A while back my wife had asked me about making us a new bed frame and I was all for the idea being quick to admit it's long over do, so after locking myself down with pen and paper I came up with a design that I was pretty excited about and after presented it to her I now find myself building us a whole new bedroom set, yeah I know it's funny how these things happen but I am actually looking forward to this project. The set will include a linen press, two night stands, a blanket chest and of course the bed frame that started it all. We agreed on cherry as the main wood and maple for a secondary which has been a long time favorite combination for me, it always creates such a great contrast as the cherry darkens with age against the maple especially the way it makes joinery like dovetails in drawers pop, it's pretty awesome. So yesterday I took a drive over to see my buddy Jerry at Root River Hardwoods in Preston Minnesota, I have been dealing with this mill for years now and they have never disappointed me, they set me up the stock I need to get things rolling and I headed back to my shop. The first piece I'm going to build is the linen press, measuring 50.5"w x 78.5"t x 24"d the bottom 27" of the cabinet will be drawers with the remaining upper portion of the cabinet being two doors that when opened will reveal a series of slide out shelves. It is a pretty straight forward piece to build but I still did my usual drawing to allow me to work out details like the crest rail in the upper case, the transition molding between the upper and lower cases and ect.
Now sadly they did not have any twenty four inch wide boards so to make it happen I will have to do a few glue ups and that's okay. but for me this is one part of the build that can take forever as I agonize over what boards go together so well they create a surface that visually flows perfectly to me, and honestly I believe this is probably the most important step in building furniture it's the attention to details like this and having the ability to imagine the end result of the material choices you make that can create something beautiful. The plan this week is to get the panels made up for the lower case then I can start cutting my dovetails to assemble the carcass, and if all goes well hopefully start work on the dividers and runners for the drawers before the weekend.
I remember as a teenager my brother challenging our fathers knowledge and my father very calmly informing him " I have forgotten more things then you know " and at the age of 93 I would bet it's more true now then it was when he said it with most people he meets. Recently I found myself in this situation, I was trying to explain to someone how to do something that I have done quite a few times over the years but for whatever reason the answer escaped me, I had no problem in physically showing how it was done though. This grew to be a very common situation for me someone would ask me a question and even though I knew the answer there would be days were I drew a blank, and with this starting to effect my everyday life my wife and I turned to the Mayo Hospital in Rochester Minnesota for answers, and after weeks of testing it was confirmed that I have early on set Dementia, a hard pill for me to swallow for sure but it did answer all the questions of what is going with me. Since this diagnosis I have found balance in my everyday life through acceptance and changing the way I approach different situations and interactions. With this being shared the question now becomes how is this going to effect my content moving forward, and honestly I'm not sure at this point. I am confident with in what I do and still manage to spend as much time as I can in my woodshop where currently I have started building a linen press for my wife as part of a bedroom set that I'm building for us. For now going forward my main focus will be my website, continuing to share things that I've learned and things I have seen that I feel may be of interest to you. I will continue to share my latest articles and blogs in social media to allow you to keep up with it all. Producing on line content like videos though is very mentally demanding and something I have struggled with these last few years, that's not to say I will never return to places like Youtube but I am saying that if I do it will have to be done in a different way and I will work on that as time goes on.
Living in Minnesota the seasonal changes I live with here take me to all ends of the spectrum in both temperature and humidity, creating several challenges for me in the shop that through the years I have come to except as normal. Wood movement is one of those things but it is something I can plan for or at least try to account for it when designing and building furniture, and for whatever reason I really don't seem to get a lot of questions about it. But I do seem to get a lot of questions about rust prevention when it comes to hand tools and the machines that I have in my shop, and honestly this is a concern for me but it is certainly not one that I tend to over think or dwell on very much. Really there are only two things that I do to avoid rust issues, the first is being aware that saw dust and wood shavings cause moister to collect on metal surfaces, so when I'm done using my table saw for example I'll use a rag and wipe off the surface of the table. The second is using my oil rag can, this is nothing more then an old rag that has been tightly rolled up and stuffed into an old soup can then moistened with some three in one oil. Making sure the rag is protruding from the opening as in the picture, I hold the can end in my hand then wipe the surface with the rag end like an applicator. I use this on almost everything, my hand planes, my chisels, the table of my band saw, I even wipe down my lathe with it. Anytime you walk into my shop you'll always see it laying around so that when I'm done with a tool I can give it a quick wipe before I put it away. It's one of those things that I remember my father always using and I often wondered if it was something he had learned from his father ? Maybe. And maybe I'm carrying on some grand family knowledge of much wiser men before me, or maybe not. But all joking aside I do know that rusty tools and equipment have never been an issue in my shop, and for this reason I will continue with what I do.
I think the most under acknowledged item in a shop has to be the roll of blue tape, and almost unarguably a must have. For me It has evolved into a dependency of sorts in so many different areas of woodworking and so much so that I can not imagine doing certain jobs without it. If I'm building a box for example that involves mitered corners the blue tape becomes my clamps, applying a piece across each joint, then with glue applied I close the box using one last piece to hold it all together. And with most of my applied moldings especially transition types this is always the clamp I use to tightly secure the molding to the surface until the glue dries. Even when I am doing things like prefinishing I will use this tape on the joints to ensure no finish gets onto the gluing surfaces. And I certainly can't forget about things like pattern routing, applying a piece to my template and another on my stock then with a couple of drops of CA glue directly on the tape I stick the two together. Personally I think this method works better then double sided tape, it certainly comes apart easier and has the added bonus of not leaving residue behind to deal with after wards, which has always been my experience with double sided tape. There are also more obvious things like it is really easy to write on making it a great way to mark individual pieces without directly marking on the project then having to deal with cleaning off all of those pencil or pen marks once the assembly is done. And of course there are a ton of applications around the shop like making start and stop marks on equipment such as a router table, just stick a piece down to the router plate and make your marks and when our done just peel the tape off leaving no marks behind to address. I'm pretty confident that I could go on for a while as to why I think blue tape is amazing but I think you get my point, it is definitely a tool in my shop.