Welcome to my shop

30 09 2010

I’m a part time hobbiest woodworker who believes that quality and style are the most important factors of being a woodworker. My interest in woodworking started in one semester of high school wood shop when I was a sophomore. The interest lay dormant for over 20 years until I thought “I could make something like that a lot better and cheaper” when my wife and I were looking at furniture. My first projects were small items like step stools and towel racks, and a wall mounted cabinet. Over the years my projects have gotten more substantial in both functionality and design.

Personally I prefer designs that are simple and functional. Frame and panel sides, arts and crafts, and Greene & Greene styles are what I like to build. Generally I end up building custom designed pieces. I may use plans as a starting point however they never seem to be exactly what I want. So plans get modified to some extent. I also design pieces using a photograph and overall dimensions as a starting point. In some cases design takes as much time as actually building the piece.

I mainly work with lumber that’s readily available in south central Kansas. The vast majority of pieces I’ve made for the home and family are in red oak and walnut. I’ve also worked with maple, poplar, and alder (which is a softwood similar to poplar). I currently have a good supply of walnut on hand waiting for projects. I can readily get oak and other species of lumber from my local supplier.

Finishing can make or break the project. I like to use water based stain or mix pigment with the first wash coat of shellac. I’ve also used Watco finishes, application is easy and they look good under a top coat. Shellac is currently my favorite finish to use for pieces that aren’t subject to water. It’s easy to use, mistakes can be corrected, and it dries quickly. For areas that are subject to water polyutheane seems to be a good choice. I’ve also used lacquer on my built in wall unit downstairs. Varnish is not a favorite of mine currently, it takes a long time to dry and dust free finish room is almost required in order to do a good job.

Milk paint is my favorite for small craft pieces or when a rustic country look is desired. It comes in a variety of colors. Putting coats of different colors on a piece and sanding them down on edges produces an instant aged or weathered effect that adds to a folky style.

Below are pictures of some of the pieces I’ve made. I’d be glad to talk to you about creating a piece of furniture for you that will last for generations. You won’t be disappointed with a custom piece that was built just for you.