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2020 was a very difficult year so I wanted to do something special for my family. I had ample time in my shop and plenty of lumber waiting to be re born into something new, exciting and long lasting.
My grandchildren Callie and Bennett are celebrating their second Christmas. For Callie I choose a time tested classic, a rocking horse. The body is made of rustic cherry, the legs and rockers are white ash. The mane and tail are maple. The saddle and stirrup straps are walnut and the eyes are a pine dowel embedded in the body with a rounded end of a peg colored steel blue. The rocker platform is also cherry and the rockers splay out at 5 degrees so tipping over right or left is almost impossible. Callie chose the the name Spirit for her new horse. good knows she has plenty of it!
For Bennett I decided to take the cool approach. Meghan’s family has a history of motorcycles so what better gift than a rocking motorcycle. For this project I used the following woods, pine, cherry, white ash, butternut, walnut, sapele veneer and maple. The wheels are baltic birch with a gunstock stain.
Both of these projects were a joy to build in Santa’s workshop!
For my daughter and daughter in law I chose to build identical toddler towers or what many people refer to as kitchen helpers. Sort of a cross between a step stool and a raised platform, it allows little ones to work with their mom and dads at counter level. The platform can be adjusted downward as they grow. These were made using solid cherry and a shellac finish. The look quite simple but each as 16 mortise and tenon joints. I hope they enjoy them over the next couple years.
For my wife I built a replica of a table I saw recently on line. It is called a 5 degree table and it intrigued me. The top and bottom of each leg are beveled at 5 degrees. The aprons are also cut at a five degree compound angle across both faces. The top is cherry with a strip of maple and has a 5 degree radius on each of the four sides. I used India ink to create high contrast between the base and table top. It has a lacquer finish. It will make a nice plant stand. Credit goes to the creator, Robb Helmkamp of South Carolina.
The other table is for my sister, the legs are made of cherry and tapper 5 degrees on each inside face. The top is curly maple with a stripe of wenge, a dark wood from Africa.
October 2020, just finished up a toy box for my grandson Benny. He will be one in a few weeks so it’s the perfect time to have one. I used a combination of oak plywood and solid oak. The top is solid oak with breadboard ends. I also used torsion hinges from Rockler that will keep him from getting his fingers smashed when opening and closing. 48″ long, 20″ high and 20″ deep. It also has a sliding box for small items.
July 2020. We upgraded our guest room to a new king size bed so it was the perfect opportunity to design and build a new headboard. Kathy and I decided to stay with our mission look and we are happy with the result. Solid cherry with clear water based finish. This project involved 56 individual mortise and tenon joints.
I built another headboard in the same design with a dark cherry finish. That now sits in our main bedroom.
June, 2020. Recently completed buffet for my son and his wife. Cherry, 38 W, 36 H and 22 D. Features inset doors and dovetail drawers. A movable shelf underneath the drawers.
Greene and Greene Style Chest
February, 2020. Here is a medium sized chest with some Greene and Greene influence. Solid sapele, lined with cedar and with a cherry finish. L 45, W 19, D 18
Greene and Greene Wall Sconce Completed
In June of 2019 Kathy and I traveled to Paoli Indiana to spend three days with Dale Barnard at his woodworking shop. Dale is recognized as one of the premier builders of furnishings in the Greene and Greene style. Our goal was to build two Greene and Greene style wall sconces that would eventually find a place in our home.
Kathy took on the leaded glass part while I tackled the wood part. Both involved three full days of very intricate and exacting work. At times I did not think we would finish but with Dale’s patience and direction we left Paoli with two beautiful pieces.
Below is the finished product along with a photo of us with us with Dale.
Greene and Greene Cabinet
In September, 2019 I completed work on a project I have wanted to do for some time. I built a Greene and Greene inspired cabinet based on a design by Dale Barnard, a craftsman from Paoli Indiana. Below is a picture of Dale’s cabinet.
It is based on a cabinet built by the Greene’s at the William R Thorsen House in Berkley California. Here is a picture of the Thorsen House original cabinet.
You can see how this cabinet would inspire many a craftsman to want to build something as beautiful and well designed as the Green’s work in the Thorsen House. Notice the leaded glass panels in the door.
Here are a few pictures of the cabinet I built. I used sapele, a wood from Africa that comes close to the appearance of genuine mahogany.
The cabinet itself was not to difficult but the door posed some challenges. The door itself is set in 1/4 inch from the frame and the mutins (vertical) and rail (horizontal) pieces are also each on a different plane, sightly offset from each other as shown below.
Here is the finished cabinet.
Finished cabinet with clear glass, the plans call for some stained glass but I’ve been to busy to do that. I hope to get to it this winter.
One unique feature is the removable finger joint piece that reveals a secret hiding space. It is held in place by magnets.
Wenge and Ash Console Table
Below is a console table constructed of wenge, a very dark African wood and white ash that I source locally. The table is 44″ L, 29″ H and 10″ D. The legs have a moderate taper on two sides and are joined to the aprons using mortise and tenon.