OKAY! I’m back… In search of the perfect 2×4.

2x4 quartersawn

For the past year or two, I’ve been building work tables using construction grade lumber. It’s become another obsession, searching the thousands of crap boards at Home Depot and Lowes. So, at the risk of creating competition for these rare gems – this is what I look for. You can look through every stack in the entire store and you’re lucky to find one quarter sawn 2×4 (2×6, 2×8, etc.).

Does anyone else do this?

I’ll post more on perfect 2x4s and the things I’ve built – SOON.


This Table is Kicking My Ass! – Beginnings

I should explain… this began as a press table for the printing company I work for. It’s based on a craftsman library table – super sized. It took only ten minutes to draw up – way back in December 2012.

I normally don’t share work in progress, but I need help – the notion that someone is looking may shame me to action.

On an icy December 22nd I drove to the millworks and bought stout hickory lumber to build the legs and frame. Over the next couple weeks I glued up legs, chopped mortises, cut tenons – all cool. Hickory is the stuff used to make hammer handles and bridges. This table has an 8 ft span, it’s a bit like a small bridge. Hickory is so hard and tough, nothing works easily; the pronounced grain is prone to tearout when planing, sawing requires an ultra sharp blade, scorches easily and it’s HEAVY. There were a few minor mishaps, one of the ends took a spill from the bench top and flattened my work light. Another tipped over, taking a good chunk out of the plaster wall. In spite of these minor calamities – the frame was assembled and coated by February 23rd.

First trip to Millworks

December 22, 2013 at the millworks.

Gluing up Legs

December 29, 2012 Gluing up legs.

Dry Fit End

January 16, 2013 Dry fit ends  – moving along well.

Assembled Frame No Paint

February 15, 2013 Fitting the stretchers – remember, I’m only really working on weekends.

Frame with dividers and paint

February 23, 2013 Looks great – but I’m about to make my first mistake…


This Table is Kicking My Ass! – Introduction

I’m going public with this project – the massive hickory work table. I’ll describe it further – later. I’m late for work already. When a project has me in a dither (or a choke hold in this circumstance), I’ll occasionally make a Next-Three-Things list:

1. Remove drawers #1, 4 and 5.

2. Find my number stamps.

3. Stamp the fronts, back, sides and bottoms so I won’t mix them up.

The table has five drawers – dovetailed, grooved, slotted and carved. My goal is to finish the table in November. Stay tuned – I need your help!


All things carved…

There’s going to be a new family joke – every time I say Follansbee, everyone has to drink. My brother came up with this response after I’d referred to Bonnaroo (the music festival) for the 27th time in one weekend. Sure, I can be a little obsessive, but when you do something really cool, you want to talk about it.

I participated in a carving class last weekend at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking in Manchester, CT. It was well worth the 1,919.7 mile round trip to learn from a personal hero – Peter Follansbee. Everybody DRINK!

Here’s a link to his outstanding blog – and for the sake of sobriety, I won’t mention his name again.

The class was terrific – highly recommended. The Connecticut Valley school is offering many more. Whaaaaah!!! I wish it wasn’t so far away. Click for their class schedule.

I spent the following few days visiting my sister in Brookline, MA, highlighted by visits to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. I was in hog heaven – seeing so many examples of furniture with carved details. Here are a few shots of the MFA entry doors, massive with sunflower motif carved in the most delicious quartersawn oak I’ve ever seen (tasted?).


This jaw dropping oak cabinet is Dutch, from the early 17th century.


Seeing this, I was tempted to list my carving tools on Ebay, but I took a brave step and started into carving the drawer fronts on my current project – the massive work table. It looks pretty damn primitive in comparison – but, it’s a start. Stay tuned…