Wednesday, April 30

Today I hopped back over to Warren’s Nanny Rocker in order to get it crated up and ready for shipment. That took all day, but went very well.

CLICK HERE to view all the details of today’s Nanny Rocker activity.

CLICK HERE for details on purchasing a Nanny Rocker of your own.


Monday, April 28

We start the week by completing and installing the rails that run around the edges of these TV Tray Tables. These rails are one of the things that set our tray tables apart from the mass produced TV Tables that are available, they help to keep things from sliding off the tray as you carry it, or from rolling off if you are using it as a work table.

Click Here for the details...

I had planned on getting the legs started this afetrnoon, but ended up needing to do some web site repair. Kathleen called to ask about having a set of these tray tables made for her in cherry and walnut, but she was having trouble understanding the pricing on the web site. When I went in to look I found the price for cherry has been twiddled with by some internet gremlin. I reset the price and that brought the cost of Kathleens tables back down to where they should be.

Durned ol' gremlins!

You may Click Here to get details and pricing information for this product.

Tomorrow Marie and I are celebrating a major wedding anniversary. I will be making a run to Morristown to get crate board for Warren's nanny rocker early in the morning, but then we will be heading out to celebrate for the day. So I'll be back on Wednesday.


Friday, April 25

Friday was consumed in making the full tray panel inserts for Thomas’ TV Tray Tables. This consists of smoothing and jointing the half panels we made yesterday into full panels and attaching the backer panels.

Read the details …

Or you may Click Here to get details and pricing information for this product.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, April 24

We spent this fine sunny Thursday assembling the half panels for Thomas’ walnut TV Tray Tables. This is done by jointing many ribbon strips of solid hardwood into thin panels.

Or you may Click Here to get details and pricing information for this product.

See you tomorrow!


Wednesday, April 23

As we begin making the parts for Thomas’ tables, we start by cutting the rough lumber chunks prepared yesterday into slightly oversized blanks from which the finished parts will be made.

Read more…

Or you may Click Here to get details and pricing information for this product.


Tuesday, April 22

Today we begin a new project. This time we’re building a pair of our Classic TV Tray Tables for Thomas of Sugar Land Texas. Click Here to go to this adventure in woodworking’s index page, or you may Click Here to get details and pricing information for this product. Hope you enjoy following along as we build this project. Doug
Here is an update to recent activities. Warren’s Nanny Rocker is done and we are awaiting the end of the month, after which we are supposed to ship the rocker to his daughter; they are away from home right now. The cutting boards are done and will be shipped out today. To view recent activities on that project use the links in the previous message. I am about to start on Thomas’s order for walnut Tray Tables. Most of our Daily Shop Notes activity has been moved In-House. I will provide links to those postings when new projects begin. The reasons for this change are discussed on the Mountain Man Wannabe blog. You may Click Here to go read that.

Friday, April 18

Today we’ll be working on Step 4 for Charlotte’s Over the Sink Cutting Board and Step 5 on John’s board, which is making the hole through the board for disposal of scraps. Click those links to view the details, or Click Here to start the story at the beginning.
Hope you have a great weekend! Doug

Thursday, April 17

This morning I attached the loop hangers to Philip’s Wall Hung Bottle Stopper Rack and packaged it for shipment. It will go out on today’s UPS truck. Today we’ll be working on Step 3 and Step 4 of our Over the Sink Cutting Boards. Step 3 is gluing the strips we cut yesterday into a board blank, Step 4 is surface planing the halves of each blank to smooth them and bring them to finished thickness and gluing the halves together into a full board, which we then trim to finished size and shape. Click those links to view the details, or Click Here to start the story at the beginning. Because I'm working on two boards for two orders, they are each in a slightly different stage of construction. Blogger is crashing when I try to post photos again so, please go to the web pages to see them. Sorry... it just does this sometimes. See you tomorrow! Doug

Wednesday, April 16

Karen’s two tier bottle stopper rack got packaged up and shipped today.

Phillip’s oak Wall Hung Stopper Rack got finish sanded and lacquered. In the morning I’ll attach the loop hangers and package it up for shipment.

The rest of the day was spent working on the two Over Sink Cutting Boards. Today I milled out the strips of maple that will become two cutting boards.

CLICK HERE to view the full details of this days cutting board activities.

See you tomorrow!


Tuesday, April 15

Today I didn’t do anything with Warren’s Nanny Rocker except to move it out of the finishing room and onto a table in the assembly room. The rocker itself is done, I’m just waiting on the bedding. We’re waiting for the mattress Marie ordered to arrive so she can make the fitted sheet and mattress pad.

I completed Karen’s two tier bottle stopper rack by installing the wooden pegs. Once they were all in I sanded the whole rack and shot it with two good coats of semi-gloss lacquer, scuffed between coats. This photo was taken right after scuffing. This order is now done and ready to be packed up and shipped once the lacquer hardens well and the silicone “feet” are applied. I’ve found that the feet tend to fall off in shipping if I apply them too soon. It appears that solvents evaporating out of the lacquer even after it’s dry to the touch soften the adhesive backing on the feet and cause them to come loose. By giving it a few hours extra the problem is completely averted.

I also milled out and assembled the parts for Phillip’s oak Wall Hung Stopper Rack and it is currently in clamps for the night. I’ll sand and finish it tomorrow.
To finish out the afternoon I surface planed the maple I will be needing for the two Over Sink Cutting Boards that are next on the agenda.

See you tomorrow!


Monday, April 14


Most of the day was spent lacquering the Nanny Rocker for Warren’s daughter. CLICK HERE to view all the details of today’s Nanny Rocker activity.

While waiting for each coat of lacquer to dry I used the time to mill out the parts for and assemble Karen’s two tier bottle stopper rack . Once the glue sets up good and hard I’ll lay-out and drill the holes for the wooden pegs that add a decorative touch as well as reinforcing the joints. There are no nails or screws in this piece. That will get done tomorrow.

Catherine’s bag handles were packaged up this morning and have been turned over to Willis, our UPS driver. They’re going to California, so they’ll take a few days to make the trip.

Hope you had a very pleasant day,


Thursday, April 10

Finish Sanding

Thursday was a much more reasonable day. In the morning I took care of Catherine’s bag handle order. She ordered 4 pair of handles from On Hand stock. Being On Hand means that the handles have been milled out and are complete except for the finishing. We do this so that our customers may order the finish of their choice. How long it takes to complete and ship a bag handle order depends on how many pair are ordered and which finish is selected. CLICK HERE to view our discussion of available finishes.

In brief, finishes like shellac and lacquer dry very quickly and finishing a dozen or so handles can be done in an hour or two. Oil based finishes, including polyurethane, require at least 8 hours of cure time between coats – more if the weather is hot or humid. Lots more if it is both.

The higher the gloss desired, the more times we have to sand them with ever finer grits of sandpaper before we apply the finish. Sanding a pair of handles 4 times takes twice as much time as sanding them twice. And we have to sand again between each coat of finish. So sanding can consume a lot of time.

These handles are getting a matte Antique Oil finish, se we sanded to 150 grit and will apply two coats of oil, scuff sanded with a very fine sanding sponge between coats. Here I have the first coat on and the handles are hanging on a special drying rack that prevents pressure marks in the finish as it cures. They will hang here until tomorrow morning when I will repeat the process. The second coat will not be cured before the UPS truck come through on Friday and UPS does not pick-up on Saturday so these will go out of here on Monday.

For the full story on how our Bag Handles are made, CLICK HERE

The afternoon session was spent finish sanding Warren’s Nanny Rocker.

CLICK HERE to view all the details of today’s Nanny Rocker activity.

CLICK HERE for details on purchasing a Nanny Rocker of your own.

Thanks for dropping in!

Final Assembly

Wednesday was a long and busy day. The greater portion of it was spent sanding the cradle parts of the Nanny Rocker and re-installing them, this time with glue as well as the screws, then plugging the screw holes and trimming and sanding them smooth. I also completed the rockers and installed them. That completes construction. Next up: finish sanding; time to bill Warren for the 3rd progress payment. I did not get to leave here until after 9:00 last night because of an influx of new orders and inquiries waiting in the In Box when I finished my woodworking and slipped back into the office to shut down for the day. Most were a response to the Economic Stimulus offer Marie sent to all current customers. It is gratifying to see such a response, and I expect we will see even more as people who don't check their e-mails as regularly, or are mulling the offer over a bit, get on board as well. To all of you who have placed orders, or will place an order; I thank you, Marie thanks you and our mortgage holder thanks you! CLICK HERE to view all the details of today’s activity. CLICK HERE for details on purchasing a Nanny Rocker of your own. Doug

Tuesday, April 8

Spindles & Finials

Today I installed spindles, made the finials for the shoulder posts and got started on sanding all of the parts above the base plate. CLICK HERE to view all the details of today's activity.
CLICK HERE for information about purchasing one of these Nanny Rockers.

Monday, April 7


We’re trying something new starting with this post. This blog will host a summary and one progress photo, and if you want to see the full step-by-step process for today, just CLICK HERE Today I completed and mounted the chair arms and upper back, and the cradle side rails, headboard parts and foot rail. The spindles are not in yet, this is just a dry fit to be sure this much fits together properly. Doug

Friday, April 4


This will be a short day in the woodshop because it’s Friday. We used to do our weekly bookkeeping chores every Monday morning, but that has been causing come scheduling problems so we’ve decided that I should prepare everything Friday afternoon then Marie can go over it, sign checks and do he bossly stuff over the weekend. So I’ll be cleaning up shop mid-afternoon.

Today I am preparing the Nanny Rockers posts for installation. But first I must mount the base plate on the base assembly that was completed yesterday.

Two pieces of prep work must be done before installing the plate. Because the base plate is a solid chunk of natural wood, not plywood or particle board, it will need to expand and contract with atmospheric humidity. Not a lot; it’s not very wide so the movement will be minimal, but it will move a little. And since there are fasteners around the outer edges, if the wood contracts but can’t draw in, the wood will split. Pocket screws come up from the inside faces of the aprons and into the base plate to hold the base plate securely against the aprons to prevent the plate from curling. To allow some movement at the edges of the plate I wallow out the round holes where the pocket screws emerge in the top edge of the aprons turning them into ovals or small slots. The screws themselves will remain stationary, but can now flex a bit because of the extra room around their shanks.

The dowel rods that join the upper and lower sections of the corner posts also need some attention. It has been pretty wet lately; raining on and off almost every day this week, so the plate should be pretty much at it maximum width. To allow for contraction around the dowels that pass through the plate I cut and sand away some of the material that will be inside the plate removing it only from the outside faces of the dowels. The plate still presses firmly against the inside faces so the plate does not move about at all, but now it can shrink up about 3/16” of an inch before it snugs up against the outside edges of the dowels. That should be enough for a 17” wide board that has air dried for two years. It will be just the seasonal movement we need to be concerned with.

Once the base plate is in place I move on to other tasks.

Namely fitting the posts. On the far left is the chair portion of the Nanny Rocker, the tall posts are the back supports, the short ones in front support the arms. The short posts on the right are the cradle headboard posts. Because I’ve made modifications to the design to accommodate a different mattress I take careful measurements between the posts after they are in place to determine the precise lengths needed for head hoard and it’s lower rail, upper and lower side rails, and the lower rail under the inside chair arm.

Armed with this information I can confidently mill out the stock needed for those parts as well as the arms and the upper back piece. As usual, these were milled from 4/4 rough sawn lumber. By the time I needed to quit I managed to get all the needed parts blanks planed to thickness and trimmed to finished width and length. Next week I’ll cut them to shape and install them.

I hope you have a great weekend, see you on Monday.


Thursday, April 3

Spreaders & Stretcher

Today I cut the dadoes in the spreaders that house the ends of the stretcher and mounted this assembly to the Nanny Rocker’s base.

The dadoes were made by carefully nibbling away the waste material with a standard A.T.B.R. saw blade. This stands for Alternate Top Bevel with Raker and means that in each grouping of teeth the blade will have at least one tooth with a left hand bevel ( \ ), one with a right hand bevel ( / ) and one with a flat top, or ‘raker’. Most saw blades are standard A.T.B. blades having just the left and right hand beveled teeth which slice through hard wood efficiently, making it especially good at cutting through a piece of wood leaving nice clean edges but it leaves a small triangular ridge down the center of each saw kerf on partial thickness cuts. The raker on the A.T.B.R. blade comes along and cleans up that ridge leaving a nice flat bottomed kerf, thus making it especially useful for flat bottomed grooves or “nibbling” out a dado like this.

Since the dado is centered, I measured the required distance from each end of the spreader and made mu first cut, flipped the piece around and made an identical cut on the other end, then set the fence stop back 1/8” and repeated. This was I make half as many fence adjustments. This A.T.B.R. is a thin kerf blade, 3/32 thick, so making 1/8” cuts left thin fins between each cut, I’ll use a chisel to clean out the fins, they just snap off with no trouble at all.

Then I glue the stretcher/spreaders together and position it on the rockers legs. I’ll let the glue set up for a bit before I do any more with this. When set I’ll remove it for sanding and routing over critical edges.

In the mean time, I round-over the edges of the posts. This is another modification, the plan doesn’t call for this, but I have never liked the look or feel of square edges. And this is especially important to me where the cradle’s corner posts are concerned. For safety’s sake I want as much as possible as “soft” as possible in this area.

When the glue is set up I route the legs and stretchers. Where parts join together I must route those parts together so I don’t end up with goofy looking joints. Where they meet must remain square and the round-overs flow around the corners. To get into the tight spots I have to remove parts and route them individually. All this takes a while.

When it’s all done I take the unit apart yet again, one leg post at a time, and re-assemble it with glue and screws. I use clamps to make sure the parts align perfectly as I tighten the screws, then plug the screw holes.

A little time spent cleaning up and putting away my toys and I’m ready to head home for some supper.

Check in again tomorrow,


Wednesday, April 2


One of the changes I’m making to the design we’re working from is to use wood screws to fasten major components together rather than pinning them together with dowels. So I spent the early part of the day laying out and drilling the pilot holes and countersink holes for the screws that will fasten the post stock I milled out yesterday to their mating parts. Once the screws are all in place and I’m sure everything fits like it should I’ll take it all apart again and reassemble it with glue, then plug the screw holes with wooden bungs sanded smooth to the surface.

Next I mill out the rough stock set aside for leg braces, stringer and aprons. When this is done I lay out and drill the pilot holes in the aprons that will accept screws through the legs.

I finish out the day by assembling legs and aprons – screws only. The rockers are just sitting in place to see that they will fit as they should, no attachments have been made there yet. This assembly forms the support structure undeath the rocker/cradle and will be subjected to quite a bit of racking forces as the piece of furniture is used. I believe the screws will help quite a bit to resist the losening up that can occur over time.
Marie has located a suitable mattress. The plans call for a 13" x 28" bassinette mattress available from Sears, but Sears does not seem to offer such a critter. We found one that is 13" x 29" at JC Penny's and ordered that. I'll need to lengthen the plan by 1 onch to accomodate the mattress, which means re-making some of the parts, inlcuding the base plate. Ouch. We were going to simply make a matteress to fit, but in reviewing the crib & cradle safety standards we found that a vinyl covered mattress, fitted with a removable quilted pad to prevent suffocation, is mandated. Marie doesn't like working with vinyl, so we decided that ordering a commercially made mattress that is certified as compliant with safety regulations would be the best way to go. We also found some delightful fabric from which the quilt, sheet and bumper pads will be made. Marie is working on that now.

That's enough for today, see you tomorrow.