Studio711

Woodworking

School Auction Coasters

Back in October when I started Elijah’s dresser build, I thought for sure I’d be done in plenty of time to build something fancy for Elijah’s school auction in the spring. Nope. That dresser is the longest project I’ve ever done and I’m not anywhere close to finishing it. So I scaled down my dreams, but I think I still landed with a fun idea.

I started by gluing up a bunch of scrap pieces of random types of wood and planing them flat. Then it was off to the CNC to cut out circles. That ended up taking hours longer than I thought it would due to a comedy of errors. In retrospect I should have just cut them by hand, but I eventually ended up with 5 circles. The planned sixth one was ruined twice and it was unsalvageable.

From there I headed to work to use the laser cutter and after carefully aligning the laser with the reference marks that I made on the CNC, I engraved the Zion logo into the coasters. The walnut ones are my favorite and I think it’s especially neat how the “Since 1901” is perfectly lined up with the small strip of purpleheart.

I’ve never been to an auction like this so I don’t know if they typically have lots of small items or bigger ones, so hopefully this fits in ok with the other things that are available. I’m very interested to see a stranger attach a price tag to something that I’ve made.

Wooden Spaceship

Back in June, Tyla and Elijah got me a copy of the Wooden Toy Spacecraft book. It was one I had my eye on for a while, but it took some time to finally dig into a project. A couple weekends back, I had some time with Elijah in the garage so we started building a spaceship. It turned into one of the best afternoons I’ve had with Elijah in the shop! He was engrossed with taking all my offcuts, telling me where to make additional cuts, and sanding until it fit the vision in his head. After a couple hours, his six year old nature got the best of him and he lost interest so his spaceship still isn’t quite finished, but mine is!

I built this completely out of wood in my scrap bin – walnut, padauk, sapele and pine dowels. If I was doing it from scratch, I think some woods with higher contrast might have looked better, but I still love the way this turned out. The only problem now is figuring out where to display it!

Name Toy

Last fall, one of the last projects I did before my CNC arrived was a name toy for Emelia. I really liked how that project came out so when it came time to make a gift for another child, I decided to do the same thing again but this time I used the CNC. That dramatically simplified the project and reduced a lot of errors but I did struggle with cleaning up the milling marks left by my slightly out of square CNC machine. I used the same paint colors because I still had a lot left in the can and I liked how the enamel paint created a nice coating on the letters. I used a piece of walnut for the backing and finished that with spray lacquer.

Modern Rogue Sign

I’ve mentioned the Modern Rogue YouTube channel in some past “Best of YouTube” posts and they’re still going strong. In fact, they recently built a huge new building on their property to ramp up their production capabilities. At one point, Brian mentioned that he thought it would be neat to add fan submitted stuff to some of their buildings on the property. I don’t know if he was serious or not but it seemed like a good excuse to try making a sign on the CNC.

Since Brian has a fire eating stage show and they do a lot of fire stuff on the YouTube channel, I decided to start by burning the wood with a torch. Then I used the CNC to carve their logo into the board and I finished it off with some spray polyurethane to keep the black ash from getting all over. I filmed the project and put together a short timelapse on my woodworking Instagram account.

KenC is friends with Brian on Twitter and helped me get a mailing address. I shipped it off and thought that would be the end of it, but a couple weeks later, they did a special Instagram post to show it off and say thank you!

Loft For Elijah

Elijah has been asking for a treehouse for quite a while. Despite my best efforts, I can’t find a good spot to put one in our tiny yard. So much of it is covered with French drains, irrigation lines, etc. But I still wanted to give him something fun to play in and to climb on.

I was putting him to bed one night when I looked up and realized that the vaulted ceiling in his room left a lot of space above his bed. So I chatted it over with Tyla and then build a platform above his bed.

Since this will probably be torn down and thrown away in 6-8 years, I wanted to keep it simple. I used Jay Bates’s bunk bed plans and basically cut out the bottom bunk. The whole thing was designed to fit around his existing bed.

The 2x4s and 2x6s that I got from Home Depot were pretty bad. After a lot of picking, I was able to find some fairly straight boards but they were going to require a lot of sanding. So I had the bright idea of running them all through the planer to skim off a little bit on each side. That worked well but man did it make a huge mess! There’s no way my little shop vac could keep up with that so I just let the chips fly and cleaned up the mess later.

Elijah stayed in the shop for a lot of the build. It was fun to have him helping and seeing how it all went together.

I wasn’t looking forward to painting that beast but I didn’t want to leave it looking like dimensional knotty lumber so I finally pulled the trigger (pun intended) on an HVLP paint sprayer. I chose a fairly simple one from Rockler but it still has a detached turbine unit. I originally thought I’d move the loft into the back yard to paint it but the forecast was calling for rain. So I tried setting up our pop up kitchen tent thing in the driveway with tarps underneath and on the sides. That wasn’t terrible but the loft was too big to be able to spray comfortably. I did the primer but them moved it back inside to do the paint by hand. I’m looking forward to trying the spray again on something smaller. The photo below shows the setup before I added the final two walls of plastic. The side of the loft facing down did not need to be painted as it was going to end up against the wall in his room.

This loft is starting out very simple but I’d love to build a little house up there at some point. We’ll see how much he uses it. His favorite part right now is the bar I added on the bottom for him to swing from. I think we will definitely need some pillows or a pad up on the top. It’s hard on our knees!