Interesting Woodworking Link

Friday, March 27, 2009

Episode #97 - Building an Engagement Hope Chest

As a woodworker, can you imagine a more wonderful way to celebrate an engagement than the gift of a hope chest? I was quite surprised and honored when my wife asked that I build a cherry hope chest as an engagement gift for our niece Casey. Casey and her fiancée, Matt, will be married this September. The entire family is looking forward to celebrating their engagement this June. Sorry to share so much personal information here, but I think you all will get the point that I need to get my rear out in the shop since time is clicking by rapidly!

I just finished ordering veneer supplies for this chest. You will note that the SketchUp drawing is somewhat bland appearing. This was no accident since Beth and I were still exploring veneer options for the top and side panels. We finally decided on flat cut cherry for the side panels and eucalyptus burl for the top.

Click veneer image for link to Veneer Supplies

Why eucalyptus burl? Great question. Since Casey and Matt live in California, and because our family has roots in California, we wanted to incorporate an interesting native California species. With that in mind I was considering burl veneers from redwood, madrone or eucalyptus. After investigating these species, I eventually settled on a beautiful piece of eucalyptus burl veneer that will make a striking contrast to the cherry solids.

Click veneer image for link to Veneer Supplies

Cherry is perhaps my all time favorite primary wood species. From a historical perspective, cherry has some interesting symbolism relevant to an engagement gift. In China, the cherry blossom represents feminine beauty and the Japanese believe cherry blossoms exemplify the ephemeral nature of life. Cherry blossoms also symbolize clouds given their nature to bloom en masse.

Now, I have a number of (potential) surprises up my sleeve that I will share during the progress of the project. I also have a hard time point at the end of April to have of the casework complete. More on that as April approaches! That leaves the month of May to complete the inner tray. “A simple tray shouldn’t take you that long” you might say . . . I hope I don’t prove that wrong as the tray is one of my surprises!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Episode #96 - Spring Project List

Benchtop Aid for the Festool Domino

A Peek Preview of My Spring Projects List

My wife Beth wants (as a woodworker this should sound familiar!) me to build a 3-panel cherry-wedding chest for our niece. Beth wants exterior metal veneers, curly maple inner veneers and a solid cherry frame. She is considering having our landscape artist friend paint a small landscape on the center panel (18x24). I don’t have a lot of time to dally with the wedding chest, as Beth would like to deliver the chest when we visit her brother’s home in Fall River this Spring.

I also will be working on an oak gallery display shelf and a new jig to facilitate more effective use of my Domino joiner. I am just starting to sketch the design for the chest while working out wood and materials concerns.

I do a fair amount of loose tenon joinery with “dominos” and a Festool Domino. I always jury-rig a temporary assembly system fashioning of a support and backstop to support rails, stiles, and any other project pieces. This jig will take advantage of the T-Track system that runs around the top apron of my bench. It is designed to sit on the end of my bench and is fully adjustable to accommodate the common rail & style sizes I use. For benches without a T-Track system, a modified version of this jig could easily be made that utilizes standard bench clamps.