Over the course of a few months I've been experimenting with turning spoons. Every now and again I'd find a random piece of maple or cherry, turn the handle on the lathe, and rough out a spoon shape using a variety of techniques: straight chiseling, spoon chiseling, routing, dremeling, flapwheel grinding, scraping, etc. I'm not quite sure which method works best, but that's part of the figuring out process and that's why I ended up with about a dozen spoons in varying styles.

So for xmas, I sanded these prototypes down, finished 'em with mineral oil (plus beeswax and carauba wax), put a pretty ribbon on 'em, attached some care/feeding instructions, and gave 'em away. In the true spirit of xmas, the best present is the type that actually can be crafted in Santa's workshop and not something that can be bought at Wal-Mart.

Each spoon had a different handle/spoon shape and was personalized with the iron/toner transfer technique that I use on lots of my other projects.
Once I figure out a streamlined modus operandi, I'll start selling these too.
Again, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
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Yes, there is furniture here

No, it's not just Scrabble related stuff that I do. Somehow the tile thing caught on and blossomed into something that's not retro or modern or furniture, but it's still wood.

A current project in its final stages:

A full report on this custom secretary desk is coming. Perhaps the first week of December after I deliver it.


The Headboard

The latest addition to the Nelson series, Project Mike: The Headboard.

This was inspired by a customer's request about eight months ago who wanted a slatted headboard. I ended up not making one for that customer, but went ahead and built one for our brand spanking new kingsize bed.

I often wondered if a mattress really did matter when it comes to sleeping comfort. After all, it's just a thing to lay on, right? And I can fall asleep anywhere -- the couch, the floor, the car, the bus, hard surface, soft surface, whatever. So when it came time to replace our 10 year old queen mattress, the woman suggested we go big. Real big. As in King.

Of course this meant scrapping the queen frame too. Now we've got a king (and a split boxspring) that's planted on the floor, sans bedframe.

And to answer my question about whether a mattress has anything to do with sleepability, I have to conclude with a resounding yes indeedy. Now I sleep completely uninterrupted without waking constantly in the middle of the night -- why I thought waking up constantly was normal, I don't know. Now we frequently have trouble getting up in the morning 'cause this new mattress is just so darn enveloping and soft and warm and cozy and squishy and joyful.

Anyway, to the headboard! Slats, all cherry wood, a couple of coats of tung oil (with lots more finishing to do later), and no frame yet. Due to various other projects piling up on my to-do list (a secretary desk, tons of giant scrabble tiles, various turned pieces, and a custom quadruple size scrabble board (to be played with 400 standard scrabble tiles)), I'll have to wait a while before attempting to make a frame. More details on the secretary desk and the ginormous scrabble board are forthcoming.

Dimensions are as follows:

Length: 80"
Height: 42"

Price: not for sale

Cherry wood. Preliminarily finished in tung oil.

To arrange commission of your own slatted headboard, send an email to craigwoodworks at gmail dot com


The Eames House

Yes, I like Eames furniture. And yes, I admit I had no idea their house was in Pacific Palisades until a few months ago. And yes, I further admit that two years ago I was as ignorant as they come regarding anything that the Eames' ever did regarding furniture, architecture, film, style, life, etc.

In my former life I was a high end audio/video installation professional. In other words, I played with rich peoples' expensive blinky lighted (with buttons and switches) toys. 'Cause he who dies with the most expensive blinky lighted (with buttons and switches) toys wins. And he who has the biggest plasma screen hung on a wall can definitely compensate for shortcomings in other areas. I'm referring to a certain loud-mouthed former NFL wide receiver who will not be named, who just had to own a monstrous 103" behemoth. But I digress.

Anyway, there was a home theater installation I worked on a while back where the guy (not the aforementioned NFL player, but another rich guy with lots of toys) had a cool projector, a bigass screen, and a gagillion watts of speaker amplification in a dedicated theater space on top of the garage. For seating in this home theater, he had a fleet of Eames Lounge Chairs with Ottomans. By 'fleet' I mean at least a dozen of each.

Of course back then I didn't know what I was resting my grubby shoes on, and thought they were just nifty looking matching comfy ottomans with nifty looking matching comfy chairs. They were probably newer repros, but who knows? This guy was oozing overflowingly with wealth that he probably could have gone out and procured a dozen rosewood originals.

The point is that I just didn't know what I was experiencing when basking in the glory of that fleet of fabulous furniture.

Fast forward a few years and after my wife has educated me significantly in the lexicon of MCM, and here we are at the Eames House. Yup, right there on Chautauqua, just a few hundred yards up from PCH. I must've driven up that street dozens of times during my career as an installer, never knowing that right out the truck window there were four (count 'em four) case study houses: Eames, Entenza, West (Walker), and a Neutra.

A few months ago we were watching the second disc of the Eames films collection, the piece entitled House. And then I said, hey I'll google that and see what happens. And yes indeed, this is what I found: http://www.eamesfoundation.org/index.html and it's available for visitation. And we took a visit, just three weeks ago. The only catch is you can't take pictures of the inside.

What was interesting was the little conversation we had with the friendly docent at the door who was somewhat surprised that we're local and from LA. She told us that the majority of the visitors come from out of country and it's rare when a local comes by. Hmm, a comment on the not-so-enthusiastic state of architectural/historical interest among Los Angeles residents?

And during a leisurely stroll through the vast open space in front of the house, we came across some Tonka trucks, seemingly frozen in time. They probably had not been moved since forever as the rust indicated. You could just picture the Eames children (like in the House movie), running around the grounds, then moving some dirt with the Tonka trucks.


Nelson: Project Hotel

This piece has to go now! I have another coffee table that's just being finished now that wants to move into the living room. There's no room for this one. Price now slashed to $300, or best offer.

Nelson: Project Hotel, aka The Square Donut. A slatted Nelson-style coffee table that's square-ish and has a hole in the middle. Part of the ongoing 26-part Nelson series.

This project was proposed waaaaay back in April, was begun waaaay back in May, and whose top was finished fairly quickly (probably waaay back at the end of May). It was the legs that gave me pause since I had no idea what I wanted to do with them. Square legs? Straight legs? Angled legs? Long legs? Spindles? Ah, yes, spindles.

It being over 100 degrees on most days for the past few months here in the San Fernando Valley, a four-part session with the spokeshave to create spindles was something I kept putting off. But lo! And behold! Lathe acquisition! Turned spindles! No more sweat session with spokeshave!

Now the obvious question: why is there a hole in the middle? The running joke around here is that we're gonna invite some kids over, plop them in the hole, give them some knives and meat and a floppy hat, and hold Benihana auditions. So if you'd like to steal the idea, purchase the table, and have at it, then feel free.

Oh wait, better idea -- put a little grill thingy in the middle, have all your guests sit on pillows around the table, and do a little Korean BBQ grill-your-own-meat in the middle of the table thing.

I also keep thinking about that scene in Wallstreet when Gordon Gecko drops the canape plate right through the hole in the faux glass coffee table at Bud's place during the meeting with Bluestar employees...

The real reason there's a hole in the middle? I don't remember. I'm sure I had a grand plan or a grand delusion of being artsy or a grand vision of the future of coffee tables with a built-in place for a trash can, but at the moment I simply can't recall. But I think it looks cool-- you get to see the toothed notches four times: twice on the outer edges and twice more on the inner edges.

Dimensions are as follows:

Length: 35 1/2"
Width: 26 1/4" (alas, not a square, but square-ish)
Height: 15"

Price: $300

Hard maple. Finished in tung oil.

To arrange purchase, send an email to craigwoodworks at gmail dot com



When I hear the word drumstick, I think of ice cream in a cone with the top dipped in chocolate and a sprinkling of nuts on top. But this is about something else.

My lathe is my friend. My spokeshave used to be my friend, but it's been demoted to just an acquaintance. While finishing up some spindles today I came across a skinny-ish piece of ash and said to myself, "Drumstick!" 'Cause nowadays I'm dreaming up all kinds of nonsense that I can make with my friend the lathe: pepper mills, French rolling pins, regular rolling pins, lamps, pens, pencils, letter openers, big wooden spoons and forks, dildos, bottle stoppers, chairs, stair spindles, light sabers, dagger hilts, chessmen, chesswomen, and of course drumsticks.

Anyway, I chucked up the ash, gave it a spin, and out came my best approximation of a drumstick. An approximation was all I could muster 'cause I didn't have a live sample to measure or copy (since I sold my drums and my collection of sticks/mallets a loooong time ago). It's a little on the short side (12.75") compared to a 5A (~16.25"), but it looks right. (The skinny-ish piece of ash was only 13.5" long.) There's a taper, there's a tip, there's a rounded butt, and there's a signature. 'Cause it's not a drumstick unless it's an official Signature Model.

So here it is, the Carlo Signature Stick, model 1138. 'Cause I'm a rock star. With only one stick. I'll be playing one-handed until its twin can be fabricated.

Length 12 3/4"
Diameter 7/8"

Ash, with a few coats of satin poly
Signed, limited edition (1 of 1)

Price: $1,000,000

Cash only (in a briefcase)

Free delivery to anywhere in the world


Nelson: Project Juliet

Letter J, Project Juliet, Nelson piece number 10, The Shoe Rack.

I call it the shoe rack 'cause that's what came to mind when the dimensions of this thing became evident. What you use it for is completely up to you: a plant stand, a foot stool, a kids' bench, a mini coffee table for those tiny moments of coffee drinking, or even a shoe rack.

Make sure you look at the dimensions at the end of this post 'cause the pictures might make it appear to be larger than it actually is. What it definitely isn't is the size of a regular Nelson bench.

Made from leftover pieces of maple from Project Kilo: The Square Coffee Table (not yet completed), this mini bench is something I threw together 'cause I didn't want to let those perfectly good lengths of maple go to the lumber limbo pile. That lumber limbo pile of mine is growing to unmanageable proportions, so it's best if I find a good use for certain pieces rather than subject them to insignificance and loneliness.

Why these pieces were rejects from the square coffee table is due to a failed planer sled experiment. Without getting into the ugly details, these pieces ended up with a little dip in their centers. If you look at the second picture below, you might be able to notice that the center of the shoe rack is of a slightly smaller width than the ends of it. Slightly. Not a lot. Slightly.

This is an all glue joint affair without the signature notches of some of my previous Nelson-style work. The glue blocks are oriented upwards so that the end grain is visible: this resulted in some chipping of the ends of the glue blocks when attempting to flatten the top with a hand plane. Must rethink my strategy in that regard next time. I think it looks cool and gives the thing some character ;>

Spindles! Lathe turned spindles! I finally got my lathe and these spindles were the first things I spun. I'm loving the lathe so much that my spokeshave just might get a retirement ceremony and end up in the tool limbo pile (which is not as ignominious a destination as the lumber limbo pile).

Below is the shoe rack demonstrating its usefulness in a way befitting its title. As you can see, we have a thing for Keen shoes.

Dimensions are as follows:

Length: 34 1/2"
Width: 7 1/4"
Height: 12"

Price: $150 Sold!

Hard maple. Finished in tung oil.

To arrange purchase, send an email to craigwoodworks at gmail dot com.


The Wall Structure, Part Two

Nelson Bench Project India: The Wall Structure, Part Two

Part Two meaning that it is installed and doing what it is meant to be doing: displaying stuff.

To refresh your recollection, it's a 16 foot wide by 2 foot tall slat structure with four slat shelves. It's a Nelson Bench hung on a wall, only it's not a bench. Hopefully that makes sense. It's broken up into four sections, each section being 4x2. Mounting is with some butterfly through-toggles in the drywall. Rather than bother with hitting studs ('cause my finicky stud finder seemed to not find 16" OC), I opted for equally spacing the drilled holes on the slat surface and just going with the toggles.

More on the Nelson Bench Project.

The original post has some SketchUp renderings if you're interested.

The first six pics were taken just after installation.

Although it's not wood, the metal bar structure was also part of the commission. This is a clothing company after all and the intention is to display a few things on the shelves and to hang a ton of clothes on a rack. During planning for this operation, I discovered something called Speed-Rail fittings for the junctions of the bars. With a few twists of an allen key, yous gots yourself some snug neato elbow fittings, T fittings and flange fittings. MUCH easier to manage than dealing with threaded pipe.

And the two pics below are with accessories in place. Throw up a few purses, slather on a bucket of clothes, and you get magic.

All ash construction. Finished with tung oil.

Dimensions of wall structure:
16' wide
2' tall

Dimensions of each shelf:
22" wide
1' deep

Dimensions of clothes rails:
5' lengths (x3) 1" GRC (~1 1/4" nominal)
55" height
16" offset from wall
Speed-Rail fittings

Price: permanent installation, not for sale

If you have a space that needs similar treatment and would like an estimate and some SketchUp renderings, shoot me an email and we'll discuss.


The Wall Structure

Nelson Bench Project India: The Wall Structure

Construction begins today on the latest George Nelson Bench project, code named India. It's a wall-mounted slatted structure that's 16 feet wide and 2 feet tall, with four slatted shelves.

This one's pretty monstrous - kinda like building a super long Nelson bench and slapping it on a wall. Well, not kinda like, but actually building a super long Nelson bench and slapping it on a wall.

Since the slats are transversely oriented, the Nelson effect is somewhat different. It should, however, work well in the space that it's intended for as it will draw the gaze upward and extend the height of the room.

The finished piece will be written up extensively in a future post along with bunches of pictures.

All ash. So the grain will be like my four foot Nelson.


The Slat House

We were driving around Pasadena on Saturday and my better half wanted to swing by her absolutest favoritest store in the whole wide world - Anthropologie. There's a little ritual she goes through every time one of their catalogs comes in the mail that involves oohing and aahing (but no chanting) at not only the clothing, but also the photography and the layout and the models and the accessories and the thickness of the paper.

Anyway, this particular Pasadena Anthropologie (on Lake Street for those familiar with the area), has a facade that's all slatted. And my natural reaction to this was, hey, that's an Anthropologie-store-cum-Nelson Bench! Of course you can't sit on it, but it's the look that counts.

I didn't think at the time to take a picture, but it goes a little something like this:

So we got to thinking, since we have a dual desire to fence our house and improve the look of the exterior, why not slather it with slats? It's one thing to make vertical slats and create a fence that looks like, well, a regular wooden fence. It's another thing altogether to rotate the slats horizontally and do something not so regular.

My previous life (i.e., occupation) involved driving around areas of the Hollywood Hills, Beverly Hills, any other Hills, and the Valley, and encounter I did numerous examples of horizontally placed slats on fences and on houses. But there sure aren't any around our neighborhood where you're apt to find chainlink or picket or stucco or brick or vertical cedar plank. So hey, let's do something crazy. Let's slat it up, flip it, and rub it down. Oh no.

And therefore I christen the George Nelson Bench Project Kilo: The Fence. In combination with an exterior house paint job and construction of a gray water wetlands water treatment system enclosed by a slat wall, this project will most definitely be the whackiest undertaking of the bunch. Part of the George Nelson Bench Project.


Length: Out of control
Height: Large-ish
Materials used: Wood, lots of it

Price: Not for sale

Follow-ups on this will be posted as I progress.


Steaming Pile of Mulch

I know, I know, this is unrelated to woodworking and midcentury and modern and furniture and slat benches, but I just got so giddy this morning when a bigass truck pulled up to our house and unloaded a gigantonormous pile of steaming wood chips onto the chunk of empty land next to the driveway.

Now I have enough mulch to keep me busy mulching for the next few weeks.

I found it on craigslist -- I wish the post was still active so I could link it here, but when searching for "wood chips" under "free stuff" on LA's craigslist, it wasn't there anymore.

It's a tree/shrub removal company that's just looking for places to dump their truckloads at the end of removal jobs. A perfect situation for someone like me that needs to mulch a massive garden. And free! (But I did tip the driver.)

I don't think my wheelbarrow is gonna be big enough.


Two more benches out the door

I met a cool dude yesterday. He bought two of my benches. I think I'll give him a plug here:


Now that my tiny Nelson footstool is gone and my second piano bench is not paired with my piano anymore, I realize three things:

One. I can't put my feet up when on the couch watching TV.

Two. I have nowhere to sit if I want to play the piano.

Three. There aren't many pieces left for sale! So I gots to gets movin' on the groovin' and havta get workin' on the buildin' and for real now gettin' cuttin' on the toolin'.

Time. Must find more time. Too busy

This post sponsored by iTypeFaster Transcriptions.


Current Nelson Project: The Square Donut

My sister-in-law is an architect. While in architecture school a few years ago, she casually mentioned to me that google sketchup is something I should poke around with 'cause it's a cool little (free!) tool that I could use to plan our house remodel or experiment with furniture ideas.

Me being me, I ignored the suggestion. For a variety of reasons. I didn't have the time. I didn't feel like poking around with new software because there's a certain state of mind one must be in before devoting half a day to learning. I had an attachment to pencil and paper that's similar to the attachment I still have to books and newspapers and magazines -- I'm sure you've heard of such novelty items.

Of course, I discovered coffee/espresso after a vay-cay in France not long ago, and now that state of mind can be activated with a few pushes of the 'grind' button on my minigrinder and a quick stab at the 'on' button on my coffee dripping wondermachine.

Fast forward to six months ago when I listened to all the back episodes of Dave Noftz' podcast at modernwoodshop.com. He talked about computers and their place in woodworking, and mentioned sketchup. Here's that specific podcast: http://modernwoodshop.com/2008/02/02/episode-3-digital-woodworking/

So I said hmph. And then I said said maybe. And then I fired up the coffee maker. And then I devoted an evening to google's thingamabob. http://sketchup.google.com

And wow. Simple. Intuitive. Powerful. In 3D! No 3D glasses required. I giggled like a little girl when I first built up a virtual furniture piece and rotated it around and around and around and twisted it and turned it and zoomed it and coddled it and petted it and showed it off to my wife. Looky looky what I did! Yay!

What fascinated me the most was the idea of building up a piece and simultaneously keeping the individual sections of the piece intact, resulting in both a rendering of what the thing'll look like in the end AND renderings of each component. Like an instant exploded view. Throw in the tape measure tool and you can get dimensions of every nook and cranny.

So here's what I'm working on now. Just a simple little rendering with, naturally, a look at what it'll look like in the end AND two renderings of the key slat components.

It's square with a hole in it. A square donut. The leg structure is still undecided, but you get the idea. And more importantly, I get the idea. I can see exactly what's going on and can see exactly what the two slat pieces need to look like in order to fit into the four transverse teethed parts. Part of The Nelson Bench Project.

I mention frequently on posts, through email, on craigslist or on etsy, that a custom design can be created for you if you have some thoughts on how you want your furniture to proceed. And I further mention that I'll sketchup something for you for free. Well this is exactly the type of visualization you'll get.

Now if I can only figure out how to embed a 3D model instead of a jpeg within a post. That'd be cool. Then anyone can grab the square donut and twist it and turn it and zoom it and say Yay!

(Oh yeah, note to self: If sister-in-law suggests something in the future, act on it right quick.)


Nelson Bench on Dollhouse

Project Echo's post first mentioned the reasoning behind the military alphabet project listings and its roots within the show Dollhouse on Fox.

Here's an example of a six foot Nelson Bench from Friday's episode:



Nelson: Project Golf

We redecorated the house a few weeks ago. The tinyness of our house results in our having either a dining room or a living room, but not both. Since the dismantling of the dining room (and the dismantling of the dining table-- see Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) we've gone on a quest to make the room a true living room. And in the spirit of mid-century modern restyling, this living room is slowly but surely filling itself with pieces that fit the style.

Our 2nd bedroom used to function as a dedicated TV room, but to make the living room more of a living room, we decided to move the TV watching from out of the TV room and into the living room. The TV room is now a dedicated library.

And since the TV has moved to a wall mounting position in the living room, I had to relocate the associated equipment from the dedicated TV room closet to a more appropriate electronic gear cabinet. It's a hallway linen closet that was used for storage, but is now the electronic nerve center of the house.

And finally, the point of this post: In order to cover this electronic closet, it needed a door. What better type of door to make than a George Nelson style door.

Project Golf. The 7th project in The Nelson Bench Project. The Nelson Door.

Yup, it's not a bench. You can't sit on it. It can't be used as a coffee table. It's hinged. It was built in two sections so the top and bottom of the door can open independently. The wood used to make this project cost a grand total of $10. The spacing between the slats is considerably smaller than the slat spacing on the benches I've built so far-- mainly so you can't see into the closet.

The $10 worth of wood is from 11 pieces of 1x3 furring from Lowes at 85 cents apiece. I'm assuming they're pine ('cause it smells like pine wood when I cut 'em), but Lowes just calls them "whitewood." I don't know what whitewood is. If you're not familiar with furring, it's the least expensive stuff you can buy 'cause it's not meant for building things, but for temporary support for cabinet installation, or for building out surfaces to make them flush with other surfaces, or for supporting paneling and the like, or other activities that aren't furniture related. (Note that furring can be used as both a noun and a verb.) I picked out the straightest pieces I could find, cut 'em into 3/4 x 1 slats, and glued 'em up.

There's a coat of paint that's the same color as all the trim in our house which is a basic off-white shade called Bermuda Sand. The hinges were some simple square thingys I found in the bottom of my old tool box. I've probably had these hinges for 15 years, but never used them for anything. Thus, the first rule of random parts and hardware holds true: Keep Everything! You never know when you're gonna need it.

What's inside the closet? From top to bottom: AV receiver, TiVo, laser printer, flat panel monitor (with modem/router/switch/airport/UPS behind the monitor), an HTPC and an auxiliary PC connected to a KVM, and an inkjet printer. All of that gear controls the living room TV setup, the virtual DVD jukebox, and the whole house networking. The gear used to reside in the closet in the dedicated TV room and took up the entire closet space, but it has gotten much more simplified since its last reconfiguration and can thus fit inside this smaller linen closet space. Simplified = no more DishNetwork ('cause with over-the-air HD and Hulu, we don't need satellite anymore, and thus three satellite boxes are gone), no more DVD player (since all the DVDs have been ripped to the 4TB of storage in the HTPC), no more VCR ('cause what's a VCR? is that like an 8-track? or a cassette tape? or betamax?), no more auxiliary audio amplifier ('cause the single AV receiver is sufficient for all the audio in the house), and one less power strip ('cause of all of the above things that no longer need to be plugged in).


Width: 22"
Height: 7' 6"

Price: not for sale

Not for sale because it's attached to the house. But if you want a custom Nelson door, let me know and I'll work up a SketchUp drawing and give you an estimate.

Additionally, if you'd like guidance on how to build your own HTPC and rid yourself of unwieldy DVDs by stuffing them all into a massive multi-terabyte array, let me know and I'll give you lots of details on how my system works.

Email at craigwoodworks@gmail.com


Nelson: Project Foxtrot

I acquired a pair of homemade speaker stands from a dude I know. He didn't need 'em anymore 'cause he redecorated and his surround speakers didn't need a device to keep them elevated. So I gladly took them off his hands for disassembly and reuse/repurposing.

They were made of pine. The kind of pre-cut S4S (surfaced on four sides) that you pick up from Lowes or Home Depot. A dark walnut stain was applied to them, so I decided to keep the color intact during my reclamation project.

And here it is, another addition to the Reclamation Project and The George Nelson Bench Project:

The Spindled Bench!

While the speaker stands donated their lives for the creation of the top of this bench, the spindled legs were taken from an old pine table I built 12 years ago that wasn't being used. Oh wait! Remember the table top that was repurposed for The End Table? The legs for this bench were the legs that used to be attached to that table top in its previous life.

The spindles were spokeshaved (again). Read more about that in my previous post entitled Spokeshave.

I had a little trouble applying stain to the uncovered and newly cut surfaces so that the color matches with the speaker stand color. And a little more trouble with the stain adhering properly to the spindles. Note to self: more sanding! I don't know if you can see it in the pictures, but the dark walnut color is kinda blotchy and uneven. This is something I like to call character.

Dimensions are as follows:

Length: 47 3/4"
Width: 12 3/4"
Height: 14 1/4"

Price: $150 Sold!

Although this piece has sold (yippee!), one can be custom-crafted for you if this style of piece is what you're interested in. Any size or any wood species-- it's up to you. Email me with your ideas and I'll SketchItUp for you and give you a price estimate.


Cork: The Trivet

I love wine. Living in semi-close proximity to the Napa Valley (if a 6 hour drive can be considered semi-close proximity) and extremely close proximity to Santa Barbara (think Sideways), my wife and I are frequent wine country visitors and daily wine consumers.

Blame the French and the Italians, who we had to emulate during our trips to their respective countries. Wine is served with every meal, so long as its followed by a long and leisurely stroll to nowhere in particular. When in Rome...

Anyway, we've got a plethora of corks and a similar plethora of cork trivets. My first trivets were created about 12 years ago and they've served me well over the years. Now I've made more and want to share in the corkiness.

These are made with 100% real wine corks made from actual cork. As in, from a cork tree. Note that there are no plastic or artificially created cork products in these trivets since they tend to melt when exposed to high heat. It's a trivet after all and its purpose is to protect a surface from a hot pan! I've seen many a mangled plastic cork from my earlier attempts at cork trivet creations.

This is just a peek into the world of The Cork Project. I'm trying my hand at furniture/vase/lamp building out of corks, so stay tuned for those.

I know, it's not retro modern furniture per se, but we'll file it under accessories for modern living. Recycled. Reclaimed. Repurposed.

Two sizes available.
Price: $20 per pair for the smaller size
Price: $30 per pair for the larger size

To arrange purchase, send an email to craigwoodworks@gmail.com



I just came in from the shop after an afternoon workout with my spokeshave. My current project is another crossover event that combines the George Nelson Bench Project with the Reclamation Project. Details will be available when that piece is complete, but for now I'd just like to take a little time to talk about my spokeshave. 'Cause me likey.

It's a Kunz half-round spokeshave that I picked up from Woodcraft. Why this one? 'Cause it was cheap? And I'd never used a spokeshave before so I didn't want to go all out and get something like a Boggs? And Woodcraft was having a sale?

Its name tells you exactly what it was originally used for in the caveman days (yes, I do mean caveman days- when spokeshaves were made of stone!), and that is for shaving spokes. As in, making wheels with rounded spokes. Nowadays, they see a lot of time in chair making operations for rounded spindles on chair backs and chair legs.

I've used it on a few different projects now, mostly for making tapered spindles. The current project involves turning 2x2 square pine legs into tapered spindled legs.

And hence the workout. And a pile of shavings.

Shavings good. Sawdust messy. And I don't have to wear a mask.


The End Table

A buddy of mine recently did up his garage. Floors, insulation, drywall, lighting, a new door, air, new electrical, a pop-down attic ladder, a sink, etc. A new baby can do that to a garage, especially if there're only two bedrooms in the house. This is not to say that the baby can do construction work, but that the baby causes the need to do the construction work. The 2nd bedroom becomes the baby room and the old office moves to the garage.

We went over to visit this new fangled garage office/den and I discovered two trash cans full of wood scraps. Cut up pieces, all about a foot long and a foot wide, that came from the old interior of the garage. Apparently they were long and wide planks running horizontally where stuff could be screwed or nailed to like lawn equipment, shelving or other miscellaneous garage junk.

I picked out a few choice pieces, planed 'em down, and thought to myself, "Self, what should I built out of this?"

(If anyone can tell me what kind of wood is/was used as random garage wood in the 1950's, then please feel free to email. It's a softish kinda wood, probably pine? Or doug fir? They're all 3/4" thick with widths varying from 6" to a full foot. Hmmm...)

The result is another entry in The Reclamation Project:

The End Table

The reclaimed garage wood was used for the leg structure only. The table top came from an old side table I built 10 years ago that no longer had a home in the house. It used to be a rectangle, but I oblonged it so it fit more with the look of the legs.

I didn't want to bother with a router roundover bit, so all edge easing was done with a spokeshave. There's something about that little tool that just does it for me.

Inspiration for this piece is the Bradshaw line of tables from Room&Board.

Here are my dimensions:

Length of table top: 23"
Width of table top: 17 1/2"
Height: 22 1/2"

Top is made of repurposed pine. Legs are made of reclaimed garage wood. Could be pine? Could be douglas fir (like 2x4 wood, but thinner and from the 1950's)?

Price: $150

To arrange purchase, send an email to craigwoodworks at gmail dot com


Nelson: Project Echo

The military alphabet thing started after watching the first episode of the Hit TV Show On Fox! Dollhouse! Yes, I know, why do I watch that show? Did I really fall for Fox's scheming and conniving in their attempt to attract viewers with scantily clad women? On a Friday night? Right after that Terminator show with the scantily clad girl terminator?

Anyway, Eliza Dushku's character is named Echo. And the mysterious bad guy's name is Alfa. And the other girl's name is Sierra. And I had to explain to the wife why they were named such. And it became a little thing of ours that we had to know every letter of that alphabet. Because it's always a thing of mine to know everything about everything. Because I am officially in Jeopardy! training as of last week. (More on that in another post.)

So here we are at letter E, the fifth in the Nelson Bench series, or Project Echo. I have some reclaimed red oak that I wanted to use for something- the problem being that most of the pieces were smallish or shortish or thinnish. Read more on The Reclamation Project.

Project Echo is therefore a crossover event: Like when ABC mixed up the casts of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. It's a member of both The George Nelson Bench Project and The Reclamation Project. Only without the blood, the witty banter, the wispy music that's better suited to the CW network, or the doctors.

During the cutting-up-the-old-red-oak process, I discovered lots of worminess in the wood. At this time I'd like to officially rename the term worminess to character. All the little trails and divots impart lots of character into this piece. Yeah.

The legs are skinny, tapered and rounded by hand (with the spokeshave again), and are stained a dark chocolate brown. One of these days I'll use the spokeshave for the purpose by which it is named: making a wheel with spokes.

Project Echo's name? The Plant Stand.

It was supposed to be some sort of end table or side table, but since it's so light and airy and delicate and small and has skinny legs, then it had to be demoted to a Plant Stand. Of course you can put whatever you want on it. Just don't sit on it.

Dimensions are as follows:

Table top: 14 1/4" x 13 1/2"
Height: 25"

Construction is of repurposed red oak, with ash end pieces (the toothed parts), and ash legs.

Price: No longer available. Given to my mother for Mother's Day.

To arrange purchase, send an email to craigwoodworks@gmail.com