Spice Cabinet: Update 4

Yesterday was the last woodworking class until fall. I knew there was no way I’d be able to finish the spice cabinet in one night so I wasn’t frantically racing around the shop trying which was actually nice. It was the most relaxing last-day-of-class I’ve had in a long time. But I still made some great progress.

The piece of mahogany for the rails and stiles (sides and top/bottom) of the cabinet door.

The rails and stiles cut to size. (I taped them together before cutting so they would be exactly the same length.)

This is how they will be put together. The panel of diamonds will go in the middle.

I used the router to cut the inside edges of the rails and stiles to create a groove for the panel to fit into and also for the rails and stiles to fit together at the corners.

A close up of the cut profile.

And lastly, me with my long-suffering instructor.

I’m sad that woodworking is over until the fall but it’s nice to have more time to hang out with N during the summer months. And I have a list of projects to do around the house which should keep me plenty busy.

(Previous spice cabinet posts here: 1, 2, and 3.)

Spice Cabinet: Update 3

I made some good progress at woodworking last night. My friend Kristin is taking the class with me but she was sick so I was on my own.

I finished cutting the dadoes into the sides of the cabinet for the shelves and the back of the cabinet.

This is how the cabinet will fit together. It still needs to be glued.

Sanded smooth the diamond panel for the door.

I was a little disappointed I didn’t get the cabinet glued up last night but it should be pretty easy to clamp it up first thing next week. It will be nice to see it come together next week.

(Spice Cabinet updates 1 and 2 are here and here.)

Spice Cabinet: Update 2

There’s no woodworking class tonight because it’s spring break (SPRING BREAK, woo!) but I thought I’d post the photos from last week’s class so I’d be all caught up. I was getting kind of discouraged and moped around the shop a bit complaining about what a pain making the diamond-patterned panel was. But then it came together by the end of the night and I went home happy.

The long skinny checkerboard panel. The issues is that I need a big square panel of diamonds rather than squares and this panel is too skinny to cut a square out on the bias.

I cut the corners off the rectangle and rearranged them to make a panel of diamonds. This method gives me minimal waste but was a real pain to figure out exactly because I’m horrible at geometry (my instructors were a lot of help).

I applied glue to the edges and used tape to clamp them together (please excuse my characteristically tidy workspace in the background). This blue painter’s tape works well for this purpose because it’s a little stretchy.

I found this piece of mahogany to use for the box of the cabinet and to border the diamond panel on the cabinet door. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but it really is stunning. Mahogany usually has a very tight grain so to find a piece with dramatic grain like this one is fairly rare.

I cut two pieces of mahogany for the sides of the cabinet and marked where the dadoes (or grooves) for the shelves will go.

Then I cut the dadoes with a panel router.

Next week I need to sand the diamond panel, cut it to size, and glue on border of mahogany. I also need to work on getting the cabinet box put together. Since I missed two weeks of class when I was out of town I don’t think I’ll be able to totally finish this project before the end of the semester. But if that’s the case I can hopefully finish it in the fall. My spices have survived this long without a posh cabinet to call home so I think they’ll make it a few more months.

Spice Cabinet: Update 1

Sorry for the picture dump: woodworking class is already over halfway over (I missed two weeks of class when I went to WA) and I since I haven’t posted about my project yet I have a lot of photos.

This semester I decided to make a spice cabinet. I was inspired by this cabinet which has hung in my parents’ kitchen for as long as I can remember. Objectively speaking it’s not exactly my style but over the years I’ve grown fond of it and its folksy illustrations.

My mom’s cabinet has handy spice charts on the door but since I don’t have any charts for the door I decided this would be a fun opportunity to use some fancy woods.

On the left is some African lacewood I had left over from the jewelry boxes I made last semester and on the right is a piece of zebrawood I bought specifically for this project. I’m going to be making a diamond pattern out of these two woods for the cabinet door, similar to what I did for the jewelry boxes but on a larger scale.

I cut the boards into one-inch strips and glued together the lacewood and zebrawood in an alternating pattern. (This part of the process is also similar to making cutting boards.)

Then I cut this board into one-inch strips across on the table saw.

Next I flipped every other strip and glued them together.

This makes a checkerboard pattern.

When I saw how busy the woods were together I started to get a little nervous that the pattern might be too much but I think rotating them 45 degrees so they’re diamonds instead of squares will help. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Thanks, IS•LY!

I enjoy following Melissa Esplin’s craft blog IS•LY and so when I saw that she was having a handmade craft challenge in February I entered pictures of one of my cutting boards.

Lo and behold, Melissa selected my cutting board as first place! I’m very honored and excited about winning this great hand-bound book and stickers.

I’ve been meaning to put together a slide show of how I make these cutting boards and now seems like an apt time to do so. (The photos are from the making of two different boards so you might notice some differences but the process is the same.)

Thanks again, Melissa!

Woodworking Fall 09: Week 9

We had a low-key weekend. On Friday we met up with Elaine and her husband for some Korean food again. It was a lot of fun. You can see a picture of us (me looking awkward and Elaine looking stylish as she is wont to do) in her post here.

Woodworking last week was a mixed bag of emotions. I made a lot of great progress but didn’t get everything I wanted to finished, mostly because I had forgotten that I needed to chisel holes (or mortises) for the hinges to sit in so the lids would lay flat when they’re closed.

The lids trimmed down to size and sanded most of the way smooth.
(Seeing how these turned out were the highlight of the class for me.)

I drew where the hinges would be placed on the back of the boxes.

Pre-chiseled boxes.

The mortises I chiseled for the hinges to sit it. It was pretty interesting to carve them out by hand with just a chisel and hammer, Noah’s ark style. You can kind of see where I went a bit out of the line and split a little bit of wood off. I was hurrying and took too much off. *Sigh*

Not pictured: the giveaway cutting board I got trimmed and mostly sanded!

I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get as far I had expected. The time it took to chisel out the mortises by hand really threw off my plans. But at least I got the cutting board trimmed to size and mostly sanded. My instructor said that I might be able to come in to the shop during the day to lacquer the boxes, so we’ll see how it goes. I need to sand the cutting board by hand and put mineral oil on it and then it will be ready for the giveaway.

I’m planning on taking the class next semester again so if I don’t get the boxes finished in the meantime I should be able to get them done in the first week or two of next class.

Woodworking Fall 09: Week 7

It’s coming down to the wire; only two classes left! *Gulp.* I made some decent progress last week but not quite as much as I had hoped. My teacher said that he’s going to be at class a bit early tomorrow and so I’m going to show up early too to take advantage of the precious shop time left.

Here’s what I did last week:

I filled in a few gaps in the dovetail joints with wood putty and plugged the holes I drilled for the now-defunct lids. After the glue dries I will cut off the dowel and sand it so it’s flush with the side. You shouldn’t be able to see it too much.

I took the tape off the lids I glued together last week and drew out the dimensions of the lids.

And then I used a miter gauge on the table saw to cut rectangles out of the blanks.

Tomorrow I’m going to glue banding around the edges of the lids and cut them to size, sand the outsides of the boxes, and hopefully get the giveaway cutting board glued up. (Yeah, it’s become evident that I shouldn’t have spilled the beans about the giveaway until after it was finished. I’ll definitely get it finished at some point, if not before the holidays then in January. I feel bad that there might be a bit of a delay, but I’m trying my very best!)

Woodworking Fall 09: Week 6

Woodworking was fun this week. I spent a lot of time gluing stuff together. I just realized that I never explained my plan for the new jewelry box lids: the lids are going to have center panels made up of diamond shapes banded by walnut.

I’m turning these panels 45 degrees so the lids will have a diamond pattern instead of a checkerboard. But if I turn them on a angle there isn’t enough surface area to cut out a large enough rectangle.

So I cut off the corners.

And then I glued them onto the edges so I can cut a bigger rectangle out of the middle.

I couldn’t use clamps because of the angles involved, so I tightly stretched masking tape over the joints while the glue dried. I was kind of dubious this would work but my instructor said it’s what they do in situations like this.

While I waited for the glue on the lids to dry I started another cutting board. (I’m kinda addicted to making them lately, in case you haven’t noticed.)

But this cutting board is special–after it’s finished I’m going to have a giveaway and one of you lovely readers will win it! I wanted to say thanks for visiting my little corner of the internets and following my woodworking adventures. And I conveniently had a bunch of wood leftover from the other cutting boards. I wish I could make more than one for the giveaway but class time is already short as it is. It’ll be a couple of weeks before it’s finished, but be sure to check back for it then.

Later this afternoon I’m dressing E in his dog costume and taking him by N’s office for their Halloween party. Pictures on Monday. Have a happy Halloween!

Woodworking Fall 09: Week 5

This week woodworking went really well. Last week I ran into some issues and so this week I came prepared with a list of tasks I wanted to accomplish and I pretty much got them all done.

I made some good progress on my box lids and also on my cuttings boards. These first boards are for my jewelry box lids.

I cut the blanks I glued up into strips and then flipped every other strip over to form a checkered pattern.

Then I glued them together, paying special attention to matching up the lines.

The panels after gluing (left to right): purpleheart and curly maple, walnut and bloodwood, and African lacewood and maple.

My unfortunately non-square cutting board.
You can kind of see how the strips shifted while they were being glued and it turned into more of a parallelogram instead of a rectangle. Lame.

After I trimmed the edges off on the band saw it looked more squarish.

I went over the edges on a router so they would be slightly rounded.

And then I started sanding the surface of the board.

I have some more sanding to do next week and then I’ll slap a couple of coats of mineral oil on it and call it good. It still won’t be totally square but after giving myself a mental pep talk I’ve managed to let go of the notion that it needs to be absolutely perfect. I’m okay with it being slightly wonky. (It helps that it’s only for myself and not someone else).

I also re-sawed and re-glued the other cutting board that was having issues. So I think I’m in good shape for next week. Who knows, I might actually have time to make E a toy afterall.

Woodworking Fall 09: Week 3

I decided to redo the lids of my jewelry boxes so they sit on top of the box instead of sitting flush inside the box. This will allow me to use a different sort of hinge and work around the lame lid-won’t-open problem I encountered last semester.

I also decided to use this opportunity to kick up the design of the lids a bit. I’m going to use a technique similar to the one I used to make my cutting boards and create a checkerboard design for the lids.

This is a fun opportunity to use some interesting (and pricey) exotic woods since I only need a board foot of each.

From top to bottom: purpleheart, African lacewood, walnut, bloodwood, and curly maple.

I cut one-inch strips of each wood and glue them together, alternating woods. In the foreground are bloodwood and walnut and in the background are lacewood and maple.

This blank is made up of purple heart and curly maple.

After so much gluing my hands were pretty gnarly.

Class was a lot of fun and I’m excited for next week.

I’m looking forward to the weekend–N’s taking me to the Melting Pot for a belated birthday dinner. (Yum!)

I hope you have a great weekend!