Different strokes!

Good evening, Over the last couple months I have noticed a trend which has led me to think about many things. I have been trying to define myself, my business, and my goals. That being said, the boys and I have been doing more and more trim carpentry type of projects. In addition we are getting ready to help out on a big restoration project. The residence was built in the mid 19th century and the original trim, doors, and windows need some attention. I am excited about these changes due to the fact that they offer a different set of challenges compared to building furniture. In the end woodworking is woodworking the only real differences are where it is happening and the materials used. Given how prevalent these opportunities are I’m thinking about changing up my marketing a little bit to better encapsulate where we are headed. Be sure to follow us on social media to see up to date pictures, projects, and details about where we are headed.


Thanks for reading!

The Dovetails And Dadoes team

Is your shop invitation open?

Good day, Today I want to talk about something I have experienced over the last week. I have been working in an inner-city high school sporadically and it has been quite eye opening. I heard things and saw things that blew my mind in a negative way. On the flip side my mind was blown by the number of kids that stopped and asked questions. The questions were anywhere from what is that tool you are using to do you enjoy your work. The previous questions led to short discussions about tools and working with your hands to create something. These situations got me thinking about getting these kids into a shop and teaching them something. I think most people have wanted to try making/creating something at some point in their life. Over the years I have invited several people into my shop that show an interest in woodworking and don’t have access to tools. So I have to ask, When was the last time you invited someone into your shop? I think it would be great if everyone was proactive about inviting others into their shops and helped them out on the journey. You never know how that could change someones direction in life.

The other thing I want to mention is that even in the sea of negativity you can find some positives in life if you open yourself up to seeing them.

The low down on joinery!

Good evening everyone, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about quality in furniture. These days it seems as though there is a trend in furniture. There are many, many people who build kitchen/dining room tables. The sad news is that a lot of the folks making these pieces are doing it in a manner that makes for lesser quality furniture. Notice I didn’t say that they were doing it wrong but I think the consumer base needs to know what options are available and what they are spending their hard earned money on. I don’t want to sound like a holier than though furniture builder but I can promise you that not all methods of joinery are equal. Every person has different levels of woodworking experience and different tools in their toolboxes. Please take a minute or two as a consumer to understand the differences. I have been watching a fellow Youtube content creator named Andy Rawls. He is a very accomplished woodworker who has studied along side some of the best in the business. If you read his about page on his website, I think you will agree. As fine furniture builders spend years and years learning and honing our skills it burns a little to see people purchasing lesser quality furniture at the same prices that finely crafted pieces bring. I have included a link to one of Andy’s videos that sums it up nicely. Take a few minutes to watch it and it will definitely open your eyes to what is out there. I have also included a test from Matthias Wandel which came up with the same results. Hope you enjoy these videos.

Here are a few common questions that you may want to ask when shopping for a piece of furniture from a craftsman.

  1. Ask the craftsman how long they have been in furniture building- Generally speaking it takes many years to hone the skills needed to produce high quality work in a production setting. Some people will build a one off high end piece right out of the gate but it’s kind of unusual.
  2. Ask about the wood used in the project- This question usually opens up a full on conversation. Make sure you understand what you are getting.
  3. Ask for references or to see some of their work- I think most respectable furniture builders remember almost every piece they do and who they did it for. I personally have a few clients that will allow my prospective clients to view my pieces.
  4. In the end if you like the piece buy it but please don’t be blindsided. A quick google search of farmhouse table issues will reveal many stories of table failure. Long story short wood needs to move and with certain types of joinery (primarily pocket hole screws in a table top) wood is not allowed to naturally move. If you see odd looking holes and screws all over the bottom of a table top I would politely shy away or else the table will probably fail eventually. Proper table tops allow for wood movement.

I know I will probably get some not so nice replies to this post but in the end I think consumers deserve to understand the differences.

Thanks for reading and I hope your day is great!

Week in Review for 11-25

This week in the shop was different than most. I had helpers for an extended amount of time. It was fun, challenging, and new but all in all it was great. If you take a look at our Youtube channel you will see that this weeks two episodes of Get Kids Woodworking didn’t have me personally in them much. I figured that the two oldest boys 14 and 10 would be ok doing the how to sections. They actually did great (in my totally biased opinion). It was kind of nice being behind the camera for most of the action. There were a few bloopers and forgotten lines on their parts but it was a good time. ¬†We hope that you can find some time this weekend to get in the shop and build something.

Thanks for visiting.


The Thanksgiving fun

Well, today the whole family was home and I decided to get the two oldest boys in the shop with me. They were kind of excited to try something new in the shop. After about an hour of cleaning, organizing, and generally getting the shop into more of a shop environment we got to work. The plan seemed kind of simple. Do some relief carvings by beating a mallet and chisel into wood. The boys quickly learned that wood grain changes how you chisel and if you forget has bad effects on the carving. In the end they had fun and learned a little something about the use of maybe the simplest tool in the shop. I’m convinced that the cavemen used tools that did the same thing as a hammer/mallet and chisel. I’m thinking sharpened stone and club shaped stone. At any rate below you will find a link to the shenanigans of having the two oldest in the shop with me. Hope you enjoy it and I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.


Something new- Week in review

Hello everyone. I’m starting something new this week and I will be doing it every Friday. My plan is to do a week in review post here on the website as well as include a link to a Youtube video walking through the shop progress. You will find this weeks link below. Take a look at it and feel free to comment, share, subscribe, and I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks and I hope you have a great weekend!

The Weathered Oak Harvest table

Well, I finally got around to filtering through photos of the Oak Harvest table I built a couple months ago for an interior designer. I have to say the Weathered Oak stain is growing on me. I love the way the end grain on the dowels are darker giving the piece a little slice of Greene & Greene appearance. I like building these harvest tables because I know that the pinned mortise and tenon joinery and tongue and grooved tops will last a lifetime. Contact us today if you would like one.

In and out of commission

Good evening. I have some exciting, somewhat scary news. My family has decided to relocate to Wisconsin. That being said my Woodshop will be getting loaded on a truck over the next couple of weeks and I won’t have it back until early October. We are in the process of finding a home in Wisconsin that will support my business as well. I look forward to the final destination and get the shop set up. All that being said “Get Kids Woodworking” probably won’t have any releases for several weeks but I am confident that we will be even better once we get settled in. Until next time keep making and enjoy your time on your shop!

What has been going on?

Well I haven’t made any posts recently because honestly I haven’t had much time in the shop lately. A few weeks ago we went up to Kansas City to the Woodworking Show. My two oldest sons and I hit the wood working show while my wife and her mother went shopping elsewhere. It was a fun show and my sons enjoyed watching several of the presentations. They were amazed at the pen turning demonstrations as well as joking around with Chuck Bender and Glen Huey from 360 woodworking. In my mind this was another way to “Get Kids Woodworking”. The boys learned that once you start woodworking there are many, many facets of woodworking you can head towards. I had the privilege of talking to a young(er) woodworker there about a university in SE Kansas that is offering a woods program that sounds like a great program. I have to say I wish every university would offer a program like this one. I would be proud if one of my boys wanted to attend the Wood Technology Program at Pittsburg State. I feel extremely pulled to encouraging woodworking with kids. I have been trying to ramp up my Youtube channel with the Get Kids Woodworking videos. Just recently I was given many many cedar scraps that I am coming up with a couple projects for. I’m hoping that I can get some more time in the shop over the next couple of weeks and get some videos produced. I am trying to create these videos on a shoestring budget without great equipment and I have to say it is a challenge. I’m hoping my Patreon page will find a springboard soon so that I can invest in a camera and some upgraded software. I would really appreciate it if everyone would share the link to my page and help get the ball rolling.

Thanks for reading and have a great Mothers Day.

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

Good evening and happy Easter to everyone. As some may know I recently purchased a lathe for the shop. Now I have been watching guys do lathe work for many years and I even turned a couple of projects in middle/high school. I won’t say how many years ago that has been but will summarize in saying it was a long time ago. That being said I’ve spent the last week playing, re-learning, and studying up on how to use the lathe properly. If you mix in a few failed attempts and 1 project blowing into pieces it would summarize my week on the lathe. Finally today I felt comfortable enough to try my hand at a project for the market. I laminated up some oak and walnut, Eased the square edges and got to turning. The rolling pin you see below is what the finished project came out as. I’m stoked because I feel like I am finally getting in touch with sharpening, using, and controlling the set of 8 Marples chisels that came with my lathe.



Thank you for reading,

Steven Ukena

Dovetails and Dadoes