Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Rock a Bye Baby".............PART ONE

This will be a project of love in the creation of a family heirloom. However I am sure it will become a popular project once it is completed.

It all began a few weeks ago with a phone call from my youngest daughter, and it went something like this:
She said "Dad.....would you build me a rocking chair?"
I said "Ummmmmm......Ok.......but this is the person who has been supposed to make you a pepper grinder for the last four years and you still don't have it"
she then says "well I think you will have a bit more incentive with this request."
then I said "Hmmmm oh really! Is there something you are not telling me?"
she then says " Well.......yeah I am due in the spring so you have 9 months(now 5 months)"

then I said "cool, congratulations or something like that, after excitedly hollering in her ear and doing the happy dance"
After searching on the internet and asking around, a LumberJocks friend said to me, you need to check out my buddies website. He said this guy is great and if you need help with his plans, he will be more than happy to help.

Once I started going through his site I knew I was in the right spot. As luck would have it, as we were talking, he said he had just completed plans, DVD and a template set on the very chair I was asking about. He said however, they won't be ready for several weeks. This was alright with me because of an upcoming trip to the Midwest and a list of pending project orders once I returned. I told him my plans and asked how much wood I would need for this project. He gave me my answer and then said being we would be passing right by his place near I-90, to stop by and check out one of his works in progress. Unfortunately weather took over and we were unable to stop on the way home, but a visit is in my future.

During the trip scheduled to the Midwest to visit family and considering the cost of hardwood lumber here in Montana compared to the price where it is grown and harvested in the Midwest. I decided to check out what there was to choose from.

During a conversation with another woodworking buddy from LumberJocks who happens to live in the Midwest near where I was headed, made this comment. "You have to go check out these guys. They are great and I really like them and their setup". He provided me with directions, but was unfortunately unable to go with me because of previous plans.

With my brother driving (whom we were visiting) and my wife, we were off to find the sawmill. Not really knowing what to expect, but trusting my woodworking buddy, I was excited.

As we pulled into the drive the first thing we saw was this sign. I knew then everything was going to be great.

Simpson & Son is a small family run business in Northwest Missouri and as soon as we started talking with the folks there I knew we were in the right spot.  They took the time on this cool crispy morning to chat with us and hear our stories, and tell us a few of their own. They obviously were very knowledgeable about the wood they worked with and were very patient with me as I went about selecting just the right pieces of wood for this project. 

Eyeing all the lumber stacked in sheds, and this was just one of them, I knew it would be a tough job, but one I was willing to take on.

Now the fun began, trying to pick the right pieces of walnut, which is the wood chose by my daughter and I.

I had been told I needed to get 8/4 lumber (2 inch thick) and that I would need about 50 bdft. Hopefully I picked up enough extra pieces just in case the saws make some miscuts.

My next problem was to not try and load up all the wood that I had to chose from. Putting me in this place was like putting a kid in a candy store. Oh my!!!!

I did behave for the most part and only got the wood that I needed along with a few other pieces of various other types of wood.

Well....they were using them as fuel for their burn barrel to keep warm while working outside. How could I possibly let those nice pieces of Oak, Maple, Sycamore, Cherry, Elm, etc etc etc.....end up as ashes..when I could picture the nice cribbage boards and other unknown projects they would make..

This is the pile of Walnut that I chose for this project. It is now acclimating to the inside of my shop and waiting for the project to begin.

I am trying to catch up on pending project orders and stock for up coming shows, while I wait for the plans and templates for this project.

Once I begin the building of this project, I plan on doing a blog as to this whole process and the trials and tests I go through. Scott the designer of these plans said, "no problem, you should be able to get it done in 1-2 weeks"
I just smiled to myself and thought....hmmm  ...... Yeah Right...... OK, we will see!

Stay tuned!!!

For more information about ordering your own custom project go to:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Glacier National Park Fund Sign Project

A while back I was approached by Kelly of the Glacier fund in Columbia Falls, Montana to see if I would be interested in doing a project for the park. How could I say no to a group that does so much for Glacier National Park.

Having lived in and around the park for the last 15+ years, I have a lot of great memories both personal and professional about the park.

Work has begun on this sign which is made out of a local harvested fir from RBM Lumber and is 29 1/2 inches wide by 16 inches tall.

The lettering on this sign was done by Montana Pine Treasures using a CNC router system

My little shop elf assisting with a bit of letter darking.

Here is the sign with a coat of golden stain applied.

The signs will be headed to the Echo Lake Cafe in Big Fork, Montana to be part of a display there.

The smaller board is being created to be displayed along with the larger sign and has slots along the bottom to hold business cards.

This sign is also made out of a local harvested fir from RBM Lumber and is 18 inches wide by 9 inches tall.

The lettering along the top will be lasered into the wood using a Epilog laser system.

More to be added as this project progresses.... Back to work for me....

For more information about ordering your own custom board go to:

Giant pizza peel being created for The Wander Inn in Long Island New York.......UPDATE

This peel is completed and being packed for shipment.
Very soon it will be preparing those large 28+ inch pizza's being created at the Wander Inn in New York.

This large custom Pizza peel is being created for he Wander inn in Long Island New York. It measures in with a over 28 inch square paddle and a two foot handle.

Here is the initial glue up as the project begins. using pieces of a local birch they are biscuited together and clamped for 24 hours to achieve a strong bond.

Here is the backer board being sized up prior to glue up.
With the weight of a 28 inch pizza the handle and back of peel is made stronger by adding a strip of one inch thick wood.

This is gluing the backer board to the handle and a portion of the paddle.

The blue tape marks the edges of the valley which I put in each board to ensure the pizza has a smooth transition valley to slide into the oven.

Now the handle has been cut to shape and the planing and sanding begins to shape the handle and paddle to the final shape.

More to follow back to the shop for me.

For more information about ordering your own custom board go to:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Back in the shop.....................

Trying to get back in the swing of things here after a much overdue visit to the midwest. Meeting our three granddaughters was most definitely the highlight of the trip. Photos to be posted soon on my facebook page soon...

In the process of reorganizing projects and straighten and clean the shop. Prior to leaving rather left the shop in a mess to say the least...trying to get orders out...etc...

I was able to pick up some much needed equipment while in the "Big Cities" will post more on that when things quiet down a bit...

One good thing about the midwest is the abundance of very nice hardwoods at a reasonable price. Yes I was able to pick up material for a very special project which I will blog about once it gets into motion, waiting on plans and additional supplies. I wish I had more money and room while there I would have totally stocked up on hardwoods. I am not saying that hardwood dealers here are overcharging for their wood, but I certainly was impressed with the prices I paid in the midwest.

For more information about ordering your own custom project go to: