Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fret Moldings Installed

I spent the day installing the fret moldings on the breakfront base I've been working on. This was incredibly tedious work, but I'm not complaining; as any of my friends will tell you, tedium is my middle name! These were some tricky miters because no 45 degree angles were involved. The larger doors required 52/38 degree cuts, while the smaller doors were some other combination summing to 90. I used a brad pusher and tiny brads to hold each piece in place until the glue set. Altogether, making and installing these little moldings took about 12 hours. Sheesh.

Tomorrow I'll fit the drawers, hang the doors, and do finish prep.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Breakfront Progress!

Today I made the doors and drawer faces for the breakfront base I've been working on. Tomorrow I'll make and install the fretwork moldings you see in the drawing below.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Locke Lane Condominiums

I'm in the early design phase of a project at the old Locke Lane apartments on Grove Avenue. The apartments have been renovated into beautiful, high-end condos, and one of the new owners commissioned a pair of built-in bookcases for his living room. I'm getting to the point where I'm happy with the basic proportions of the case work, but am fussing a lot about details, like whether or not the heads should be arched. Here's where the sketch stands at present.

Chinese Chippendale Breakfront

I've recently been working on the base for a Chinese Chippendale breakfront. The client has the upper case and needs a base to match. Below are some photos of the work in progress as well as examples of the kinds of measured drawings I use in the shop.

Friday, February 22, 2008


The following is a post I made to the site on February 13, 2008. The forum's moderator contacted me a few hours after I posted to inform me that she had pulled the post for failure to adhere to Woodweb's posting guidelines. Because they cannot independently verify complaints of this kind, they do not allow them on the site. Nonetheless, I feel it is imperative that information of this kind be available to prospective buyers of any machine that poses such serious health threats in the event of a malfunction. I am confident that if my former employers had access to information of this kind, they would have purchased a different molder.

Despite my criticisms, I want to emphasize that I perceive Stiles Machinery, which markets the Kentwood Molder, to be an excellent company in general. I have written very favorably about them in previous posts, and as a woodworker, I have enjoyed the use of many of the machines they sell and service. While negative perceptions like those I share in the post below may decrease the likelihood that those in the market for a molder choose a Kentwood, nothing I say could affect Stiles as adversely as a serious injury resulting from a machine of unacceptably low quality.

Lastly, if anyone reading this would like to respond to any aspect of this post, I will gladly publish any reasonable comments.

Here is the original post from Woodweb:

I had previously posted anonymously about Kentwood Molders, advising prospective buyers to contact me first. At the time, I was concerned about adversely affecting my employer's relationship with Stiles. At this point, my misgivings about the machine far outweigh that consideration.

The molder has been nothing but trouble. Spindles have spun out of their housings. Heads have locked onto spindles. Belts have disintegrated while scarcely under load. Latches and other small parts have failed, at times leaving the machine inoperable. Yesterday, the guard on #3 vibrated loose, made contact with the spinning head, shattered, and sent shrapnel flying throughout the machine. One piece of shrapnel actually pierced the acrylic hood.

I cannot overstate my misgivings about this machine. In my view, it should be taken off the market. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Be safe.

Flat Files Finished!

On my last two days working for one of Richmond's oldest suppliers of building materials, I installed a set of flat file drawers in the drafting room. Eventually, the top will be painted a deep, semi-gloss red while the sides and plinth will be some neutral color to match the room's trim. The six drawers are roughly 5" tall x 46" wide x 40" deep, i.e., truly huge. Each pair of full--extension drawer slides weighs about 20 pounds and cost somewhere in the $100 range. The exquisite mahogany I used for this project was in a shed behind the mill where I worked.

The shot below shows the cockbead I applied to the drawers' perimeters. I should mention that I used clear white pine as a secondary wood and that the finish is boiled linseed oil, shellac, and wax.

This last photo details the brass and mahogany knobs I used on the case. Lee Valley sells beautifully turned brass knobs which are recessed to accept any 3/4" diameter material. I chose to use mahogany to match the drawer faces. I thought the piece ended up with a bit of a nautical flair, thanks to this combination of brass and mahogany.

This was a fun project. If you're reading this and in the market for a chest of flat file drawers, contact please email me at for an estimate.