face just needs a through mortise for the tenons.

 chisels for the shelf

I will use the 2" chisel for the dado on the inside. The other two are for the through mortises. I started sharpening the 2" one but stopped. My hands started aching and I killed the lights here. I'll pick back up on this in the AM.

accidental woodworker

almost done......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 02/22/2024 - 3:16am

 The current shelf thing is done woodworking wise. When I killed the lights at 1530 I finished the last woodworking needed. Or at least I thought I had. If there isn't something that pops up tomorrow, I will wax it and call it 100% done.

 not a good start

I forgot that I had already sawn the sides to width yesterday.  These will work and I saved the off cuts. The plan was to glue them back on after the drawer was glued up.

 2nd brain fart

The side drawer slips are handed - there is a right and a left. I made two rights and I didn't have any more slips left. So I cut off the offending piece and fit the slip as is. This side won't have the slip extended underneath the back bottom of the drawer.


The pic shows a difference between the shelves in the four outside faces. Up close and personal I can't see the difference. I am pleased with how the color seems to be consistent throughout it. 

 first drawer fitted

I was surprised that I had to plane this to get it to fit. Yesterday just the drawer front was fitted with a 32nd gap all around. The assembled drawer was wider than the opening (R-L).

 glue and nails

Lightweight construction but I have a lot of confidence in this type of joinery. I made rabbeted boxes and drawers for years this way and they have all held up. I have a drill bit box that is nailed and rabbeted that I made over 40 years ago. It is still together with no hiccups with it at all.

 only two slips

The front of the drawer bottom fits in a groove in the drawer front. Because of that I only needed slips on the sides.

 new ones

The off cuts were too thin and shy of the top edge of the drawer. I had to make a couple of new inserts to glue in.

 drawer pulls

I have some knobs I could put on this but I am liking the idea of making my own pulls. I think have wooden ones made of wood like the rest of the shelf will blend in better. I'm shooting for something simple to match the rest of the shelf unit.

#8 round

The first attempt (on the long piece in the above pic) didn't go so well. I tried to use my fingers as a fence and that got flushed real quick. Nailed a fence to a wider piece of stock for the 2nd attempt and that worked well. The groove is to facilitate pulling open and closing the drawer.

2nd drawer, 3rd mind fart

The 2nd drawer is a 1/4" too long on the front to back. I screwed up on the width of the sides and I thought assumed they were ready to go on the length. I was wrong.

 up against the stop

The 2nd drawer wouldn't fit neither initially and I had to plane some off both sides. I looked at it from the back expecting to see maybe the top back edge or the sides were binding. Instead I found my mind fart as the back of drawer is up tight to the drawer stop. On a positive note, the drawer stop worked a treat.

sawed the back off

No problems sawing the back off the drawer (tablesaw). I glued up two thinner pieces to get the width needed for a new drawer back.


I took this out of the clamps after about 45 minutes. Once the joinery on it is done it won't be subjected to any more stress as the back of the drawer.

 while the glue dries

Used the chisel to knock the corners of the handle off. I drew a 5/8 circle and after the chisel got it close I finessed it on the sanding block.

 fingers crossed

I am hoping that tomorrow I can get this wax on and call it done. The guy on the Epic Upcyling uses Briwax on everything he makes. I used it once in 2021 on two sliding lid boxes. Today they look good and they aren't greasy or sticky to the touch. Definitely doesn't look like a shellac finish but they do have a soft satin sheen to them.

new back

Glued and nailed again. I wanted to cut out the pitch pocket but I couldn't work around it.

 drawer sneak peek

As of now the handles are only glued on. I don't have room to get screws in from the drawer front into the handles. If the handles don't survive I will come up with a plan B. Mostly likely it will be the same handle but with a tenon to fit in a mortise.

accidental woodworker

medical appointment......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 02/21/2024 - 3:33am

 Had a medical appointment today and it wasn't for me. My wife had breast scan done today to check out a suspicious lump. Good news is that it is a cyst according to the radiologist. He said it was smooth and not irregular like cancer lumps. She has a follow up in 6 months. That was a relief because her mother had breast cancer and this disease is a mother daughter thing. Like prostate cancer is a father son thing.

no stupid wood tricks

The stock is over length and width. It is still flat and straight the next day and it will get a few more days to sticker before I work on it.

 the warm and fuzzy worry

This is the vertical divider and when I glued it up it was tight. The top and bottom opened up a wee bit from me moving the shelf unit around. 


french cleat

I used super glue to hold it in place temporarily. Because of the angle I couldn't use a clamp on it.

 ran out

The pilot hole wasn't centered on the cleat. It must have grabbed the grain and it punched out on the face. I used a golf tee to fill in the hole. As an aside these unfinished golf tees are almost a perfect match for a #8 screw. I had to whittle this one down some to get it to fit.

I put 5 screws through the top into the french cleat. I drilled a new pilot hole for this one after the med appt.

 belt sander action

I wasn't getting good results trying to plane the sides flush and smooth. Less than 5 minutes with the belt sander and all was well in Disneyland again.

 yesterday's bridle joint

Got it planed smooth and this is good enough to leave natural. There is a slight gap on the right top but for something off the saw, I'm happy with it as is.

 dated and labeled

I like to keep these so when I do another one I have something to compare it to. I have 5-6 of these sample joints gathering dust on the gas meter.


The top one was done with a Ryobi saw and jig on 3/29/2020. They both have good tight joints but I would give a slight edge to the bottom one. Its gap is a tad smaller than the Ryobi one.

 shelf unit drawers

Decided to go with rabbeted joinery for the drawers. I also will be using drawer slips on the sides. Because of the rabbets I was able to plow a 1/8" groove in the drawer front bottom which won't show on the ends because of the sides. This is as far as I got for today. I should be able to finish the shelf unit thing tomorrow.

accidental woodworker


Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 02/20/2024 - 2:54am

 This is the name of the current crime series I'm watching on Amazon. It is the prequel to the Inspector Morse series. This one is about a young Inspector Morse in the early 1960's. So far it has my attention unlike the 3 others I didn't make it through the first episode. This one is interesting and with the volume jacked up I can follow 80% of it. The accents aren't that bad to decipher and this series has 9 seasons. I think after I've watched all of these I'll check the Inspector Morse series.

 no surprises

No creaks and groans when I took the clamps off. I don't have a warm and fuzzy with this shelf thing. None of the shelves seemed to have seated fully in the dadoes and the oak especially gives me doubts. It is brittle and dry and the glue didn't soak into it readily. I'll keep an eye on this as I finish it up.

 this is history

I ordered a 5 gallon shop vac from Home Depot - they didn't have the one I wanted in the store. It is being shipped to the Warwick Home Depot and when it arrives I'll get an email to go pick it up. Until then I'll leave this alone because I haven't told it yet of its upcoming demise.


The left vise face shouldn't be toeing in at the bottom like it is. This is why the mortise jig wasn't working for me a while back. It has been getting worse especially when I clamp something like this only at the top.

 french cleat

I did consider sawing it on the tablesaw. I don't like sawing angles on it but I did think of sawing it into two and then planing the 45s. Nixed that idea too and put on my big boy pants and sawed it by hand.

 happy face on

I have tried to saw 45s before this and they have all came out crappy. I have no problem following the line on the face I'm looking at as I saw. The hiccup is the back face, the saw wanders off the line into La La Land like it has a mind of its own. 


The saw isn't dead nuts on the back face line but it is close. It is almost parallel to it and it is the best I've done so far. I scraped both faces clean so I could see/follow the pencil lines.


This cleaned up easily for me. The shorter cleat was almost dead on 45 and straight and even end to end. The larger one I had to fuss with a bit more to get its 45 running straight and parallel end to end (had a slight taper to it).

 end on view

This should work ok and support the shelf unit with no hiccups. I am going to put the smaller part of the cleat (on the left) in the shelf unit. The larger part (on the right) will be secured to the wall. I chose the larger part for the wall to facilitate attaching it.

waiting for glue to dry

While the glue was cooking I sawed out a bridle joint. I wanted to compare using the jig to doing it without it. Layout was dead simple and the oomph part is next.

 so happy I could wet myself

I wasn't expecting this bridle joint to come so nice. My past attempts doing it by hand were nightmares. I sawed the mortise first and then the tenon. Sawed off the lines on that and used the router (on the tenon) to sneak up on the fit. I glued it and labeled as being done by hand (I'm saving it for future reference). The trick now is to repeat this 3 more times. I have one more painting to frame and it is going to be 33x34 on the inside dimensions.

 drawer stops

Glued in two strips of oak to act as drawer stops. The drawers aren't overly deep but will still manage to be about 3 3/4 to 4 inches deep.

 next project

Broke down the 8 foot pine board into the 4 component parts. PITA sawing it out because the board starting pinching the saw after the first 5-6 inches.


It will probably be a few more days before I will be able to get back this. For what I have in mind for this, it shouldn't take too long to whack it out neither.

 drawer parts

The fronts are 1/2" oak and the sides and back will be 5/16" pine. Initially I thought I would do half blinds at the front and through at the back. Because of the thin sides/back (and the dry oak fronts) I'm thinking that maybe rabbeted might be a better choice. Either way the drawers will be lightweight.

Got the truck back from the garage just before lunch. No problems with the state inspection and it is good for two years. The registration is only good for one year because it is a truck.

accidental woodworker

glued and cooking......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 02/19/2024 - 2:53am

 The current shelf/cabinet thing is almost done. I got the shelves fitted, glued and cooking by 1500. I still have the drawers to do before I can put a check mark in the done column. Stilling mulling about what kind of drawers to do. Half blinds are on the pole position but through dovetails and even rabbeted drawers are clamoring for some love too. I'm thinking that maybe wednesday it will be complete. Most likely I'll give this to my sister Kam.

 last night

After dinner last night I came back to the shop and glued the carcass. This was a better way forward with this. If I had waited until this AM I would have glued it up and then what? This way it was ready to work on when I turned the lights on this AM.

 new shelves

I had a 1/2" thick oak board that I used to make 3 new shelves. The 3 I did yesterday I made all too short. This oak board is a wee bit thicker than the original oak shelves. I didn't want to taper the ends to get them to fit the stopped dadoes so I planed a rabbet until they did.

 last two dadoes

This oak is too loose for the dado. I had planned on using new oak for the vertical divider but the largest left over piece was too short. One option I looked at was gluing a piece of veneer on this oak piece.

 frog hair too wide

This piece is tall enough but the grain orientation is not correct. It is also too thick to fit the dado but a couple of strokes with a plane would cure that.

 bottom shelf

I only need a dado fully across the the bottom of the shelf . On the bottom of the first shelf I only need a small notch to hold the top of the vertical drawer divider.


I didn't think this all the way through. Before I glued this up I had thought about chopping this dado. No problems swinging straight down onto the chisel but I missed that I would need to swing from the side at an angle. 

I got it done but it was slow going and awkward. I had to chop it with the bevel down. There was just enough room to whack the chisel and pop out a chip. Thankfully there was only one of these to do.

 drawer divider

There isn't any need to have a horizontal drawer runner at the top. I notched the vertical divider so the dado wouldn't need to come out on the front end.

 top notch

I wasn't sure if I could get the vertical divider in place at first. The top had to be in the notch as the shelf was put into the side dadoes. I got it fitted on the first dry run and on the next couple I tried to make sure I had a handle on it.

 dry fitted

The vertical divider between the 2nd and 3rd shelves is from two pieces I glued together. It is only about 2/3 of the width of the shelves - I think it looks better than if it was the same width as the shelves.

 gluing the shelves

I will glue the vertical divider tomorrow after the shelves have cooked overnight.

 french cleat?

This shelf isn't getting a back so using a french cleat to hang it makes sense to me. This way the back of it will be the wall it is hanging on.

 the french cleat

This is wide enough that I can get both parts of the cleat from it.

 0 for 2

The first two stains I tried were walnut and special dark walnut. Neither of them were close to the brown of the cabinet. Sanding the cabinet is out of the question now that it glued up. I was trying to find a stain that was kind of close to the color of the cabinet. I just need it to be similar enough so the wax coat will blend it all together.

 raw and finished look

This is red oak stain and I'm going with it. The stain on raw wood is brownish and kind of looks like the original stained oak. It is wet looking on the stained oak but that should change as it dries. I'll take a peek at this after dinner but fingers crossed the red oak is the winner.

accidental woodworker

2 for 2.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 02/18/2024 - 3:02am



That is the cost for the conservation glass, the teal matting, and the backer board

I went and got the watercolor from the Frame it Shop today. Wow. Even I was impressed with it. I was a little concerned about how the frame, the mat, and the watercolor would interplay with it other. I thought the frame and mat might have been too busy for the watercolor but I like the interplay between them. Not only did I like it but my wife liked it too.

I learned that this watercolor wasn't from her mother but her aunt (her mother's twin sister). My wife liked the frame and the mat but not the water color. She is freaked out by sea creatures. I tried to explain that loggerhead turtles are harmless but to no avail. I was gaga that my wife had expressed liking two things in a row that I had made but it lost a wee bit of shine because she didn't like the pic. She is going to give it to Amanda's husband for his birthday.

 this is history

This is a space taking hog. I've been thinking about it for a couple of weeks now and its days in the shop are numbered. 99% of what I use this for is to vacuum up shellac dust and steel wool debris. I never use it to vac the deck or hardly ever to suck up saw dust from the tablesaw. I'm thinking of down sizing to a 5 gallon unit that has almost as much HP/suction as this one does or doesn't have. It is an old vac that I got in the early 1980's. She is ready to be put out to pasture.

 all seated

I don't know what I did but I took it apart after looking at the corner that wasn't seated. I looked at the tails and pin sockets and saw nothing glaring. I did another dry fit and nada. All the tails were seated and gap free. Still scratching my butt giving it goofy looks trying to figure out what was wrong and why it is now ok.

 not easy

Routing the dado went in dribs and drabs. It would remove some and then hit something and it wouldn't move forward. I had to switch between chiseling it and using the router to get to depth.

 one side fitted

None of them fit after plowing the dado. I used the skew rabbet plane to shave a wee bit off the end doing that until I got a snug fit.


Road trip to Lowes to get this -8bf for $49. I wanted to go to Gurney's but it was snowing this AM so I nixed that. I have a project in mind for this that needs two boards 11" wide by 24" long and two boards 11" wide by 21" wide. I'll start on this after the oak cabinet is done.

 frustration highway

What a PITA getting the shelves dry fitted. The bottom kept coming off as I tried to fit the shelves. Even with a clamp on the bottom it was still mostly a hit or miss operation. I should have paid attention to that but it sailed over my head.

 doesn't fit

I was struggling mightily not to give this flying lesson. This was the third time I was fitting/trimming the the shelves. On the bright side each fit was too long so I had to shave them each time to get it to fit. The fit was giving me fits and I was getting frustrated. When I get frustrated with headaches like this I start searching for my 3lb sledge hammer.

 the cause

It finally penetrated my thick walled brain bucket that it was because I kept changing the clamps. Quick and F clamps weren't cutting it and closing up the tails and pins tight. The besseys did it and that was what was changing the fitting of the shelves. I shoulda, woulda, coulda, but didn't use besseys from the git go.

I quit here for the day and killed the lights. Tomorrow I will glue the pins/tails and let that set up before fitting the shelves again. All three were longer than the carcass as is in this pic. After the shelves are fitted I will plow the final dadoes for the drawer divider/runners and the shelf separator between the 2nd/3rd shelf.

accidental woodworker


Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 02/17/2024 - 3:04am

 I think these 3 initials strike dread and fear in whatever state you live in. My living hell was today. I need my state inspection but I also need the current registration which I did not have. Couldn't find it in any of the holes I checked. So I made an appointment with the DMV to get a copy of it. Unbeknownst to me the appointment I thought I had for today was actually made for monday which was too late for me. How does someone confuse today with monday? At least I have a good excuse with being partially deaf.

My wife told me to go to AAA and get it there. I called ahead, got an appointment for today, and I confirmed it. I got there a half hour early, filled out the paperwork, and I got called early. That made sense because I was the only customer waiting for service. Instead of getting a copy of my registration the rep told me I should renew it because it was due for renewal in march. So I spent $65 earlier than I thought I would but I'm good for another year. State vehicle inspection on monday and I think that one is good for two years. 

 it was rocking

The base was a wee bit twisted - the bottom left and top right corners were high. I wanted to get this started with shellac but I'll put it off until tomorrow.

I checked the date on the bottom and it is 10/2023 which I find incredibly hard to believe. I know I made this at least 4-5 years ago. I think this date is for when I fixed the hinge issue even thought I don't recall doing that.

 another no mortise hinge experiment

I got a comment from Kevin about these hinges that Sylvain commented on and clarified for me. It got my curiosity piqued and I had to try it out. I'll be using the same two scraps of pine I used on the first hinge experiment.

 inset door

In the first experiment the door over laid the edge. This one will have the door inset on the inside face. First step was squaring a line across the two pieces.

 small leaf first

Like I did the first one, securing the small hinge was done first. With the hinge as is here I used a vix bit to drill the two pilot holes first (counter sinks facing down). Then I flipped the hinge and screwed the small leaf in place.

large hinge next

I didn't have to flip the large leaf and I drilled pilot holes and screwed it in place. I used the reference square line I drew first to align it.


Flawless and awkward free installation. I had the square reference line and I was able to use the barrel to align the hinge for the small and large leaves. Doing a inset door like this also means there is no headaches with the screws poking through to the face.

 mystery solved

I believe the key to installing these no mortise hinges is to get the small hinge screwed on first. It doesn't matter if the door is an overlay or an inset one. If I had done inset doors on the carved leaf cabinet I wouldn't have any problems with the screws being too long.

 off the saw (oak cabinet)

These are not my best tails/pins but I am ok with them. I was expecting this to be a whole lot worse than this. The half pins have gaps but too small to throw a dog through. The slopes of the tails are pretty close considering I sawed them with muscle memory rather than following a pencil line.

second set

Went together off the saw and the fit is lot better. I'm pretty sure once glue is applied the pins/tails will swell shut and tighten up.

 tail side

The tails aren't seating tight in the pin sockets. This is the only corner that is doing this. This end is also one of the wonky ends of the two sides. The other wonky side is nice with only one half pin gap.


It didn't close up boys and girls with moderate clamp pressure. I'll have to check into this and see what is holding the pins and tails from fully meshing.

 dry fit

The carcass is square within +/- a 32nd and I am laying out the first shelf visually. It ended up being 3 1/2" up from the bottom.

 the final layout

No adjustable shelves in this cabinet. The drawer opening is 3 1/2" and there is 7" between the first and second shelf with the distance between the other two shelves at about 6" each. I was thinking of making the drawers different widths and I still might do that. For now the plan is two equal, centered drawers

The dado work for this should be exciting. Chopping the dovetails was an adventure. They splintered, cracked, and it was not like doing them in pine. I'm not sure what is going to happen chopping the dadoes or how hard it will be using the router on them.

accidental woodworker

Small Dresser 4: Dividers & Carcase

JKM Woodworking - Sat, 02/17/2024 - 2:39am

At the end of last session I had two squared up sides and eight dividers of equal length. I first thought to pocket screw the dividers to the sides. Long term I would like to try dovetailing dividers into the sides. Dadoing the sides would also be a good idea, but I didn’t feel like chiseling and router planing out all that waste. For now I’m just trying to get things done. Better looking dividers will have to wait for another project.

I decided to domino the dividers in place. I bought a domino a couple months ago and this will be my largest project to date using it. I marked locations for the dividers on the inner sides and glued dominos in place. Then I dry fit the rails, set it upright, and clamped it to keep it from falling apart.

dry fit

In this position I marked and fit the remaining pieces—the drawer runners, the toekick, and the middle dividers for the upper section that would have two drawers side by side.

For the bottom I made a three piece toekick with mitered corners. This caused me a few problems as I don’t have a miter box, a miter shooting board, or any good way to make perfect 45° miters. I tried just carefully laying out and cutting the line. I was unhappy with the gaps on the first miter so I tried to saw through the joint to minimize the gap. It didn’t look much better afterwards.

1st miter

So for the second miter I glued it up straight from the saw cut. It didn’t look any better, I just wasted less time getting there. Luckily this project only had two miters and they’re finished. Also luckily, they’re at floor level.

2nd miter

After gluing the toekick and fitting in place, there were some gaps at the outside edges. So I glued on some thin wedges and planed them to fit the gap.

Gluing on wedge

I saw this mitered three piece toekick in Christian Becksvoort’s Shaker Legacy, and have since seen it in other pictures of Shaker furniture. At first I thought I would curve the toekick since I curved the sides, but I later decided the curve didn’t fit with the squareness of it. So the dresser front will have a square blocky bottom, and the sides will have curves.

fitting into place
Runner, twisted

For the runners, I ripped lengths of 1.25-1.5 inch wide poplar the same thickness as the front dividers or rails. They are dominoed and glued to the front divider to create a U or horseshoe shape. Some of the runners will run all the way to a back rail, and some will be fastened to the case sides.

notches for screws

I cut notches for the runners that will be fastened to the side. This allows using shorter screws.

Before gluing-up I did some minor cleanup of the case sides like planing the glue lines, scraping, and soaking dents and dings.


The titebond genuine hide glue recommends a minimum temperature of 50 degrees, so I had to heat the garage for a while. I could have taken everything indoors but then I would have to run back and forth everytime I forgot something.

Glue-up with clamps

During glue-up I had three incidents. In the picture above you can see the middle of the top back rail has a lonely mortise without a tenon. I had to replace that quickly. And while fastening everything I found one drawer runner that was installed upside down.

runner, flipped

This was less critical to fix quickly, as it was glued only at the front. I waited long enough that I had to soften the glue. I use a clothes steamer for this.


I place it under the joint and lock it into the on position so steam pours out. It takes 30-60 seconds to loosen the joint.

The third incident was I heard a CRACK while tightening a clamp. So far I haven’t found out what made the noise, so I am thinking it was a “good luck” CRACK.

runners, expansion

This picture shows the two types of runners and how they account for movement. At top a runner is screwed to the side, with a slot (domino mortise) to allow for movement. The blurrier runner at the bottom is loose tenoned into the back rail. This tenon is free to move in and out as the side moves. The front and back rails are tenoned and glued to the sides. The runner is glued to the front rail but not the back rail or case side.

clamps off

Glue-up complete, the next big part of the project will be to make and fit drawers.

Categories: General Woodworking

another check mark......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 02/16/2024 - 2:46am

 Put a check mark in the done column for the 15 drawer dresser. I don't like to think about it but I'm pretty sure it is going to be painted. Especially so if my wife has anything to do about it. At least until that happens I can ooh and aah over it until it goes away.

 nature's best painting

I can't see why anyone would want to paint and hide what nature has done. On the bucket list is another 15 drawer chest but made in cherry. Hopefully I'll get that done before I take my dirt nap.

 back up frame

Used my set of round over tools (Veritas ones based on Stanleys) to round over the inside edge of the frame. I used the tool to offset it from the corners. It would be too difficult to extend the round overs into and out of the corners.

 rethinking painting this

I got the outside edges rounded over and smoothed the top edge of the chamfer so there is no longer a 'line' on the face. The corners aren't horrible looking and there isn't glaring evidence of the shim work I did on the bridle joinery. I'm thinking of shellac now instead of paint. But again, the wife will be the one to say nay or yea.

I went to the Frame it Shop and I got there at 1045 and Maria was just getting there (opens at 1000). The picture is still not done. She has had it for over 3 weeks and she told me she would do it today. I told her I would stop by again tomorrow. Any bets that she won't have it done when I stop by? 

 almost done

I made this 3-4 years ago and it languished waiting to have the hinges installed. The problem was the lid is only 7/16" thick and the screws were too long. The lid is bridle jointed with a cherry insert in the middle. The main carcass is pine so it isn't exactly a fancy jewelry box but I think it would be nice for a young girl. I have always wanted to carve the initials of the recipient in the cherry panel. I've been reading my Chris Pye book on letter carving. Not so sure I want my first letters to be done on this.


This tray lifts out revealing more storage underneath. I was surprised to see the hinges installed because I don't remember doing that. Since there aren't any screws poking out on the top I can surmise I solved the too long headache. The leaves on the top are surface mounted rather then being mortised. I'll get some shellac on this and then wait for some young lady to show up on the horizon.

 oak cabinet

I've been doing dovetails now for 14 years and this is my first time dovetailing oak. I couldn't see the slope (done in pencil) when it came time to saw them. I just let muscle memory kick in and sawed away. Not perfect symmetry but still looks hand sawn.


These two ends are wonky and the blue tape couldn't pull the two together flat. This was a bit of a challenge sawing and trying to avoid the clamps but I got it done. I thought of doing them separately but decided to clamp and work around it.

 healthy gap

Putting a clamp at either end didn't fully flatten this. I had to use two clamps to remove it fully. I put an extra tail in the mix to help with keeping it flat come time to glue it up.

 last one

It was a bit awkward sawing but I didn't hit the clamps doing it. I feel better knowing that both ends are symmetrical. 


It did ok on the first side dovetails but it ran out of gas quick on the 2nd side. One of the slopes on the tails was off the angle from the others. It was also a bear to chop the waste. I felt like I was trying to chop stone. I stropped the chisel several times and it wasn't up to the task. I'll be spending some quality time with the stones in the AM.

accidental woodworker

International Shipping and Globalization

Tools For Working Wood - Thu, 02/15/2024 - 4:00am
Joseph Smith's "Explanation or Key to the Various Manufactories of Sheffield" C. 1816
Joseph Smith's "Explanation or Key to the Various Manufactories of Sheffield,"also known as Smith's Key, is one of the earliest tool catalogs. Originally published in 1816, The Key is simply a collection of tool engraving showing many different tools and style. Pretty much all the manufacturers made the same products. Smith, a printer, would print the engravings and the manufacturer, dealer, representative, or salesperson would assign their own prices.

The EAIA (Early American Industries Association) reprinted a copy of the Key in 1975 (a different copy than the link to the scan) and included the only surviving price list connected to the key - a printed price list from James Cam, a Sheffield manufacturer, complete with hand-written Spanish translations of many of the categories. The theory is that this particular price list and key was used by a salesman in Spain or another Spanish-speaking country to take orders. Think about this: in the 1820s you could be nearly anywhere in the world and order from an English tool company. And eventually your tools would show up! This is globalization in action, at a time much earlier than we tend to think of global trade. As technology changed, we went from a guy taking orders and money, and sending a letter by ship, and then waiting months, to Sears and Roebuck, and then mail order tool companies, and then the internet (and us). What made the mail order business grow (and in my view, the trigger for the entire Industrial Revolution) was that the English government recognized early on that in order for international trade to grow, it had to be reliable. So the English established and guarded safe sea routes, and kept standards to trade that enabled demand to skyrocket. And reliability in global international trade has dictated the way business works around the world since then. Sadly, from a retailer's perspective, since COVID the world has gotten smaller. And it's really unfortunate.

I mention this because I am sorry to report that we have once again suspended international shipping. Before Covid, we shipped a lot of orders all over the world. We had some challenges from time to time - I'll always remember a hand-scrawled note of "No Sharp Knives" written on a return-to-sender shipment of rasps to Buenos Aires that the USPS claimed could have been written by anyone, including the Argentine pilot - but service was acceptably reliable even if not great. During the height of Covid, most international shipments were suspended and even when service resumed or quasi-resumed, shippers backed away from their commitments and guarantees to actually deliver the packages. Post-Covid, two things have happened: the first is that the actual cost of shipping has skyrocketed. What used to cost fifteen bucks now costs fifty. The second thing is that both in the EU and England VAT taxes are supposed to be collected by the shipper. This has complicated matters tremendously.

During Covid we had to turn off international shipping. Since then, we have been slowly resuming international shipping. We addressed the VAT issue by using Global Post, which takes care of taxes and other paperwork concerns. The company uses a combination of services that starts with USPS but includes a managerie of independent carriers for other parts of the international journey. They seem to use whatever is cheapest for them.

We were initially delighted to offer a service that was strikingly less expensive than the USPS International service. But unfortunately we have discovered it loses about a third of our orders. Actually, of that number, probably only half are truly lost (we'll call this group "if we're lucky"). The other half is temporarily lost in that the trail disappears. Sometimes they decide the order is undeliverable even if it's going to an address that's been confirmed six ways from Sunday. Those orders eventually come back to us. If they lose the order, and we're lucky and spend a lot of time on the issue, we might get a refund that includes the cost of the postage. If we're unlucky, we'll get a beat-up package months later returned to us as marked undeliverable, with no refund of anything, especially not of the postage. By then, of course, we have refunded the customer. A scheme that loses so many shipments is not sustainable. It is also it's a time sink. In order to track down where the order might or might not be, we might have to deal with three different vendors, with no automated coordinating system in any of them, with all of them offering variations on the theme of "Hey it's not us, it's the other guy." Needless to say, since we're only billed by one company, if the package was lost by the other two companies there's no incentive from anyone to help us.

So that's why we feel forced, very regrettably, to shut down international shipping.

Some of our products are available in Europe from Dieter Schmid (Germany), Baptist (Netherlands), and in Canada from Lee Valley.

If the situation improves, we will revisit this. If you have currently an international order in process, fingers crossed that it arrives. Otherwise email us and we will figure it out.

N.B. If you page through the tools in the copy of The Key that I link to above, you'll see are all B+W engraving, but the tableware listed later in the catalog is hand-colored and is just amazing.

A price list to The KeyA price list to The Key

she wants it.......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 02/15/2024 - 3:08am

 Well boys and girls you could have knocked me out with a snowflake today. I asked my wife if there was someone I could give the carved leaves cabinet to. She shocked me into a stupor by saying she not only liked but that she wanted to keep it for herself. She readily admitted that she would have to find a hole for it somewhere in the house, but she wanted it for herself. This is only the second thing I have made (not expressly for her) that she was this gaga about. Hmmm...., I'll have to file this away in the brain bucket for future projects.

 enlarging holes

The 3/8" holes are exactly one frog hair too snug for the Stanley pilot hole pin punches. The headache with using a rat tail file to enlarge a hole is the file is tapered and the likely hood of getting an oval tapered hole is fairly high. As a back up I had a dowel wrapped with 100 grit sandpaper to help out.

 getting closer

From looking at the fit of the punch the hole is still round and concentric to the punch. The fit was loose but I widened it a bit more because this should contract come summer time.


I glued a thin pine scrap to the bottom  because the 3 pin punches on the right have their holes drilled completely through.

 why I made it

These are the holders for the #3, #5, and #9 Vix bits. I lost 2 of the caps and all 3 of the holders are split at the top and none of them capture the red cap. I got tired of having to read each Vix bit to see which number it was because they never seemed to be able to stay in respective holders. That is no longer a concern.

 prepping the new frame

The frame is 3/4" pine that will be painted. I didn't want to put a rabbet in it and lose any depth so I put a frame offset from the inside edge a 1/4". That will house the glass, the art work, and the matting. 

 the front face

This is why I nailed and glued a 2nd frame to the back. I want the full thickness of the 3/4" thick frame to offer depth before the art work. I don't like it being close to the front face - I like it to be recessed and 'window' like.

that sucked pond scum

This is one of my favorite molding planes. It a Preston and Sons ogee profile but today it let me down. It molded the long grain perfectly but going across the end grain on the bridle joints tore out like crazy. I fixed that by planing a chamfer removing the molded profile and the tear out on the ends of the bridle joints. I didn't want a chamfer but the tear out was especially ugly looking.


Got some blowouts on the ends planing the chamfers. I got it on all four corners and I filled them in with putty.

 cabinet layout #1

This doesn't do anything for me. It looks like it needs more shelves to complete the layout pattern.

 the 4th layout

I kind of like this one but it looks too busy for my eye. The bottom opening is getting two drawers and the second shelf I think would look better if the vertical dividers were 'L' shaped instead of extending from the 2nd to the 3rd shelves. I have lots of time to agonize over this.

 frame 99.9% done

I am not in love with the chamfer on the frame. My gut reaction is to shitcan it and go with a round over. I stopped here and my wife and I went to lunch. Fish 'n chips for me and a patty melt for Diane.

The layout on the cabinet is the one that I think I'm going with. The second and third shelves are divided and the top one will be open.

 better look

I have enough stock left to get the center drawer divider and the drawer fronts. The sides and back I'll use pine or whatever else I have that is wide and long enough. All through lunch I was running this through the brain bucket and I'm leaning towards putting one 'L' shaped vertical divider on the second or third shelf.

 round over it is

I just don't like the chamfer and it is a wee bit too much to sand out with this. I'll have to give it a helping hand by planing the bulk of it first and then smoothing it with the sander.

 one more

The carcass of the dresser has 4 coats and the base and feet have 7 or 8. One more on the whole of it and I get to ooh and aah over it.

 who knew

I brought this upstairs to cure the shellac by the radiator rather then have it sit in the cooler shop. My wife saw this in the shop but never said anything about it. Once it was upstairs she went gaga over it. She just mentioned to me about hanging it on the porch somewhere, somehow.

accidental woodworker


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