The months of November and December have been great ones here at the shop. Allow me to explain…
November – The Puja Table is complete!
The Puja Table, the project that I had been working on for the better part of the past year, was finished back in November and given to my friend who it was for. This was my second furniture piece, and my first commission. When I completed my son’s work table and posted it on Facebook, he approached me about building him the puja table. After discussing some design items, and what wood to use, he gave me a deposit to buy the materials.
One of the reasons I did not cover the project in too much detail before (one blog post and one video), is that by the time the project was really taking shape, it was also getting to be a while since he asked for it. I spent a good amount of time sweating the details. I must honestly say he was more than patient though, which I really appreciated. My focus however, especially between August and November, was to finish it up to deliver to him before Thanksgiving.
When it was delivered, he was more than happy with the result. My first commission ended with a happy customer!
I had a few things I set as woodworking goals for this project.
- I had worked with walnut some when making some paddle cutting boards and really liked how it is to work with. I helped “steer” my friend toward walnut as the primary species, as I really like the look of it as well. When I showed him some pictures online of projects made with walnut, he readily agreed.
- Attempt a new joinery technique. This was my first attempt at sliding dovetails, which I used to join the leg pieced into the top. This definitely proved to be a challenge, especially with some limited tooling. With some finessing though, I was happy with the result.
- This was also my first experience with spraying finish. In this case lacquer. Once I got the hang of it, things went pretty well. I did have to correct some overspraying and drip marks initially though.
Some pictures of the final piece. Click each for a larger view and info.
Completed Puja Table! Walnut is the primary species, with red oak shelf for a contrasting color, inserted into dados in the leg pieces.
The top is made from two pieces from the same board that I thought had interesting grain pattern. I slipped matched them to make it look as continuous as possible.
One side’s sliding dovetail. They are visible on both sides. I relieved some material in the middle to create less friction as they were being put into place. See Episode 2 “The Dove’s Long Tale” for more info.
Sliding dovetail on the other side. One of the challenges I had was that I borrowed a small tabletop router table that had a slight bit of flex on the table top. I used my router plane to help tweak the shoulder part of the dovetail in the middle parts of the leg pieces.
Low angle view of the table top.
Low angle view of the table top from the other end.
December – The Wood Whisperer Guild for Life!
I’m no longer one of those folks who can say that I never win anything. The Wood Whisperer had their yearly Holiday online party a couple of weeks ago, and as usual part of the festivities were prize giveaways. The prizes ranged from tshirts, USB thumb drives, DVDs, to Guild memberships. This year, saving it for last, the granddaddy prize was a lifetime Wood Whisperer Guild membership. When I heard my name as the winner, I had to pick my jaw up from my desk! I was surprised and excited beyond belief. I was now a Wood Whisperer Guild member for life!
Now, if you don’t have any experience with the Guild, you can find out more and sign up here. I joined the Guild last year when Marc had a one night sale (after the 2011 Holiday party) of 50% off. I was able to sign up for the three month option, which I then renewed that next spring for one year. Since then the Guild has been restructured to have various levels of access. You can gain access to the “a la carte” version, where you pick which projects you want, or an option to gain access to all the currently existing projects. Again, check out the link. There is a section that explains all the levels available that goes into more detail than what I am here.
So now the next question… why join the Guild? After all, there is a reason why I renewed my membership before winning the lifetime membership. In short, because it’s a great resource – both in knowledge and the community. The level of detail that Marc goes into in the videos that accompany each project is incredible. There is also access to help for your project, and interviews with experts that are recorded and posted if you can’t make a live event. Even if you’re not in a position to build the particular project that is ongoing at the time, the insight that you can gain when watching the videos can be easily brought to whatever project you are working on. Having that level of education at your fingertips really makes it a no brainer in my opinion.
So am I excited I won the lifetime Wood Whisperer Guild membership? “Heck yeah” would be an understatement.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!