A little hooker

I recently moved into a new office space with a new desk, which is really the first permanent location I’ve had in about 8 months. Now that I have a permanent home, I thought my headphones deserved the same. And since I have a sit-stand desk, that’s a little limited…. Unless I rig something to the desk!

I thought I could find one of those Command hooks to hang them on, but they’re really designed to fit on a wall and only the teeny-tiny ones fit on the edge of a 3/4″ top. So I decided it was time to get into the shop :)

I designed it to attach with a large Command strip. The adhesive strip wraps around the desk, using a little less than 3/4″ on the  side and the remainder on the bottom… Hopefully that will hold over time!

This is so awesome!

I couldn’t match the grain that well if I tried!

I was sorting through my walnut stash for the stiles and rails for the bottom case and the frame and panel door for the bottom case when I noticed this piece. The grain is a bit funky for a frame piece, but I kinda like funky and thought it could look cool next to the highly figured panel.

I tried a few different configurations until I noticed how perfectly this matched. I was sold!

Matching the grain this perfectly doesn’t seem like a big deal until you notice a few things: 

  • The panel is resawn and bookmatched 
  • These are from different boards
  • The panel is running north-south and the rail is running east-west

I couldn’t match it up that perfectly if I tried. But for the record, I’m totally taking credit for it.

Now I just hope I can get the panel and rail to line up that way in the finished piece…


Book matching

Right off the saw

I saw this awesome figure and decided I had to use it to make a panel. Of course, it’s only 6 or so inches wide and I didn’t have my board stretcher with me, so I knew I had to try my hand at resawing. So I did what I did best: I winged it.

Ok, I actually did a test cut on some pine first, but that didn’t make me feel any more confident when cutting the actual piece. There’s a slight difference between slicing straight-grained pine vs. figured walnut.

I did the resawing on my bandsaw and it actually went pretty well. Many articles and books have been written on the subject of resawing and many gadgets and jigs have been created. Turns out all I really needed was some careful setup. I made sure the fence was parallel to the miter slots and that the fence and blade were square to the table. While making the cut, I had to pay real close attention to ensuring that the board remained tight to the fence. 

If I was slicing paper-thin veneer, it probably wouldn’t work as well, but I’m not cutting paper-thin veneer.

The most beautiful picture you've ever seen

Glued up, planed, and splashed with alcohol


The Three Amigos

A grandfather clock is basically three boxes stacked on top of each other, right? So I must be done! 

Okay, well the (for lack of a technical term) bottom box still needs a face frame and a door and some moulding between the cases and feet and… okay, so maybe there’s quite a bit more work to do, but it’s looking a lot more like a clock than a stack of lumber!

A Big Front Door

Laying out the curve

When I saw the cathedral pattern on this board, I knew I needed to use it as a solid door on the front of the case. 

After looking through my collection of grandfather clock photographs (what do you mean you don’t have a collection of grandfather clock photos?) I decided to use an overlay door. I roughed out the height & width about 1/2″ oversize to compensate for the 1/4″ rabbets I planned to cut around the perimeter.

To lay out the curve, I traced the opening onto a piece of paper, taped the paper to the door, and traced around the curve with a compass set to 1/4″. This gave me, more or less, a line 1/4″ bigger than the curve while preserving the outline.

The curve was cut on the bandsaw and cleaned up with a combination of bench chisels and good ole’ sandpaper. I used a shoulder plane to cut a 1/4″ x 1/4″ rabbet on the sides and back. The rabbet on the curve was cut mostly with chisel work.

It took a little fiddling to get the door properly fitted in the opening, but it now fits properly, with a little extra to allow for wood movement. Now I just hope it doesn’t warp.


Casing the Joint

Finally back to work on the Grandfather Clock… I’ve mostly been milling up boards for the case that will “hold the pendulum” (it’s really going to hold shelves), but I finally started putting the case together today.

It’s only about half done, but I was moderately impressed with the work I did, so I wanted to take a couple pictures before heading inside for a snack.

The only downside is I managed to blow out a huge chunk of wood from one of the show faces, so i took some pictures. I was planning to add some mouldings to cover the dovetails, anyway, so I’ll just make them a little bigger to cover a big chunk of missing wood. The difference between a professional and an amateur isn’t that the professional makes less mistakes, it’s that he knows how to fix them.

(sorry for the crappy picture quality; I didn’t want to drag my big camera out in the rain)

Done enough

I’ve gotten a lot done since the last post and I think I’m going to call this bench “done enough.” It won’t be “done” for a long time. It may never be “done,” but for now, I’m not doing anything else to it.

I drilled all the dog holes, flattened the top a bit, got the twin screw vise assembled, and applied some finish. I need to seriously level the legs, but they’re good enough for now. I’ve got some plastic shims from the home center to shove under there if need be.

The finish is just a few coats of Watco Danish Oil rom the Home Depot, It’s still wet in the pictures, which is why it looks all shiny.  It should dull down when it dries. The point isn’t to look pretty, it’s to provide protection. Danish oil is an oil/varnish blend that sinks into the wood to resist staining, repel water, etc. I put one coat on most of the surfaces and two coats on the surfaces that would be touching work pieces (the most likely to get splattered on; and if they get glue drips or something, I’d want to remove it easily; I don’t care if a stretcher has glue globs on it).

I also rearranged the shop to put the new bench against the back wall, next to the windows. I think it’ll be nice to be able to look out the windows while I work, but it feels weird to have my back to the garage door, especially in the summer, so it may end up moving around a bit :)


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