Over the past few years, I’ve had a number of custom vinyl stickers made by StickerGuy.com. If you get on their mailing list, they send email every couple of months about specials, and for smaller stickers the price for a minimum order of stickers is usually less than $30. It’s kind of an extravagance, but sometimes the monthly special is for a set of colors that are useful for some SCA heraldry or other shenanigan. Anyway, having all these banded bundles of stickers around is starting to get annoying, so I built a box to organize them.
I still have some thin wood scants left over from long-ago projects, so it was a pretty simple thing to split some to size and glue up a little box. The interior of the box is 12 inches long, 2.8125 inches wide, and 2 inches deep. There are no fasteners or fancy joinery. This box won’t see much abuse, so I’m hoping glued butt joints will be sufficient. The wood is kind of special, I guess. The label said it was mahogany. I think it was intended for the dollhouse building boom of the 1990s.As you can see, this box is nearly full, so I may need to make another one some time.
I assembled the bell tower back in August of last year, and finished up working on it in September. Since then, it has survived snowstorms, rainstorms, windstorms, cold, heat, and everything. It has made my sweetie’s front garden even prettier for a full year!
A fiend of ours contacted me about making some book risers. This firend has just moved to a new house that has some built-in bookshelves that are deep and tall, which is nice for hardbacks but inefficient for paperback. My solution is to stack books vertically and sideways.
Not everybody like this solution, though. They like to be able to see at least a portion of all the spines, even though it is less efficient.
To achieve this, though, you need some kind of riser. I know people who use foam blocks, or cardboard inserts, but plywood is way stronger and more durable, so this friend contacted me.
Here they are being painted matte black in the driveway. They are basically just open-bottom boxes. There is an extra support piece in the middle, just to keep them stable. They are made from half-inch plywood, with simple butt joinery, glue, and 23 gauge pins. Two different sizes, one for paperbacks and one for trrade paperbacks. They are clear-coated to keep the black from rubbing off, and felted on the bottom to keep from scratching the shelves. They are not perfect, but since once they are in place it is possible that nobody will ever see them again, that’s probably OK.
Like many people, this winter was pretty bad for me. The isolation at home, the chaotic election, the violent attempt to overthrow a democratically elected government… I realize things were even worse for people who actually got sick, but the rest of us still had a lot to deal with. To help fight the depression, I bought one of those full spectrum lamps to at least help combat the winter blahs that are caused by lack of sunlight during the Winter. I think it helped, even if it was just the feeling that I was trying something new.
I bought a small-ish, flat-panel light that I could mount on the wall over my desk, or place off to the side on a table. It works great, and has a timer function so that I can chunk out my work day. The only problem is that its modern aesthetic clashes with my rustic Japanese decor preferences. So, I made a cedar “shoji” frame to disguise the lamp.
I can’t show you what it looks like with the light on, because the lamp is so bright that you wouldn’t be able to see anything else in the photo besides the glowing rectangle. I am thinking of adding some kumiko lattice-work to the frame opening, but kumiko are so trendy right now that I don’t know if I can bring myself to do that. Honestly, if one more person responds to me saying “I do some Japanese-style woodworking.” with “Have you tried kumiko?” I may stop discussing woodworking entirely.
I started a new job back in September, while the office was completely closed. I about reached the end of my work-from-home productivity rope this Spring, so I appealed to my boss to be allowed to start coming in to the office. It’s been a good move, productivity-wise, as I am able to focus on work much better when I am not in the same room with so much of my crafting equipment and materials.
One thing I was really missing about my home office though, was the ability to work while standing. At home, I had started putting the cedar stepstool up on the craftsman endtable, and using that assembly as a standing desk for my work laptop. In the office, I’m using a desktop computer with a full keyboard, and the stepstool is not wide enough to accommodate that and a mouse.
Luckily, I still had some finished pine shelves from the old house in the garage. I cut one of them up into pieces, joined the pieces with dowels and glue, reinforced the joins with some metal right-angle brackets, finished the cut ends of the pieces, and now I have a standing desk for work without having to appeal to the furniture gatekeepers for an expensive motorized desk.
I built this Tachi Kake sword stand back in July, but I only got as far as putting a few coats of black finish on it before winter settled in. In early Spring of this year, I added embellishment to the Tachi Kake in the form of karakusa vinework in gold paint. I did all the painting by hand, because it is fun and I have started to get good at it. I then put several coats of clear shellac over the gold paint so that it will not rub off at the slightest touch.
I now have two pieces of furniture embellished with gold karakusa. There is this and the kyousoku armrest that I suppose I never formally posted about. One day I suppose I will have a full set of fancy gentleman’s accessories. Anyway, here is what the Tachi Kake looks like with my Tachi sword in it.
If I want to be able to take the Hitomaro Kakejiku with us when we go camping or whatnot, it is going to need a storage box to protect it in transit. Such things exist in the Japanese tradition, so I made one.
It’s made mostly of poplar. I had an abundance of quart-inch poplar in my stock of surplus wood, so this was an easy choice. The top of the lid is actually 3/4″ poplar, to give the whole thing a little heft. I rabbeted the top so that it would fit inside the walls of the lid, and not appear thicker from outside.The inside is unfinished.
There are small blocks of cedar at either end of the box that cradle the ends of the scroll rod and keep it centered in the box. You can see the rabbet for the lid top and the interior blocks in this process photo.
The outside is finished with several layers of garnet shellac with a black dye added. That’s what gives the final finish that deep mahogany color. I was hoping this mixture might be a good substitute for black lacquer. It is not, but as its own thing it is very nice.
I finished up the last of the six solar flicker lanterns today! The pieces for this one have been sitting on the workbench since before it got too cold to work out in the garage, so it’s a relief to be able to check this project off my list. Here it is hanging from the shourou:
This one is not just special because it’s the last one in the project, but because it is made from some mahogany that Sir Ogami Akira, the O-daimyo of Clan Yama Kaminari gave to me years ago from the surplus of his boat building supply. I’m pleased as punch to finally be able to do something with it, and to have that thing be for the Clan. I had just enough wood to make the lantern, though some of the sticks are a little thinner than specification. The construction is all mortise and tenon, with little 1/4″ tenons.
I also managed to get a picture of this one before the paper went on, to show you how the lighting unit just rests inside the rails on a couple of angled braces:
Back at the old house, we had six shelves in the guest/sewing room. They were made from edge-glued pine panels, stained with a water-based “rosewood” stain, and finished with water-based polyurethane. Here at the new house, we only needed two of them, so the other four shelves were in storage waiting for a good project.
A few months ago, the Sweetie asked if I could make a bedside table for the guest room here at the new house. The only real requirements were that it matched the room furniture, and had enough space underneath to fit this hamper that also lives in the room.
I took three of the surplus shelves, cut them to length, joined them with dowels, and glued them together. Of course, that was pretty-rickety. so I added some diagonal braces that I cut from one of the offcut pieces of shelf.
Not very fancy, but it saved us a trip to the furniture box, and we know it matches the shelves!
This is the third lantern in a series of at least six. This simple Japanese frame lantern is made from some Western Pennsylvania cherry lumber that I bought a bunch of years ago and am still working scraps out of. It follows the same design as the Oak Solar Flicker Lantern and Maple Solar Flicker Lantern before it.
I have a new method for applying the paper that I think yields a much tighter and smoother result. I’m using Warlon Taf-Top shoji paper, so I can’t just dampen the paper to shrink it. Unless the lantern is perfectly square, wrapping a correctly-sized strip of paper around it leaves wrinkles or bulges. Instead, I cut the paper oversized, apply it to the lantern, then trim the paper down so that it is perfectly straight and flat. It watses a bit more paper, but I think it is more attractive.
The shoji in the background were made about a decade ago, and are made from cedar. I bought the bunny painting from an antique store.