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About this blog

The Patriot Woodworker's have been asked to build solid wood plaques for veterans who are also employees of a Southern California school district. Follow along with our progress and meet the folks who are supporting this wonderful project.

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The Big Night

The last blog post we left off with the completion of the "appreciation awards" for our veterans who work for our school district. This blog we'll check in and see what took place the night of the Big Night. Our girls and the club members really worked hard to make this a wonderful event for our school district employee veterans. On the invitations the veterans were encouraged to arrive in full dress uniform, and many did! It was a wonderful sight. Below are a couple images of some of the veterans and their dates for the evening. The Sargent at the left is the club advisor for our daughters club. Some of the kids from the club were stationed at the entry to welcome the guests of honor. The building where the event was held was donated by the Golden Era Golf Club locally here where we live, they frequently donate their space to veterans and military events and gatherings. They also donate the space to the high school where our daughters attend and have their club. The annual ROTC ball is held here as well. It's a tastefully decorated building, and it has some wonderful history behind it.     The kids welcome the guests for about a half hour as they trickled in, our daughter and club founder and president is in the background looking on with approval for how the night is unfolding, can you say "PRIDE"!   I walked around and  took some images for the evening, the golf course loaned their kitchen out as well, so the club members were able to prepare the nights meal for our veterans. The gentleman in the center is LT. Albright, he was a mess hall cook in his Army life, and he helps out with the high school club and he is also a teacher at the school, and this night he volunteered to lead the charge in the kitchen. This man smoked pork all day long for this meal in order to serve some awesome pulled pork sandwiches for the guests and many other items on the menu as well.   Below is our younger daughter who is the Patriot Tigers treasurer, I just happened to catch her coming through the door to the kitchen as she was checking on things and making sure all was running well.   Days before this big event, the kids from the club came over to our home and assembled several boards showing what the club as been up too. Most of the images on these boards are of the clubs efforts at the Homes for Our Troops events they attended. Mama and I put a lot of road time in for these kids, we drove them all over the county, and sometimes out of the county to get them to their volunteer destinations. We all had a great time, always.         These kids worked really hard with this club, we could not be more proud of their efforts, and their Patriot spirit they demonstrated by giving back to those who gave much.   The following images are the main dining area before the guests showed up, and you'll see an image of the patio where drinks were served.   Golfing in the background! The drink service area, some of the Patriot Tigers are serving our veterans. The man to the left being served is Colonel Sick, he is an Air Force Colonel and he is also the commandant of our 6th grade sons military school he is attending.   Below are the awards I made for the veterans, they have a wonderful prominent position in this event, I was proud of them as I looked on and took this picture.   My wife below, she stands proudly by the club boards as she and I both remember all the hard work our kids, and the club members put into their Patriot Tigers club.   The opening ceremony is about to begin, and the ROTC is warming up before the event and the presentation of the colors.   The guests are starting to take their seats and the ceremony begins. And dinner is served.   After dinner, the honorees were each presented their plaques. I really like the way the kids did this. Here is what our daughter stated at the microphone before the awards were handed out. "Dear Veterans, please stand when your name is called, please do not approach the podium, you have done enough for us in service of our nation, we will come to you and present you the plaque". I thought this was pure class, when the name was called, the veteran stood in place at their table, then each Patriot Tiger club member took turns walking to the veteran, and presenting them the plaque at their table, and each child shook their hand, and gave them a solemn message of thanks, it was done very nicely. Then after the plaques were handed out, they were all called for a group picture. Our daughter is at the far right in this image, and our younger daughter is the next young lady to her right, and next to the man in the grey shirt.   This was a really fun project for everyone involved. I cannot say enough how impressed we are with the kids involved, and the adults who welcomed the opportunity to come to this event. This was an evening presentation, and our veterans came to this event on their own time. So you could say, these veterans keep on giving, even after service. By coming to this event, they allowed our children to express their thanks, and to be a part of something wonderful. Thank you veterans! Please click on link to view the program below. PROGRAM FOR MILITARY RECOGNITION.docx   And we'd love to thank everyone who helped!   A special note about our supporters of The Patriot Woodworker. I was able to create the awards for our veterans only because our supporters have contributed funding to our organization, and with some of the funds, the material for the awards was purchased, and so where the service medallions that went on the awards. All in all, about 375.00 dollars was used to create these awards, and we could not have done it without the support of our tools and supplies retailers who are year around sponsors of The Patriot Woodworker, thank you sponsors!   Links of interest Patriot Tigers High School Club San Jacinto High School   The Supporters Anadys Trophies and Engravings Laguna Tools Woodcraft Supply Pony Tools Easy Wood Tools Bessey Tools Golden Era Productions Golf Course          

John Morris

John Morris


Completed Veterans Awards

Well we left off with our veterans appreciation plaques sanded to 150 in the last blog, and here we are with some images that will bring us to the completion of the project. After I sanded all the awards to 150 I continued on through the grits up to 600, I was happy with the burnished sheen the plaques were developing. And I decided enough was enough, time for some finish! I would typically mix my own wipe on oil, but I had a can of Watco Danish Oil sitting around and decided to use it, and not only did I have a nice can of handy wipe on oil at the ready, and also had a wonderful helper who was ready with a brush! My son Jeroid volunteered to brush a liberal coat of oil on the awards, and he had a blast doing it, as there really wasn't any caution he had to worry about, just slop it all on, wait a few minutes, and wipe it off. Easy peasy!   Jeroid did a wonderful job, below are the award blanks all oiled up, and wiped down, they look wonderful I think. All 32 of them.   After a couple days of letting the two coats of oil set up, I always love to wax my projects. I swear the project just looks far better with a coat of wax. The wax does a couple things, it creates an even sheen where just leaving a finished project with finish, leaves unleveled and differing sheens of finish, this is that final stage that I feel you must perform, before most finished projects are actually finished. I used the lighter Johnsons Paste wax for the light wood award blanks, and I used the darker maple Liberons Black Bison finishing wax for the darker woods.   This project came down to the last few hours before the big event was ready to start, literally I was working on these the night before the big event, and I was applying the labels and medallions the next morning, the day of the event. I was so crammed for time, I decided to not install picture hanger hardware on the back of these awards, instead I opted to bore a 1/4" hole to make way for a nail on a wall. It actually turned out very well, it looked pretty neat to have a nice bored hole for hanging, instead of shiny hardware for hanging. I chucked up the 1/4" Forstner in my Drill Press, and clamped some guides so all I had to do was line up each award before boring, I simply set the award between the guides, and up to the fence. Each one was bored the exact same way. Since this was a last minute decision to bore holes instead of using hanging hardware, I had already waxed the blanks, so I had to be really careful of the face of the award blanks, so I laid a piece of cloth on the drill press table to protect the face of the award blanks.   The timing could not have been better, true to Morris form, I called in an order of service award medallions just days before to be shipped to us from the east coast, and they arrived two days before the event, this was too close. I would not have had time to adjust for errors if anything arrived short, damaged, or otherwise. I was happy to see everything came in on time, and in one piece. Image below is the service medallions that were to be installed on the awards.   Anady's Trophies and Engraving (sponsor partner of this project) also supplied the borders for the 2" service medallions to be inserted into.   See image below, the medallions are inserted into the border provided by Anady's. The borders really set the service medallions off beautifully. Thanks Anady's!!!   Also provide by Anadys Trophies and Engravings are the drop dead beautiful engravings they provided. These engravings are done on very high quality brass material, only the best for our veterans.   The image below are the finished awards, I sat at our coffee table and applied the name labels, and the medallions, and stacked them two levels deep. There are 32 in total. I also made up the programs for our daughters club event. Those can be seen at the upper left, they turned out nice too.   Our two daughters love our veterans, they volunteer countless hours performing local community service and we take them and their club out of town to help at Homes for Our Troops events. They have the burning desire of volunteerism in their hearts. We are so proud of these girls, and their little brother too, he is coming up the rear with the same volunteer ethics for community service and compassion to our fellow man.   This is the last image I took before I loaded the awards and the girls up in our family wagon and took them all to the big event this last Friday. The event was a hit, the school district veterans had a great time, and it was all just perfect. Our younger daughter (left) and treasurer of the Patriot Tigers High School Club, and our oldest daughter to the right, the founder and President of Patriot Tigers. These girls are my crown jewels of my life, both Mrs. Morris and myself could not be more proud.   The next blog installation will highlight the actual event, it was a total hit, the school district staff were talking about it all week long. Stay tuned!   WOOPS! Last second images I forgot to install, as seen below.   And once again, thank you to our sponsors of this wonderful project, for without each them, we could not have gotten this off the ground.  

John Morris

John Morris


Project Introduction

    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.   Related Links: 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.          

John Morris

John Morris

Who We Are

Operation Ward 57 Challenge Coin Display Project

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 American veterans and active duty, being a veteran is not a prerequisite to join. Join us now!


Air Force Command Center Plaque

Of course just like most online woodworking communities we are centralized in the arts, crafts, and trades that are woodworking. But, we have another focus in our Patriot Woodworker community, we are the only woodworking community that was founded on our care and concern for our disabled veterans.


Patriot Woodworker Volunteers

The Patriot Woodworkers are an all volunteer community, from the staff and hosts who run our online woodworking community to the members who frequent our forums, you'll find volunteers in all of us. We are not on a payroll, unless you consider the spiritual rewards gained from volunteering, as compensation.



One of the many projects we are working on is a wiki for our online community. A wiki is a great way for woodworkers and enthusiasts to share their knowledge to others, and to impart their knowledge for others to learn from, and utilize as well for their own benefit. We hope you'll consider being a wiki contributor.