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Woodworking by: Zechariah

Zechariah sands an oar.

Zechariah sands an oar.

Over the years we have done little in the way of woodwork. Most of what we have done has been small repairs and refinishing on pieces that we picked up second hand. With the price of used furniture being so low and the price of lumber being comparatively high, we have found it hard to justify making many things ourselves. We have, however, made some items that we could not get second hand like floor to ceiling bookshelves. We have also made many smaller items for fun and just to be able to say that we had made them ourselves, like mortar and pestle sets, trivets, animal banks, desk top bookshelves and

Nathanael assists his Dad in the shop.

Nathanael assists his Dad in the shop.

bird houses. These were most commonly used as gifts. There are also some things that we have seen or thought of that we just could not find anywhere and thus we have had to make them ourselves. These we were able to customize to meet our specific needs, like the corner cabinet in our living room which has a thin drawer just right for our small piano to fit into, it is set at just the right height off the floor so that it can be rolled out, and played, and then rolled back in. Dad made that cabinet when we first moved into the 'new house', it also contains our tapes, videos and players.

Julia & Nathanael refinish our chairs.

Julia & Nathanael refinish our chairs.

We have fixed and refinished many second hand items over the years. The most time consuming of which was probably the dining room chairs. We have also over the years refurbished trunks for each of the girls as hope chests. They usually worked on them themselves with Dad, making any needed repairs and refinishing if necessary. This gives them time with their Dad working together on a mutually interesting project. Another thing that they did for their hope chests was to line them with a thin layer of red cedar to help protect the contents from moth and bug damage. We have all had a fun time with the projects that we have worked on and especially enjoy when we are working together as a group.

Craig sands our new shelf.

Craig sands our new shelf.

My first recollection of anyone in our family actually doing woodworking was when my father paneled the walls in our living room and made two built in bookshelves. The first recollection of helping on a woodworking project was when I helped my father make the third leaf for our dining room table, that was almost ten years ago.

The first project, however, that I can remember doing all by myself was several years before either of those. I surely must have watched my siblings making mud puddle boats but I have no recollection of that, they had them and they had made them, I know that much. It was a wet day and there was a river running down our driveway when I was outside playing by myself. It seems that I must not have had any boats of my own at that time for I decided to make one. I knew how it was done, the scraps that Dad let us use were in the garage along with the tools, also set aside for our use. Someone had to have been working out there because I could not have gotten in myself. After picking a board, I tried to cut a tapered bow on it with a hand saw. I do not remember if

Craig at the table saw.

Craig at the table saw.

I succeeded or how the boat turned out, but I do remember the trouble I had with the hand saw. I just could not get it to cut or to work anything like my father could. The experiences of that day have tainted my view of hand saws until quite recently when I was again working by myself and I just could not get the band saw to work, the jig saw had no blades and the table saw just could not do that particular cut, so I turned to the only remaining option, the hand saw. Well I guess we do also have a reciprocating saw but it was out in the shop. I was quite surprised with the ease and speed with which it cut, but after thinking about it I recollected the last time I had used a hand saw in woodworking and realized that I must have been only about 6 years old. The saw would have been half as big as I was. Since that time when I first made a boat, I have worked on many other woodworking projects varying from improved boats to bookshelves. I have enjoyed the many hours that I have spent working in our woodworking shop and hope to be able to spend many more hours there, learning more skill and making more items of usefulness and beauty.

Zechariah restains our chairs.

Zechariah restains our chairs.

Recently I have been considering making some chairs. I have been looking at chairs for multiple reasons, of coarse most important is that there are several places around our house where we could use some more. Also because we could get the lumber off our own land and plane it on our jointer. And last but not least, I would like to try my hand at a technique I read of recently for making joints without glue, nails, screws or any fasteners of any sort. I came across a book on the subject at a local library book sale. What I learned from flipping through it so fascinated me that I bought the book even though it was starting to fall apart. In the next few days I read the whole book. The technique used mortise and tenon joints, the mortise being dried slightly more than the tenon before final fitting, that way when the moisture levels equalize the mortise would swell just enough to give a tight permanent fit. Although I have not tried this technique it makes a lot of sense and I hope to be able to use it at some point in my projects.

Bookshelf by: Julia (13)

Zechariah, Craig, & Julia surprise me with a new school bookshelf. Thanks!

Zechariah, Craig, & Julia surprise me with a new school bookshelf. Thanks!

Dad, Zechariah and I worked on a bookshelf for Mom. After many months and much labor I was finally staining the wood. The shelves I could stain and stand up to dry inside the woodworking shop but the longer top, bottom and side boards were just to long (or so we thought). So outside Dad and I took them to some waiting saw horses. Here I stained them using a rag. I swept stain all over each side. Swiftly I stained one board then moved on to the next. Just as I had begun rain fell from the sky. Large droplets spattered all over my neat staining and the waiting boards. Hastily hailing Zechariah we hustled all the boards in out of the rain. Where the stain had already been laid down all was well after drying them vigorously with a towel. But when we attempted to continue laying down stain on the other boards, a polka dotted effect occurred. Everywhere a rain drop had hit there was a dot, hastily we stopped staining and left the boards to dry out. Even so we did not allow then to dry long enough for they are polka dotted to this day, a mute reminder to have patience. Julia (13)

Julia routers on the shelf sides.

Julia routers on the shelf sides.

Picture Frame by: Joanna (11)

Because I made a picture which did not fit any picture frames we had, Dad and I set out to make one. Picking a board was simple, all it had to be was the right width. After cutting the board to the right lengths, Dad sanded them, then Dad biscuit jointed the pieces together. Biscuit jointing consists of making a groove on each end of the two boards, just right so the grooves would line up with each other, then gluing the ''biscuits'' into two grooves half in each groove. (Biscuits are football shaped slivers of wood). Using wood clamps to firmly hold the frame together, we let the glue dry for a couple of days. After the glue was well dried, we stained it Golden Oak so it would match the rest of the woodwork in the house.


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