Friday, May 30

Long Rails

Today I got started on forming up the long rails, now that they have all been glued up. Didn’t get them done because some of them are quite complex, and because today is Friday when I have to put on my Administrative Assistant hat. Besides that Marie and I have a standing agreement and obligation for Friday evenings, so I can’t work until 10:00 tonight. I’ll be back in again bright and early tomorrow morning. Doug

Thursday, May 29

Short Rails

I started out the day by finishing off Step 5: the legs. Then I forged ahead to Step 6: making the short rails. Short rails are those parts that run front to back on the Garden Bench. No mortises here, just tenons. I did not get the article on this written up yet because while I was working on that Marie came over to walk me home, said it was time to call it a day. She’s the boss, what can I say!

During this day I also got the last three long rails glued up, the last one is in clamps now.

See you next time! Gotta go now...


Tuesday, May 27

Making Legs

Yesterday and today were spent getting a good start on making the 12 legs needed to make 3 benches. Details are HERE.

Gluing up of the arms short rails is complete, and I am working on sanding and gluing up the long rails as I am making the legs. More of the details will be added to the Step 5 page as I get it done.

I did run into a setback today: about ½ of the way through cutting the monster mortises in the legs my mortising chisel went up in smoke. I located one that will fit my machine and have ordered it, with expedited shipping, and hopefully it will arrive before I run out of time. While I’m waiting, I have other things I can be doing, so it’s not like we’re stalled out.


Monday, May 26

Band sawing my Legs

Today I came in early – about 5:00 AM to get a head start on things since Marie has some holiday plans for us this afternoon. Instead of sanding the long rails I decided to cut the front and rear legs to shape. This way I can be working on mortises & tenons in the end frames as I sand and glue up the long rail blanks. I think it will yield better use of the time. Today’s tasks included laying out the shape of the front and rear legs on the parts blanks then using the band saw to cut the legs out and the stationary sander to smooth away the saw marks and refine the shape. Other than taking a short lunch break, I worked straight through and got all 12 legs done – and twelve seat support blanks glued up – by 3:30. I took some photos of this process but have not written up the article, formatted the photos or posted the web page. I’ll do all that stuff tomorrow sometime, maybe during my lunch break. Today I needed to focus on just getting the days woodworking done so I’d have a little time for holiday fun with my sweetie. Tomorrow it’s back to regular work days for both of us. See you then, Doug

Saturday, May 24

Lamination lamentation

Today I continued working on laminating parts for James’ three Garden Bench’s.

I would glue up as many pieces as I have room and clamps for, then go back to sanding more sets and stacking them in the assembly room where I’m doing the glue-ups until the glue was set up enough to remove the clamps and do another round. I’ve got all the short parts sanded, on Monday I’ll sand the long-rails – that ought to be interesting!

See you then,

Friday, May 23

Conspicuous Consumption & New Toys

Throughout this week I have converted a serious pile of rough sawn white oak lumber into two tables full of stacked parts blanks for James’ three Garden Bench’s. This is a fair bit of work accomplished, but there is so much more yet to do, and our production deadline is now a week closer than we had been counting on. That means not only that we will be working longer days, and Saturdays, but will need to take some short-cuts in order to meet this revised deadline.

On a brighter note, we received a new piece of equipment today; a Performax 16-32 drum sander. This item has been on my wish list for some time, but this job, with the large amount of lamination work to be done was just the right incentive to pay out that investment capital.

The sander was scheduled to arrive yesterday (Wednesday), but the freight company in Knoxville messed up and it didn’t get it on the truck. When they called to tell me this and ask if delivering it on Thursday would be alright, I agreed but informed them that I had kept our pick-up truck that day to use in shuttling the crate from the hard road up to the workshop in case their truck was not able to turn into or get up our steep gravel driveway. I would not have the truck on Thursday. The dispatcher assured me they would get it delivered, even if the driver had to put it on a hand truck and wheel it in.

Apparently they thought better of that. When it arrived today, instead of being on a their 24 foot box truck that makes regular deliveries to this area, it was in a cargo van, all by its self. At 280 pounds we still had to cut the strapping holding the boxes to a pallet and off load them onto my dock individually, but at least he could get into the dock. All went well and the boxes are sitting in the shop awaiting unpacking and assembly.

Marie and I assembled and tuned the sander Thursday evening so that it would be ready to prep parts-pieces for lamination on Friday. It was after 10:30 PM when we were done, so I didn’t get this posted until Friday morning – I was too tired to type!

Friday will be spent surfacing the glue-joints of long rails and gluing the rail halves together. Almost every part for this piece of furniture is made up of two or three pieces of wood laminated together to form the thick timbers used in this heavy duty bench. Laminating all those parts will take a couple of weeks, but I will be cutting and assembling some parts as others are being laminated.

On Saturday I’ll put in an extra day and continue this process. Monday is supposed to be a holiday, but I’ll work that day as well because of the tight deadline we’re under. The Step 4 page of this project article will be re-posted as additions are made.

See you Monday!

Tuesday, May 20

Busy day today.
I started off by completing the work on the Garden Bench template set. I now have a full set of templates for this bench that contain all the information needed to build the bench. No picture or plan is required.

Then I took some time to package up William’s cherry tray tables using one of our custom made boxes, lined with Styrofoam and padded out with shredded paper. I ran the final payment on his account and a shipping label -- and this order is on its way. Hope you enjoy them William!

The late afternoon was spent selecting lumber and roughing out parts blanks for the benches. This process will take several days because I'm building three of these benches all at once. I will update the Step 3 page as we get things done, but this is enough for one day.


Monday, May 19

We are back from our NASCAR pilgrimage, rested and ready to return to work. This morning I scuff sanded William's tray table set and shot them with a second heavy coat of lacquer. While that dried I brought in the white oak I had set aside for use in making these three English Garden Benches for James.

It may be of some interest that the white oak we are using to build these benches came for the flooring of a century old barn that had to be torn down up in Parrottsville. This lumber formed the floor boards under the hay loft, so one side of these ancient boards is caked with decades of hay dust, the other has aged to an almost walnut brown color from never having seen the sun. Once the outer surfaces are planed off, they will be the color of white oak, but I find it interesting to know that lumber from a 100+ year old barn will soon be gracing the garden where James’ daughter will be getting married.

Once the lumber was all stacked inside the shop I looked over the templates for this project. The last time I made these benches, they were made about a foot shorter, so the templates for the long rails needed to be re-made and the lay-out for the back slat mortises redone.

My final task for the day was to apply the skim-coat of polyurethane to the tops of William's tables. That will cure overnight and they should be ready to be packaged up tomorrow.

More information about our templates is available HERE.


Wednesday, May 14

The morning session was spent sanding, lacquering and packaging one pair of bag handles for Caroline and one pair for Patsy. These will be going out in tomorrow mornings mail.

I spent the afternoon finish sanding, vacuuming and shooting the first coat of lacquer on William’s cherry tray tables and stand. I will not get the second coat on today as it is getting late and I have an appointment this evening.

The workshop will be closed tomorrow and Friday as Marie and I head off on our annual vacation. Da Girlz as well as Tim will be around, but they have their own things to look after.

See you Monday!

Tuesday, May 13

Construction of Williams set of 4 cherry TV Tray tables is complete. Finish sanding will begin tomorrow.

I spent a fair bit of the day today -- on and off as time permitted -- wrestling with problems resulting from people trying to use their Economic Stimulus Gift Certificates that were sent out last month to all active customers. Mostly the problems arose from inattentiveness and assuming things rather than reading the instructions. But they are all fixed now, and I've learned a new trick or two about this shopping cart software.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, May 12

Step 12: Packaging. The satin polyurethane cured out nicely and has set up good and hard over the weekend, so I packaged Thomas’ two tables and prepared the shipping label, they will go out of here with Willis this afternoon.

I got the rails glued and clamped to William's Cherry Tray Table set. Those will sit overnight before I do any more.

I also sanded two pair of bag handles one for Patsy one for Jennifer. And shot Jennifer’s with lacquer. Patsy’s have gone on hold as she works out an issue.

So much for Monday,

Friday, May 9

Step 11: Finishing For this order, Thomas specified the Satin Polyurethane finish rather than our standard lacquer & poly, so the discussion of the standard process in our construction article does not apply to this order. We apply polyurethane by hand with a rag. not with a sprayer as we do with lacquer.

I put the first coat of finish on yesterday evening, giving it all night to set up, and applied the second coat this afternoon. I’ll let this coat cure out all weekend then package them up for shipment on Monday.

Meanwhile, I have gotten started on William's Cherry Tray Table set. We get to take a fast track on this order because it just so happens that before Christmas I started a set of Cherry TV Tables with the intention of offering them as an On Hand item to last minute Christmas shoppers. But I got really busy with regular orders and had to set that project aside part way through. I'll complete that set to fill Williams order. It will go quickly because all the hard stuff is already done, they just need the final assembly and finishing.
Then we'll get started on a BIG order - 3 (count them, THREE) English Garden Benches in White Oak.
See you Monday!

Thursday, May 8

Step 10: Finish sanding. Nothing much to watch, a little commentary on sanding if you’re interested in that, otherwise I suggest to look in again tomorrow. We’re almost done! CLICK HERE to view all the details of today’s TV Tray activity. Or you may Click Here to get details and pricing information for these tray tables. Doug
Step 8: the making and installation of the leg mount blocks and latch assembly. Construction of these tables is now complete. Because this order does not include a stand (the buyer intends for them to be in full time use) we will now move on to the finishing stage.

CLICK HERE to view all the details of today’s TV Tray activity.

Or you may Click Here to get details and pricing information for these tray tables.


Wednesday, May 7

Step 7: the making and installation of the spreaders has been accomplished. This means that the leg sets are completed.

CLICK HERE to view all the details of today’s TV Tray activity.

Or you may Click Here to get details and pricing information for these tray tables.


Monday, May 5

With the table tops done it’s time to turn our attention to making the leg sets.

CLICK HERE to view all the details of today’s TV Tray activity.

Or you may Click Here to get details and pricing information for these tray tables.