There are plenty of times when a small wooden board is all you need to set out or serve something when entertaining. And it's even better when they look awesome and make whatever you're sharing look that much tastier. If you have a few scraps of wood lying around after a project, this is exactly what you should do with them.
It's a new year, and for the next twelve months, I'm committed to trying to make every object in my life something of true value. Call it a Kondo-inspired "sparking joy" if you like , but this year, I want to cut out the garbage and keep only what's quality. I want everything I touch and use in my life to be beautiful, lasting, and made with integrity. This starts with my morning routine, from the my coffee routine and the mug I drink it in, and goes all day through the book I read during the last few minutes before bed.
Nothing beats a big old chunk of wood. Fine joinery and glue-ups are great, but I'll take a solid slab any day. Sometimes, it's nice to be in awe of craftsmanship. But sometimes, it's nice to just be in awe of nature.
I love a full-on, hardcore woodworking project: milling the wood from rough lumber to glass-smooth surfaces, careful design and proportions, and sturdy, hand-cut joinery to keep everything in place for many decades to come.
But that's a big commitment, requires a lot of knowhow and tools, and a can take several weeks of nights and weekends to finish. So, I'm equally a fan of any project that produces great results with solid materials but uses some more "woodworking light" techniques.
This is my kind of woodworking project. It solves a practical problem (it's a monitor stand and desk storage unit), and it's built with solid technique and classic materials, treated minimally to show off their natural beauty.
Here's an interesting take on a makeover project. Ben took his Hario gooseneck kettle, noted its striking shape, and decided the black plastic handles would like quite a bit better in a bold solid walnut.
And? He was totally right.
Hobbyist woodworker Jesse McKee of Dallas, Texas recently finished up a seriously awesome project: a mid-century modern-inspired walnut coffee table complete with storage and visible box joints that show off the piece's handcrafted origins.
Jesse says, "[This is] a common mid century design that I added some of my favorite details to. Mainly the box joinery...
Two visually striking materials - molded concrete and live-edge walnut - get combined to make this industrial/modern/awesome-looking nightstand project, complete with both visible and hidden storage.
Over the weekend, the park down the street hosted a "Movies in the Park," and the main feature? Back to the Future. (Instagrammed here and here.) Fans and anyone in Sellwood park that night will recall the opening scene, pre-guitar amp blowout,
My friend Jamie of Design Milk got an awesome chance to share this look at designer/maker Daniel Moyer crafting a custom chair from a huge slab of walnut milled just for him. The video strikes a perfect balance: it's just long enough, the music's great,
and each scene walks you through the process of tree to final finish. With just enough workshop envy. Watch it below:
Last month, my nephew turned one, and he's suffering the pains of little ones everywhere - new teeth and very sore gums. He's sticking anything he can in his mouth to try to relieve the pain, so my sweetheart asked me if we could make up some dedicated teething toys, made from natural materials, for his birthday gift. And since his parents are both hilarious and always up for a laugh, we decided to go all out and avoid the monkeys and giraffes common in infant toys, and make them in humorous, tongue-in-cheek "manly" shapes.
Nick Offerman, the actor who portrays TV's current greatest character, Ron Swanson on Parks & Recreation, is an active woodworker who supplemented his income while getting established as an actor by making custom furniture.
Known for using huge, live-edge slabs of walnut in tables, as well as building canoes and fancy mustache combs, the Offerman Woodshop is as cool as you'd think it would be.
In a recent issue of Fine Woodworking, Nick tells the story of getting his start in building theatre sets in Chicago, but upon moving to LA, translated his rough carpentry skills to fine woodworking and furniture making. They shot an excellent video of the space, which is the stuff of dreams for any maker. Check it out: