It all started with a dead cedar tree and a need for a 42 foot long privacy fence.
I cut down a cedar tree that had recently died and cut it into eight foot long logs. I used the tractor to move the logs to the mill.
I cut eight 8 foot long 4 x 4 posts, fourteen 6 foot long 2 x 4’s, fourteen 5 foot long spacers and two hundred and seventeen 6 foot long 1.5 x 2 laths.
For finishing and preserving the posts, 2 x 4 cross pieces and 1 x 1 spacers I decided to try a Japanese woodworking technique called shou sugi ban. I used a torch to scorch the outer surface of the wood – just enough that the wood developed an alligator skin like texture.
As the fence is for privacy I decided to go with a lighter build and make the fence with a ‘woven’ lath design. I made seven sections just over 6 feet in length.
Last summer we bought a circa 1900 steamer trunk made by L. McBrine and Co. – rather unique having drawers. It was in pretty rough shape, especially the interior with torn and stained fabric.
Since I was repurposing it to use in our living room for my knick knacks I didn’t go for a full restore. The first step was to strip off the exterior canvas to get down to the pine wood to refinish.
The material inside was attached with wallpaper paste. I soaked the material with water which helped with the removal. I then had to scrape the paste off the wood and then sand. I sealed everything with varathane and gave it all a wax.
I loaded up the drawers with all my goodies and put some of my favourites on display.
On a previous post from February 2016 I showed some lumber I had milled with my new bandsaw mill. Just after that post I milled a larger tree that produced boards that were 8 feet long (2.4 m), 18 inches (45.5 cm) wide and 2 inches (5 cm) thick. The lumber has air dried so I made a door from 2 pieces joined together making a 6.5′ (1.98 m) x 36″ (91 cm) x 2 inch (5 cm) red cedar door. It is treated with tung oil that brings out it’s beautiful colour and grain.
I rather hastily volunteered to make some kitchen cabinets recently and then realized it is something I had never done so I had better practice. I found plans for a cabinet and since it featured components that I needed to learn – drawer making and installation, cabinet door construction and hanging, etc. I decided to build one for my workshop. It took about three days and turned out okay. I just need to install some handles and give it a finish.
It was an interesting project because it was another of those things where I had been telling myself I could never do. As I’ve progressed through life though my mantra has become, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” In this case I might mis-measure and have to re-cut a piece. I might hang the door crooked but that can be fixed and if I really messed up I would at least have an expensive pile of firewood to keep us warm for a day or two.
I would encourage others to tackle the seemingly impossible and don’t allow yourself to be defeated by internal conversations. The finished results are so incredibly satisfying.
Well, I finished building my sawhorses and I am quite pleased. I learned a lot from the exercise – I think more about what not to do next time rather than what to do. The sawhorses are held together with tapered mortises, tenons and wedges – no glue, nails or screws. Very strong.
There is method in my madness – the horses are so big I may have to expand my workshop just to store them!