I'm an engineer by trade but I love woodworking. My dad is a carpenter and I fondly remember hanging around his workplace smelling the sawdust. I think that's what drew me in as an adult. I've made kitchens for a few people but I mostly make pieces of furniture or whatever idea occurs to me.
Below is a bed I made for my son. I learned a lot on that one. The rail pieces were routed at the same time, following the same line. So when it came time to assemble, all the slots lined up. I followed a downloaded plan for that project, otherwise I probably would have used a more difficult technique. I wasn't so happy with the finish. Finishes in general have a bit of unpredictability. I feel it was too dark and too opaque, but my son appreciated it and uses it every night.
Below are pictures from a kitchen I made for my aunt. For a lot of reasons, my Aunt Mary is very special to me. She lives in a house with a small, somewhat awkward kitchen space. I was able to add a lot more storage and counter space. Best of all, I installed the cabinets with the help of my cousin. We got to work together all weekend, although it was more play than work. She picked the style of the cabinets from a magazine or something. I used walnut on this project. It was my first time working with this species. What a gorgeous wood. I got a good deal on it and was able to keep her cost reasonable.
Below is a sewing machine table I made for my wife. This was actually built from a combination of wood species and mostly short pieces I already had. I do that often. Hardwoods are pricey so I tend to use whatever I have on hand. Sometimes the contrast works in my favor but honestly, sometimes it doesn't come out as I had visualized. I was happy with this one. You'll notice the drawer front was actually made from the same piece I cut out to make its opening, so the grain matches all the way across. I thought this was cool and a thrifty conservation of material. My wife uses it every day.
Madera Canyon Mesquite
This project starts with a hunting story. My cousin Javy bought me a compound bow for my birthday in 2005. He's very generous but this gift served a purpose for him as well. He had already been bowhunting several years and often went alone. He wanted a reliable hunting partner and thought I was a good candidate. It worked. I had shot cheap fiberglass recurves as a kid and always liked it. The bow he gave me was awesome. I had no idea of their potential. I've bow hunted ever since. We hunt the Santa Rita Mountains in Southern Arizona every year. It's beautiful country. Many people don't realize how much life exists in the desert. But we're blessed with an abundance of flora and fauna, especially around the foothills of our mountains. That place is very special to me. I feel closer to God and earth when I'm there. I experience a great reset every time I go.
We were gathering some firewood when I spotted some purple in a chunk of mesquite. Mesquite is a beautiful wood. It's highly colored and figured. Its drawback is that it doesn't grow straight and can have areas of rot within the mass. It's like parts of the tree die but the living portions grow around the dead. My light bulb lit up. I had recently bought an old single action pistol with damaged grips. I immediately visualized the grip from that chunk. Even the curvature seemed to fit. I brought home a few pieces and started messing around with it. The firewood we gather is dead and down, so it's been naturally dried for a long time. It cut well, although messy with dirt and pebbles engrained in the wood. Mesquite is a tree that acts like a bush so many of the limbs live on the ground. I found a perfect piece and sliced it book-match style. Each half is quite different, but they came from the same chunk.
The insides of the grip are technical because there are gun parts with the handle. I had to work around brackets and a spring. The outside, however, was all freehand. I didn't really have a plan for that, I just kept whittling and sanding till it felt right in my hand. I also didn't want to use any hardware. The two halves are joined using two dowels near the top and two splines near the bottom. I had to place the dowels carefully so they wouldn't interfere with the inner workings. I didn't know about the moving mechanism within the handle of a revolver. It changed the look of the pistol. Now it seems like a relic from the old west. More importantly, it carries a little piece of that special place my cousin and I love so much.
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