A quick look at some of my projects. Some are not cabinet making, and some of the are not even made of wood! Many of these appear in my Blog with more detail.
Kona Living Furniture
Kona Living is all about style and natural beauty. These pieces use the signature vertical bevel in the frames and beautiful wood veneers or spectacular stone for the horizontal surfaces. Below are some samples.
With vibrant red and the unparalleled beauty of Hawaiin koa wood, these are spectacular pieces.
And a matching bookcase made with hand sawn cherry veneer.
Mardi Gras Living
Mardi Gras is the last binge before the discipline of Lent. Food, drink, music, fun. Once a year. But we can live Mardi Gras a little bit every day by surrounding ourselves with reminders that life can be fun, exuberant, colorful, and happy. That is what I call Mardi Gras Living.
The Creek Mud Talisman
This is a small box, about 11 inches high. It is made of Mexican zirocote, spalted maple, and buckeye burl. There is a long story about this you may want to read. The Story Of The Creekmud Talisman
But first, a picture of the outside of the box.
And, Hey! I Do Repairs
My repair of fine wooden things began with vintage ukuleles. I would repair loose braces, patch cracks and missing pieces. I even replaced the whole back of a rare concert size ukulele made by Martin in about 1960. Furniture is a bit different, much bigger, but the techniques of wood shaping, joining, and finishing have many commonalities.
Here are some of my recent repairs
The Dining Table
The legs were loose and pulling away from the center post. They were dowelled and glued, but with some heat and careful mechanical persuasion I removed two of them. One was also cracked.
I made a custom clamping caul and, using hot hide glue, clamped everything back together.
The top needed some attention, but the owner didn’t want me to refinish it. So I did a patch to the broken veneer and it’s ready to go!
The Dining Chair
This was a black lacquer sprayed mahogany chair. It had a lattice back made of plywood. One of the back stiles was cracked completely off. Much of the lattice was also cracked.
I repaired the lattice parts with lots of glue and lots of clamps.
Then I made a splice piece to rejoin the stile leg and back halves.
A little spray paint, and we are ready to go!
The Park Bench
This is a bench you see fairly often, but this particular one was very well made, with heavy cast iron and originally, with redwood slats. But it had seen better days, having been left out in the snowy Sierra winters for many years.
What better wood to use to replace those slats than white oak? I made a drilling jig to get all the through slots and counter bores centered and properly located so they will fit the holes in the iron.
Then I sanded and repainted the iron green. With the slats attached with all brass hardware, it now looks like a bench again.
The Antique Secretary
I really wish I had a good “before” picture of this damage. The right front leg of this beautiful antique secretary had been completely snapped off by movers. With dagger sharp broken wood it would just about make you cry. But I fixed it! Can’t even tell it was ever broken.
The two leg parts have already been glued and clamped together. The challenge now is to fasten it back to the bottom of the cabinet. You can see the leg is buttressed by two blocks that are carefully carved and dowelled. Something back in this cabinet’s past had caused the blocks to separated and someone along the line attempted to fix it. I undid that “repair” and started fresh, with a clean surface and cleaned up parts.
A thin shingle of wood had cracked off and was still glued to the cabinet. That had to be put back correctly as well.
I wish I had a picture of the glue up. It was quite a bristle of clamps, rags, and cauls, but it came out great!
But now for the inlay on the front hinged desk. It had several insults, one being initials carved by some 10 year old who didn’t realize he was proving his own guilt, the other being a missing piece of inlay.
Now, first of all, this is a magnificent piece of curly mahogany. You just don’t see wood like this in furniture any more. The grain flows in so many fluid directions, and it shows a lot of pores. There is some chatter down there in the bottom left, the result of grain direction piercing the surface of the piece at a high angle – and that changing of grain direction is what creates the depth and appeal of highly figured wood.
Anyway, there is a hole to fill, and this wood is so unique that it can be approximated with a small piece of Hawaiian koa, which also tends to this type of grain and pore appearance.
I found a piece with a similar pattern, then sanded it close to the thickness required. I stained it to be similar in color, and after lining up the direction of the grain, I cut out a tracing of the missing piece.
Now it is patched. A little light on the tone, but it will darken with time. I bet no one would notice it as it is.
After a few coats of shellac, the top is complete.
And the secretary is back in action!
The Portable Photo Box
There was a time when I was very interested in vintage ukuleles. When I went to a gathering of ukulele players I wanted to take pictures of their instruments, so I built a portable photo set, especially for ukuleles!
The box had two folding doors that each contained two fluorescent light bulbs. The background is cloth stapled to a board with two holes that fit over two bolts at the top of the cabinet. That way I could change the color of the background depending on the color of the subject.
All folded up, it fits in the back of my Mini Cooper.
Not Your Father’s Deck
I wanted a nice place to sit where I could just walk out the door without stairs, so I built a deck. I added the two sconce lights and later added three metal panels to the wall that depicted different styles of the fleur de lis.
This shows detail of the railing. The balusters are round.
The center railing has lit stained glass caps. They are powered by solar cells and rechargeable batteries.
The Barbecue Retaining Wall
Above is the finished product. The house next door is up about two feet in elevation from the cement patio. When it rains, or when my neighbors (nice people) forget to turn off their irrigation, I get a big flood here. This wall shunts the water to the left (large raised garden), or to the right (smaller bed of lantana vine). My barbecue grill sits inside this nook.
The area was pretty ugly before, bare cement, rotten wood, and an all around eyesore. This is my prep work before I set the concrete block.
The first step is the concrete block wall.
Then I add tile, with a band of iridescent glass to spice it up.
Then it gets capped with a nice looking stone. I don’t remember what this is called, but it is a type of schist with a lot of mica in it. The glass shows up nicely in this pic as well.
So, now I have a nice place to grill my eggplant!