Our multitude of projects notwithstanding, the real reason for having a “woodshop” rather than simply a “workspace” is that, every once in awhile, I get a wild-hair to learn a lot of new skills and woodworking techniques for the sake of a single, ambitious project. This year’s model began the design process within an hour of Liz telling me she was pregnant. (Incidentally, I was playing the Adagio cantabile movement of Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata at the time – one of only a few moments I can look back on as truly perfect).
My last proper wood project was a pair of bedside tables, a wedding gift for Chris and Danie. Liz and I designed them to be of simple proportion, with no particular era or style in mind. They ended up lovely, and I was happy with my first project which started from raw lumber, and ended with lifelong furniture. I honed my skills with dowel joinery, building shaker-style panels, finding and highlighting the most interesting parts of the wood by thinking about what will be visible even during the milling process, and choosing contrasting woods to good effect. Here’s the end result.
The crib project started out much like the tables above, with a trip to Joe’s. He lives down the street from where I grew up, and owns a very large shop full of wood from all over the world. It also houses a large wood mill, and all manner of big saws that make me drool. Joe is an excellent woodworker and has consistently provided me with key advice as I begin new projects, as well as being the wood-whisperer and nailing it every time. The ulmo legs on the tables above? Stroke of genius.
The moderately-figured maple we chose for the posts and rails for sweet pea’s crib, sourced from within a few miles of where I grew up, are perfection yet again. I was unable to get all my stock from him, given the baggage limitations on airlines these days (fun fact: I milled everything to specifications that would work precisely for checked luggage. I didn’t know how to anticipate the weight, so I gambled and came out on top). I’ll tell the rest of the story in pictures below.