In 2018, we surprised our daughter one day after school and drove down to Disneyland for a long weekend. She is at an age where it is a delight for her to be there. It is a delight for my wife and I to relive the experience through her. Normally, I don't buy anything for myself. One day, we were near the main entrance and there was a high end store full of items such as artwork. While wandering about, we came across a resin cast version of Geppetto's workbench. It is a small box (about 6" long) that opens up. The person I talked to knew the artist who carved it. Was a friend of her mom's. I was very excited to find this. If you every happen to have a reason to be at the happiest place on earth, keep an eye out for it.
21 November 2020
Or so the phrase goes for a cooking competition show goes that wife likes to watch. In Fine Woodworking, Ben Strano did a video earlier this year on a container organization system he uses for small parts.
My nails and screws were getting out of hand in little boxes or bags. As such, I ordered some. I really like them. I had used a bunch of small nails not that long ago and was getting a bit low. As such, I went and bought a bunch more to top off what I have. The individual boxes of nails don't cost much. It's mostly the hassle of going to a store to get them. As such, when I got to buy some, I tend to stock up on other sizes. I also have a collection of cut nails. They come handy from time to time. I try to keep some general woodworking/around the home supplies in the house so I don't need to rush out to the store for something. When I order hinges from Horton, I typically order a few more to slowly build up some internal home inventory. Having extras around for some reason give me great peace of mind.
14 November 2020
In Jan 2020, my wife and I were sitting at our church's hall having a pancake breakfast. 2019 had been a good year. We were reminiscing about Christmases past. We both really enjoyed as kids the simple advent calendar's of the 1970s. Each day you would peel open a door, see something nice or get a small treat. It also allowed us as kids to countdown the days till Christmas. My wife mentioned that she would really like one for our daughter. On the back of a church bulletin I sketched out something (Figure 1). The two design elements I wanted to capture were the secular and non-secular aspects of the holiday. The choice of maple and cherry door fronts allowed for a cross to be seen. The vertical approach of the 25 days/boxes allowed for the image of a tree. It's my first design.
When I say my design, I mean that I didn't find any direct inspiration for it. It is such an obvious and simple design for an advent calendar that I am sure somewhere someone has done something very similar to this. If you happen to know of one, please comment below as I'd love to see it.
After the initial sketch, I did a more detailed sketch with dimensions, etc. The second sketch was bit more refined but essentially the same thing. I thought half inch thick stock would work well. For the back I decided to use quarter inch thick cherry that would reside in clever rebates (more on this later).
I work with hand tools. I don't enjoy dimensioning wood by hand (especially thickness). I have a local place that will provide S4S to my specifications. I broke down the stock using my favorite holdfast and gave the wood a quick hand plane finish to remove any marks left by machines.
Figure 2 Stock prep
A total of 60 housing dados (they go by various names) would be needed. Critical to this project would be alignment of the vertical pieces. I used a pair of dividers to mark them off with the wood ganged up. and transferred knife lines on each piece while still together. I also took the time to mark x's on where the dado would go so that I didn't cut a dado on the wrong side. Even so, I came close a few times. If you open two of the drawers there is a knife line on the wrong side of where the dado needed to go. Such is life.
I enjoy using a router plane which is good because I had a lot of them to do. I either sawed or chiseled down the sides then used a chisel to remove the bulk of the waste and then used my router plane. I developed a rhythm and flow for this which was very nice. It became very peaceful work. In order to ensure a snug fit, all of the vertical pieces were numbered and custom fit to a specific dado.
You will notice in the third photo below that the horizontal sizes are longer at the extreme ends of each level than all of the others. That way, without much effort, I effectively have a housing dado in the back of the piece without having to carve out groves. Technically, the top and bottom of each is only flush but that is ok.
Figure 3 Lots of housing dado work in progress