TRIPLE T’s (T3) and a new build

The Triple T’s.  I always tell my friends who order or ask about what i’m making next or currently, that quite literally anyone can do what I’m doing with wood. That being said there will always be a learning curve and some time needed to make it all possible. I’ve always said you need to develop/grow 3 things and you will have no issues turning wood into furniture.

Time. Talent. Tools.

At first you may think to yourself – “CRAP… I have NONE of these.” well that was true for me too, but I soon learned that it truly wasn’t the case for me completely and what I didn’t have… I could quickly work towards.

Time – Lets start with the hardest one. TIME. No one has any, but if someone does, they certainly don’t want to lend theirs out. It’s a precious commodity. Personally I have a full time job, three kids, a wife, and a very very limited resource of time. So what do I do… Well.  I simply changed my priorities.

Kids and Wife are #1 – so they can’t suffer at all.

Job and supporting the family is #2 – so that cant be sacrificed

Self quiet time #3 – now this I can play with.  You see after the kids go down to bed, and my wife either goes to sleep or has a bath or what have you I found that every evening I had an easy 1-2 hours of wasted time, whether it was sitting in front of the ol’ Boob-Tube watching my programs and stories, or trying to sort out what snack to eat, I realized that this is time I can turn into a successful hobby.  I also added in Saturday mornings while the kids are out biking or maybe they want to help me in the garage. and sometimes on a Sunday afternoon when the day is quiet and I’m not needed it’ll hammer a few nails.

Talent – now here is another thing you may thing you have little to none of. Well let me tell you right now… I have little to none still, and I can manager a pretty nice piece. All you need is the patience to learn and the ability to cut and measure… and believe me, those are easily learned.

Tools – as I mentioned there is some growth needed, so over time you will learn what you want or need to add to your treasure trove of tools. That being said.  you can build some pretty amazing stuff with your very basic tool kit, from a drill, sander (or sand paper if you wanna work your arms) and a saw (ideally a compound miter saw, but honest any saw to start will do, the more limited your saw the more limited your cuts.

SO, if you have a desire. and you want to work on your T3’s then you will have plenty of opportunity to build yourself or your customers some amazing furniture.

I recently had a call from a business wanting a “Big, Beefy, Rustic TV stand for our conference room.” We had the idea to work in some metal but overall the idea was to make it rustic. With a price in mind and a budget set I took a day and built the following table.

Step 1 – Prep the wood.

Every design I make is different, but for this, since a TV was resting on it, I wanted the top to be one solid piece, this isn’t always the case. I usually like to have the gaps for my coffee and hall tables, as I like that look. But for this I wanted solid. Since I’m working with SPC (construction lumber) the corners are always rounded so I needed to take a small slice off each inside piece. Then I glue (using heavy duty clamps) the two new flat sides together.

Easy Peasy. (now if you don’t have clamps you CAN cut a few pieces of wood and screw them into the underside of this until the glue dries… but be careful where you put the screw holes as you will not want to make a mess…)

Then I make a skirt for the top. 4 pieces of 2x6s with 45 degree cuts (mitered edge).  Now the trick to making these look fancy is to use a 1/2 ” drill bit and go into the wood (see pic) then screw them in. after that you want to fill that hole you made with a piece of dowel (glued) and then sand it all down so you barely even notice the holes.

I like to use a corner clamp for a nice tight hold while I screw in the screws (otherwise the boards can tend to wander and leave things uneven.)  After I make the skirt I drop it on over the two table top pieces that are currently being clamped. Pop the skirt on. use a rubber mallet if you did it nice and tight.  Then simply flip it over and pocket screw the top to the sides (to pocket screw you can just screw in on a deep angle, maybe predrill first as I do so the wood doesn’t split, or use a Krieg Jig once you’ve got some money to spare. )

At the end I like to clam the entire unit, and draw a glue line underneath for some extra strength. it’ll dry clear and its underneath so it’ll be a silent strength.

Now you cut 4 5 or 6 legs. here I did 5. 3 at the back and two at the front. mostly it was just all for looks, do what you want. just make sure you cut them all the EXACT SAME LENGTH to the millimeter. or else there’s some finishing work at the end that is never easy. Be precise and do it once.   Now here I like to paint the TOP part of the leg. As I know i’m going to stain the top and I don’t want to worry about making the top black at all, I just paint the part that will be close so there’s no issue down the road)

Don’t be afraid to really screw those legs in, and do it from the inside, I like to use 4 for each, a super solid leg is a super solid table.

then I build a skirt for the legs (I use a smaller 2×4 this time), just like I did for the top. This is all design preference, but it’s also needed for stability, there’s a number of ways you can do this, but for me, I like the lower skirt for the shelving unit. So do your precise measurements, use the Counter Sink procedure again for the holes for the screws (so we can hide the screws) and use a rubber mallet to slide it on from the bottom (table upside down). Find where you want to put it and clamp it on for the screw down process.

Oh man, we are close. now pull out a hunk of plywood. again there are different options for this part. you could do a 2×4 decking base for the shelf, or you could do pine planks, but I like a strong piece of plywood (since were painting it anyways). I cut the plywood down to size (basically the smaller skirt dimensions, but when I measure that skirt I take off a half inch on all sides.

Cut it, and place it on the bottoms of the legs (table is still upside down) when you’ve got your positioning right, use a pencil to outline where the legs are (the part that needs to be removed. Then get out a jig saw, or hand saw, or sawsall or whatever and cut out those little corners where the legs will go.  Then… install the shelf (underneath the skirt)

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OKAY… so now the basic Table is done. there’s just some MEGA sanding to do, then some stain and paint. any ideas after that is all yours. you can add some metal like I did, or some black metal corners, or maybe an additional shelf, or what have you. anything you like… make this your masterpiece!  You can add ends like I did, or keep it open, you can do metal posts for that wood/metal industrial look… use your imagination and make it incredible… then post your makings here!

 

Garbage Made Beautiful

Garbage Made Beautiful.

A few years back I moved into a new subdivision, When my wife and I were discussing where to move, I quite literally begged to be the first build in the newest subdivision in the little town we wanted to move to. To be able to hear the saws and hammers, the ground rumbling from cement trucks, and to wake up to smell the fresh cut SPF in the air and see the sawdust fly is bordering on living in heaven.

She agreed as we both share a passion for all things wood, so we put down our deposit and anticipated being the first house (outside of the demo units) on the block. I was in heaven, for the next 5 years every day there was a new house going up, and fresh sawdust in the air. The clanging of hammer on nails, and the sound of power drills, mixers, shingles, trucks, pavers, all of it is just the most wonderful blessing.

After my third year I finally noticed something that floored me. At first I was just floored, but then it soon really started to bother me. I stayed up night after night thinking about this to a point where at time I was drawn stomach upset and had to rely heavily on Tums for support.

Here’s what I noticed. At the end of every week I’d see the massive green industrial garbage bins being loaded with wood. Cut, or wood with nails or what have you, but every day there would be a pile of wood at the front of the lot and at the end of the week they would load it up and take it to the wastelands.

This was torture… how horrific. Good, fresh, clean lumber being tossed away in the masses. So after a while I’d had enough. I went to the developer and asked if I could collect the wood that was minimum 2 feet or longer. 2×4’s right up to 2×10’s. From premium pallets, to 14 ft long piles of fresh lumber. Some of the longer ones I’d have to cut some edges off, just to make sure there were no nails. Some I would cut the warps out, and some I’d cut out the dry rot… but all in all I started to amass stacks and stacks of good lumber.

At the beginning I sold it. People wanted framing wood and I had loads, so I sold it online, but it felt like I was giving away more money that I was getting back. So then… I had an idea. I think it’s time to turn this ‘garbage’ (I still feel bad calling it that) into something beautiful.

SO that’s what I did. I collected. I stored. And I built.   Attached are some pictures of just exactly that. I still do it today (I sell and post under @CozyCottageDesigns on Facebook if you want to see more “Garbage Made Beautiful”)

Below is an example of one table. i’ll share many with you as we go. But here is a custom order from a customer that wanted a solid coffee table that will last generations, all built from a developers garbage!

 

Below is my most recent piece.  It’s a custom order Queen size headboard.   it includes a pallet from the paving company and some 2×4’s along with some wider 2×6’s I had to rip in half.  After collecting the free wood its’ all just design and build. Glue and screw. sand and stain, and deliver!

 

 

This piece is an XL long Hall table. Built it for the store to sell and my wife demanded we keep It for the hall as it’s a perfect fit (but of course… if the right price comes offering… it’ll be gone so fast it’ll make your teeth bleed.)

 

 

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Honelsty, Who Cares? I DO!

I DO I DO I DO… PICK ME PICK ME.
If the Question as posed, is “Honestly, who cares about wood” then the answer is most definitely me!

More and more I see our culture turning to less and less natural resources and more to synthetics. It feels like a sign of the times.

From real live, face to face conversations and dining out on a Friday evening to social media and iPads, and ordering in for pizza to sit quietly and get lost in the synthetic digital world.

It’s crazy and it’s sad.woody10

I walk the isles of the mega stores and see pens in bulk that haven’t been hand turned on a lathe, but factory pressed in a mold with plastic.

I see chairs in stark white plastic that feel like they would snap when a bit of a tummy lands their bottom for a rest and I see natural wood structurally sound rests that even an elephant could rest its rear trunk.

tables are made of pressed glue and cardboard with stickers on it to look like the real deal until you spill a little water and the veneer bubbles up and loosens the glue and it warps into a quick death.

it’s gross. I find it all gross. In the name of a cheaper price tag we buy 10 tables in a life time instead of one solid piece that can be passed down through generations with hand turned legs, beveled edges routed with sweat and muscle, clear this glosses over various stains that has lasted decades if not a century.

woody2I no longer see that gentle wear rub of the raw wood coming through the old stains on a century table built by great grandfather, wear from friends, families and extended families that lived and loved squeezed in tight during oversized gatherings season after season and generation after generation.

it feels like the love for what nature provides is dying, as we create these gross and indecent replacements from silicones and plastics, particle boards and faux wooden products and in the end its a shame. Beauty is lost to the dollar, natures colour is lost to dyed plastics, That smell of fresh lumber is replaced with burnt plastics, and beauty is traded for garbage.

and that is why I am here. trying to bring back what was once so loved and appreciated and embraced. Both an art form, and a daily need that handmade furniture is so rare, and so few share the trade as life slips by us all at rates so fast, so furious we can’t we stop to breath in the trees.

in fact. we can’t seem to see the forest for the trees.

Stick with us, learn to re appreciate the wooden arts. learn how to build, smell, test, treat and appreciate all forms of wood… real beautiful wonderful glorious wood!

Until next time. I’m Larry Woodstone.

In the Beginning

Years back, and frankly as far back as I can remember My dear friend Gary Archibald and myself (Larry Woodstone) have just had a fascination with wood, all things wood. From carvings to raw lumber.

As kids we would saunter through the forests in Muskoka, in Northern Ontario and we would dash between birch stumps and massive tall standing Oak trees not even playing tag but looking at knots or oddities or different types of bark or what have you.

cropped-wood-2.jpgI remember as a young child being down on the farm in Port Lambton Ontario, right on the St. Clair River and after Uncle Rufus would cut down trees opening up the fields for harvest we would run to mothers to whatever container or grocery bag and I would collect all the sawdust, as much and as fast as I could. I would sit endlessly with my containers memorizing the colours, and the smells of the different types of wood.  To this day I can still remember that sensation of cracking open the container and taking a deep inhale of the dust of a maple and in between chokes and wheezing just really soaking in that smell, that faint hint of maple syrup. Absolutely Glorious.

In our older years, Gary and I have grown up and parted ways a bit more, He now in Muskoka permanently and Myself landing where the family homestead is in Port Lambton, but our friendship hasn’t waivered and our love for all things wood has remained just as strong, if not even more so.

wood 102Often times we will get the families together through the different seasons and while the kids play through the barns and the wives cozy up to the fireplace drinking their warm birch-bark teas, Gary and I find ourselves wandering outside to the wood pile, filtering through different pieces of lumber trying to make the best mixture for our evening campfire.  Often times we will take hours in pleasant debate over different compilations and mixtures that will produce the perfect “Triple  S” blend.  That’s our patented “Smoke, Smell and Satisfaction” blend. Often times our wives will joke about and say that we are basically making a wooden salad.  And that we are, that we truly are. Terrific.  From two slabs of birch and two of hickory, tindered by some soft pine and maybe some pine bark, only to end by letting the flames lap at some maple quarters, or (of course) depending on the weather, we could mix up some dried poplar with aspen, and end the flames with some cedar logs. the debates always roll on and I suppose that is because there is really never the perfect answer.

The beauty of wood and why I love it so much is how subjective it can be. One person drools over a slab of Hard Maple live edge, while another constructs a dining table from White ash. From raw branches of Birch in the planter to an old oak mantle piece. It’s endless, timeless, enchanting and memorizing. The smells, the touch and the visual experience simply can’t be beat by any other product on God’s green earth.

and that my friends… is a fact,

STAY TUNED  We have so much more planned, from our Webseries currently being filmed, to our Podcast now available (on iTunes and Google Play) to our Facebook and other social media pages. We are working on a book, some products, and something super special and super secret that we can’t wait to get out to you, our adoring public… but until then… just keep connected!

Check my WOOD ENTHUSIASTS PODCAST out here!

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