I hope that everyone had a good finish to the summer by spending quality time with the family over the long Labor Day weekend. My wife, Rita, and I went kayaking with friends on the Madison and Yellowstone Rivers here in Montana and we covered 17 miles between the two trips. Bald eagles and other wildlife were abundant and the scenery was – well it’s Montana so it was beautiful!
My apologies for not being very active this summer here at LJ and for the lack of providing real nutrition for the woodworker. Fortunately, I have been busy with work and I have only had time for an occasional comment. I often make most of my visits to LJ when I am in between coats of finish and I just need to clear out of the shop to let things dry.
I started the summer off with another Shaker inspired bench which I shipped to clients in New York. The bench reached the clients in great shape and they were very pleased with the quality and design of the piece. I was quite honored to find out that they have quite a collection of Stickley furniture, so my bench sits in good company:)
This was the bench that I used to make the video “Design Thoughts on a Shaker Inspired Bench.” I feel that there is much information out there on how to construct furniture, but not enough information covering the design and thought process. I hope to provide more of this type of information in the future.
Besides some home remodel and repair work I had an order for master bath cabinetry from some of my regular (and best) clients. They are made of curly maple. I have not even taken finish photos of these cabinets yet and I am not sure when I will make time to get some good shots to share with everyone.
I just wrapped up the staining and finishing of some french doors for these same clients. I took the opportunity to make a video about using toner to add color to a project. I hated to pass up the opportunity of using a real project to share some good information on using toner. I am sure that it will take a few days to get the video put together. So don’t hold your breathe – you might just pass out!
I also got a refinishing project for a local coffee shop. I have to strip and refinish 10 small tables. Half are 24”x24” and the other half are 30”x30”. The tables are in the Arts & Crafts style and are not terribly difficult to deal with. The color of the tables originally had a warm burgundy red to them and they have faded out to a golden oak. The coffee shop has two outside walls that are full length windows and the sunlight is a bit harsh on everything that it comes in constant contact with.
The tables were made by another local furniture maker that no longer makes furniture on a full time basis. They are made of quartersawn white oak and are well constructed. Refinishing the tables is cost effective and preserves the investment that they have made in these fine tables. You can see the before and after color in these photos.
I also added adjustable feet to the bottom of the tables. On various tables throughout the coffee shop you will find napkins used as shims to keep the tables from rocking.
The coffee shop will be missing two tables at a time as I take them out for refinishing. So I used some scrap poplar wood that had accumulated in the shop and made a table to fill in for the ones that I take out. The table is equal to two of the tables pulled together so they are not really losing any seating. I often find the customers pull two tables together for larger groups.
Here is my 10 hour poplar table. The wood is a bit soft for commercial applications such as a restaurant but the finish is holding up well. I used ML Campbell’s MagnaMax Satin. The stain color? Java! That is what I call it but it is actually brown Transtint dye covered with Sherwin William’s black walnut BAC wiping stain. This adequately covers the green tones that poplar can exhibit.
Finally, I have a review to do on some new tools that I got. I had to see what all the excitement was about so I got a set of Tommy McDonald's Major League Tools. This set includes a chisel mallet, a wicked sharp marking gauge, and some marking and chisel guide blocks. I have a project coming up next that I will get to use these on. (Note the lovely model.)
I will do a review and let you know what I think. My first impression is quite positive, but I will need to use them to form any real opinion here.
So Stay Tuned to the American Craftsman Workshop and until next time – Be safe in your own shop.
Peace, Love, and Woodworking
-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com