The Woodshop Shed

adventures in woodworking and home maintenance, from my shop in an oversized backyard shed

June 2021
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Another Herman Nutcracker

Furnished content.
(from Lumberjocks.com)


Another Herman NutcrackerIt was the pandemic and like most of us frustrated termites I got bored. So.. maybe it was time for another Herman. I've been making these for about 10 years now. This will be #6. I've always wanted (or thought about making) a Gippetto and Pinocchio Herman nut cracker. The doll itself was actually started as a vet but then I remembered the Pinocchio I wanted to do. After a pretty much basic Gippetto, I set about making the Pinocchio. At first i thought mu hands wouldn't let me do the detail on a head and I was going to make it from clay but wasn't happy at all with the result. So back to wood as usual. Legs and arms are movable, the hands were compound cuts, wood pins for all the joints. I turned the body for Gippetto on the lathe as well as Pinocchio's head, then cut the arm and leg attachment areas. The workbench wasn't like any other on my other Herman's either. It took me about 4 weeks to do with the limited time I could do in the shop. Then on to the paint and Gippetto's apron. All-in-all it took about5+ weeks but it was a great distraction while Mum and I were sequestered in the condo. Enjoy.



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Wedding "Puzzle" Box

Furnished content.
(from Lumberjocks.com)


Wedding "Puzzle" BoxAbout five years ago, a dear friend came to me and asked if 'Papa' could make a box for her upcoming wedding. She said she/they wanted something they could maybe “assemble at the service, to signify the 'coming-together' of their two families”. Sounded like a challenge, but I couldn't tell her no! Threw out a bunch of ideas that didn't work and then decided what this puzzle called for was, well… a puzzle. Hence, this box was born!She picked out the beech board from our local Woodcraft (then Midwest Woodworkers) in Omaha, because she loved the grain & knot pattern you see on the front. That and a general idea of the size and basic design was what I got to work with.This lid is one of my favorite creations! There are 5 people in their new, blended family – so, 5 pieces for the puzzle top. Each fits in one spot only. They have a small rare earth magnet set in their backs, which attach to some steel washers embedded between the two sheets of 3/16” birch ply that make up the lid base. The woods are purpleheart, yellowheart, redheart and paela/chakte viga. The centerpiece is a slice off a figured walnut chunk I'd had around for over 6 years; waiting for it to tell me what it wanted to be. The barrier strips on the sides of the puzzle are bands of each of the five woods in the top. They also kept me from having to fit pieces to match those convoluted corners! The pictures don't do that beech front piece justice… the colors and grain are gorgeous! Cutting the top off was kind of a sphincter-clenching moment for me, but it worked almost perfectly. It's a simple lift-up lid and brass hinges, like she wanted. Interior is soft red velvet – my idea, because I thought it looked good. Basic dimensions are about 12” wide / 8” deep / 5” high (-ish…) Finish is 3 or 4 coats of Minwax satin poly.There were a few joyful tears and a lot of hugs when I delivered it, along with a lot of looking and touching and ooh-ing and ah-ing at the wedding party! I think it was a hit. Hope you like it, too!

P.S. I got a Delta 10/20 drum sander for this project, so that's another bonus!
P.P.S. It was a gift, so no price tag on it, or even an estimate



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posted at: 12:00am on 06-Jun-2021
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Tansu-Styled Bookcase from Walnut and Sycamore

Furnished content.
(from Lumberjocks.com)


Tansu-Styled Bookcase from Walnut and SycamoreMy wife asked for a bookshelf for her 3 ring binders. She wanted to place it in our bedroom, straight ahead from where, if get night terrors, I'd see it. Realizing that looking at something really ugly was likely to cause the night terrors in the first place, I resolved to build a tansu-style bookcase.I had a couple of design goals with said bookcase. One, I wanted to use my Festool Domino Joiner. Second, I usually build stuff traditionally, out of solid wood, so for this thing I resolved to try higher grade veneered plywood. Finally, I had an old glued-up sycamore panel laying around the shop that looked nice, and was far too big for any real project, so I resolved to saw it up for some visual interest.I build in all styles, and have an excessive hardware collection, also in all styles. So I decided to go with the Tansu theme, in part to prevent myself from buying more drawer handles. I think these are from Lee Valley.The bookcase itself is indeed made out of walnut plywood, trimmed in solid wood. The shelves are are joined to the sides with a seemingly infinite number of those little Domino things. I think that had I made another one, it all would have gone faster. There's no question in my mind that if I had a bona-fide plywood-cutting sliding table table saw, everything would have been “square enough” the first time. The challenge with plywood that the solid wood woodworker never faces is that if things don't fit, you just get out your handy plane and shave away. This is harder to do with veneered plywood, because if you go just a little too far, well, it's not walnut plywood any more.What this meant was I had to be happy with a different level of relative flatness between the solid wood edging and the plywood surfaces. And I had to resaw all the crosscuts on the shelves BEFORE I realized I needed to tune up my sliding crosscut jig.The definite high point of the carcase are the sycamore front drawers, though. Sycamore is notoriously unstable, but as a set of drawer fronts, I think they look crazy good, and approach some tropical hardwoods for interlocking grain coolness! The drawer dovetails are my typical ones for a larger carcase—I use my Leigh Dovetail jig for the half-blind dovetails in the front, and cut them by hand for the back to keep skills up. No apologies for not cutting the front ones by hand—all that chiseling hurts my wrists.The details are the usual set of Greene and Greene – kinda things I thought would look good. Finish is Minwax Tung Oil finish, which is rapidly turning into my go-to for an oil finish. Very predictable. Very yellow. The back is a sheet of birch plywood, chosen because I didn't want things to be too dark inside the shelves. Considering how much veneered walnut plywood costs, it was probably a good call. But I'm not sure the thing wouldn't look better with a walnut back. Oh well. At least I don't think the whole thing will give me night terrors. But I'm not completely sure. It hasn't been filled with those ugly 3 ring binders yet!



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posted at: 12:00am on 06-Jun-2021
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