Friday, May 13, 2011

Sawaii Doors

Every once and a while you meet a client that you just love.  It's people like this that make me enjoy what I do.  This door customer was an example of that.  These people were more than patient with us.  We've had a difficult year transitioning into our new operation. These awesome people were understanding, beyond patient, and I wanted to give them nothing less than my best.  I think we did it.  These Cherry Panel doors turned out just georgous..

But getting them installed turned out to only be half of the job.  Once I got them in the Mr. of the house, quite a handy fellow in his own right, wasn't satisfied with the hinges.  He felt they should be heavy duty ball bearing.  I looked at them and thought to my self "Why doesn't EVERY door we build like this have heavy duty ball bearing hinges???"  I was out there a few days later and discovered an outstanding technique for mortising hinges using the Festool MFK700EQ mini router and a shop built jig.
Here, I'm using the new hinges to set the depth of the router bit.  You have to be sure you set the depth to the door edge, not all the way down into the old hinges mortise like this pic below is showing.  Almost blew it there... Notice how the jig we made is the same size as the hinge, (we sell these buy the way) add a bearing or router bushing to follow the template and there you have it.  Mortising jig for door hinges.  What makes the MFK outstanding for this application (besides that it is the only router prethreaded to accept router bushings) is the wide platform base with the knob on it.  This base give you unmatched control over the router which results in big time confidence biting into a multi thousand dollar furniture grade finished cherry hardwood door.  Yes, it's still nerve racking.

The door stand pictured below makes the job a little easier, but no less scary.
As luck would have it, as I'm doing this.  Literally the very moment I'm setting the depth, I get a call from my Festool rep who is travelling my area with his boss the West Coast Director of Sales.  They just so happened to be in the same town I was working in and dropped by to see me and the MFK in action.  They took a video, and if they ever get it to me, I'll post it up.

Recycled lumber Arbor

One thing I love more than anything is taking something used, old, or discarded and making something fresh and new out of it.  Here's a perfect example.  Tim Dennis built this awesome arbor as his display for this years Carpentry Artist Exhibition.  We wanted a display that could showcase the materials we have a great resource for (used lumber) and display it in a unique and creative way.  Tim and I came up with a real neat design that makes this antique material look modern again.  We precut everything right here in house, and could do the same for you.

Modern Craftsman Mantel Cap

Heres another mantel cap that has blown up in popularity.  While I had this one sitting around the shop waiting to be installed, I had two more customers ask for pricing on it, and I've built one of them.  I'm calling this one the Modern Craftsman.

Oak Mantle Shelf

I have a feeling Oak is experiencing a resurgence in popularity.  Fallen from favor of designers and architects for more than a decade due to extensive overuse in the 80's, you just can't deny the timeless classic American hardwood.  It's cheap, readily available, and hard as a rock.  I'm liking Oak again.  Here's a Craftsman-ish mantel I did that is basically an economical version of my popuilar mission mantel shelf.
The above shot shows the shape real well, below is it mounted up on the customers wall with the clavos on.  I like this one so much I decided it needs to be built as a display.

This would probably look better with corbels under it, but it adds to the cost.  I think the display unit will get corbels though.  It just finishes off the look.   

Festool Is In!

Its Official.  We're a Festool Dealer.  It's no secret how I feel about Festool Products (the f-n BEST) so I thought if our new store is going to be the be-all end-all destination for finish carpentry we darned well better have the best tools for finish carpenters to use.  As if I needed to say it again, that is FESTOOL!  It all started with me buying my first sander over five years ago.  That began an addiction that has finally ended in me opening up a Festool dealership.  Above is a shot of our "Festool Vault".  Come on down and demo all the awesome Festool stuff.  The first fondle is free!  The shot below is me at the Festool Academy deep underground in an undisclosed location far benieth the Nevada desert where I underwent an extensive briefing of top secret not yet released uber super duper neato Festool new products.
The photo below actually is not a photo at all.  It is a figment of your imagination of what appears to be a Festool table saw.  However it is not, as a Festool table saw does not exist and therefore could not possibly be photographed nor posted on the internet.  While true that I possess mad photoshop skills you must admit, this hoax takes the cake.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Open House!

Wow!  I can't believe we got it done.  I also can't believe how time flys!  Here it is already May and I haven't even posted about our Open House, now two months behind us!  Since we've opened the doors to the public, we've been pretty slammed.  We were busy to begin with, just doing all the professional business.  Then with all the fanfare and media attention, its been a little overwhelming. Here's a shot of our showroom during the Open House before we really got buzzing..

On the right is none other than Gary Katz.  Gary is the de-facto professor of finish carpentry.  I've learned more from his books and videos than I have from from making mistakes.  Thats saying alot, because I make alot of mistakes.  Gary put on an incredible presentation about ornamentation in carpentry.  It was fascinating, the bits I caught between chatting up the customers, anyway.  I was also real excited to present an opportunity for Jesse Wright, one of our featured carpentry artists, to get to co-host a Katz Roadshow.  Here's a shot of the two of them during the show.

It was a great turnout and everyone enjoyed the show Gary put together for us.  I'd like to express my sincere appreciation to Gary for coming up and presenting as well as the featured carpentry artists that put so much effort into our showroom builds.

First guy to thank, Jesse Wright from Architectural Moldings.  He's got mad skills with design and builds his stuff to the highest degree of craftsmanship.  You can check out his blog at  Here's a shot of Jesse working with his favorite tool.

Another fella who really put in the effort and deserves considerable thanks and mention is Kevin Melvin from Sierra Interior Trim.  Kevin works tirelessly and is one of the fastest finish carpenters I've ever seen.  If you have a job that has to be done 'right now' while maintaining a high degree of craftsmanship,  Kevin is your man.  He doesn't have a website but if you come into the showroom, I'd be happy to flip you his card and point out all the fine details he has his hands on.  Here's a shot of him working the Bosch.

And last but not least in the background of Kevins hero shot is Tim D.  Tim is the propieter of Tim Dennis Construction.  While Tim spends most of his working hours in the framing realm, he's no stranger to artistic builds.  Tim whipped up our reclaimed lumber purgola in short order turning ancient timber into modern art.  You can see this badboy standing proud right out in front of the shop at this very minute.  Here's Tim deep in concentration...
He looks pretty serious there doesn't he?  You shoulda seen the sawdust flying.  There's a ton of other people that deserve mention and credit beginning with my entire staff and family.  Everybody did thier part getting us up and running.  I could never have done it without a single one of you.  I'm so proud of our people  and what we have done in the last year.  Great things await.