A hammer in search of a nail…

Archive for the ‘Woodworking’ Category

Console Table Project

Built a console table to stand behind the sofa in our family room.

The top is of bubinga and was created by joining two boards to create a top that is 15 1/2 inches wide and about 5 1/2 feet long.

The base is fairly simple consisting of four straight legs, an apron around the top, and a small shelf near the bottom. The base is entirely out of poplar. The legs were created from three 3×1 pieces glued and planed to create square legs 2 1/4″ on each side. The apron was attached to the legs via pocket screws as were the supports under the shelf. The shelf was then glued and nailed to the supports.

Here’s a pic after assembly. I haven’t actually attached the top to the base yet, but just laid it on top to get a sense of the final “look” and to show it in it’s eventual spot.

An incomplete and "unfinished" view of the table project.

An incomplete and "unfinished" view of the table project.

The top and base will have different finishes applied, so I don’t want to attach the two until after finishing.  I haven’t decided how to attach the top yet, but I will probably just fix scrap blocks to the inside top of the apron and then screw through these into the top.

Thanks for looking. I’ll post an update once Laura and I get the finish applied.


P-C Plate Joiner broken?

I started a new project this last weekend (a console table with a bubinga top, which I’ll write about later). Got through jointing and planing two boards for the top. Unfortunately, when I used my Porter- Cable plate joiner (ie, biscuit cutter), it worked fine for the first two biscuit cuts but went dead before I could cut the third. Bummer!

So I pulled out the owners manual to see if there was a fuse or something that may have failed that would be easy to fix. Found out the troubleshooting section just had a single entry referring me to their service center. Double bummer! End of project work for the weekend.

The joiner was purchased in April 2009, and the warranty is only one year. Triple Bummer!

So now I need to take it into the service center (one bright spot is that there is a service center within 10 mins from work). I’ll let you know how it works out as I’m sure you’re all riveted 😉


I took the plate joiner into the P-C service center.  The way they work is that you pay a certain amount (based on the tool’s price) that is the “upper limit” to get the tool fixed.  If they fix it for less, you pay less, if it costs them more to fix it, you still only pay the maximum amount.  Either way, the tool is fixed.

For my plate joiner, the “upper limit” was $112 (I paid $220 originally 2 years ago).  As it turns out, there was a loose wire they had to reattach.  So my bill was only $29.50.  While I’m not happy that I had to take it in for service within 2 years of the purchase, I was expecting a bill closer to $100 so $30 was much better.

Wine Rack

Built my first wine rack. Modeled it after one I saw online. It has four “columns” where the first three hold 19 bottles and the last column is made to hold larger bottles and holds 17. So a full rack will hold 74 bottles. As you can see, it’s pretty empty, so I suspect it will take a long while til I get it filled up.

Wine Rack

Wine Rack (click to enlarge)

My goal is to eventually build a second one and put the two of them into a small wine “cellar” in the basement. Of course, that’s a while off.

Follow the link for more details and some close-up pictures

Settlers of Catan Game Board

Settlers of Catan (SoC) is a great game. We discovered it last year and have played it regularly since. The standard game is for 4 players, but there is an expansion set that lets you play with 5-6 players (which we bought).  You can find further information about the game at it’s website: http://www.catan.com/.

The game pieces themselves are a bit of a problem: the game consists of a number of hexagonal pieces that are placed inside a border. This border is made up of a handful of cardboard pieces that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.  Here’s a snapshot of the game setup:

Settlers of Catan Setup

Settlers of Catan Setup

In the picture above, the blue “border” is actually six separate pieces that lock together.  The hexes fit inside them. The result is that the “border” holds the hex pieces tightly together. Unfortunately, since these pieces are just heavy cardboard stock, the border pieces work fine at first, but quickly start to warp, the interlocking pieces don’t lock very well, and the borders don’t hold the hexes very well any more.  If you can imaging putting this board together by first adding a coaster onto each border piece to hold it flat and still while you add all the hexes, you’ll understand the frustration. Additionally, once the board is set up, if you so much as “touch” the border during gameplay, the entire board is shifted and the hexes get pushed over and under the border and the pieces need to be re-set (and those hexes have little wooden playing pieces strategically placed atop them and those all get jiggled and need to be put back as well).

I’m sure anyone who has played the game knows what I mean. 😉

Follow the link to see how I solved the problem…

Bench Project

I recently finished up a bench project that I had been working on and off for some time. This was something Laura wanted for the “mud room” so you can sit down to take off your shoes when you come inside and it also provides a place for your shoes.  The bench is going to sit over a air register, so I used slats for the shoe “rack” so they could dry in the winter time.

Here’s the result:

Finished Bench

Finished Bench

Follow the link to see how it was made…

Cheese Board

Laura got me a Jet combination Jointer / Planer for a Christmas present and, after a couple of other projects without using it, I decided I needed to make something explicitly to use the jointer.

Here is a “practice” cheese board that I made from maple and walnut. This is unfinished and I plan on finishing it with mineral oil, so I’ll post another pic once the finish is complete. It is “practice” in the sense that I wanted to try out the jointer and started with a fairly small board (this is roughly 8″ x 6″) to get a feel for making butcher block boards.  I think it turned out pretty well as a first try.

Cheese Board (unfinished)

Cheese Board (unfinished)

Follow the link to see how it was made…

Game Board Frames

Laura wanted to hang some board games in the study and asked me to make a few frames.

Here are three of them on the wall:

Game Boards

Game Boards

Follow the link to see close-ups and how they were made…