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.
One of the logs about to be milled
Cut 2 x 4’s
Cutting the lath
Some of the finished lath
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.
The charred wood is wire brushed and then treated the wood with boiled linseed oil.
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.
The finished fence
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.
A small set of stairs I just finished that will go in our daughter’s tiny house
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!
The darker wood is red cedar, the lighter spruce
Mortise and Tenon
Teak wedges expand the tenon inside the tapered mortise to hold everything tight