Friday, December 30

Status report

Today was another mixed bag of a day.  I should have been out stacking lumber since it is not raining today, but I over-did it a bit the last time and I’m still “stove-in” as Marie put it and I’ve been ordered to find some light duty stuff to do today.


<a href=""><img alt="Click Me" hspace="5" src="" width="200" align="left" /></a> I went out to the shop long enough to check on the billets I milled out a few days ago and assure myself that they have to twisted or warped as they’ve dried out.  They seem to be OK.


The pulls I ordered arrived yesterday, so I fired the extra one off to Jim for final approval.  They look like they may be a tad too dark in color judging from the pictures he sent.  If they’re just a little off, but everything on the Island matches, it may work out just fine since the island is not going to be up against their cabinets.  If they’re way off I’ll have to return them and try to locate a lighter finish in the same make and model.


Most of the day today I’ve been working on the article about building the island: cropping and formatting pictures, producing thumbnail images and writing the text.  I should have a considerable amount of it done and ready to post this evening.


I hear the UPS truck coming up our drive; that will be the rest of the hardware I need.  ‘Scuse me a moment…


OK, I’m back.  It’s all there and the hinges are a perfect match for the pulls I’ve got.  I think we’ll have to go with what we’ve got and hope Jim and Ruth will be happy with it.


Time to get back to my writing and uploading of picture files.


Have a great New Years!


Thursday, December 29

Early Morning Session

This morning I am again working on web site maintenance and bookkeeping.  I have received shipping confirmations from both of the suppliers I ordered hardware from, so those things ought to be here soon.

I’ll try ordering my rail & stile and raised panel bits this morning too.


Yesterday afternoon

I managed to get the White Oak re-organized and consolidated as well as getting a good start on the walnut – which is included in three different stacks – before darkness fell.  I heard thunder off to the west of us, so I made sure the lids were put back on the stacks and weighted with concrete blocks to keep them in place before going in and returning to bookwork.


Wednesday, December 28

Catching up.

The past few days have been kinda weird as far as work goes.  But then this week normally is: a few days in between major holidays, End Of Year bookkeeping roaring down on us like a freight train, prepping for taxes just after.


Add to that the pleasurable distraction of having my sister and her boys visiting for Christmas, and the unpleasant business of Patrick going into diabetic convulsions yesterday evening.  He’s OK now but he scared us pretty badly, and his insurance will be getting some whopping bills because the hospital decided – after they’d gotten him conscious and stable again -- to run a battery of tests including a CAT scan.  I’ll withhold my skeptical commentary about that, this isn’t the place.


Yesterday Paul and Charlie (my nephews) helped me get started on sorting out my lumber yard.  The problem is that as I’ve bought new lumber – and had no empty racks on which to stack it for drying, I place it on top of a short stack of something else.  But that means that the lumber on the bottom will be ready to use before the stuff on the top, and the species are mixed, making it a bit confusing to keep track of what is what.  Since I have to take inventory this week, that is a double problem.  So we set out to re-organize things so each rack is one species and the oldest, driest lumber is on top, and the newest, wettest lumber on the bottom.  It took us a couple of hours but we got the silver maple rack done before Pat had his seizure.


This morning I dug into the white oak rack.  I didn’t get very far before I got rained out.  My helpers decided to go home a day early.  They say it’s because they want to stop in Louisville and do some shopping, but I think they were afraid I’d ask them to help again!   It is not easy work.


During the rain I went into the office and printed out a mess of reports for Treasures.  It’s year end there too, and for them I have to do all the usual company books, but also print and mail out inventory summaries and pay statements to the 46 artists whose work is represented in the gallery.  And of course the software won’t just spit those out for me, I have to configure each one and print it out individually.


I just completed my lunch break and mail run.  The rain has stopped, so I’m heading back out to the lumber yard.


On Monday I brought enough maple to build the Island’s top into the workshop.  It’s not as dry as I’d like.  So I cut the boards into rough-sized billets for the butcher block top and will allow them to acclimate (dry) inside the shop where they’ll be ready to use more quickly.


Hopefully the hardware I need for Jim’s island will arrive soon so I can get back to work on that.



Monday, December 26

Workday Begins: 6:30 AM

I’m spending this early morning time working on e-mail messages that were flagged for follow-up but not yet attended to, and working on the In The News section of the Treasures web site.


I had all our news clippings glomped together into one long page for each year… thought it would make browsing through the clippings easier that way.  But it takes so long for those pages to load that if you’re interested in an article near the bottom of the page you will be waiting an awful long time for the pictures to come in.  If I were to convert the website from HTML to PHP I could set it up so that a visitor could choose to look at articles one at a time or elect a “show all” option and just read as they come in.  But that is probably more work than benefit at this point.


I’m not sure what this day will hold.  Technically, this is a work day like any other, and I ought to be in the shop making sawdust like any other.  But the boss has decided to take a day off, and my presence may be required.  I know we are doing the breakfast in bed thing this morning (my suggestion) so I will not get to the workshop at my usual time.  But it is expected to be a warm day, if rainy, so I’d hate to squander the whole thing holidaying.


Friday, December 23

Testing, testing, is this thing on?

I’m checking to see if this alternate mode of posting will work for this blog.  I may have to do some tinkering to figure out how to get pictures to post.


Wish me luck.

Your source for quality, custom furniture


Shop Opens: 7:30 AM Build a fire. Check e-mail – BellSloth’s e-mail servers are down again this morning. Do some piddlin stuff to kill a little time without actually wasting it. The air temp out there is up to 45° so I can go to work. OK, it’s time to break for lunch and I’ve gotten the 8 pieces for the door panel blanks rough cut, planed smooth (but oversize), jointed and two pair glued up and clamped. I also planed the door rail and stile stock smooth (but oversize). I don’t want to plane it to final size until my router bits come in. I bought a rail and stile set that should be calibrated to ¾” stock, but I’d hate to plane them down only to find they’re too thin. So I’ll wait on that until after Christmas when everything has arrived. Mid-day monologue: A word about workshop conditions. Yesterday I took the day off to work inside because it was just too cold out there and I wasn’t able to get the place warmed up above about 38°. Does that make me a wimp? Maybe. I do wear 4 layers of clothing including a layer of thermal undies and socks to protect from the cold. I wear my Radar O’Reilly hat to keep my head and ears warm. Once I get the air temperature up around 45° this is sufficient to keep me comfortable all day. If it’s sunny, the roof of the shop heats up in the afternoon and my ceiling fans pull that heat down and warm the whole shop to where I’ll shed a layer to avoid sweating. In the summer sweating is good. In the winter it’s bad. But, regardless of the air temperature, if the equipment and tools are still at 20° - 25° working with them is a bad idea. First off the bearings in the machine tools wear out much faster and drive belts are stiff and thump as they run inducing unwanted vibration. Secondly, having to work above and touch a 300 pound slab of cast iron that is 20° is very uncomfortable on my hands. I have actually had my fingers stick to my saw once. Not good. I can’t do this work in gloves, I work as much by touch as I do by sight. Third, the table saw blade slings that ice cold air in my face. I have enough trouble with my sinuses from the sawdust, being smacked in the face by an artic blast too is just not something I need. And finally, glues and finishes require certain temperature ranges to work properly. In regard to the glue, both the glue itself and the material being glued must be at a minimum temperature or the glue powders and you get a poor bond – if you get any bond at all. So call me a wimp if you like, but there is a method to my madness. Lunch break is over. Time to go back to work. Click Me I glued up the other two door panel blanks and scraped the glue blips off of the first two. I’ll let them set up overnight before trying to break them apart. If they don’t break, then the glue job this morning took and they’re ready to use. If they do break, I joint them again and re-glue them in warmer temps. Next I went outside and dug into the lumber piles to get a few boards that will be suitable for making the maple top. My lumber yard needs some organizing. I have a couple of teenage boys coming to visit over the week between Christmas and New Years, I think I’ll try to shanghai them into helping me restack some of this stuff to sort it out properly. Marie called, said she’s on her way home and our Christmas vacation is officially started. Put down the tool and back away slowly. Workshop closes: 3:30 PM I have some details to finish up before quitting for the weekend, shouldn’t take more than an hour. Work day ends: 4:30 PM

Thursday, December 22

Work day begins: 5:30 AM Catching up on things this morning. First, let me fill you in on yesterday as I did not get the notes for yesterday posted. I got the shelf built and installed. I was planning on two shelves, but don’t think there would be any point in that as Jim & Ruth will probably be storing large items down there and two shelves would offer little space between, so one would get taken out anyway. I also rough milled the rail & stile stock for the four doors. I had to quit a bit early because Marie’s washing machine was due to arrive anywhere from 2:00 to 6:00 and the driver would be calling for directions, so I needed to be inside near the phone. Yes, I can take the cordless phone out to the shop, but I often don’t hear it ringing if I have equipment running, and if I can’t be running my tools, there’s little point in being out there. So I went through the catalogs and made up a materials list for the hardware needed for the island. I’ll get that ordered this afternoon. The washer arrived about 4:00 and they got it installed without too much fuss. When Marie got home she was quite pleased and ran several loads of wash. She said, “I love that new-washer smell!” This morning I have to take the truck in for servicing. We missed the last scheduled oil change and the bearings are starting to knock when it’s cold. I don’t like that sound. To me it’s saying, “Get out your wallet feller, cause if you don’t take care of this I’m going to need an overhaul.” We will see what’s left of the day when I get back. Click MeThere is plenty of daylight left but it’s so cold out today (got down in the low 20’s overnight and hasn’t gotten above 30 yet) that I can’t get the workshop warmed up. It will be back in the 50’s tomorrow. Today seems like a good day to work inside.

Tuesday, December 20

Work day begins: 4:07 AM I’m still trying to get an estimate form to send out. Thought if I got up early and tried, the congestion on the Internet would be less and it might succeed. Not so – still can’t connect to our e-mail server. So I’ll continue working on the Treasures web sites inventory photos. The go build a fire in the shop. Shop Opens: 7:30 AM Today I am making and attaching the mounting blocks that will hold the butcher block top in place, and building the drawer box. Things to note: There are five mounting blocks. The holes through the four blocks around the perimeter are not normal holes… they are elongated into short slots. Why? Because wood expands and contracts across it’s width as the humidity changes. If the top were solidly screwed down to the casework, the force of the top expanding could pop corner joints. So I make allowances for this by allowing the wood to move – just a little – without causing problems. The block in the center is just a round hole the diameter of the screw that will pass through it, to keep the top where it belongs. Click MeThe drawer box is done and test fits nicely. The sun is going down, the heat stove has burned down and it’s getting chilly in here. This is a good stopping point, so I’ll go find something to work on inside. Workshop closes: 5:17 PM I need to do some searching on-line for some suitable drawer pulls. Wish me luck-- the Internet has not been kind to us lately. Heavy holiday traffic I suspect. Work day ends: 8:30 PM

Monday, December 19

Work day begins: 6:20 AM Build a fire in the workshop. Bookkeeping and web site chores. Check and respond to e-mail. Shop Opens: 7:30 AM To start the day, I slice up the blank I made for drawer fronts (15/16” thick) into individual drawer front blanks, course sand and trim them to exact size. This completes the do-over work from last week. Start the time clock again. Now I set up the table saw with my new tall fence and cut the beveled edges onto the drawer fronts. All went well: no glitches. No utterances of “Oh Drat! Next I notch the back sides of the drawer fronts to fit into the recesses where the stiffener panels are. This will keep them from sliding around in the future. Then drill holes for the mounting screws and drive one screw per drawer front in from the inside to hold the false fronts in place temporarily. I’ll have to remove them again to do the finish sanding and to bore the fronts for pulls – once we find suitable pulls – so there’s no point in attaching them too well just yet. A little sanding and primping and it’s time to quit. Click MeHere is the cabinet with the toe kick attached and the drawer fronts installed. Workshop closes: 5:00 PM Did I mention that I’m putting together a more detailed article on construction of this island? Well, I am. You can see it by clicking here. It’s not complete yet, but I’ll work on it as time permits. I also have to continue working on the new Treasures of Appalachia store site. It takes a lot of work to get it set up, but will take much less work to maintain it later on. Work day ends: around 10:00 PM Marie needs this computer, so I have to go ahead and post my notes and move to the other computer.

Friday, December 16

Work day begins: 7:00 AM It’s cold out this morning – well, cold for here: 29° -- so it will take a little while to warm up the workshop. I’ve got a fire going. Shop Opens: 8:00 AM Oops… I’ll start the day off by fixing a boo-boo. I made the drawer fronts ¾ inch thick because that’s pretty standard for drawer fronts. But measurements that Jim sent me reveal that the other drawers in his kitchen are almost an inch thick. So, I need to glue up some new drawer front blanks. Click Me While the glue dries on those I’m building the toe-kick base that goes under the main cabinet. I’m installing the fixed casters because I picked those up in Morristown the other day, but I couldn’t find the leveler/feet I want under the other end, so I’ll have to mail order those. I also cut a mess of screw hole plugs and plugged up all the holes. Those have to set overnight so the glue will set up so I don’t yank them back out while trying to trim them flush. So… it’s time to quit for the day. Workshop closes: PM I’m going to work a bit on the article I’m doing as I build this island. I’ve been taking lots of pictures and will add the discussion part as I can. That will be active soon and will cover such fascinating things as how to cut your own screw hole plugs. I’ll probably work until 10:00 or so as usual, but will post these notes now so Marie can have this computer. I’ll go do the rest of my work from the other one. Work day ends: @10:00 PM

Thursday, December 15

Shop Opens: 7:30 AM Yesterday’s supply run to Morristown was fairly successful. Marie found a good deal on a name brand washing machine, and I found a couple of things I needed. No luck on finding the pulls I need for Jim & Ruth’s island, though. I’ll start searching the internet this evening. If I can’t find them there, I’ll have to get hold of Jim and ask if he remembers who refaced his cabinets and see if they can suggest a source. I’ve got a fire going in the workshop and will look at e-mail while it’s warming up some. Then I’ll get started on drawer fronts – after I package up another order that has to go out from on-hand stock. I’ve gotten the drawer front blanks milled and trimmed to precise size and sanded. Now it’s time to turn my attention to building a new tool. In order to cut the long bevels on the edge of the drawer fronts and the center panels of the doors, I need to build a “tall fence” attachment for my table saw. I’ll build it from a scrap 2x8 and a left-over piece of ½” Baltic Birch ply. Click Me The purpose of this attachment is to support wide panels (like doors) securely in a vertical position as I pass them through the table saw with the blade tilted about 5° to cut that edge bevel. The better way to do this is with a big bit in a shaper – but I don’t have a shaper. But with a little ingenuity, a good table saw, the proper blades and a fixture or three a woodworker can get by without things like a shaper and a jointer. I have to let the poly dry overnight, so will go work on a couple of bids that have been sitting on my desk for eons. Workshop closes: 4:30 PM Working on bids and bookwork. Work day ends: 9:55 PM

Tuesday, December 13

Work day begins: 6:30 AM Take care of some e-mail chores. I was hoping for a response from the gal who placed an order through Treasures last night. She asked that her order be shipped promptly because her purchase was a Christmas gift, but neglected to supply a shipping address! This is the sort of thing that has prompted me to install a proper shopping cart on the Treasures web site. The PayPal deal we’re currently using it pathetic at error checking. Time to go warm up the workshop. Shop Opens: 7:00 AM I’ve got to do a little cleaning up and putting away this morning. We’re getting to that point where having a large assembly sitting in the middle of my workspace makes it difficult to work on other stages of the project. Oh, it’s going to be nice to expand the workshop! So far I’ve gotten the flap-door cut, trimmed and installed, but I’m not sure I’m happy with it: the piano hinge is a bit too visible. I may cut another door and install the hinge flat on the inside instead of atop the door flap. Click MeI’ve got all the blanks for the drawer fronts cut and jointed. The first pair are glued and in clamps now. The others will follow this afternoon as the clamps become free. I didn’t get a whole lot more done… the pairs of drawer front blanks are glued up. Those I worked in as I worked on another project that presented itself as needing to be done today – before it starts raining again. Workshop closes: 5:00 PM This evening I’ll post an article for the Tourism Council in which we were involved. Then map out our route for tomorrows trip to “the city” for supplies and a washer. Work day ends: 9:15 PM

Monday, December 12

Shop Opens: 7:30 AM This morning, after building a fire in the woodstove, I’m processing and packing up several orders that came in this weekend through the Treasures web site. Once that’s done I’ll get to work on the cabinet. Click MeI’ve installed the tricky little corner pieces that support and contain the center divider panel. And I’ve done the final fitting on the cabinet end caps and glued them in place. A little cleaning up here and there, and the casework on the cabinet is complete. Tomorrow I’ll turn my attention to drawer fronts and doors. Workshop closes: 5:00 PM Working on the Treasures shopping cart tonight. Also got ANOTHER order to process from T.O.A… holiday shoppers! Love it! Work day ends: 8:45 PM

Friday, December 9

Work day begins: 6:45 AM Check and respond to e-mail, print off an invoice for the dog feeder so Marie can deliver it today and go out to build a fire in the workshop. Shop Opens: 8:00 AM This is going to be a real short day as we are helping to administer the Christmas In The City – Downtown Newport this evening and we have to get there early to help get things set up – including erecting our big tent. It’s 18 by 27 feet, and takes quite a bit of assembly. Click MeThis morning I drilled the holes and installed the sockets for shelf pins, and installed the center panel in the cabinet. Then I turned my attention to making some nice marshmallow roasting sticks. Workshop closes: 12:00 PM Time to gather together all the stuff we’re going to need tonight and get ready to load the truck as soon as Marie gets here. The downtown thing went very well, and our marshmallow roasting station was a hit. Or at least our fire pit was a hit! We had 6 vendors and some live bluegrass in the tent. I’ll unload the truck tomorrow Work day ends: 10:20 PM

Thursday, December 8

Work day begins: 5:00 AM This morning I’m trying to get caught up on some bookkeeping and web site maintenance that I’ve leg go because it’s cold in the mornings. Shop Opens: 8:00 AM I started this morning by sizing, trimming and installing the small panel for the cabinet end and gluing and clamping that end assembly together. After lunch I’ll lay-out and cut the floor panels. These are tricky because they have to notch around the tenon on the center post and around the columns in each corner. Click MeThis afternoon I succeeded in get in the floor panels cut and installed, and the center divider cut, and in making the rather tricky little backer strips that will hold the center panel in place. I can’t mount the panel until I get the shelf pin holes drilled. I’ll do that tomorrow. Now I have to put a finish on a dog feeder station I’ve been working on so we can deliver it this weekend. Workshop closes: 5:45 PM More additions and changes to be made to the Newport In The City map I volunteered to produce. The event is tomorrow – I hope they are finished with the changes! Work day ends: 9:30 PM

Wednesday, December 7

Work day begins: 7:00 AM I slept in again. Cold weather makes me lazy I guess – I just hate to abandon the nice warm bed to go knocking about in the cold. I guess I’d better get caught up, It’s been several days since I posted a Notes file. Things have been quite busy here and I’ve tended to be occupied. Monday was spent at Treasures Of Appalachia being the designated shopkeeper and bookkeeper, paymaster and dispenser of knowledge. Afterward I picked up Marie and we went to do some shopping. Didn’t get home until late, so I got very little accomplished that day. Tuesday was spent in the workshop making pieces parts for panels, and gluing these pieces parts into panels. I got both of the large panels glued up and one sanded smooth, will work on the other today. Then I’ll trim them to size and install them in the cabinet. I had to quit early yesterday because we had a CEDS presentation to attend. That lasted until late into the evening, so I got very little of my bookwork and web maintenance done. Shop Opens: 8:00 AM I went out earlier to build a fire, but it’s not warming up much. So I came back in for a bit to get started on today’s notes and catch you up on the past couple of days. Maybe if it’s sitting here on my desk top I’ll remember to post it tonight! Today I’ll sand the other large panel I made yesterday, trim both large panels to exact size and install them in the cabinet ends. I’ll also make and install the cabinet floor and the divider between the shelf and trash sections. OK, lets see if it warmer out there yet. It was tolerable. I shouldn’t complain though. I have relative in Nebraska. They have single digit temperatures and 6 inches of snow – according to their reports. Our lows at night are in the 20’s and daytime highs in the 40’s. No snow. I’m happy enough with this, thank you. So far I’ve got one large panel all trimmed down, sanded and installed in its cabinet end. The assembly is in clamps right now waiting for the glue to tack up. After lunch I’ll repeat the process with the other panel. Click Me OK, the other panel is trimmed to size, wiggled, sniggled and shaved to precise fit and installed in its slots. I did not glue that end frame together because I still have to fit the smaller upper panel in the hole above it. That panel is glued up now and I’ll trim it to size and install it tomorrow. I didn’t get the cabinet floor or divider done today. Too much time spent waiting for glue to tack up in the cold. Workshop closes: 5:00 PM Working on a special project for the City of Newport – I’m doing a fancy graphical map for their Christmas In The City event this weekend. Work day ends: 9:45 PM

Friday, December 2

Work day begins: 4:00 AM Perform the monthly web site updates, handle e-mail, process an order. Shop Opens: 7:30 AM This morning I will continue cutting grooves for panels in the rails and stiles and doing the fussy-fitting. I’ll also mill & install floor supports, mill & install inner drawer rail, mill & install the top spreader. This is all done, the new parts are glued in place and clamped. I can still take the ends of the casework apart to insert the stiffeners and fill panels once they’re built. Time for lunch. Then I’ll have to dig out the materials I’ll need to start making panels. Click MeHere we have the frame all assembled (mostly without glue) and the stiffener panels in place. These panels are used behind the false drawer fronts because this unit presents a special challenge. In order to keep the unit as small as possible, yet have as large as possible of doors, the rails are thinner than I would normally make them. This means the mortise & tenon joints are narrower as well. Since this island will be used as a cutting block and work surface, it’s going to get leaned on quite a bit. To keep the frame works as rigid as possible, I installed these BBP stiffener panels into tightly fitting groves. They work as bracing to back-up the joints. Workshop closes: 4:30 PM We’re going to a Christmas party in Newport tonight, so I have to get cleaned up and dig out some clean overalls. (grin) Work day ends: 5:15 PM

Thursday, December 1

Work day begins: 7:00 AM This morning I started the month-end books, but will have to leave soon to make a run into Newport to take care of some errands. I’ll finish the month end books when I get back. Shop Opens: 12:00 AM I have a few hours to work in the shop this afternoon, but will have to quit early to get cleaned up and be back in Newport by 5:00. Marie and I have a couple of appointments to keep this evening. Click Me This afternoon I cut the half-lap joints where the center stile (vertical) crosses the drawer rails and milled the grooves where stiffener panels will be inserted behind false drawer fronts. Then I engaged in what I call fuss-budget fitting. This means carefully checking each joint for proper fit and making sure the grooves end in nice square corners – no bumps or lumps to cause problems later and making sure all joint fit properly. If a joint is too loose, then the glue will not hold – for glue (except epoxy) has no structural strength if it’s own. To get a well glued joint, the wood must be in firm contact so the glue will bond it. If a tenon wiggles in its mortise at all, the joint will fail and weaken the case. If a joint is too tight, then once glue is applied and the wood swells up a tad, it won’t go together. The tenon may seize up half-way into the mortise. Attempting to force a seized joint together with a mallet or clamps can cause other parts to break. A nice snug fit: not too tight but with no wiggle to it, when dry will produce a very strong joint once it’s glued. Workshop closes: 4:00 PM Time to get cleaned up, change into warmer clothes as I will be spending most of the evening outdoors and head back to Newport. Post notes. Work day ends: 4:15 PM