Welcome To Woodworking A-D-D: another new project arises…

I have always thought of myself as a pretty slow woodworker. I am constantly amazed by the time in which my fellows crank out furniture. I don’t attribute this to my penchant for hand tools either because I have seen some of my neanderthal colleagues tear through a project as well. I am not adverse to flipping a power switch to get through a task when drudgery sets in or a deadline looms. I can’t really say that my slower pace is dictated by an anally retentive, hyper diligent attention to detail because lately I have been adopting the construction methods of our forefathers by not surfacing the interiors of cases and sometimes cutting inside tenon shoulders purposely away from their mate so as not to interfere with the fit on the show face. These factors actually speed up my work. So what is my problem? Why am I so slow?

I think I figured it out. Go back up to the top of this page and read the header title by my spokeshave logo:

“The Renaissance Woodworker; So Many Projects…So Little Time, Welcome to Woodworking A-D-D”

I adopted this tag line more than 2 years ago when I started this blog because I was fascinated by all styles and methods of construction. I would like to think that my tastes have become more focused lately and there is no doubt that I have a special place in my heart for period styles of the 18th century. However, I still love Arts & Crafts, Asian, Mid Century Modern, Danish, etc, etc. I have gravitated to a hand tool approach but I still get as excited as the next guy by a roaring planer and precision table saw cut. This is my cross to bear: woodworking attention deficit disorder.

This is why I am so slow. Too many balls in the air and projects in the shop.

This rather lengthy prelude is a way of leading into the introduction of yet another project in my shop. Right now I have my Queen Anne Side Table sitting patiently off in a corner waiting for me to spray on some Shellac. I am building a checkerboard style banding to inlay into a Walnut 2 drawer hall table as well as preparing stringing for the drawer fronts. Once that is done I will apply Shellac at the same time at the side table. I have 2 Adirondack chairs built and awaiting finish that I salvaged from my picnic table that collapsed under the February snows and a patio table under construction from that same Redwood. On the lumber rack I have close to 100 board feet of Pennsylvania Cherry and curly Cherry acclimating for The Wood Whisperer Guild summer chest of drawers build. Related to that project I have milled up 3″ square blocks of Poplar to practice ball & claw foot carving and have 6 of those blanks laying about in various stages of completion. All of this within the confines of my 340 square foot shop.

So I think I should add another project to that don’t you? My wife has a need for a small book shelf for her voice studio at work. This is where she teaches her private voice lessons and rather than running back and forth to her office every time she needs a piece of music she wants a place to store them right in the small studio. It cannot be anymore than 34″ high so it can fit under a window therefore I am making it with 1:1 proportions. Knowing that I have many other projects underway, she insisted that it need not be complex but still be pretty. I know that the kids who filter through her studio are parented by some of the wealthy elite in Baltimore and those parents often make appearances. Also this book shelf will be clearly visible to all who pass by on the way to the main theater. In other words I am building something that will essentially be sitting in a gallery frequented by people who can afford custom furniture. This is a great opportunity to build something small and simple thus giving me a lot of opportunity to embellish it with some fine points and lines so as to impress the passersby.

I will go into more detail on this build in future posts but I’ll tease you now with the template I have formed for the bottom feet and lower apron trim.

French Foot and lower trim

French Foot and front apron will be trimmed with a 1/4\

This French foot sweeps nicely into the trim where the change in radius of the curve punctuates the transition and sweeps elegantly across the whole piece in an elliptical shape. This is derived from Hepplewhite’s design book and some of his chests of drawers therein. It will be fun to see it come together using some modern techniques, time saving measures, and cost saving lumber.

So, the upshot of all of this is I will do my best to keep the cameras rolling and will report to all of my fragrant and beautiful readers. However, I really think I need to move some of this stuff to the completed column or I won’t have any place to step in the shop. Stay tuned to this Bat channel for more on what I am calling my Hepplewhite Low Bookcase.

7 Responses to “Welcome To Woodworking A-D-D: another new project arises…”

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  1. Tico Vogt says:

    Nice look to the template.

    It’s good to have all the different projects, just as long as you do finish one every so often. One of the most important things for me as a “designer” (not a talent I advertise) has been to have lots of pieces to live with. You become aware, over time, about what was important or not about a piece you’ve made. Did that detail really mean anything, was the function of that ” cool” piece of hardware “cool,” annoying, or ultimately insignificant, did the contrast of the woods look as striking and eye catching, even desirable, after ten years of darkening? These are things that slowly build up in your data bank and inform your decisions. So, it’s good to make stuff to live with it, maybe especially things you really obsess over. Someday you’ll sort out what really makes a difference.

    Your decidedly non fragrant reader,


  2. Dyami says:

    Wow. I’m very impressed that you manage to walk in your shop with all those half finished projects.

    Please don’t take that as a criticism. I too have a long list of half finished tasks, and as I recently blogged about I’m having trouble doing anything in my shop without tripping over other things. I’m impressed that you’re able to move, let alone produce the beautiful work you do with so much around.

    I hope the Hepplewhite Low Bookcase comes out nice (I’m sure it will) and provides a great sales lead for you.

  3. I know what you mean about slow production. At the moment I’m getting through only 1-2 projects a year…. Maybe I should stop stop blogger and get back in the shop…
    Anyway, I like the sounds of this new project. Look forward to the progress.

  4. If one does woodworking as a hobby, I don’t believe you CAN be slow, or fast for that matter. You can simply have fun with your spare time.

    Today I went into the shop. I have a set of cabinets that need finishing. I have a mirror that needs some fixturing. But I didn’t want to do those things. Instead, I puttered. For two hours I puttered. I can’t say I even accomplished anything. But I did have fun.

    Cheers — Larry “aka Woodnbits”

  5. Mike Zilis says:

    This sounds like a great project. Not because of what it is, but rather what it will represent to you as a designer/craftsman. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with that represents the potential of what your future customers could expect from Shannon Rogers.

  6. Rob Horton says:

    In a small shop, space equals time. I’ve found the true cost of keeping a number of projects going (something of which I’m just as guilty) to be all the time spent shuffling items around. Want to cut the dadoes on a set of drawers? Fine. Not only do you have to set up your tools, you also have to make/find a safe place to store a tabletop that you’ve already finish sanded.

    It’s hard enough for me to keep all my tools in one place. The longer a project stays in the garage, the more likely it is that parts will get lost or dinged up.

  7. Ian Mackay says:

    Shannon, I am sooooo with you brother.

    No matter how many projects I’ve got started, I’m always finding a new one that I think will challenge me in new ways and can’t wait to get started on it.

    It’s like a drug. You get that rush from embarking on something that promises to fill a space in your soul, one you never knew existed until you saw that elegant piece of joinery, the jig that is going to save what little sanity remains or the unrelenting caveman need to build something to impress your better half.

    Lately I find I have too many in that last category that are collecting dust in a state of partial completeness, so I’ve forced myself to make them a priority…well, except for this neat little fun project I saw over on Lumberjocks that would look really neat if I used the little plank of lacewood I’ve been saving….

    Ian – woodcanuck

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