Category Archives: Quick Projects

Thank you, Pinterest


Thank you, Pinterest, for a constant flood of ideas for cute-sy type projects that the softer side of my household enjoys.  Original design is not a strength for my lovely wife, but she knows what she likes when she sees it and that is where the power of Pinterest shines through. Lindsay regularly shows me pictures of home decor ideas and says, “I really like this, would you build it for me?”  Unfortunately I am compelled to decline most of the time because the projects she finds would either cost too much or just wouldn’t fit in our regular sized house (a high percentage of Pinterest pictures come from Southern Living caliber houses).  But every once in a while she finds something and I get to say, “Yeah, I will do that for you.”


Pop projects (from Pinterest or other sites) don’t interest me.  I like to spend my limited shop time building solid wood furniture that needs no stain or paint.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m not building things for everyone. I build things for me.  I expect furniture (or other decor) to be durable, timeless, well proportioned, functional – you get the idea.  Lindsay just likes things that look nice and make her life more comfortable, like most Pinterest followers, I suspect.

I didn’t photograph a proper build-along with the hook shelf, but here is a little guidance for construction.


Drafting with thin sections of wood and a sharp chisel is more fun than pencil and paper.

I based the proportions for this shelf on hooks that I bought from my friends at the woodwork shop.  You can order them from Rockler.  Because I can not cut my own complex molding (yet), I picked up a piece of crown molding from the home center that I figured was about the size that would look right.  I then sawed a few thin sections of wood and played with the pieces to get the dimensions that looked about right (no drafting on this project).

The joinery is not pictured.  I planed a shallow rabbet on the bottom back edge of the shelf to fit the back.  This rabbet makes assembly an easy job – try nailing two boards together like this by yourself and you will see the purpose of the rabbet.  I then nailed the crown molding in place, caulked the joints, and painted with regular household trim paint.  After the paint cured I screwed the hooks in place and hung it on the wall using these neat hangers.  I think the end result looks nice.

Hook_shelf_4   Hook_Shelf_5

I added a detail of hand planed moulding at the bottom and top edges of the shelf board.  I did this loosely based on the instructions in Matt Bickford’s excellent book on the topic.  It’s a great read even for those of us who don’t currently own moulding planes.  The best part is that rounds like this can be made with just a rabbet plane and a little patience.  Notice the facets that are apparent only if you look closely.  That is the sign of making a round surface from a straight edge tool.

Even though Pinterest has a very girly feel, I will confess to visiting the site more than once.  It is a powerful search engine that produces a visual flood of images that are often more relevant than a Google image search.  I dare you to search for something related to furniture building or woodworking.  Search specific terms and you may be surprised at the quality of search results delivered.  Warning – Before browsing, make sure no guys are looking over your shoulder when searching there – they may revoke your man privileges.

Bob Jones


‘Tis the Season…

For making crafty gifts for loved ones.  What woodworker out there doesn’t enjoy giving gifts that were produced by their own labor?  I certainly do, but my biggest challenge is finding useful projects that don’t take 10+ hours to complete.  Here is one solution – a simple hand planed cutting board.


Around lunchtime I had a rough sawn plank.  Before dinner I had a finished cutting board.  Not bad, I think.  Let’s walk through the process.

Since I’m working with hand planes, wider boards are better (no width limitation).  Wide boards do not require lamination, so it saves time and looks great.  The hardest part of this project is finding nice boards that are 12+ inches wide.


This is a great chance to use an off-cut from a previous project.  Warning! Don’t the make cutting board longer than 23 inches.  Anything longer will be difficult to put inside a kitchen cabinet.  This cutting board ended up being about 12 inches wide, even though I would have preferred 14 inches or so.  Hey, when working with scraps you can’t be picky.


Sighting under a straightedge in several positions is one way to check for flat.

I used a jack plane to get the board “jack flat” on both sides.  “Jack flat” is flat enough that the board is not rocking around on the bench.  This rough board was pretty well warped, wrinkled, cupped, bowed, and twisted so it took me a while.  Why bother working with such a mangled board?  The grain and color of the wood were worth it.


The bottom edge of longer planes makes a handy straightedge.

Next, I brought out my jointer plane, or in this case, my #6.  I planed a slight hollow on both sides, hoping that it would allow the board to warp a little in service and still touch the countertop at the corners making it feel stable in use.


With both faces flat (or slighly hollow) and parallel, work the end grain.  For lumber like this I hold the board in my Moxon vise and shoot the end grain with a smoothing plane.  Use a really sharp and smooth plane. Work to a pencil line, not a knife line.  This surface needs to be pretty, not super accurate (it’s not joinery).


Joint the long sides after the end grain.  Working in this order should clean up any blown-out grain from the end grain shooting (why planing end grain is called shooting is beyond me).  With a rough cut surface I always start with my jack to make the work faster, even on edges.  Here I am starting with the jack before jointing it with my 6.

CB-8-mark_chamfer CB-7-mark_chamfer

To pretty up the cutting board and make it look lighter, I decided to chamfer the underside.  Mark the chamfer with a pencil, not a knife.  Pick a chamfer angle that looks good to your eye.


To plane the chamfer, I used my number 6 again.  I sharpened it before working the end grain, as shown here.  Watch both lines closely and try to sneak up on both at the same time.  I do this free hand.  I completed the chamfer with my smoothing plane.  These chamfers are on the underside, so they don’t have to be perfect, but aiming for perfect is great practice.


Finishing supplies include a smoothing plane, cotton rag, and mineral oil (intestinal lubricant – yum).

Once the chamfers are complete, use the smoothing plane to break all of the edges.  “Break the edges” means to run a plane it over each sharp edge 5 or 6 times with a finely set blade.  You don’t want to visibly round the edges, just make them dull enough to be easy on your fingers.

Pick your favorite food safe finish and apply by the instructions.  I really like Mineral Oil.  Just wipe it on and let it dry for about 24 hours.  Tell the recipient to keep some mineral oil in the kitchen and re-apply regularly.  If you want a finish that’s more resilient and sealing, do some research on the topic.  Meanwhile, this thing is ready to be gift wrapped.


I think the chamfer really lightens the look of the board.  With such a quick project completed, use your spare time to give some woodworking lessons to your little helpers.

helper-1  helper-2

“No, put your hands here.  Listen to me – I’ve done this at least once.”

Bob Jones