How did it come to this?

Morning woodworking

Norm Abram watch out! Found this little ditty on pinterest. It didn’t take too long to finish, about 70 man-hours, which isn’t bad considering I carved it all from a single piece of wood.


What got me into carpentering? carpentry?

"I guess I would have to say Jesus. He was a carpenter, and I just figured if you’re going to follow in someone’s footsteps, who better than Christ?" (Kevin Rawley, Meet the Parents)

I started wood work about 8 years ago with my grandpa. He had a mini Bob Vila-type work shop in his basement. I got interested when he built my cousin a desk for her room and I had just moved into my own place for the first time and the only furniture I had was a great couch given to me by my parents and a bed. With my grandpa’s guidance, I was able to make a desk from walnut, a American period Chippendale chest of drawers, a maple side table, and a federal period wall clock. 

To build this headboard, I followed this cut list: 

For materials, I was really lucky. I was able to salvage some wood from an old seamen’s chapel in Nantucket. I don’t have a full shop in my basement, just a power miter saw, a palm sander, an old cracked boiler that gets in the way of everything, some pipes that hang down so low that I slam my head into one a day minimum, and the pièce de résistance I borrowed a buddy’s nail gun. Once you go nail gun you’ll never go back.


After making the necessary cuts, the piece goes together like lamb and tuna fish (what, you prefer spaghetti and meatball?) with wood glue and nails.


I sand with two grits for this Bolivia wormwood that I used, first 80 and then 150 grit, which accepts the primer well. Two coats of primer with sanding in between I found is what most other people were doing. The sanding supposedly helps the next layer stick better but really we can’t be so sure if this is true.


Finally, painted it one of what must have been 50 shades of gray from the paint store, two coats with sanding with 220 grit paper in between coats and about 24 hour dry time in between because it is cold in my basement and if oil based paint isn’t allowed time to cure (and in reality it won’t cure for weeks on painted wood) it rips off in chunks during aggressive-style sanding.

The final step is sealing the piece. This protects it from most bumps and grinds. There are several options to do this. Most people seem to not use a wax any longer because protection is weak. There are oil-based and water-based sealers as well. I’ve read the oil polyurethanes have a tendency to yellow painted surfaces. I have used polyurethane on all of my other projects that are stained wood and they are not yellow. So I used a water-based polyacrilic finish on this. Two coats with a sand in between with 320 grit paper. I put a fresh coat of lacquer on this this morning, so bear with me with the fumes. I went for a bit of a shabby chic finish by roughing up the edges and certain corners of the piece with the sandpaper, but it is still really classy!

Wow! It looks like somebody got an “A” in wood shop.

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