I have. Crazy busy. Stupid busy. Good busy...but still...busy. Where'd I leave off, the reclaimed door scrap wall hanging? I have to make another one of those ASAP - and a hair bigger - by the way. I never thought it'd happen, but I think my stockpile of old doors, door parts and door scraps is running a little low.
...like I said, over the past few weeks, it's been sort of hectic.
I've been sitting on a pretty healthy supply of air-dried walnut, so I milled some (I made some very, very rough boards very, very flat, straight and shiny) and donated them to Perennial, where I'll be teaching a few cutting-board-making classes in a month or two. As I was milling the lumber I wished I'd have grabbed some different boards to donate; the donated lumber was spalted, figured, and looked pretty cool in general. But...a donation needed to be made, and there's not exactly any shortage of walnut in the shop. They got some good stuff from me.
Then there was a variety of things tied to a client I have in Kirkwood, MO that's renovating a house built in 1858 (and adding on to it, but that's a conversation for another day). I've mentioned this house previously, yes? No? I'm sure that I have. The laundry room island, that's for the Kirkwood, MO client.
I'm also going to build a mantel and fireplace surround for the new fireplace in that Kirkwood house. That's on hold for a bit for a number of reasons, but I made a site visit (it might have been two, actually) to talk through design, scheduling, etc. I don't want to give away any details of just how rad this project is going to be or turn out, so...you'll get this instead, some brick and a tape measure. The next time you see this, there will be massive hunks of wood covering some of the brick, and I get to put it there.
A lot of other stuff related to the Kirkwood house took place as well.
I went by the glass place and picked up the glass I ordered for the reclaimed wood laundry room island bin fronts. I'm not off-the-charts thrilled with it, but it's tough to find new glass that looks exactly like the old stuff (because almost nobody makes it now like they did 100 years ago), and realistically, it does look pretty neat. Different, for sure, and it's got a bit of the wavy effect goin' on that vintage/antique glass has, so it'll be a good fit.
I think my favorite part of these face frames is the bridal joints used to connect the rails and stiles. I still need to trim some off the edges of the frames to get exact fits; the protruding joinery will end up flush and smooth, but the joint will still be plenty visible. If you've ever seen an antique/vintage door that hasn't been painted, on the sides you can see the mortises, tenons and wedges used to join the rails and stiles...and these frames will look pretty much the same way. Long story short, I could have gone quick and easy and used pocket hole screws to hold the frames together...but the old-school method is way stronger and looks way better. And I abhore pocket hole screws.
Here's what the bins looks like with the actual bins attached (dry fit, no glue yet) to the face frames. They'll be hinged at the bottom and tip forward.
In the past few weeks I also made a cutting board that was ordered from a client in Florida. It wasn't just any old cutting board though, she requested one in the shape of a Fender Stratocaster. To be fair, the design used was not mine, the client sent me a pic to follow. Construction was a little bit of a challenge in terms of the "strings" portion, but it all turned out pretty well.
I used walnut, maple, cherry and red heart, all of which I had laying around the shop except for the red heart. Want to know what I found out while making the board? Red heart, when freshly cut, smells like a giant heap of buring tires. It's horrible. But, it makes pretty cool sawdust and shavings...bright red.
The board looked like this before everything was glued together:
And then following a little work, and some oil, she looked like this:
What else have I been up to...oh, I started hunting down hand hewn beams for another mantel project. I swung and missed on my first outing, but I did come across some lumber that I thought was pretty cool. I've never before seen notches like the diagonal ones in some of these beams:
And the other project...which was both a lot of fun and a lot of frustration...was back at the Kirkwood client's house. The client opted to keep the original front entry doors - the right call, in my book - but they're pretty beat up and needed a new handle/lockset. Before putting on a new one, which is simple enough, all the holes from the previous lockset and torn out chunks of wood had to be patched with matching lumber.
Luckily, the doors are douglas fir and I have plenty of that in the shop, but man...the patching...LOTS of chisel and plane work. I didn't want to take the doors off the hinges, and the house isn't exactly buttoned up entirely just yet, and it was COLD both days I worked on the doors, so getting the glue to dry was borderline impossible. In the afternoon sun, everything was fine but first thing in the morning and late in the day...total fiasco.
I think the doors, and new lockset, turned out pretty well all things considered. Once the patches were glued in place I was able to plane and sand them flush with the door, and the lockset went on without a problem (this is a total fabrication; I had to put the thing on, take it off, make minor adjustments, reinstall it...literally 2 dozen times to get it just right...it wasn't fun).
It was too late at night both days I left work there to get any decent pics so you're just gonna have to take my word for it...the new lockset looks pretty good, as do all the patches (there were 9 of them, if I remember correctly). And it works perfectly, which is probably the more important thing. A week later, I've still got both blood blisters I gave myself while working on the doors, so I'm still sporting the battle scars from that project.
Next week we start a kitchen remodel, I've got to bang out a couple smaller projects and when it gets closer to delivery time in a week or two, finish the laundry room island. Usually this time of year is pretty slow...not the case in 2016.