This weekend we all said goodbye to 2016. (I’m happy to see it behind me because it was a great year from my perspective.) And of course, we are all anticipating what’s down the road for 2017. Before we get too far along that road, I want to remind you that you cannot forget the past 365 days, especially the projects and techniques we read about throughout the year. To that end, I’ve gone back through the archives to pull out and present the best of 2016. Here are my top five releases from 360 Woodworking along with a short reason as to why they stand out in my mind.
My “Line & Berry Shelf Clock” is one of my all-time favorites to this point. It’s a piece that I’ve had rumbling around in my head for more than a few years. Best of all, it’s a project that, to the best of my knowledge, was never before built.
The clock includes techniques that I find most fun when working in the shop; that’s the line-and-berry inlay. For my shelf clock I combined traditional inlay designs on the front door with some not-so-traditional inlay on the sides of the base and hood, and the designs on the sides work in unison from top to bottom. Best of all, I demonstrate how to do the inlay using both hand tools and power tools so you can decide which method works best for you.
In late April of 2016, Chuck Bender opened my eyes and the eyes of many woodworkers when he discussed his techniques for creating a finish worthy of museum pieces. In “7 Steps to a Museum Finish,” Chuck takes quality-built tea table and shows you how to blend the differing shades of the raw materials, in this case it was mahogany, into a harmonious color.
He shows how he uses chemicals, dyes and shellacs to produce a layered finish. The key word being layered. Chuck points out that this finishing process is one in which the furniture maker has to constantly evaluate the results of one step to determine the best move for the next step. This process is not for the faint of heart, but if you pick up only one idea from his methodology, you’re going to up your skills in the finish room.
I’ve certainly enjoyed Joe Deluca’s series on Windsor Chairs. (I hope you have, too, because we’ve asked Joe to delve deeper into this topic in 2017.) Windsors have survived and flourished from the get go. What catches my eye is the paint finish – if you want to study and understand how paint transforms throughout centuries of use and wear, look at Windsor chairs. To be able to reproduce a properly worn paint finish accurately – and Joe’s work is often mistaken for period – is an art. In “Windsor Details: Give Your Chair the ‘Look’,” Joe shares a few secrets. How could you not enjoy reading about how to manipulate paint when the opening photo shows some his best work and his most-often used too, a bowl full of rocks. Those are the original hand tools!
Another contributor during 2016 is Ron Herman. (In fact, Ron has been with 360 WoodWorking from the beginning.) I can say that I’ve learned tons from Ron about hand tools and many other topics. His July video presentation – all of Ron’s contributions are video – about sawing, “3 Truths To Better Sawing,” caused me to look at handsaws in a total different light. Ron talks about how a handsaw should fit your body, what to look for that indicates if you’re working with a poorly fit saw and some of the basics about hand-eye coordination.
Additionally, Ron talks about his sawyer bench, a “tool” that he’s worked with for decades. He shares why it’s built the way it is – comfort and long-term usage are just two factors. Plus, he gives us a deeper look into himself as he announces the exact reason the bench is as long as it is. Lunchtime. A working man’s got to be comfortable as he eats.
Last, but certainly not least – at least in my mind – is my project build of a contemporary cupboard design. April saw the release of “Night-time Skyline,” a compact cupboard built with modular storage. Components of the cupboard, four drawers and a divided shelf, can be moved about the cupboard interior into many configurations, which I found useful depending on what you store in the components. Also, the project is as simple a build as you can find. There are no dovetails. The case is constructed using screws with plugged holes, and the drawers are held tight with wooden pegs – the boxes surrounding the drawers are mitered and splines do the joinery work.
Best the best part of the project, the area that was the most fun, were the front doors. Two different width, stack laminated panels were covered with contrasting wood veneers (all shop-cut) that depicts a city skyline at night with a sky illuminated by the light of a crescent moon. (Damn that sounds poetic!)
If you’re a member of 360WoodWorking, you can go back and re-read these releases. If you’ve yet to sign up, you can do that here. And if you would like to have any of these projects and techniques forever at your fingertips, you can immediately download copies below. (Please remember that the video-included projects and techniques are lengthy downloads). Plus, they are all on sale for the month of January – we want to start your new year off with a bang.
If you have any questions about these presentations, or about membership, please contact us.