Category Archives: Woodcraft

Bedside Step and Storage

These steps are hand made from red oak with a light stain. The pull out tray is made of walnut. The unit is about 15″ tall. Custom made for a friend, their primary purpose was to let their small dog get into their tall bed easily. The storage space was a bonus.

002 Bedside Steps Continue reading Bedside Step and Storage


Hand Crafted Wood Candle Holders

I have a saying:  “Wood, like people, no matter how rough on the outside, can be beautiful on the inside.”  I’ve worked with some very old, weathered, ugly hedge that, as soon as you cut into it, as soon as you get below the surface, you see the beauty of the wood, just as it was when the tree was live and vibrant.  I like using this contrast in some of my woodcraft. I leave the weathered character of the surface to contrast with the polished surfaces that show the beauty of the wood’s interior.

The following pictures are of some candles I have made. They are lamp oil candles, often called confetti candles or confetti oil candles. Each one has at least one refillable lamp oil reservoir.

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The extreme weathering on the outside of this Hedge wood candle represents at least 50 years of exposure to the elements since the tree died.

Continue reading Hand Crafted Wood Candle Holders

A Sand Ceremony Set For Your Wedding

At our wedding in October, Anne and I included a sand ceremony.  I made a base of apple wood to hold the vase and the three flasks we used to pour the sand.  I’ve been making these for other people’s weddings, selling them on Etsy.  Thought I’d post an update, showing some of the bases I’ve made. This one is made of Pear wood, and included wood caps for the vase and all the flasks.



. Continue reading A Sand Ceremony Set For Your Wedding

A Video: How it’s made — Wood Bowls

What do you think?  Fascinating video.  Amazing woodworking.  But can you really say this is “hand made”?  Where do you draw the line between Factory vs Hand made?  Share your thoughts and perspectives with us.

In my shop, well, in the first place I could never afford this kind of equipment.  However, machinery can elevate the quality of your work — you can be more consistent and accurate — and faster.  But, at some point you will loose the hand made uniqueness, the one of a kind quality, that makes your work a human creation, not a machine reproduction.  Each has its place, and one isn’t better than the other.  It’s just a matter of what you’re looking for.  And unfortunately, it’s also a matter of what you’re willing to pay for.

A Sand Ceremony For Our Wedding

At our wedding in October, Anne and I included a sand ceremony.  I made a base of apple wood to hold the vase and the three flasks we used to pour the sand.  It was a precious moment full of important symbolism.  We wanted everyone present to know the significance we placed on each part, so we included the following in our program:

Continue reading A Sand Ceremony For Our Wedding

Food Safe Finishes

If you start reading labels, you will notice that “food safe” finishing products have many of the same ingredients that you will find in the ones not labeled “food safe”.  Behlen’s Salad Bowl Finish is a popular food safe product.  From the MSDS sheet:

Behlen’s Salad Bowl Finish Ingredients:  Tung Oil, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Cobalt Compounds.

Target Organ Acute Toxicity:

Toluene:   CNS, liver, kidneys, skin, eyes, respiratory system
Ethyl benzene:   eyes, respiratory system, skin, CNS
Cobalt metal, dust and fume:   respiratory system, skin

Target Organ Chronic Toxicity:  Kidneys. Eyes. Skin. Nervous System. Respiratory Tract. Liver.

Doesn’t sound very safe does it.  There’s also a potential carcinogen mixed in there.

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Harvesting Wood

For my woodworking, I depend upon wood that I can harvest myself — trees taken down to make way for new construction, or removed for safety reasons. Much of the wood I have came from a tract of property in Wyandotte County, Kansas that had the misfortune of being in the path of a Force 4 tornado on May 4, 2003. From there I harvested Red Oak, White Oak, Walnut, Cherry, and Hickory trees. Most of the trees there were harvested to be sold for firewood.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to get a Boxelder log. The tree had already been taken down. The main trunk was considerably hollowed out making the huge tree unstable. There was one good solid limb that I’m working on.  It has some incredibly beautiful heartwood.
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Bandsaw Boxes

Bandsaw boxes are generally made from a single block of wood.  The name is derived from the tool that is used to make these boxes — the Bandsaw.  All of the cuts which form the lid, sides, and bottom — all to form a hollow box — must be made in a specific order.  Do it in the wrong order and you end up with a pile of scrap.

When you examine the completed box, you will be able to follow the wood grain all around the box, from lid to sides, around all the sides, and from the sides to the bottom.  When done well, a common reaction will be “How in the world did you do that!”

Bandsaw boxes are unique — no two will be exactly alike — and that makes them excellent gifts.  Several of these boxes were made as gifts for family and friends.  Click on the small image to view the full size version. Take me to the Gallery

Woodworkers can be insane about a log!

Wyandotte County Lake has an area where county crews dump trees and brush  they have cleared.  People can go there to cut it up for fire wood at no charge.  This is where I found it – the remains of a huge Sycamore tree.   The trunk had been cut into three eight foot sections.  The best looking was the center section, about 33 inches in diameter.  I knew I had to have this log, so I pointed my Chevy S-10 pickup back home and got my 5×10, low-boy, single-axle, 2000 lb. trailer. Continue reading Woodworkers can be insane about a log!