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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Woodworkers Fighting Cancer 2013

First, a quick update is in order.  The Moxon vise is completed.  I ended up being able to turn the dowels for the screws on the lathe, so no store bought dowels were used in the construction of the vise.  I tried to use them, but they didn't agree with my threadbox.

So here's a picture of the finished project.  Hopefully it will come in handy for my next project: the children's art easel for The Wood Whisperer's Woodworkers Fighting Cancer charity build.


I began milling some cherry earlier this week for that project, before a nasty stomach bug came through and grounded everyone here but the dogs.  I'm hoping to get back to it Monday.  Some of you have likely heard about this, but for those who haven't: here's the deal.  Go to Wood Magazine to download the plans, order your lumber if you need to- Bell Forest Products has kits available and is donating for every kit they sell- build the easel, submit a picture to Marc at The Wood Whisperer.  That's it, you're done.  For each submission (1 per person) Marc Spagnuolo will donate $5.00 to Cancer Care.  The best part is that he has lined up corporate sponsors, all of which are donating as well.  They include the likes of Festool, Hock Tools, and Microjig,in addition to Bell Forest, and Wood Magazine.

If the project in the plan is just a bit out of reach for you, Steve Ramsey over at Woodworking For Mere Mortals has designed a bit more basic version of the easel. Steve has also partnered with Marc and will make $5.00 donations of his own for each easel completed. For information and plans on Steve's version of the project go to Woodworking For Mere Mortals.  In addition, Steve is auctioning off his easel and donating the proceeds to Cancer Care.  The deadline for submissions is December 9, 2013, so get going.

If you're like me, cancer has touched your life.  It rarely has a positive effect. Cancer Care helps patients and their families with the day to day things, giving them less to be concerned with. To learn more about them, you can visit their website here:  If you aren't a woodworker- read many of my family and friends who follow this blog- you can still help out.  Just visit to make a donation.  If you can't build or donate, spread the word!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I'm Back

I know it's been a couple months since I posted, but I haven't been doing much to write about. The gun rack project has been placed securely in Limbo for the moment, so I took the down time as a chance to do some major cleaning in the shop. 

I have certainly had the itch to actually make some sawdust though. Enter my latest project: the Moxon vise. A Moxon vise is named for Joseph Moxon, an English tradesman and author from the 1600s. In his writings, he described a benchtop vise which would elevate a workpiece to make cutting dovetails or tenons easier. 

Since I don't have a "proper" woodworking bench to work in, my capabilities for holding wood to plane, saw, or do whatever with are limited. The plan is to use the Moxon vise as the clamping workhorse in the shop until such time as I can build my bench. The best part is, it's not going to cost me a dime. 

I have a bunch of lumber from my wife's grandfather, nice air dried stuff (thanks, Grampy). In addition to quite a bit of beautiful cherry- the stuff I used for Stacey's jewelry box- I have a couple of pieces of 8/4 poplar about 5 1/2" wide. Poplar probably isn't ideal for this application due to its softness, but I have it. 

I took one of the boards and cut three pieces to a rough length of about 22". The finished length will be 20", which should accommodate the ability to clamp a board up to 18" between the two screws. I then proceeded to face joint, edge joint, and run each board through the planer to ensure flat, square, and parallel surfaces. Here's what they look like.

The next step was to make the screws to use when clamping a workpiece in the vise. They need to have what is essentially a 1" dowel, which will be threaded, attached to a handle of some sort. I could easily have just bought a 1" hardwood dowel, threaded it, made a handle, and glued them together. Not really my style. Off to the lathe I went. 

The first one came out great. 
The second one...  Well, let's just say that I added a few pieces to the firewood pile. As I said on my Knotheads Facebook page, hopefully the fifth time will be the charm.

As always I would love to hear from you. You can leave a comment here, Look for Knotheads Custom Woodworking on Facebook, follow me on Twitter @cnyredneck, or on Google+. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Shop Time Blues

I was hoping to get in some shop time this past week to get started on the gun racks for my brother-in-law Dave, but so far that hasn't materialized.  The good news is that I should be able to at least get started on some templates.  I did sneak into the shop for a couple of hours to play with my lathe last week.

The lathe is nothing spectacular.  It's a hand-me-down from my wife's grandfather, but if I had to buy one, it'd be just short of never before I had one.  The thing works well enough for what little turning I do.  It's a Craftsman bench top lathe with a very short distance between the bed and the centers.  Great for spindle turning, but I probably won't be turning any significant bowls or platters on it.

A while back, I decided that I really need a mallet for striking my chisels with.  My hammer worked well enough.  Given that I use cheap plastic handled chisels with no striking plate on the top, though, I figured the handles would likely mushroom eventually being hit by hardened steel.

On our way back from a family vacation to Sesame Place, just outside of Philadelphia, and a trip to Ikea (groan), we stopped in at the Woodcraft store in Allentown, PA.  Danny had a blast touching all of the tools, finishes, chunks of wood, etc. that were on display.  Who would expect less from a kid turning 2 in a couple of weeks.  We did buy him his own little piece of wood since it was only a $1.99.  As for me, I was specifically looking for wood to make my mallet.  I actually wanted the head to be hard maple, but I wasn't able to find a blank of sufficient size.  I ended up settling on a 3"x3" chunk of white ash.  It was good enough to hit 90 mph fastballs for years, so I thought it could survive striking a plastic chisel handle.

For the mallet handle, I really wanted to get some bubinga.  Having never worked with an exotic, it appealed to me because I could use it sparingly.  Not just that, but the cost of a turning blank is considerably less than buying several board feet for a large project.  Well, as you may guess, no bubinga, so I settled on a nice piece of paduak for my handle.

When I got into the shop, I chucked up the ash first.  It turned pretty easily.  Of course, all I had to do was turn a cylinder and flare the ends in a bit.  When I had the ash where I wanted it, I removed it from the lathe and started to drill a 1" hole all the way through the center of the piece.  This came with its own challenges.  Let's just say after a lot of smoke, some really hot dust, and a bit of scorching- of the wood thankfully- I managed to get through.  On to the handle.

I carefully measured the hole in the head with my calipers so I'd have a guide for my tenon.  I chucked the padauk up in the lathe, and began turn it from square to round.  Keep in mind that I have next tot no experience on the lathe, and none with exotic hardwoods.  Well I ended up getting a catch while rounding the blank.  This ended up pulling the blank off the spurs of the drive center.  It was a good thing that the centers held, or it woulda hurt.  After a couple of times having to put the blank back onto the drive center spurs, it was finally round.  Had I known how hard this stuff was, I might have opted to use it for the head.

Once I had it round, I set to turning the tenon. With calipers in hand, I used my parting tool to turn the top to fit in the head.  I started with just a couple slots to establish the diameter, then turned the rest down to match- or at least as close as I could get. I also turned a bit of an angled shoulder to try to get as tight a fit as I could going into the head.  The rest was pretty simple. I just used a couple of different gouges to get to a diameter that felt comfortable in my grip.  I did add a little bead in the middle and at the base just for a bit of flair.

After pulling the handle off of the lathe, I test fit it into the head.  Yup, Tight at the very top, loose in the middle, and God only knows how it fit at the bottom.  I wasn't about to put it all in and not be able to get it apart to glue up.  Instead of using yellow glue, I used epoxy because of the gaps in the tenon on the handle.  The epoxy will fill gaps with some structure, which the yellow glue won't.  Once I get some oil on it it should give me years of use.

This is the mallet, waiting for finish.

Friday, August 9, 2013

I Found It

I had been looking for quite some time and suddenly there it was, right under my nose.  I recently went to a meeting of the Sawdust & Woodchips Woodworking Association to check things out.  What a great time it was!  As might be expected, the club members are mostly older guys, but there were a few younger guys and even a couple of women also.  In fact, the president is a woman.  How's that for breaking a stereotype?

The meeting I attended was a "super show and tell."  The majority of the meeting was dedicated to members showing off projects, talking about them, and answering questions.  There were some really gorgeous pieces there.  They ranged from a shave horse to a small cherry end table.  Everyone who spoke was very knowledgeable.

In talking to a few of the members before the meeting and during a short break, I found out that there are presentations on techniques, tools, and other things at other meetings.  Everyone I spoke with was extremely friendly, and certainly didn't take themselves too seriously.  I think I'll be going back next month to become a member.  If you live in Central New York and would like to join, or at least check it out, go to for more info.  They happily welcome visitors, so you don't have to be a member to attend a meeting.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

More important than woodworking

Usually my posts talk about woodworking, what project I'm working on, a technique I used, designing my next project.  There are, of course some things which are much more important in life than what finish to use on a jewelry chest.

In January 2012, Nikki Ormsby was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.  Her dad, Scott Allen is a friend of mine.  As you might have guessed, the news of Nikki's illness devastated family and friends.  After having been closely involved with battles against cancer several times in my own life, some on the losing side, when I hear about someone needing help in his/ her fight, I try to do as much as I can.

As you know, there is no cure for cancer right now.  It can be beaten, though.  My mom is still living after having been through two bouts with lung cancer.  It isn't easy to beat, though, and certainly not cheap.  Having said that, I want to ask for your help.  If you're able, Nikki needs donations to continue her fight.  If she doesn't raise the money to continue treatment, the prognosis is...well not good.  Here's a link to a fund raising page:  All donated funds will go directly to Nikki and her family.  If you are unable to help out financially, you can still help by spreading the word about Nikki's fight.  Post the link to Facebook, get on Twitter and tweet it, use any means possible to get Nikki the help she needs.  There is more information on Nikki's page.  Thanks.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Lull

Well, we've hit the dog days of summer here in Central New York.  As is common in the northeastern US, the middle of summer is characterized by high humidity and temperatures in the mid 90s. It would appear that the jewelry box was completed just in time.

When it gets that hot and humid, the only things moving are mosquitoes.  As you might guess, I have been spending most of my days hiding indoors in front of the air conditioner.  Even though I haven't been in the shop, I have still been thinking about woodworking.

While I was working on the jewelry box, my brother-in-law asked me if I would be able to build him a gun rack.  He wants it to be an armory style rack to hold around thirty rifles and shotguns.  For those who are unfamiliar, armories store firearms vertically on racks which sit on the floor.  The biggest challenges to this will be making the rack light and small enough to get it into his basement, and coming up with a locking system for guns which are varying in length and girth.

Well, the first problem is solved already.  Instead of having one large rack, I'll be making several smaller racks.  By using a modular system, we'll be able to more easily move the units into the basement.  An added benefit for my brother-in-law is that he'll be able to have more freedom to move them around the room.  I also think that a narrower width will make it easier to come up with a locking system.

With all of this in mind, I got on the computer and opened Sketchup.  Here's what I came up with.

The slots at the bottom will be angled to accept guns with scopes.  We may or may not be adding a drawer in the base.  These are just preliminary designs.

Some gentle curves will give the pieces some character.  Even though these will be utilitarian, they can still look nice.  The notches for the barrels at the top and the stocks at the bottom will be lined with felt to prevent thing from getting scratched up.

Hopefully I'll be able to get started on these in the next couple of weeks.  Right now we've had a break in the weather.  Sunny skies and cool temperatures without much humidity.  Right now I need to take advantage of the weather to get some outside stuff done.

I'll have more when I get into the shop, but for now the lull will continue.

Thanks for reading.  As always, please feel free to comment.  Look for me on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.  Until next time...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Wait for it...

I know I promised pictures of the project this weekend. Well, it is in fact done. It's done in theory also, come to think of it. After fighting the weather for weeks, i was able to actually get finish on, and it actually dried. For those of you who don't know, this summer has been humid and rainy here in Central New York. I was wondering if I was ever going to be able to get the finish on.

The finish is simple.  I already talked (ok, wrote, ok, typed) about the black dye used on the maple and poplar to ebonize those.  The next step was two coats of shellac to seal in the color.  Finally, there are about five coats of semi-gloss polyurethane.  Why five coats?  I'm glad you asked.

While it is true that poly finishes are done in three coats, I didn't apply it full strength.  I used a 50-50 mix of poly and mineral spirits to create a wipe-on poly.  What I learned is that there are many benefits to using this method of finishing.

Ease of application is probably the most obvious benefit.  With the poly thinned down, you have better control over where the poly goes, and how thick it goes on.  Cleanup is also much easier. Just open up the rag you're using to wipe the poly on, spread it out on a noncombustible surface till it's dry, and throw it away.  The noncombustible thing is because heat is generated as the poly cures and could cause ignition of the rag.  My favorite benefit is the difference in drying time.  Had I used straight poly, I would have been able to get one coat on in a day.  If I was lucky, the previous coat would be dry enough for sanding and the next coat in about a day.  With the humidity we've had lately, this would have been more like a couple of days.  With the thinned poly, the coats go on more quickly for a couple of reasons.

First, there is more solvent (the mineral spirits) in there, which dries more quickly than poly.  Second, the layer of film (the poly) that's left is much thinner and able to dry more quickly than a thicker coat of brushed-on poly.  All of this is good information about finishing, but after the last few weeks, you don't want to know about this.  Sooo...

Wait for it...

Here it is...

Stacey's jewelry chest.

 Here, you can see the contrast between the beautiful cherry and the ebonized maple top, feet, and drawer lips.

I never realized what a pain peel and stick felt could be to apply.  Thankfully it came out alright.  The pulls on the doors and drawers are held in with epoxy, and the mirror under the lid is epoxied in place also

 This was also my first attempt at etching glass.  It could have been better, but at least the letters and numbers are pretty straight. The other side reads, "Happy anniversary Angel."  We were married in 2006, the 2013 should be self-explanatory.

 These pics show the necklace hooks, there is one on each side.

What were the reactions of the Shop Puppies?

 Moose! Moose! Look what I made for mommy.
 You woke me up for that?
Dale added her opinion, but you can't see her eyes.
Obviously the Shop Puppies are not interested in fine woodworking!

As always, I'm glad to read your comments.  I also invite you to follow me on Twitter @cnyredneck. You can also like me on Facebook  Look for me on Google+, too.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Still going

As luck would have it, I still haven't completed the surprise project for Stacey's anniversary gift.  I guess the "I lost two weeks of working on it" rationale has now fallen by the wayside.  The good news is that I may be able to post pictures next week as I have everything glued up and ready for finish.  It's funny how the smaller projects seem to take longer than the larger ones.

At any rate, since the last post I have bought glass for the doors, etched the glass, assembled the doors, rebuilt drawers (which still didn't fit properly) and done a ton of sanding.  The new drawers actually had the same problem as the original ones.  This leads me to believe that the spacing on my drawer runners is off, since I actually made the new drawers nearly 3/16" taller than the old ones.  The problem was the spacing between the drawers was off... again. There was a 1/8" gap between the top and second drawers, no gap between the second and third, etc.

Well I was not about to make new drawers for a second time. I do it nice 'cause I do it twice.  I really needed a way to make these drawers work.  After some pondering, and more pondering, and a headache because my brain isn't used to thought, I came up with the answer.  Since I made the fronts taller than the sides and backs, all I had to do was plane the fronts flush with the sides, and glue on a new piece of wood to cover the gap.  I like to refer to this as adding a design element.  At first I thought I would use some cherry to match the drawer fronts, but as I was sitting at my bench considering what do do, it hit me.  Why should I ruin the flow of the grain which I had carefully put together by sticking cherry in with different grain?  I still have some maple left, I can rip down the maple, glue it on, plane it to fit, flush it up with the cherry, and ebonize it.  I'm a stinking genius! (Not really.) Well, genius or not, it worked out perfectly, there is now a perfect 1/16" gap between all of the drawers.  Now on to finishing, and the challenges that come with that.

As always, please feel free to leave me a comment, question, suggestion, etc.  If you enjoy what you've read so far, please add me to your reading list. You can also add me to your circles on Google+ (Knotheads Cny), or like me on Facebook (

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Shop

Well, I was able to get some more shop time in this past week. I glued up drawers and milled the front trim and rails and stiles for the doors. I thought I was in good shape until I began to fit the drawers.  We aren't talking about really big drawers here, only about 2 inches tall, 5 inches deep, and about 6 or so inches wide.  It's been my experience that the smaller stuff is more difficult to get to fit properly.  That was certainly the case here.

With all of the drawers in place I had huge gaps between the fronts.  When the drawers are only a couple of inches tall, an eighth looks like the Grand Canyon.  Back to the jointer and planer.  I really didn't want to get into remaking these things, but with curved fronts, there was just no way to make the ones I have work.  So it's back to square one for that part.

The good news is that I did learn a new trick thanks to Shannon Rogers over at the Renaissance woodworker.  In episode 83 of the Renaissance Woodworker podcast, Shannon covers how to square up end grain after crosscutting a board by hand.  Here's the link to the episode:  I modified this tip to fair the curves on my drawer fronts since I didn't have a 2 inch long flush trim bit for my router, and didn't really want to buy one  right then. What I did was to mark a line on the sides and ends of my fronts after roughing them out at the band saw.  I found it was a good idea to use my marking knife to scribe across the end grain.  I then used my block plane to put a chamfer to the scribe line on all sides of the fronts.  From there, it was just a matter of using my Number 4 to remove the rest of the material until the chamfers were gone.  It worked well for me because the curve on the drawer fronts is very slight.  Two things to remember to prevent tearout: 1) work downhill when planing.  Start at the middle of the curve and push the plane down to the ends on either side.  By doing it this way, the grain is supported from underneath. This naturally means you will be planing against the grain half the time.  Just take light passes and tearout should be minimal, or if you have a high angle plane, use it.  Follow up with a card scraper to get rid of any tearout that did occur. 2) Make sure to keep the sole in front of the iron as flat to the work as possible. If you rotate the plane to the back, you will remove less material, if any at all. To do this, it's a simple matter of keeping good downward pressure on the front knob of your plane.

I guess with every negative comes a chance to learn.  As much as I don't want to remake these drawers, I will get an opportunity to practice my new hand plane technique some more. Maybe I'll take some pics to post for next time.  Thanks for reading, and as always, feel free to comment.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Missed The Deadline

Well, my anniversary has come and gone as of June 3.  After Stacey's surgery, I wasn't able to get much time in the shop as she really wasn't able to do a whole lot. The good news is that she does understand the delay, the bad news is that I got the first "When is this project gonna be done" the other day.

I have managed to make some progress since Stacey went back to work.  Most of the assembly is done, which means the top and bottom are ebonized.  I used Transtint black anneline dye mixed with denatured alcohol to ebonize maple for the base and top of the project, and I'm really pretty happy with the result.  The nice thing about using alcohol soluble dye vs. water soluble is the speed with which you can accomplish your desired finish.  This was my first attempt at using dye, and I was amazed to have been able to turn the pale maple black in a matter of about 45 minutes or so.  I also understand that the water soluble dyes don't penetrate as deep into the fibers of the wood, so I'm sure that this adds to how quickly the alcohol dye works.

I also did a huge amount of finish sanding the other day.  As much as I don't care for sanding, I realize that it means the finish is in sight.  Finish as in the end of the project, but also putting finish on the project- insert groan here.

Next up will be some drawer assembly, building a couple of doors, etching some glass, finish, and hardware.  I'm pretty sure I can accomplish all of this in the next week, which would put me right on schedule when you consider that 2 weeks were lost. In fact, if I'm able to complete it this week, I'll be a week ahead of schedule.  Wish me luck.  Of course, pictures will be posted when the thing is done.  Be on the lookout for the next post here.  You can also like Knotheads Custom Woodworking on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter @cnyredneck.  As always, comments are welcome here and on Google+- Knotheads Cny.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Life happens

Well, I certainly intended to post something before now, but sometimes as they say, life happens.  Not much progress to report on the project. I haven't had much chance to work on it. My wife had minor surgery last Monday, so she's been recovering. This has understandably left me busy with things other than woodworking.

I did get a bit of shop time in before my wife's surgery.  I was able to remedy the mistakes I mentioned last time. It did involve making a new piece, but it will work.  Much of the project is glued up, but there is still quite a bit to do.  It most likely won't be ready for my anniversary, but Stacey will certainly understand why.  I'll just get it done as quickly as possible.

I did have some requests from friends and family on Facebook to post some pictures of previous projects, so I'll take this lull as an opportunity to do so now.

This one is the doll cradle I made for my niece, Sadie a while ago.  She'll be 5 this summer, which should tell you how long ago it was.  I actually just winged it on the design.  A bit of bandsaw work for the head, foot and rockers, and rounded everything over with the router.  Since I was in a hurry, the whole thing is put together with butt joints and screws.  The wood is red oak, stained with an oil based stain, and finished with water based poly.  I did research child safe finishes before finishing this because, as you can see here, Sadie was pretty young at the time.  My research led me to conclude that any finish is perfectly safe for children, as long as it's cured.  Thanks to my sister-in-law, Stephanie Misner, for the picture.

These are pictures of my son Danny when he was an infant.  The cradle was made using a plan I acquired from my wife's grandfather.  He had apparently built a version for my sister-in-law and my wife when they were babies.  I used red oak again on this one.  The head and foot boards were glued up and cut on the bandsaw.  The cradle actually mounts in a stand, which doesn't appear in these pictures.  I was more concerned with being the doting dad when I took these.  The finish is Minwax Polyshades, which, in case you're unfamiliar with it, is an oil based stain/ poly combination.  I really liked how it was able to bring out the grain of the wood, and create a good film finish at the same time.  I used pretty simple joinery on this piece, too. Screws and glue, with plugs to cover the heads of the screws.  I am looking forward to getting into some more complex, and possibly decorative, joinery in the future.

Well, that's about all I have for now.  Once things settle down a bit, I hope to get onto a more regular schedule of shop time, as well as posting.  As always, feel free to leave a comment.  Until next time...

Friday, May 17, 2013

My name is Dan Ball, welcome to my slightly skewed version of things. I got interested in woodworking when I was a young buck. My dad was never into woodworking, but I- like a lot of others- grew up watching Norm and Roy. When I was in Cub Scouts, one of the requirements for a badge (I think it was Bear) was to build a project out of wood. I was fortunate that my uncle, Ken MacMaster, was a woodworker. Together we built a small step stool out of pine, and so a passion was born.

It was probably twelve years later that I actually built my next project.  I had gotten a circular saw from my parents for my birthday, and bought a Skil plunge router (which still works well 20 plus years later) and a few bits. I went to the home center and picked up some red oak and built myself a CD storage case. I was pretty proud of it at the time, but looking back...

Over the years, I have accumulated more tools, but haven't had a great deal of time or money for woodworking. My last project was completed almost 2 years ago. It was a cradle for my not yet born son. The finish actually went on while my wife was in the hospital after giving birth.  I would spend the day at the hospital with them, then come home and work most of the night on the cradle.

Now that my boy is a year and a half old, he is showing an interest in tools.  He has a plastic Home Depot workbench with a bunch of toy tools which he just loves.  Because of this I have decided that I really should start doing more projects.  I hope to hone my skills, which are still pretty rough, so that when Danny gets old enough, I can pass my passion on to him.  Even though I have learned quite a bit over the years from magazines, television, and more recently the internet, I haven't been able to get into the shop to practice what I've learned.

My current project is going to remain a secret for now, as it's an anniversary gift for my wife.  I can talk a bit about the process I've gone through so far.  First let me say, you should ALWAYS unplug your router when changing bits.  I have an old Stanley Rout About which I got from my wife's late grandfather.  I love the router, but it wasn't really designed with safety in mind.  The other day I was changing bits.  While I was pulling out the bit that was in it, the top of the router bumped the top of my workbench.  Now I have heard Tom Iovinno talk about his "little voice," and I apparently have one also.  It told me I should unplug the tool.  I ignored the voice.  Well, when the router bumped the bench, it turned on. Bet you didn't see that coming.  I was lucky that the bit only danced across my fingers a little, but boy was it scary.  I came out of it with a few nicks and a couple of band aids, but it could have been much worse.  Believe me when I say that the irony of being only a few days removed from Woodworkers Safety Day was not lost on me.  Perhaps Marc should consider going back to a full week.

The other boneheaded thing I did was I neglected to label my project parts.  This led me to glue drawer runner on the wrong side of the workpiece.  I tried my best to remove the runners with a chisel and router plane, but this only ended up shredding the face of my board.  My current headache is trying to cut dadoes in a new workpiece to match up with the other side, which is already glued in place.  I know, I know, dry fit, dry fit, dry fit.  Like I said, still a little rough.

At any rate, I decided to start a blog in the hopes that I can give back to the woodworking community.  I'm not sure how often I will actually post, but I'll try to keep current with what's going on in my shop.  I'll definitely post some pictures of the completed project, after I give it to my wife.  Whit only a couple of weeks until our anniversary, I should head for the shop.  Please feel free to post comments with kudos, constructive criticism, tips, or whatever.