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


Mixing things up a bit!

I wanted to take a moment to let everyone know what has been going on in the shop. I have been working on a set of three tables that I hope to have done in a couple of weeks. They are by far one of my favorite creations to date. I have been working on them for a couple months because life and commissioned projects have interrupted the completion of the set. On another note I started a Patreon page for a special project that I have been brainstorming for quite some time. I am preparing to put out ongoing videos for Youtube that are called Get Kids Woodworking. The whole purpose is to show people that you can create wood projects without fancy tools or a fancy shop. My biggest push for doing so is that schools have lost woodshops due to budget cuts around our nation. That being said I feel it is important for us as parents and as a  society to pick up the slack. I hope that as this project gains momentum I can have guests in the shop(especially youngsters) to help demonstrate basic skills that can create fun, functional items for them to enjoy.

If you are not familiar with Patreon it is a crowdfunding site that helps creators using small re-occuring donations. My Patreon page is set up on a per video basis and my goal is to get $100 per video I put out. I will use these funds to purchase a better camera and video editing software. If you feel inclined to help me out please click the link below. Once on the Patreon page you will see a couple of videos as well as a button to become a Patreon. Every person that supports my cause will be rewarded and those rewards are listed on the site as well.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading,


The woodworkers kid finally has a vanity!

The basement vanity has been in the works for a short bit of time (at  least in my mind, due to me not remembering when I started it). At any rate it seems as though the vanity was built and installed for the longest time without plumbing. For those who don’t know me I hate plumbing work. This piece is in our basement and the bathroom was only “roughed in”. That means doing plumbing for the vanity from scratch. I mounted the sink and cut/fit all pieces needed. Guess what happened.. Leaks, not major leaks but little seeping leaks in two or three spots. After some futzing around I got all the leaks tamed and decided to put a fork in this project. Now onto the vanity. It is all solid oak from the family farm, finished with Sherwin Williams fruitwood stain and several coats of poly. The sunken vessel sink is from Aquasource and finished off with a Delta faucet. All in all the piece looks and feels great and should last a very long time. Now all I need to do is frame a mirror and install a galvanized towel rack to match the galvanized tp holder. 

Thanks for reading and feel free to contact me if you have a similar project you would like built.