Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cutting Table for Quilting

My wife had been asking sometime for a specific table to cut material on for her quilting.  Cutting material requires a lot of force that you can't apply while sitting, and bending over a standard height table will have your back crying foul in no time. (I ran out of time before Christmas and had to present this to my wife with stain only, so I don't have a finished picture yet)

After some horse trading (actually it was a pig, really!) for a stack of knotty pine, I decided what better material to use on a table that would see a lot of abuse.  I used a breadboard technique on the top, added a lower shelf and a drawer for additional storage, and finished the table with a couple coats of polyurethane. 

As you can see these pics are taken in my kitchen, I don't have sufficient heat in my woodworking area during winter for gluing or finishing.  The small tarp on the floor was for glue up and flattening the top with my hand plane.


With the addition of a lathe to my arsenal of tools, I thought I'd take on some simple projects to get myself acclimated.  I was surprised how quickly I can turn these out and intend to make many more. The outside two are from burly maple that I found in our firewood pile and the center is from black walnut.  

The pen on the left is from Bloodwood, while the one on the right is from Spalted Maple, again from the firewood pile (my wife is complaining that I'm stealing all of the firewood). When purchasing the components and mandrels at Woodcraft, the clerk mentioned that I could use super glue as a finish, I would never have guessed.


I've wanted to do an Intarsia project for some time but all of the ones I've seen so far are either too difficult or too basic looking.   I spotted this in a woodworking magazine and loved it. The article included a separate template for all the pieces and it was just a matter of choosing the right wood for each of the different components. I chose Sugar Maple, Redwood, Bloodwood, and Burled Maple for the leaves, White Oak and Poplar for the pumpkins, and Cherry and Black Walnut for the acorns. 
Before I got started I copied the templates from the magazine so I could keep the originals to reproduce this project in the future. It took some time to match up the template pieces with the different pieces of wood, taking care to orient the grain to simulate things like the veins in the leaves and the pumpkin stems.  I used a spray adhesive to glue the template copies to the different pieces of wood, then cut them out using both the band saw and scroll saw.
After what seemed like days of sanding to contour all the components and fine tune the fit, I adhered everything to a piece of 1/4" plywood with yellow glue.  This project, like most, took longer than expected, but exceeded all of my expectations. This was my first experience using Bloodwood and I was very impressed with how it machines and the pleasant smell it gives off when sanding it.   

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Black Walnut and Spalted Maple Chessboard

After hearing all the comments on how much my cutting board looked like a chess board I decided to build one, this way everyone can see the difference. 

For this project used a piece of spalted maple that I found in our firewood pile, along with some of the left over black walnut from my cutting board project. 

I started by sizing the walnut and maple into 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" sticks, then sliced them into 1/8" wafers on my crosscut sled. I glued the wafers to a piece of 1/2" MDF, clamping the edges together using cauls covered in packaging tape, and using a piece of bubble wrap and plywood to clamp them to them MDF.  

I used a book-matched set of figured black walnut for the back and added 1/4" maple for the inner border on both front and back.  I cut a 1/2" dado into the walnut outer border so it would slide over the MDF and then mitered the ends to fit. 

To hold the outer border together and to add a little more class I added some maple splines to the corners, and after a lot of sanding and a few coats of polyurethane, I am more than happy with the results.