Over the past few years I have made a lot of sawdust, added a few tools, and coaxed some useful things out of lumber in my wood shop. To help raise funds for a mission trip to Haiti a few years back I made a number of small boxes (my “signature” piece is a little sliding lid box that holds two decks of cards and 5 dice), tea-light candle holders of various shapes and styles, and some boxes that hold 3×5 index cards. I’ve made gifts for my family and friends, including various games (Quoridor, Quatro, Quarkle–the “Q-game” triumvirate), and more recently, a cribbage board and a set of wooden hexes and other pieces for Settlers of Catan.
I’ve made three chess sets with boards–the pieces were cut from square stock, not turned; the boards were in four pieces that are held together with rare-earth magnets, and both board and pieces were designed to fit into a box with a sliding lid.
I have made some useful jigs, including John Heiszman’s box-joint jig, among many others that were assembled for a time while needed then disassembled.
I’ve done some furniture repairs: several chairs of different types, both old and newer, and I fixed a friend’s table, the top of which had split at the glue joints. I also did a major (>$1k) commission project: a pair of dining tables for the deck of some friends who had just built a new home with a nice cedar deck. The tables were my own design–one was 3’x3′, the other had drop-down leaves, but when the leaves are up it measures 3’x6′. I made them out of cypress, with slat-tops. They turned out pretty nice, and I’ve had the pleasure of dining at my friends’ home, at one of those tables. It’s so nice to get to see someone use something you’ve made for them, and to see how it enriches their life.
I acquired a practically-new dust collector that has really made working in my shop a much more pleasant experience. It was an older Porter-Cable model that is no longer sold, but the previous owner had scarcely used it at all.
The wood shop continues to be a happy place for me; I always look forward to time spent there, and I hope to be able to spend more time there in the years ahead. It’s hard to beat the satisfaction that one gets from making something both beautiful and useful from wood.