January 2016

Well, 2016 is 1/12th over.  Here in Maine we’ve had a weenie winter so far.  A little snow, but nothing to write home about.  Most of the ponds and lakes have snow over a thin layer of ice, so skating is out as well.  For grandson’s 4th birthday we had a skating party on an indoor rink.  Hopefully, there will be some outdoor skating sometime soon.

My shop dog, Spirit, is enjoying the weather from her perch on a snow pile.IMG_1562A much too large portion of my time this month has been taken up with re-doing the upstairs bath. The shower surround was looking dingy and the linoleum floor was over 30  years old.  We figured those needed to be replaced.  While we’re at it, why not put down tile, and a radiant floor heat mat, and new paint and a linen closet, new sink and vanity, plus fixtures.  Most of this involve working on your knees, and running back and forth to the shop for tools.  A drag, but the end is in sight.

However, I did squeeze in a few small projects.  First a set of three clocks, beveled cherry with inlaid hours, and a quartz movement.

IMG_1566Also a custom picture frame, quartersawn tiger maple, for a custom composite mat of four woodcuts.  A nice contrast.

IMG_1568Lastly, a small table for a printer.  Really basic, four square legs, no taper, softened edges and a two board top.  It does have some really nice figure in the rails and legs.

IMG_1570It took me years to figure out what folks were complaining about when they had “blotch” in cherry.  Turns out it was figure that hadn’t been sanded properly.  If you sand figured cherry to 180 or 200, you’ll get muddy, dark and light areas.  Sanding on to 320, 400, 500 and polishing with 0000 steel wool, then applying oil, makes a deep, lustrous, changing pattern, much like tigers eye.

I did get my hands on two amazing planks of hard tiger maple: 8/4 x 13, one 5 feet long the other 7 feet.  Do I re-saw for drawer fronts, small presentation boxes, a large case or a really stunning wall cabinet?  (it’s leaning up against a 22″ piece of ancient white pine).


The “Shaker six-pack” tea cabinet, mentioned last month, is now available through the Sabbathday Lake Shaker museum store.  Have a look, and order a few tins of tea.  Cold weather is bound to return.

C. H. Becksvoort © 2016

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