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Fine WoodWorking

案板 (cutting board)

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老婆抱怨家里的案板都被用坏掉了,让我自己做一个用不坏的。我努努嘴,心想一个案板外面买就10块钱,自己做怎么都不止这个价,何必呢?

在老婆的催促下,做了一个案板交差。心里知道自己做的这个就是比买的案板木头质量好点,厚度厚一点 (一英寸多厚),别的其实都一样。

为啥老婆用的案板总是坏呢?几个原因:

1)老婆总是把案板档砍板(chopping board)来砍排骨。chopping board 和 cutting board 是不可以混用的,因为木纹选择完全不一样。我接下来给老婆要做一个chopping board,专门用来砍排骨。

2)无论是案板还是砍版都不能够放到dish washer里面去洗,尽量的少接触水。

3)cutting board 和chopping board要定期维护。如何维护呢?用油。对人无害的油。常用的案板油是mineral oil + gulf wax. 因为案板太便宜了,我家从来没有人去上油维护。

下面的图片是我做的案板,希望能被老婆蹂躏的旧一点:)

 

Fine WoodWorking

Walnut tray — handcut dovetails with compound angles

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I found myself fall in love with dovetails with compound angles, after watching Chad Stanton’s Youtube video:

Conventional dovetails are those pins and tails jointed at 90deg angles, where the compound angles add additional difficulties on making the dovetails. To my best knowledge, the dovetails with compound angles can only be made by hand cut; there is no jig or machines that can automate joints.

Here are the pictures of the dovetails trays that I made last week.

 

 

Fine WoodWorking

Wooden Tray

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Both me and my wife are a bit tired of a tray that is at the entrance to our living room from garage. This tray is used conveniently by us to place the keys, wallets, and cellphones after getting back home. The tray is made of cloth wrapping up a rigid cubic frame (by plastic or metal, I guess).

I decided to make a wooden tray to replace it. A challenge of making a tray is really the compound angles jointing the four sides of a tray: usually, a tray has four sides that are all splayed at an angle (10 degree or less). This splay angle results in the fact that none of the sides of a tray is a standard rectangle and there will be a miter angle on the jointing edge; on top of it, instead of a 45 deg standard bevel, there is a different bevel angle determined by the splay angle. For example,  for a 10 deg splay angle, the bevel angle will be about 44.1deg and the miter angle will be 9.9 deg. All these are called compound angles. To calculate the compound angles, people usually use trigonometric formulas. Fortunately, there are websites doing the calculation and helping lazy people like me. This is a website that I use a lot.

Below are the pictures of the wooden tray that I made. It is made of maple and walnut for the splines. The finish is boiled linseed oil to pop the grain, dewaxed Shellac (1# cut) as a sealcoat, and a water-based top coat.

 

Fine WoodWorking

Wooden box (II)

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在太太的要求下,周末又做了一个木盒子。 盒子的四个面是枫树木(maple),盖子是梨木(pear)。

因为有一年多没有手工切燕尾接头,手有点痒痒,决定手工切燕尾接头。燕尾接头被认为是集强度和美观于一体的接头,好一点的商业家具的抽屉都是这种接头。现代绝大多数的燕尾接头是用电动router 和燕尾夹具做的,这种做法已经相当于机械化了:接头切的好坏取决于机器和夹具本身,而不是木匠的手艺。当然古代家具的燕尾接头都是手工切的,费力费时。在youtube上我们偶尔可以看到木匠比赛手工切燕尾接头:这活儿确实是代表木匠手艺。

这次玩了玩,觉得好久没手工切了,手都有点生疏。还是要庖丁解牛,手熟!

 

Fine WoodWorking

small wooden box (I)

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Through the years, I have accumulated a large number of router bits. However, the router table I built in the shop does not have a drawer or storage space for them; it becomes annoying to spend time looking for a bit when I am in the middle of woodworking. Finally, I got a chance to make a small wooden box for storing them.

The sides of the wooden box are made of red oak; the wood for the box top is pear. I bought the pear lumber from a retired carpenter who fell the pear tree from his backyard. I re-saw the pear lumber into thin boards and book matched them for the top (so it is symmetrical along the grain).

The sides of the box are glued together by 45deg miter joints, with spline to enhance the strength. The spline is made of black walnut for the contrast.

My LOMLwants me to make another one for her after seeing the box; she wants to use it on the desk in her office. This will become my excuse to work in the shop for next weekend:)

Fine WoodWorking

Wooden Picture Frame

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My LOML complained too many drawings and paintings by our kids from their art classes are scattered in the house; some of them are already lost or damaged; she wanted to put them into picture frames and hang on the walls. I thought she can buy wooden frames from arts & crafts stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby, but she said the sizes of the drawings or paintings are often different from the standard frame sold in the stores. In addition, she does not like those painted frames. So it becomes my task to make wooden frames.

I use white oak for the frames, primarily because oak is inexpensive here. Structure wise, a picture frame is simply built by four 45deg miter joints, with rabbets at all four sides and decorative profiles on the front. But I am always wary of the strength of a glued miter joint, as some of the miter joints of our purchased frames already have cracks, like this one:

I like to use splines at the miter joints to enhance its strength. Here is a frame that I made:

Looking from the front:

Fine WoodWorking

Fengjie’s Benches

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Fengjie’s Benches

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Fengjie saw the bench I made next to the countertop in our house, and asks me to build two for her. Knowing Fengjie for many years I understand her needs; she frequently has parties and friends coming to visit; the sitting space becomes an issue.

The first bench I made for her is exactly the same design as the one used for the countertop in our house, so she can make better use of her countertop.

 

The second bench is actually made for matching her formal dinner table. This bench has dimensions of 17.5″ height, 58″ length, and 15″ width. It is made of oak. The top coat is wipe-on polyurethane. Because the span between the legs is fairly long, I had two stretchers between the legs; to make sure the bench has enough strength, on top of the mortise/tenon joints, I put dowels through the MT joint to enhance the joinery.

Fine WoodWorking

Counter Top Bench

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My SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) asks me to build a bench for our island kitchen countertop. The countertop has a side (toward the breakfast area) that is never really been used. My wife suggests a long bench that can be placed next to it, so we can better use the space.

I started out by designing the bench in a 3D design software; made sure my SWMBO likes it; purchased black walnut lumbers (more than $7/board-ft, ouch!) from a local lumber store. Here it goes:

The below picture shows the kids having a breakfast; they prefer to use the bench more than the formal breakfast table now; maybe it is just sooner to eat when the mommy gets the meals ready:)

Fine WoodWorking

Kid’s study desk

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My buddy Oscar asked me to make a small study desk for his two young daughters; one is 6 years and the other is 4 years old. Commercial study desks, primarily designed for an adult’s height, are too tall for the kids. On the other hand, those desks for young kids, sold by Amazon or IKEA, are pretty much made by particle boards or ply wood, which obviously SUCKS.

What Oscar wants is a very simple design, but made by solid wood. He does not want additional features even like drawers or build-in electrical outlet. The desk must be big enough for the daughters to sit at the both sides.

So I used hard maple and oak. The table is 24 inch tall, which perfectly fits the height of their daughters at this age. The aprons on the table have curves that allows extra room for kids’ legs as they grow.

The table top is 3 ft long by 2ft wide; this is pretty wide as compared to the length, per Oscar’s request (two daughters can sits on the both sides at the same time). The tabletop uses a classic solid wood top construction, with end caps at the both ends. These end caps are designed for compensating the wood expansion (a.k.a. wood movement) across the width of the table top. The end cap is only glued at the middle, with pins towards the ends allowing the wood movement.