Baker’s Table

I wanted a place to make bread and pizza dough, pie crust, cinnamon bread, biscuits and pasta. I have a counter in the kitchen but stuff is already there and the counter is really low for my height. Ideally, the space would be somewhat industrial, without being really expensive. There’s something about baking in an existing kitchen that’s frankly annoying. For example, say that I set out to make pasta one day at 3pm. I would scoop flour onto the counter and crack eggs into a well. Wait, what? Where is this empty, clean counter. At my house, the flour would invariably fall down over the counter, where we keep our pots and lids. Not ideal for the freedom to mix flour, eggs, butter, salt and yeast in a space where I could really spread out and not be limited. I also think that certain appliances, like the heavy kitchen aid mixer make a mess in a busy kitchen.

So, I built a big, rustic table…it’s three feet tall, three feet deep and seven feet long. The base is white pine and the top is maple, wrapped in an apron on three sides to catch a ball of dough that is done kneading and tossed to the back while the next ball is formed. You know when someone has a handful of flour and flicks it sideways to dust the table? You need a big table for that.

Regarding the woodworking project itself, I wanted to do this from my gut, so I didn’t use someone else’s design or plan. I thought about what I wanted and made a few drawings and built it with materials that I had on hand. The table is very sturdy and rugged. The base is joined with glue and brass screws, using laminated wood to form a mortise and tenon joint on the sides and a lap joint in the front and back.

I will name the table Juliette, after the lead character in Chocolat whose confections delighted and disrupted an entire French community.

In the near future, I might use the space under the table for a proofing box, powered by an incandescent light bulb. This would be a fun project in and of itself.

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Built-in Closet

We had been sharing an overcrowded closet for around a decade. With our oldest in college, we rearranged the rooms in which each of our children live and made the room next to our bedroom a “changing room”.

The closet is made of melamine coated particle board and is face-framed with maple. It features full-extension drawer slides and chrome closet rods.

Melamine is a heavy material that puts out awful dust while using. I would not recommend it. Instead, painted plywood would be much nicer, even though you have to wait for it to dry.

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Conoid Maple Nightstand

My daughter shared that she would like a nightstand. We measured the height, width and length needed and reviewed what it would hold (school-issued chromebook, phone, google home thing, her latest book). So, 16″ tall would be flush with top of the bed frame and it needed to be around 14″ wide and any length, but after 30″ might get in the way.

This project’s materials come from my bountiful maple milling project of 2018.

These dimensions were ideal for my off-cut bin, so I started last week…selecting stock. I milled and cut to size. Since the bed and wall are perpendicular, the piece would be least intrusive if it were a right triangle, or a conoid. I had an off-cut where the main trunk bifurcated to the large branch. The hypotenuse is a live edge. (see pics or leave comments if that is confusing)

Once the wood was flat, I taped the backside and filled holes with epoxy, including a tint that would darken to a dark brown color.

The base is trestled and attached to the top with figure 8 fasteners that allows for wood movement.

The new owner gladly finished the nightstand with boiled linseed oil. Installed today 🙂

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New Office Desk

Since the beginning of my working from home adventure, I have been interested in improving my home office and a big part of that is the desk at which I compute. This project’s materials come from my bountiful maple milling project of 2018.

The desk is made from two pieces of norway maple and features a live edge on the front side and 15 degree bevels on the sides. The legs are 1 1/2″ square at the top and taper on two sides to 1″ square at the bottom. The top had a substantial crack in it, which was filled with a dark brown tinted epoxy. Legs are joined to aprons with mortise and tenon. The rear apron has a usb and some peripherals attached. The front apron is arched for optimal ergonomics. The desk was frankly over-finished but I will describe it. First, I used several coats of boiled linseed oil and gave that ample time to cure. Then I did a few coats of blonde shellac. Finally, I gave it a durable finish with 3 coats of General Finishes Arm-R-Seal and gave that 30 days to cure, according to the product instructions.

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Made a new Knife Block

We have a nice collection of knives, right to left:

  • CCK Small Cleaver
  • LL Bean Carbon Steel Chef Knife
  • Wusthof Chef Knife
  • 12″ Lasting Cut Slicer
  • Scanpan Scalloped Bread Knife
  • Scanpan Carving Knife
  • 8″ Flexible Boner
  • Scanpan Utility Knife
  • 4 Paring Knives
  • Honing Steel (cropped out accidentally)

The Scanpan knife set came with it’s own knife block but it wouldn’t include some additional knives. I started the job by measuring and drawing each knife and then drawing the block itself.

This project’s materials come from my bountiful maple milling project of 2018.

I took some maple scraps and cut them into roughly 8 pieces, measuring 6″x13″x1″. Then, I had a choice of routing the slots with a router bit or a dado blade. I decided on the dado blade and it worked fine, using several passes, until complete. Then I glued the pieces together. For the internal pieces, I nailed them together and then sandwiched the outside with the cleanest pieces and no nails. Sanded to 180 grit and finished with boiled linseed oil.

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