This Week in the Shop: The Fossil Cabinet

The Fossil CabinetThis Week in the Shop we build small cabinet. Cabinet making epitomizes fine woodworking, as it rewards accuracy, consistency, and attention to detail. Cabinets can be found in the workshop, in the kitchen, as furniture, as built-ins. Great cabinets add value to the home and definitely have the wow factor.

While cabinet making may seem like a inscrutable dark art, basic cabinets are a breeze to put together if you have a few select tools. This cabinet build relies on the table saw and the router and showcases the versatility of shellac as a finish.

This particular cabinet will hold my son’s growing fossil & gem collection. Shallow shelves with scoops hold common tool boxes. This would also be a great workshop project and the skills are transferable to other pieces.


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This Week in the Shop: Milk Paint Finish & Oil+Acrylic Craft Paint

I’ve had three pieces recently come off the workbench recently.  I used a two low-toxicity finishing techniques to complete them.


I experimented with milk paint to complete my Simple Stool and Simple Bookshelf projects.  I teach both projects at NoVA Labs.  Each class covers a different set of tools, but by attending both classes, students learn to use every machine in the shop, gain foundational woodworking techniques & skills and complete a pair of projects to take home.

For those following along at home, both pieces cost between $10 to $15 in materials and can be completed in a 6 hour shop day, start to last coat of finish.


The tray received an acrylic paint & oil combination I have experimented with before.  Learn to do both after the jump!

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This Week in the Shop: The Split-Top Bench with Plans


This week in my home shop I finished up a new bench project I developed for class at Nova Labs in Reston, VA.  While simple in design and execution, it does involve the full suite of woodworking tools and a custom jig to complete.  This great intermediate project uses the Fab Five of a powered woodshop:  table saw, band saw, miter saw, jointer and planer.

starred-photos1I built the entirety of this project at Nova Labs, Inc using their woodworking tools.

Nova Labs is a membership-driven all-volunteer makerspace based in Reston, Virginia that was founded in 2011 with the purpose of empowering everyone to Rediscover the Joy of Making Things!

The current 10,500 sq. ft. facility located at 1916 Isaac Newton Sq West houses classrooms, workspace, incubator offices and a shop that includes both common tools and advanced fabrication equipment. Members enjoy 24-7 access and help co-manage our space by teaching classes, maintaining equipment, and promoting making in the community.

I cannot say enough good things about the membership and openness of the culture they have built up.  It’s rare to find a makerspace that has such a grassroots structure and active volunteer culture.

If you are interested in learning woodworking, you can join me in class in 2017.

Nova Labs members support a wide range of open source development projects that benefit both the local community and the world! Consider joining today to learn how and meet the people behind these projects!

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The New Tools in the Shop

I’ve spent the last three weeks (since mid-July) avoiding the woodshop both at work and home.  At work, a series of major structural changes has kept me away from the wood – which will turn into a good thing.  Exciting times ahead my friends.

At home, I finished a refurbishing an old office chair.  The project awaits some photography and a blog post.  Otherwise, the last few weeks have been about re-organization some major tool acquisitions.  If you hang out around tools, sooner or later you’ve heard the story behind my new tools: they were my father’s tools. I don’t have use for them.

I do..  So let us see the tools after the jump!

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