Welcome to Woodworking in the Dark

Welcome

 

This site is intended to be a place to learn about woodworking. More specifically, woodworking done by blind people. Why woodworking? It hasn't always been. Right now I'm not set up real well for metal working, and I have to keep the shock level low for the neighbors. I have always told people the reason I enjoy woodworking is because it is Braille art. You don't have to see in order to pick out details or to appreciate a block of wood becoming something special. 


The site name is of course a joke, because anything I've done since age 12, has been done in the dark. And I have trouble taking life real seriously. Humor is my escape hatch so try not to take things the wrong way. If you read something and it can be taken several ways, try to laugh. People that drop by the house are freaked out for the first few times when they hear power tools running in the shop and there are no lights on. If you need lights, I'll turn them on for you. Otherwise, the power company makes enough money without me running them. I hope this will become a fun and inspiring place to visit, and maybe you'll even learn something along the way.


Something new. I picked up a video camera and I'll try to make product reviews a video now instead of just a picture. Our first video review was of the Easy Wood Tools Easy Rougher for the lathe. That was almost too much fun to make. There are links on the page if there is a related video. I'll also link videos to my channel on You Tube as they are uploaded. And as time and someone to help with editing allows, I'll try to go back over the reviews already done. The videos have become so popular, at the bottom of this page I've made a link to a page for all of our videos in one place. They are still with the tools that were reviewed if I had made one, but this is a more centralized place to find all of them.


Until the shopping cart is available, if you like something you see, email me for a price. If you have a Pay pal account we can work together...If you are interested in having a piece of furniture custom made for you, or if you are interested in any of the things shown or talked about here, or even if you'd just like to say hello, please drop me a line. I apologize for the limited amount of projects shown. Something happened to my computer and many of the pictures that were once on the site are now gone. I'll work on that as I have time. Much of my spare time has been put into outfitting the new shop. I bought a house to renovate and the shop wasn't able to go to the top of the priority list. But I've been making repairs and adding lights so those of you that need lights should appreciate new videos. I am way behind on my videos since the new shop was just a garage with one outlet when I started. No insulation, no inside walls and no room to move because the garage was where everything else was sent to rest while I was working on the inside of the house.


So there you have my apology or excuses, which ever you choose.

Projects

Ash Night Table

 My youngest son's favorite sport growing up was baseball.  Recently, he needed a night table for his apartment and I had a huge amount of ash wood in the shop.  Since baseball bats are made from ash, it seemed like the perfect match. Made entirely from ash except for the drawer box, the table is 26 inches tall, the top is 18 inches square with a one inch overhang on all sides. The top is three pieces of 8 quarter milled to 6 quarters. The edge treatment was done with a large cove bit on the top side and the underneath was done with a raised panel bit just to slope the sharp edge inward. The aprons are 4 by 12 inches. They are joined to the legs using Festool dominos. There are 2 dominos on each end of the aprons, totaling 16 in all. The legs are 8 quarter ash tapering to 1 and a quarter on all 4 sides. The open drawer in the picture is of 3/8 Baltic birch, and the drawer bottom is quarter inch. The drawer front was a piece of 4 quarter ash planed to a half inch thick, 11 inches wide and 3 and a half inches tall. The drawer box is 10 inches wide by 13 inches long by 3 inches deep. The top is mounted to the aprons using Woodcraft Item #27N10. Those are the clips that stick into a saw kerf in the apron and then screw to the table top. The top was sanded to 600 grit. Overkill I know but I like a glass smooth finish. Everything else was sanded to 320. It is finished with 4 coats of General Finishes Arm R Seal. 

Free Standing Cradle

 

This is a free standing cradle I made.  My family tends to have large babies, being a charter member of the bigger is better club, I have no problem building large.I went online and bought a mattress and then designed everything around the dimensions of the mattress. 

The cradle itself started out as four quarter maple.  Fortunately it was almost flat when I brought it home.  Just a couple passes across the jointer and it was flat.  I ran the wood through the thickness planer and got everything the same thickness. Next I ripped the pieces on the table saw and put the frame together. The bottom parts are joined using butt joints that are glued and screwed together on the ends. 

The top rails are joined with half lap joints on the corners.  I know  many pieces use mitered corners but a half lap joint gives a lot more gluing surface and I was going for strength here.

I did cheat on the spindles.  Woodcraft had a special running and as I did the math, it was an easy choice.  Spend the next month turning 40 spindles on the lathe, or pick up four packs of maple spindles that were ready to go. The frame is made from Lyptis wood.  I wanted cherry, but eight quarter cherry wasn’t in stock.  And there is a big difference in price.  It’s been over 44 years since I saw a color and the guys at the store must be glad to see me leave at times.  All my questions about shades and tones and contrast.  Lyptis looks a lot like mahogany and I remember that look.  Maple being almost white I thought it would look different enough to be interesting.

Large Vanity

 

We were remodeling an apartment in 2009.  One thing that needed replacing was the vanity.  We went to both box stores and the closest thing either had to what “She who makes such decisions” wanted started at over $400 and went up to $1000 before buying the top and faucet. 

My solution was to take a quick look at what SWMSD wanted and make one myself.  Our cost including the marble top was around $400 and it’s made from solid core wood, not something allergic to water.

This particular vanity measures 48 inches wide by 22 inches deep and stands 34 and a half inches tall.  With the marble top in place it comes to 36 inches.  Once everything was in place, there wasn’t any good way to take a final picture.  The bathroom wasn’t large enough to let us get far enough away from the front and catch everything in a picture.

The largest part is made from ¾ birch plywood and I made the face frame from maple.  There are six drawers.  The drawer fronts are of birch ply and they are also framed with maple.  I didn’t want to mess around with edge banding that I had to iron on. 

There are two doors also framed with maple.  I used Blum Euro hinges and they were very easy to install and adjust.

Cherry Tables

 

Here are a pair of cherry night tables a buddy had me build his wife for a Christmas present. This involved a couple firsts for me. It was the first time I made a set of tapered legs on the jointer instead of using a saw and jig. And it was the first time I made mortises with a spiral bit on the router table. Much thanks to John Lord of the Raleigh Woodcraft store for sharing ideas and spending a lot of time demonstrating in order to make sure I understood what he was talking about.

The dimensions are 23 inches wide and 16 inches deep by 29 inches tall. I know that's tall for a night table but they were made to order.

There is one drawer in the front. The drawer measures 10 and a half inches wide by 13 inches long, or front to back, by 3 inches deep. The drawer front is an overlapping design and the same bit was used on the drawer front as on the top edges of the table. There is a solid brass drawer pull in the center of each drawer front. The legs are 2 inches square at the top and taper to 1 and a quarter inches at the bottom. The tapering is only done on the inside edges so only two sides of each leg are actually machined.

The tops were sanded to 600 grit and have 5 coats of General Finishes Arm-R-Seal that I wiped on. All other surfaces have 3 coats and I stopped sanding at 320 grit on them.

I was asked to make a glass smooth surface on the tops and I think it was real close. Between each change of sanding grit I vacuumed using an upholstery brush to pick up as much dust as possible.

After each coat dried, I went over the surface with a 1200 grit Micro Mesh sanding pad to remove any dust nibs or other problems with the surface.

Cherry wood is probably my all time favorite to build with and I felt like I was giving two pets away when we delivered them.

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Woodworking in the Dark

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