Friday, September 29


Yesterday and today were spent making and installing the face frames. These are a little trickier than most because the bookshelf is made to split in half vertically so they are easier to transport and work with. At 9 feet tall, they would be a hand full in one piece. There have been many distractions over the past two days. Normally I don’t take the cordless telephone out to the shop with me because of all the silly calls we get – telemarketers mostly – and the time it takes to deal with them without getting rude. But we are in the middle of negotiating a deal that will definitely improve our lives and amount of work I get done in a weeks time. And to do that, I have to be able to accept the calls when they come in. So I’ve gotten only about half a day’s work done each day. But, we’re getting down to the line, so hopefully that will not be a problem much longer. Hope you have a great weekend. See you Monday! Doug

Tuesday, September 26


I got a good full day in with few distractions – for a change. Among the things I got accomplished today were: 1) Trim the case panels to exact length and square 2) Drill the pocket screw holes 3) Route the rabbets on the upper and lower ends of the sides 4) Cut the dados that the shelf standards will fit into 5) Glue and assemble the two cases for the right side bookcase. Just for grins I went ahead and stacked the upper case on top of the lower case, stood back and took it in. For some reason all I could think was, “Golly, that’s a big thing!” Tomorrow Marie and I head for Ashville NC, so no work will get done. But I’ll be back in here Thursday and Friday to make the parts for and install the face frame and stiffeners. Next week we’ll make up the shelves and get ready to do some finishing. See you Thurdsay! Doug

Thursday, September 21


I got a late start in the woodshop today. This morning I found an order for 6 of Georgia’s hand painted saw blades on the Treasures computer. It was Georgia who passed away last Sunday. So I had to call the Treasures gallery this morning and have Lynn, the shopkeeper du jour, search out the blades and set them aside. Sounds simple enough, but it’s more like a scavenger hunt run via telephone; I describe the blades using pictures I printed off the TOA web site, and he wanders around the gallery looking for the blades that match my description. It took a while but they are pulled and set aside. Since Marie has our truck today I have no way to get to Cosby to reteive these items for shipping, but as it happens, Lynn will be picking up a prescription at the same store Marie will be doing her weekly grocery shopping this evening, so they will hook up and hand off the blades. I am shopkeeper of the day tomorrow, so I’ll pack them up this evening and ship them on my way to Cosby in the morning. But for today, I’m doing the finish sanding on Chris’s TV Tray Table Set. If I get done in time, I’ll go ahead and clean up the shop and shoot them with lacquer this evening. * * * * * I got the tables lacquered, and it dried in time for me to skim coat the tray tops with tung oil polyurethane to protect them better against spills. The poly needs to set up for at least 8 hours, so I’ll get these packed up this weekend and be ready to ship out on Monday. I’m in Treasures tomorrow and S.M.W. is closed (officially anyway) over the weekend, so I’ll see you on Monday. Have a great weekend! Doug


Today was a bit of an abbreviated day, for a dear friend passed away this past weekend and her funeral is this evening. So I had to close down early and get cleaned up. Most of the day was spent doing the final assembly on Chris’s TV Tray Table set, plugging the screw holes and sanding everything to 100 grit. This completes the construction phase of this project. Normally at this point we’d be asking for another payment on the order but, since Chris chose to pre-pay his order in full, there is no need; we’ll forge ahead without delay. In the afternoon I planed down all the glued-up panels I’ve been making for Dr. C’s bookcases and trimmed them to precise width. I have been taking pictures of both projects but have not had the time to format them and write up the accompanying articles. Maybe I can get caught up with that this weekend. Time has been short the past few weeks because we’re working on a deal that – if we can obtain financing – will allow me to move my workshop into a space that is not only 4 times as large, but insulated, heated and COOLED! I will finally have a dedicated finishing room, a separate office space and a workspace that OSHA wouldn’t flat out turn down as suitable for human inhabitation. That would mean that Marie could hire me an assistant and we could get production going along at a faster pace. That would make everyone happier. If we an make it happen. Wish us luck. See you tomorrow! Doug

Tuesday, September 19


Today I spent the entire day working on Chris's tray tables. All of the sub-assemblies are done now. Tomorrow the sub-assemblies become a set of tray tables. Once these are out of the shop I'll get back to work on Dr C's book cases. The panels I need for one case are done, so I can begin milling and assembling the first case. Till tomorrow, Doug

Friday, September 15


Fall seems to have arrive a bit early, it got down in the 50’s last night and so it was a bit chilly at the start today. But the concrete walls of my workshop held yesterday’s heat and it was quite pleasant in there, I just kept all the doors closed until mid morning when it warmed up. Today I worked some more on Dr. Calvin’s book cases. I jointed up the last of the side panels and milled the parts for the 4 case top/bottoms needed for the right hand case. The right bookcase is a slightly different size from the left one, so while the side panels can all be milled at once, the tops, bottoms and shelves must be made separately. I got two of the T/B panels jointed, glued and clamped and worked on Chris’s tables when glue was drying. We’re the shopkeepers in Treasures tomorrow, so I’ll see you Monday. See you tomorrow! Doug

Thursday, September 14

Wed & Thurs

I didn’t get a chance to log on yesterday, but today and yesterday have been spent roughing out parts for Chris’s tables and jointing and gluing up side panels for Dr. Calvin’s book cases. There’s not much to watch just yet. See you tomorrow! Doug

Wed & Thurs

I didn’t get a chance to log on yesterday, but today and yesterday have been spent roughing out parts for Chris’s tables and jointing and gluing up side panels for Dr. Calvin’s book cases. There’s not much to watch just yet. See you tomorrow! Doug

Tuesday, September 12

Getting Ready

This morning I pulled 130 board feet of red oak off the pile and moved it inside the shop to acclimate. The hardware has been ordered, so all I need to do before starting construction is to complete the measured design drawing. I’ll work on that this afternoon and get started on Dr. Calvin’s new bookcases and desk tomorrow morning. I’m also getting started on a pair of Classic Tray Tables in white oak for Chris. Dr. C’s book cases will involve lots of gluing up of panels, so while his glue is drying I can work on Chris’s tables and stand. The gal who ordered the 9 Drawer DVD Cabinet will be moving into a new home soon and asked that we delay building the cabinet until she was ready to receive it at the new house. So I flip-flopped her order for Dr Calvin’s, as there are some extenuating circumstances there that require some urgency. While I was working in the lumber yard, I took the opportunity to get the hickory, excess white oak, maple and walnut, left over from recent projects out of the workshop and back on the lumber stacks. That makes quite a difference in the amount of work space I have. During the late afternoon and after supper I made up the two ribbon panels I need for Chris’s tray tables. They’re in clamps for the night. I’m going to update the Classic TV Tray journal with this project: we’ve changed a lot of things since I did that one. Thanks for looking in! Doug

Monday, September 11

Day 9 – Shipping day

I spent a couple of hours this morning doing the final bits on Brenda’s tray tables and getting them packed up, ready to ship out. These final bits include checking the legs to see that they sit level on a flat surface, smoothing the final coat of finish and polishing the set with orange oil prior to packaging. Packaging used up 2 36”x24”x12” shipping cartons (which we have custom made to fit out Classic TV Tray sets), a full 4’x8’ sheet of ¾” Styrofoam, about 4’ of bubble wrap, 6 square feet of crate board and an undetermined amount of stretch wrap, boxing tape, shredded paper, and crumpled newspaper. But, unless someone runs over them with a truck, these tables *will* arrive undamaged. So it’s worth the extra trouble. The shipment has been weighed and processed, labels printed, and Brenda has been notified of the cost. As soon as I get approval to bill her card, the boxes will go out on the dock to wait for Willis, our UPS driver who usually comes through at mid-afternoon. On another front, the crate containing Paula’s sewing cabinet is still sitting in the shop waiting for the 10 day period needed when payment is made by personal check. That will elapse on Wednesday. But, the weather forecast is for increasing chances of rain as the week progresses; 70% by Wednesday. So I think I’ll disobey the rules and take the crate over to White Pine this evening when Marie gets back with the truck. We probably ought to get set up to process checks electronically instead of depositing them and waiting. But we get so few personal checks that the added expense doesn’t seem worth while. So, the rest of the day will be spent cleaning up the mess in the shop and getting ready for our next project. Maybe I’ll do some mowing before the rain starts again. Full details are available in the journal for this project. Thanks for following along! Doug

Thursday, September 7

Day 8 – HD Tray Tables

I got the trays lacquered and reassembled. Have to let the finish set up good and hard, then I’ll scuff sand the tray tops and apply the poly skim coat tomorrow. Full details are available in the journal for this project. Doug

Wednesday, September 6

Day 7b – HD Tray Tables

Some things came up that required my attention last night, so I didn’t get the second round of sanding done then, but I accomplished it this morning, cleaned the shop thoroughly, vacuumed the table parts and applied the stain. It went well. The color is even and matches our Oak Mantel color sample board well. Now we have to let the stain cure overnight. I should be able to get them lacquered tomorrow. Full details are available in the journal for this project. Doug

Tuesday, September 5

Day 7 – HD Tray Tables

I fixed the payment gateway late last night, and Brenda successfully submitted her payment this morning. I spent most of the morning out fetching firewood in the rain with Tommy – who had just cut down several poplar trees for a fellow out by Del Rio and offered to let me have the wood if I’d help him clean it up and haul it off – I need to change out of these muddy clothes so I don’t pollute the surface of Brenda’s pretty tray tables as I sand them, then I’ll get back out to the workshop. I spent the afternoon plugging screw holes and sanding the tables and stand. Got the first round done before Marie said it was time to stop for supper. I’ll go back afterward. I hope to get all the sanding done tonight so I can get the stain on tomorrow… but my shoulders are aching already. We’ll see… Full details are available in the journal for this project. Doug

Day 6 – HD Tray Tables

I’m a bit tardy in posting this update. Yesterday we completed the construction phase of this project by making the parts for the stand and assembling them. The second payment has been requested and Brenda has attempted to comply. But our web site was being a bit balky last night. I managed to track down the problem and get it to run a test transaction, so it should be working again. No one else complained about not being able to make a payment or purchase, so I don’t know for sure how long it has been broken. This was a fairly short day in the workshop, so I used the extra time to update the pricing on the HD Tray Tables on the web site using actual figures from building this set. See, in the past we’ve always estimated the amount of labor we put into things – kind of like an auto mechanic does, figuring what we think it should take based on other jobs. But recently we’ve been time clocking each project to determine exactly how much labor is actually being put into our projects, and where we might be able to streamline things with new equipment. For example, by purchasing a Performax Drum Sander for $1200 we could assemble the ribbon panels needed for this project all at one time and smooth them with the drum sander instead of the planer. This would eliminate chip-out – which is a problem in some species of wood – and reduce labor by at least an hour. Is a $25 savings to the customer worth a $1200 expense to us? It may be if these table sets continue to sell as briskly as they do. Recently we’ve had quite a few inquiries from people wanting to know if the posted price was for one table or the set. We thought that was pretty clear, but since these do generally sell in sets of four, we went ahead and re-did the listing for the HD Tables so they sell as a set of four tables with stand and are priced accordingly. I’ll do the same for the Classic Tables as soon as I have the spare time. The database that drives all the options offered on these things is extensive and it takes hours to make this sort of change to a listing. Full details of todays workshop activities are available in the journal for this project. Since we’re on hold this morning I think I'll go lay in some firewood. They're predicting a very cold winter this year, so I'd best get a head start on it. Doug (PS I've tried repeatedly to add a picture to this post for you, but Blogger is being balky this morning. It says the picture was uploaded and added, but it doesn't show up. It's time to get on to other things now.)

Friday, September 1

Day 5 – HD Tray Tables

This was one of those really gratifying days when tons of visual progress gets made. It’s like that in furniture making; you can spends days and days making parts, then in a single day all those parts come together into something people can actually relate to. Today a pile of odd wooden pieces became a set of tray tables. Full details are available in the journal for this project. See you Monday. Doug