September 15, 2008 – Finished


Well, Step Back and all the other stuff is history.  I remember it now, but my focus is now on the cabinets.  Just the way it is…woodworking in the fast lane…out the door and on to the next.  The Step Back, bed and all of the other repair/re-finish stuff did well.  No real issues any where, everything worked out. Photos at the end of the blog.


Finished Walnut Step Back Cupboard

Finished Walnut Step Back Cupboard


My shop looks like Hurricane Ike/Katrina and whatever the other ones name was hit it – all at once. I didn’t know I had this many tools and I didn’t know they could make so many piles. Sorta like planing wood, plane six boards and you can fill a pick-up. How can a few boards make so much mess? Hey, I filled the dumpster, emptied dust collectors, trash cans and all that stuff but you wouldn’t know it.

Sherri used to help me clean my shop but with all this puter stuff, she hasn’t been out in the shop much, so I guess I get to do it and that isn’t good because I’m allergic to brooms! Break out in a bad rash, hands get all itchy, eyes water. Now hold on, its worked for a lot of years now, give a guy a break.


So today I’m supposed to film, but I GOT to clean this shop. Well at least some. Get the cabinets gone by Friday, but thank God it’s another day in paradise and I got good health and work to do so I’m not complainin’.


I’ll tag ya along on the cabinets but they are about as exciting as going to the dentist or watching grass grow, these are just gonna get done and gone.


Through all of this we have some neat stuff we’re working on, projects and all. I’m gonna get a second camera (video). Too much work going into this stuff for one camera to have all the goodies and ’cause issues like we have in the router DVD with no back up. Woo… I’ll bet when this is read by Sherri the sparks will fly but hey, like I said, too much time and work to lose something.


Since this blog is about woodworking and all that goes with it I’m gonna tell you this. The client thinks the tiger maple is too dark. Now…he chose the color, it is my “New England Maple.” It is the choice of 9 out of 10 people on tiger maple. I designed it with Gemini Coatings to match the old New England maples that have aged and the natural colors of the maples show, it has an orange/brown color.

So it is one of those I would like to see it a shade or two lighter. Well…sorry…this isn’t a color swatch on a wall. Strip – refinish and try again? No way. I got the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed. So I’m cool. The other thing is that dyed wood lightens and mellows out. Tiger maple especially. In six months the figure will be more evident and pronounced and the color will tone in. Could write a book on why but it’s a combo of the dye pulling up to the surface somewhat, especially using lacquer or shellacs as they will re-dissolve the dye a little but when the finish cures and it all settles down, it defines itself.

If you have ever had the chance to see something you made after you forgot you made it, you understand what I’m talking about. The client has a dresser I made a couple years back and it’s lighter, probably so.

Here is the lesson, and I hope you got it. People really don’t have a clue as to what is involved in woodworking and finishing and they think you just smear something on and to change it should be no issue, expecting you to jump through hoops and keep changing things until they decide they like it. Your time, your effort is irrelevant to them. Most don’t mean to be this way, they just don’t understand. All of the commercials and things that tell them its so easy just add fuel. Now, this guy’s stuff will mellow out and it will be fine. This is definitely one side of this business I dislike immensely but upon occasion, it happens.

So what’s my solution? Explain its what he chose, how it mellows out and wish him well. Sounds tough, it is, but it’s life and as soon as someone comes in his home and compliments his stuff, he’ll be fine.

I had a lady one time complain that the color she chose didn’t match her carpet and drapes, hmmmm. Now you understand what dealing with the public is about…it’s a pain.


Oh yea, remember those walnut bases last week? I had to stop and get done, just had to have and please…please can ya get me three by Friday (called on Tuesday). I did, stayed late and all that. Called Thursday and told them ready, never showed up on Friday to get them or called, nothing….they are still sitting here.


Handmade Shelf Supports

Handmade Shelf Supports

Wooden Shelf Support Kleat

Wooden Shelf Support Kleat

Notched Shelf in Place

Notched Shelf in Place

Interior of Top Case - Step Back

Interior of Top Case - Step Back

Drawer Interior

Drawer Interior

Bottom Case of Step Back

Bottom Case of Step Back

Close Up of the Crown Moulding

Close Up of the Crown Moulding

Top of the Bottom Case (2 boards)

Top of the Bottom Case (2 boards)

Inside Upper Case Back

Inside Upper Case Back

Rattail Hinge - Fisher Forge

Rattail Hinge - Fisher Forge

Glazed Glass Panes (clay is actually browner)

Glazed Glass Panes (clay is actually browner)


Through the Glass Panes - Note Glazing

Through the Glass Panes - Note Glazing

Dovetailed Drawers - Side View

Dovetailed Drawers - Side View

Back of the Step Back Cupboard

Back of the Step Back Cupboard

Notice the blurred image in the Antique (wavy) Glass

Notice the blurred image in the Antique (wavy) Glass

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10 Responses to September 15, 2008 – Finished

  1. birdsill says:

    Charles –
    Ahh, the public. I had the same problem with aquarium stands – they wanted a stand to support a 1200 pound box of water in their living room and make it match the Queen Anne. I got to a point where some customer’s pricing just automatically contained a PITA charge, cause you knew going in they were going to be a pain in the….

    Do you sign your work? I’d think you’re at a point where that would be added value in some markets.

    Thanks, Ben

  2. intheworkshop says:

    Ben do I sign…only if they ask…figure if they ask ,then they view what we are doing as something special…if they dont ask then to them its just another piece of furniture…and I also have a PITA fee…This is a good thing to talk about..because it certainly is an insight into the real world…I do like doing spec pieces ..because then they see the actual piece and if they like it they buy it…The world of color is tough..trying to match someones “vision” of something or how they percieve it looking in a particular sitting is all but impossible…thats why you need to be sure you have everything documented …its just the way business has to be these days…I had to go out on a kitchen thing one time for another guy…the cabinets he made were painted ,and he matched the given color perfectly..but when they were installed the kitchen had alot of windows , and depending on how much light was coming thru ,the color was lighter or darker…just a normal thing…the client was just raising cain , cause She didnt like that…and no matter what ,you could not get her to understand that sun shining directly on one side .it would appear different than what was in the shadows…She sued the builder..She lost .but he had to go thru all that….Its an amazing thing dealing with the public.. I have simply concluded they expect more from you ,than they would ever consider doing if they were in your position….If they have ever tried to build or create something they understand to some degree..if not…its impossible to have them understand….

  3. bob says:

    amen to that . Just part of business. Same as getting money down to start. Just how it is. bob

  4. Denis Rezendes says:

    yep. the public can be really annoying. once at shaws someone what paying with her debit card and the total came to 40 dollars. then she asked the ashier for 10 dollars back. the new total is 50 dollars right? well she didn’t understand why the 10 dollars was added on but she still wanted the 10 dollars back. had to get the manager and everything.

    the stepback is beautiful though! the walnut looks great and you can’t even tell the applied fronts! works nice!

  5. intheworkshop says:

    Thanks Denis, as soon as i can catch up a little we need to do a short video on the applied front thing..it sure cures alot of ills..and the shelf bracket thing, and keeping the door rail and stiles from going crazy, and the spline joint on the feet, and did I forget any thing…probably so..but if i did just remind me…right now im slamming away at these pine cabinets….

  6. Ben Weber says:

    Charles – how often, say percent wise ie 5%, 10% whatever, does this occur in your furniture business? BTW, great point to bring up that most considering retail sales of furniture probably wouldn’t think of.

  7. William Mitchell says:

    The custom woodworking buyers, for the most part, are a bunch of ninnies. They don’t buy it for what it is, but instead what it represents – proof they can afford it. I took on a part-time gig building two balconies and an elevated deck for a lawyer. I put a lot of unpaid time and effort cutting beads on the edges of all the beams, herringboneing the floors, mitering all the corners, building railings that belonged in someone’s livingroom and not in their backyard, along with a whole bunch of other custom touches. I didn’t get any reaction about any of it from the owner until I happened to be there when one of his friends showed up for a visit. The friend is a fellow amateur woodworker and raved about the details. From that point on the owner decided that he had something special but before his friend made a fuss about it, he didn’t have a clue.

  8. intheworkshop says:

    william great point….and dead on brotha,

    ben how often..not very much..at all rarely do I encounter it maybe 1%but when ya do be prepared..as i said its being sure you and client are on the same page..doing color samples and having them sign off is the best way to do it….and use a color sample thats big enough for them to see..but be sure color is discussed up front..or you will get some idiot who wants walnut and when finish time comes brings you a pecan color..had it happen…again guys ,all the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed…its sad but its the way it is

  9. Conrad Bennett says:

    Hey Charles!

    Awesome stuff! I love the blurry glass in the stepback. I have a question though….in the side view of the dovetailed drawers, there is a very dark from and light sides. Did you have to finish the front before assembling them to the sides, and if so how do you finish components of a piece and protect the “glueing surfaces from getting finishing on them?

    Love your site, love your videos, I am learning so much!

    I want to talk to you and Sherri about shipping your finishing DVDs (whole set) to Ontario Canada! Got my wife talked into them for my Christmas present!

    Talk to you soon.

    Conrad Bennett

  10. intheworkshop says:

    conrad..Good question…actually what I do is use a like wood same as the front will be..in this case walnut front , I usually will put a light coat of finish on the drawer box itself .leaving the front and the easy straight edges alone..when dry.I sand the front using a little masking tape I dye and stain the front and go back on the front to the straight edge..I never try to stain the dovetails..the reason for finishing the box a little is that if i get some dye or stain on it its sealed and wont penetrate ,so a light scuff sand and its gone….I also am careful using clean gloves on my holding hand to keep my nasty finger prints off..having someone to hand them off to is nice as well…

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