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.

 

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!

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.

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Thank you for reading,

Steven Ukena

Dovetails and Dadoes

 

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. 

Steve

   
 

The chair for charity!

When I started on this project it was just a culmination of ideas running through my head. I wanted to keep a simple chair. My lovely bride accuses me of having a chair fetish. If we are walking through antique stores I always stop and inspect every chair to see if it is something that I would be interested in. I love chairs! I have always said that it is perfectly acceptable to have simple chairs sitting around for people to use. I wouldn’t want a simple shaker chair to sit in all the time but if I go to visit someone I don’t expect to have a chair like I have at home for me. Everyone has their chair.. you know the one that has formed itself perfectly to your behind, the one that has character, the one that speaks to you. Personally I have a Morris chair in the basement that is my comfy chair. That is not what I was going for here. I was going for a simple chair that could be used when all the other chairs are spoken for. I wanted something small, comfortable, and lightweight. I have always been fond of shaker furniture for the functionality of their designs. I prefer a squarer look in chairs than the traditional shaker design. There was a second thought in my mind while designing this chair. I have played guitar for years and everyone knows that a stool works well for playing guitar. I wanted a chair that would allow for changing positions and to accommodate a guitar player better than the typical chair. This is why I narrowed the front of the seat. In doing so it also made the chair more comfortable for short folks and tall folks alike. There isn’t a seat to determine where your legs should be. I have observed my sons who like to hang their legs off the sides of a chair, with this one it makes it comfortable to do so.

As I was finishing up the little unique chair I decided to do something different with it. I talked to my bride and the family and we decided to auction the chair off and all proceeds would go to the Wichita Childrens Home. The boys loved the idea of shopping for kids that could use a lift me up. I think these kinds of actions are what will help create character in my sons for the future.

I was very pleased with the outcome of the project even though I know it is funky and different than most chairs. At any rate if you would like to help out the Children’s home you can bid on the chair on our Facebook page. The link is below.

Thanks for reading and I hope you like “Steves silly strung shaker inspired stool seat”..

Bid on the chair by clicking below.

https://www.facebook.com/dovetailsanddadoesAndoverKS/posts/386576704867818

The funky chair on the porch

The latest happenings

Well the shop has been busy. Over the last couple weeks I have produced two custom tables. Both were rustic, beautiful, and functional in their own ways. Today Liz informed me that she has 5 or 6 custom signs to make. I currently don’t have any commissioned pieces of furniture to build so I may build a project that I’ve had in my head for awhile. I also wanted to let everyone know that we started a Facebook contest and encourage you to get involved. You can find the details here https://www.facebook.com/dovetailsanddadoesAndoverKS/posts/373103672881788

Feel free to contact us with any upcoming projects you would like to discuss.

Thanks for reading.

Steven

   
   

The beginnings

As I take this adventure I have no idea where it is going. The only thing that I am certain about is that I truly enjoy working with wood. I find wood amazing as it is a natural product that seems to have almost eternal life. While a tree is in full life it is constantly changing, growing, providing shade, fruit, and a place for tire swings. Once a trees life is deemed over this fine medium still has life. It changes according to it’s surroundings and amazingly finds a place in our hearts by being used for building homes, furniture, treasure boxes, or a table that the family sits at to eat dinner. Like humans wood changes with age, it grows character, and as it ages it tells stories of days past.

I’m not sure where we are headed but I hope to keep my woodworking as alive as the wood I enjoy working with. When I get older I promise to tell good stories as well.