Category Archives: Woodwork

Cherry Dresser Progress


This is where the basic frame work of the dresser stood on April 27.  Since then I have fabricated the raised panel doors for the upper section, the drawer fronts and sides, and drawer backs and bottoms for the lower section.  I am gluing up the drawers today and hope to mount the hinged panel doors for the upper case as well.  (Click on any image to enlarge)


These are most, but not all, of the tools required for marking and cutting the hand-cut, half-blind dovetails that are used to join the drawer sides to the drawer fronts.


These are the four pairs of quarter-sawn white oak drawer sides for the four, graduated size drawers.  The dovetails are hand-cut, the rabbets and the dadoes are cut on the table saw for the drawer bottoms and drawer backs.


These are the four cherry drawer fronts with all dovetails cut to mate with the drawer sides, and the dadoes for the drawer bottoms are cut as well.


This is how a drawer front and drawer sides come together.  Note that the dadoes on both the drawer sides and drawer front line up to accommodate the drawer bottom.



The two pictures above show one of the raised panel doors for the upper section before assembly, and then the pieces glued and clamped in place.  The frame pieces are glued together, but the panel floats free in dadoes that run all the way around the inside of the frame.  This is so the wide, flat-sawn panel boards can expand or contract with changes in ambient humidity without stressing or cracking the frame.  The door frame pieces are cut from quarter-sawn cherry and are joined together with mortise and tenon joints.  The door panel is made up of two “book-matched” cherry boards arranged vertically and edge glued before the beveled edges are crafted.

Cherry Dresser, Lumber Prep


I finished 9 pages of scaled, detailed drawings for my tall case (72″ high) cherry dresser yesterday.  Today I planed about 100 board feet of my clear, air-dried cherry lumber.  Current retail price for American Black Cherry lumber is approx. $7.00 per board foot; up to $10.00 per board foot for extra wide.  [one board foot = 12″ by 12″ by 1″ thick]  The widest boards are 13 inches wide and all are planed, both sides, to a finished dimension of 7/8ths inch thick.     So although I paid $1.00 per board foot for rough cut lumber direct from the West Virginia saw mill years ago, the present value of the boards in these two pictures is well over $1,000.  After planing the lumber, I then mapped out what parts of the dresser will come from which boards.  While all the casework will be cherry, the drawer sides/backs will be hand dovetailed, solid white oak, and I will custom make the pulls from pure black, African ebony.  By the time I’m finished, I expect to have upwards of 120 hours labor in the finished piece, and although I will never sell it, the retail value would be in the $4,000~$6,000 range depending on the market.


Weed Pots in February


This is what you can do with a weed pot/Ikebana vase in February.  I clipped one branch each from my ornamental crab,  ornamental plum, and Mountain ash trees in the back yard.  The pot was turned from a “defect” in an otherwise clear Oregon black walnut board.  (Click on the image to enlarge)


The walnut pot/vase by itself is 5″ tall, 1.75″ in diameter, and has a 5/8″ diameter slug of steel bar hidden in the base for stability.

Ikebana Vases


I have a hard time calling these weed pots, although that is their genesis.  The one on the left is Wenge and the one on the right is in Adaman Paduak. They are drilled out and weighted with 5/8″ steel plugs on the bottom for stability.

I started turning utilitarian items (rolling pins, bowls, chair legs, etc.), but I’m starting to see the potential for sculpture.  (Click on the image to enlarge)

Free Hand Turning Vase Shapes


I’m considering trying to sell turned “weed pots,” made from various species of wood, in our local coop art gallery.  First, I need to refine my technique for turning, drilling out, and finishing them and decide on a practical size or sizes.  I also need to see how quickly I can finish one.   (Click on any image to enlarge)


These examples are, from l. to r., 5″ tall in Claro walnut, 8.5″ tall in American black cherry, and 6″ tall in Wenge.

Hand Carved, Painted, Northern New Mexico Style Chest

Taos Style Chest 102

This chest is my original design, utilizing carved detailing characteristic of 17th and 18th century chests from northern New Mexico around the Taos area.  It is constructed of clear Ponderosa pine, the wood of choice for that area and time period.  (Click on any image to enlarge)

Taos Style Chest 104

The stepped motif in the four corners of the lid is a part of the southwestern pueblo iconography, and can represent either mountains or clouds.  The next three photos show the chest in its unpainted state.  All four sides of the chest employ true framed, hand planed, raised panels, with the front made up of two such panels.

Small NM chest 001

Small NM chest 004

Taos Style Chest 100

In order to keep any wood end grain from showing on framing for the relief carved lid, I used some carefully executed joinery, with blind tenons as the main connective element.  This and other refined details on this chest are not commonly found in the original more rustic chests of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Small NM chest 003

American Black Cherry Portable Side Tables

Cherry Smoking Stands 002

I based these two movable side tables on an early 20th century, Arts & Crafts style, smoking stand.  The original stand was white oak, but I chose black cherry from the mountains of West Virginia for my tables.  The nice, light cherry color will deepen to a wine red over time.   They are finished with a hand rubbed oil finish and wax.  The flat table surface is right at arm chair height making them useful for small items like TV remotes.  The cross-bar handle makes them easy to move from one placement or room to another.  (Click on any image to enlarge)

Cherry Smoking Stands 019

The cherry drawer fronts are joined to the maple drawer sides with hand cut, “half-blind” dovetail joints, which means the dovetails show on the sides but not on the face of the drawer.