Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Router Table, Router and Custom Moldings

Router Table Setup

Don’t “Duh” me please.  And why would you say “Duh”?  Because it took me this long to figure I can make my own moldings.  Until the last couple of years I only made things where I could use stock moldings from the big box store.  That beginning point limited me severely and I could only do things which were going to be painted or where finger joints are acceptable (a small portion of fine woodworking to be sure).  I finally figured out from watching Mr. Norm and then getting a good router table in my shop that I can make many very nice moldings out of any wood I choose.  And I don’t have to paint it or try to explain to all my friends that finger jointing is a tree saving environmentally correct methodology and the reason I am charging more for my work.

Over the past couple of months I have been making some small furniture pieces for my church and I wanted them to match the existing pulpit furniture.  Both of the latest pieces are from oak, one red oak and the other quarter sawn white oak.  Needless to say, there are not many custom moldings from those two species and I really wanted them to match.

Can’t buy this!
A few months ago, I purchased the Kreg router table with a new Triton Router from Highland.  What a beautiful setup that is.  I already had a set of half inch router bits and I figured I might as well try the molding process.  It worked!!  I came up with some beautiful stuff and it made the finished project look good.  What works for me is to plane a board to a good thickness and then rout one edge (or both edges) by running it at the router fence.  I then cut the molding off the edge of the board at the table saw and it is done.  I can make as much as I want and it is always the right size and species for the project. Miter it up, nail it up and stand it up.

Waiting for Stain and Finish

One of the great joys of woodworking is doing the final fit of those last little delicate moldings on a project.  There is a timelessness about it which feeds my soul, particularly when I think about spending an extra half hour doing something really well, so people a hundred years from now will touch it and run a finger along it and recognize that someone cared enough to do it really well. Isn’t that why you do woodworking?


Monday, March 21, 2011

Redacted Furniture

Do you know what it means when something is “redacted”?  I think of  documents the federal government reluctantly gives up under the Freedom of Information Act where they don’t want you to know what or who they are talking about, so they black out every other word of it and send it to you so they have met the letter of the law but you really don’t know what they are talking about once you see it.
Last year I found a new sales avenue for my Etsy site.  I wanted you to know about it, but I don’t want you intruding on my sales so I decided to write about it and then redact it.  Here it is.

Candle Stand
It turns out there is a pretty good market for we semi-pro woodworkers in the _______ furniture market.  This all got started last year when my son graduated from a Master’s program and at his first job decided he needed a candle stand to enhance the services.  He and I designed one and I mocked up a couple of them to get the scale right and then made one to match the _______ furniture where he works.
I popped it up on my Etsy site and lo and behold, I sold five more of them all over the country.  Actually got tired of making them before it was over.  Then last summer, one of the _______ who bought a candle stand wanted me to make an Advent candle stand to match their _______ furniture.  That turned out pretty well and they were happy with it.  I left it up on the Etsy site and maybe next year I will get some additional sales out of that one too.  It is such a thrill to know that _______ all over the country are using my stuff.  I’m making two more this season, one for my own _______ and another for a friend up the road who is Pastor of a _______.

Advent Stand on the Left (Sudbury UMC, MA)
In making the new stands, I found a new router bit.  When I make a column of four pieces joined at right angles, a lock joint router bit is the thing to use.  These bits cut a joint with a tongue and a slot which fit together when turned at ninety degrees to each other.  The joint locks together and is so firm that clamping is almost not necessary.   The bit is a little bit touchy to set up correctly and it does require a router table.  But man, this thing works like a charm.  You can buy it at Highland.

Lock Miter Bit
The point of all this is you never know where sales  will come from.  There is a market out there for your stuff – you just have to find it and work it.  Buy more tools, make more stuff, sell it, and buy more tools.