As “Norm” used to say- “We’re gaining on it now.”
Time for the first dry fit to make sure all the mortice and tenons fit together.
Had to futz with a few of the tenons but overall everything went together nicely. You can see why I’m limited to the size of my projects. This is the only assembly space available- add clamps around a piece and things really get tight.
There were still a few more things left to do with the apron and shelf supports. I wanted to carry the chamfer detail along the bottom of each piece. Router table took care of that.
The shelves need to be secured to the frame. I decided to use wooden “clips” and a dado in the stretchers
The “clips” are cut from an “L” shaped piece of poplar
I made a long blank for the clips and then just cut off about 1 ½” piece. I drilled an oversized screw hole through the thicker section (oversized to allow for expansion/contraction). The thinner part slips into the dado on the back of the stretchers and screws thread into the underside of the shelf.
The astute observer will notice the mistake in the pictured blank. The wood grain is running parallel to the blank length. The little tabs (fitted into the dados) will snap off as soon as any pressure is applied. Not sure where my mind was when I cut this, anyway, I made new ones with the grain running perpendicular to the blank length (just forgot to take a picture).
The final bit of frame construction was to create a way to mount the butcher block top. The frame (with 2 shelves) will weigh in at close to 100 pounds. If the completed table is moved, lifting it by the top, quite a bit of stress will be applied to the connection between the top and frame. It took me a while to come up with an idea that solved the problem.
I added three cross supports that were dovetailed into the side aprons.
The dovetailed supports were let into the apron using blind dovetail techniques. I used a trim router to hog out the majority of the materials.
Then I chiseled out the remaining material.
The dovetail shape, in addition to glue and screws at each dovetail location, will provide enough support to keep the top from breaking free of the frame.
Finally, l drilled oversized holes thru the cross supports to receive 1/4" lag bolts to connect the frame to the top.
Now to tear it all apart to work on the shelves!
I had enough time working at the fire dept to draw a small pension when I turned 55. Being 41 at that time something kept telling me to go and do something else with the rest of my life...
My wife was an RN but not working so she could raise the kids so I knew she could go back to work if my ventures went bad.
I want to build a nice,big go-cart track. WHAT, say that again. There aren't any go-cart tracks around here, how do you know you could make any money was my kids questions and answers, except for my boy, it was OH BOY.
Working for the city fire dept was , back then, a very low paying job but because of the hours worked, 24 on and 24 off let one if he wanted to, have a part time job, which I had, so actually I wasn't going out in to the world cold turkey so to speak. My part time job was selling Mac Tools out of a step van...This was also a fun job for I knew my products and enjoyed being around people who used hand tools....
Pictures of the track I might not can find for back then pictures wasn't a concern. The track and buildings took three years to build. The only professionals I used was to pour the cement and smooth it on the track its self. I put up all the forms. I poured and smoothed all the sidewalks Building the buildings and everything on the property was a new experience to me so I would go to the library and check out all the books I could find for what was coming up in the next few days of work.... I put in the septic system, did all the plumbing, electrical and all the sidewalks but I did trade out wiring the overhead lights over the track on the tall poles which I put in, I traded go- cart tickets for two guys labor for the track lights. This was before I decided to get the know how books from the library. The land was almost 2 miles past the city limits so I needed no permits except for the septic system. I called the inspectors before I started and they said come get some instructions and go from there.
After I closed the track at 11 each night I would closed the gates and leave the lights on so I could go into the area where I was planning to put the golf course and using strings and 2x4's I would lay out some thoughts on the ground then the next few days think over why was that good or what problems I would have with each hole . Most all my holes were multi holes. The only time we worked on the golf course during the day was on Mondays when the track was closed. The first 8 years the track was open 7 days a week. And most all those years I was plotting a golf course..
I realized right quick having a bunch of high school boys working for you was not good without some supervision for they would let their buddies kill each other on the track if I would have let them.
I added lots of things a normal mini golf would not have. Like in this pond in the picture. You can see a green on the other side. You putt in to a hole and then the ball goes down in to a cave which was under the waterfall to finish putting in the cup under the falls then come out from under the waterfall on this side of the pond.. I had added a 4x4 foot hole so they could see the waterfall from the inside the cave. Something I didn't plan on. On windy days the wind would blow water through the hole onto the carpet and get it dirty. So I installed some plexiglas over the hole and that solved that, just a little extra work. Number 3 green you laid down your putter and picked up a chipping iron and had to chip over a river to get to the hole. I built rivers and waterfalls everywhere. People would tell me there were more trees and flowers on our four acres than all of Odessa combined. So I went and looked myself and sure nuff, There are four trees in Odessa. kinda.
My sweet wife drove the tool truck for a couple years while I was building the golf course. She was better at sales than I and especially she could make those guys pay their bills where I would let them slide for a while. She said some would go in to the bathroom to wait until she had gone to come out again. She would knock on the door and say I am not leaving until I get some money.
It took me 8 years to finish the golf course and about 6 years was changing my lay out of each nightly chore all the while doing lots of what if's. I had to replace a bunch of 2x4's making some of the greens cause they had rotted from ground contact. We had some remote control boats on a big pond with lots of shrubbery and women really bragged about the beauty we had created. Beauty yes but at a lot of extra labor. We finally got to putting name plates on most of the stuff because people could see things in the nursery and our stuff had grown larger with more flowers and things so it made our stuff more attractive, so they told us.
My thoughts were if I make mom and dad happy with our surroundings they would for sure bring the kids more often.
Running the go-carts while I was building the golf course I actually paid for everything as I built...No debt when finished
I also built a kiddy track for the small kids who were too young to ride the big go carts . It only had two coin operated animals that they had to drive by them selves on a 40 foot circle. I never saw either machine sitting idle.
My age limit to ride the carts was 9 years old but first they had to ride in front of mom or dad to show me and and the parents they were mentally old enough for them to handle the stopping and turning and this would make the parents feel more at ease....
You can't believe how many parents would lie and tell me the kid was nine just to get them to ride. Some dads thought their kids were smarter than a normal 9 year old. It took us a couple of years to come up with the age of 9. Most but not all could start to concentrate at that age, but not all. I would ask a kid how old he was before he got in the go-cart, nine was always the answer. Then as he was sitting there ready to go I would ask them what grade they were in. They had not learned to lie that good and would tell their actual grade which they would say 2nd or 3rd. If they were 9 years old and only in the 2nd or 3rd grade their minds was not ready for go-carts...
Maybe I can find this post so I can continue later. Sometimes all it takes is guts to do something different with your life.
I might can convince someone it isn't that bad even it you don't come out with a good ending, at least you were brave enough to try.
The last bit of machining was to create the two lower shelves. The minister wanted to keep the “maple” look for the shelves but hard maple is a little expensive so we went with soft maple.
Planed everything to ¾” and used biscuits to help with alignment during glue up. I made these shelves full width during the glue-ups
A card scraper brought everything smooth.
I sized the shelves using the same procedures as the top. Cut to length and width with the skill saw and a guide; then used the router, flush trim bit and a guide to finish off the saw marks.
The guide is held in place with double sided tape and screws. The screw holes are located in the area that will be removed where the shelf wraps around the legs. I also ran the chamfer detail around the perimeter of both shelves.
Marked and cut the corners
One more dry fit to make certain everything fits
Set the top in place to locate and thread the lag bolt holes.
While I had the top in position, I did its’ final sanding and oiling. The top is sanded through 320 grit. I used two applications of mineral oil; allowing each to soak in about a day. Then, I used one application of hot “Bumble Bee Wax”- a blend of mineral oil and bee’s wax. Once that cooled, I buffed it out with an old towel.
A final dis-assembly; the maple shelves sanded through 320 grit; the poplar pieces sanded through 180 grit. All of the hardware was pre-drilled and pre-threaded using bee’s wax to lubricate the holes.
The minister set a time and date to pick up the table and transport it to the church. It has to make the journey from south central PA to Ithaca NY. The day before he arrived, Mimi and I carried everything- except the top- to the carport and I did the final assembly. Due to the dimensions, the shelves had to be set in place during the assembly/glue up. That really added to the weight!
The minister arrived right on time and we loaded the base and top into his van. The church members are going to do the final assembly and finishing on site.
It was a long process and I was relieved that he was satisfied with the work. Even though we communicated via email and pictures, it is difficult to know what something is really like.
Several days later, I received this picture
I think the church members did an outstanding job painting and finishing the table. It looks right at home there in the kitchen.
If you made it this far, thanks for following along. Also, thanks to John Moody for the advice on the butcher block top.
My name is John Morris, and I am the founder of The Patriot Woodworker. Our community was founded on the principles of sharing, mentoring, and learning from fellow woodworkers, and above all, we have one thing in common, we all support the men and women who serve our nation. And we pretty much take on any task or challenge for our veterans that is asked of us, with the help of our sponsors.
Recently I was asked by my own daughters (Patriot Tigers) if The Patriot Woodworker's could support their high school club efforts to host a dinner for the faculty of their school disctrict, of whom are also veterans. I asked them what can we do for them, contribute funds to help offset the costs of food? Or possibly myself and some fellow local Patriot Woodworker's could stand at the entry way and welcome the veterans to the event? How about a valet? None of the above! DUH! Dad, build us some plaques, your a woodworker! "That's right!" I stated, I almost forgot!
Thus the project began. We are building 32 each, 7" x 9" x 3/4" solid hardwood plaques. Sounds easy right? Well it is, but there is a good amount of time it takes to construct simple squares of wood that feel perfect to the touch, and are flawless to the eye.
To start off, one of my daughters and myself took a drive into town to pick up some lumber for the project, we ended up at Reel Lumber of Riverside CA. I like the store, it's a small mom and pop outfit in appearance, but it has a pretty big backing in the actual company. We go there frequently for our hardwood and exotic purchases, and the staff is tops.
With a very keen eye on the part of my daughter, we spent about an hour at the store looking for the boards that were "just right" for her. And we came away with some nice 4/4 walnut, figured maple, and birch. We had the gentleman cut the boards in half so we could fit them in our small Toyota Corolla with the rear seats folded down. (Note: Last year our neighbor totaled my pickup truck, and we have not been able to replace it, as luck would have it, the driver was uninsured!)
We came home and stacked the boards on my workbench and let them set for a week before I commenced the project.
To the right is Walnut, center is the Curly Maple, and left is Birch.
I was able to get out to the shop and get the boards cut and sized, edges chamfered, and all the plaques sanded to 150 for now. Later I'll work through the grits up to 600 in preparation for wipe on varnish.
I used a 45 degree 1/2" shank chamfer bit chucked up into my router table. My table is made by an outfit in Canada who sell the RT 1000 series router table, you can't beat the price, and the table is built very well, I have had mine for about 10 years now. The following image is the stock photo of the exact table I have.
When I route any edges on any project that involves routing all four edges of a board, the long grain, and the end grain, I always start by routing the end grain first, the reason is it is possible that you may have some kick out at the tail end of the pass as you rout the end grain, and if that happens, you can always clean it up when you shape the long grain edges. It's just a simple process that gives you a second chance instead of destroying a perfectly good board by not planning ahead for mistakes. The image below does not show the board in the proper position for end grain routing, I took the image as is, but when I fired up the router table I rotated the board 90 degrees to hit the end grain edges first.
After a few passes with the 32 boards (plaques) I now have something resembling a stack of plaques, ready for sanding.
Whenever possible I gang sand boards, just as I gang plane boards, the more the merrier, and it cuts down on the work considerably, not too mention it's just better on your sanding pad as well, it's always better on the sander pad when you can sand a flat area instead of sanding on edge, it's less stress on your sander and keeps your sander pad from wearing on the edges.
After a couple hours of sanding to 150 grit, I finally have some fine looking plaques that are shaping up to be something special, for some very special people. Later I'll take the boards to 600 before I use my wipe on finish.
A word about our supporters:
I'd like to thank our sponsors for helping us offset the costs of the lumber, our sponsors as shown on our home page, they pay money to have their advertising displayed in our community, and we in turn use those funds for projects like this, and much more, such as helping disabled veterans acquire machinery, tools and supplies for their own workshops, but this time we are leveraging sponsor's funding to fabricate some wonderful awards of appreciation for some men and women of a Southern CA school district, who served their nation.
For this project we also have a new helper, Anady's Trophies and Engravings. They are a top notch outfit, and they adore our military and veterans as do we, so we are a perfect match. Anady's has come waaaay down on their costs to help us procure some wonderful engraved brass plates to mount on the plaques, the plates will have a thank you message, and the name of the veteran. Anady's is instrumental in making this project a success, and we'd love to thank them for their support. I'd also like to ask anybody who needs trophies, engravings, or supplies, to look up Anady's, they'll ship to you. Their name has a lot of history in our valley, and they are a top notch outfit to work with. And the staff is so polite and professional.
The Club who asked us for help has their own website, please see them at Patriot Tigers Club.
The school district that employs our veterans, and who the event is being held for is San Jacinto Unified School District.
I can remember like it was yesterday. I was spending the night at my best friend's house, Ken and I did that just about every weekend, camping out or hunting, or whatever. For several years we did just about everything together. This particular evening we were in his bedroom, he was showing me the Ham Radio receiver he'd just made from a radio shack kit. I was looking at his Edmund Scientific catalog and he said something about a new invention called a laser. It had to be 1963 or four or maybe a couple years before?
Anyway, all we knew was, it used mirrors to make the light brighter and was right out of our science fiction books, the future was here! Ken, who was always smarter than me said no one had any idea everything they could be used for, weapons of course but who knew what else? Who indeed? Never did I imagine that one day a wood worker could purchase an affordable laser that was more powerful than anything anyone had imagined back then. Nor could anyone imagine it would be controlled by a computer to do intricate patterns and pictures. You see, CNC wasn't really to well known back then either.
Fast forward, and it has been fast, just 50 short years. I am the proud owner of a cheap CNC laser engraver. The machine I purchased has a working area of about 11X14", and uses a 2.5watt violet laser. That's the short story, there are several reasons why it's cheap and I don't know as yet if that equates to a good value as they are seldom the same thing. This is a blog about my journey getting to know, learn about, and use one of these marvels people couldn't even imagine not so long ago.
I just noticed this thread and thought I'd chime in with my two cents... When my son moved out in early 2017 I set his room up as a lightweight photo studio. It's nothing fancy but the advantage is that is stays set up and ready to use. I can walk in with an item, flip on any combination of lights and natural light from the window, snap the shot and walk out. In and out in a couple of minutes. When I need to I move the lights to the kitchen for cutting boards, out into the shop for certain things, etc. Exposure in the shot below is set more to show the lights than the cutting board. Most of my photos are for posting on forums and for Etsy so I don't spend a ton of time on them.
Sometimes just a clean background and your flash bounced off a white ceiling will work...and shooting up close with a shallow depth of field.
For a lot of us, that is easier said than done. An uncluttered background is difficult for me to achieve when I am working on a project. So, I try to shoot tight and crop tighter. And if possible, add a vignette to darken the surrounding area so the subject stands out. I do all of my post processing in Adobe Lightroom. It is left over from my high school sport shooting days.
Hey Gerald, thanks so much. The size of the backdrop would be better if bigger no doubt for chair shots.
Reading your blog the idea is to not use flash correct? As it's better to use stable lighting, and set the camera on a stand to avoid shaking, and perhaps set the camera on timer? So I an hit the button, and stand back.
@John Morris I presume you are wanting to do shoots of chairs or furniture so I would say the UL9004 . Simply because you would have a larger backdrop stand. Some reviewers say backdrops are cheap and I prefer gradient for backdrop and then you can replace that or buy in different color. Price looks right but I am kind of a build your own type, but I can see that being more difficult shooting furniture. Also remember the bulbs can be changed if you so desire..
The only photo lighting I ever bought was a light bulb (giant thing) over 30 years ago and yes it still works. Changing white balance in modern cameras is easy so color temperature is not was critical as it used to be.
@Gerald, this is a great resource, I came back to this today as I am going to jump into the world of photographing my work for digital display (website).
I read this again with great interest. I have very little time to make my own light diffusing accessories, so I am looking at ready to go lighting kits as seen here https://www.amazon.com/HSA/pages/default?pageId=56A4202B-4D7E-4D68-B43A-310402725072
I also read another great article about the differences between soft-boxes and umbrella's. I read this article at https://www.adorama.com/alc/0013566/article/Softbox-vs-Umbrella-Which-One-Should-You-Use
Again, I don't want to build my lighting accessories, I want to purchase them and be done with it, and start photographing my work. Given the links I have displayed above, can you assist me in making a good decision in what to start with or purchase? I am working with a budget around 150 to 200 bucks, and it looks like I can get a decent kit of lighting and backdrops within that budget.
The set below comes with three muslin backdrops, green, black, white, I would not use the green perhaps, but the white and black most definitely.
We are a woodworking community with an emphasis on sharing and learning the skilled craft of woodworking and all of its related disciplines. Our community is open to everyone who wishes to join us. We support our veterans and active duty both here in the United States and in Canada, being a veteran is not a prerequisite to join. So please, join us! Please click on Join The Patriot Woodworker's.
We support MWTCA, preserving tools and implements from the past.