Blog: Fine Woodwork

Butcher Block Island

After helping build this client’s kitchen with Juniper Joinery, she wanted an island to add a little more work space. Because the kitchen was too small to accommodate a full-sized island, I came up with this option. The top measures 33″ x 22″ and is small enough to pick up and slide out of the way when needed.

I designed the counter top to be a butcher block so the customer could use this space as a cutting board for preparing meals. A butcher block top is a great choice for cutting on, since the end grain of the wood doesn’t dull a knife as quickly as cutting across the grain.

I also added in a couple of shelves for storing dishes, and as a special bonus, I added a drawer with hand-cut dovetails for the joinery. And I always give my clients green options when it comes to the finish on my furniture. This piece uses a combination of Osmo oil for the base, shelves and drawer, with food-safe tung oil for the butcher block top.

 

 

Blacksmithing 101

Recently I signed up for a blacksmithing course. I have been interested in metal working for a while now and this turned out to be the perfect opportunity to dive into this craft. I took the class in the fully equipped studio at KSA (Kootenay School of the Arts) in Nelson, BC.

The first thing I noticed and was surprised by was how easy it is to shape metal when it’s hot. I have watched movies in the past showing blacksmiths doing their thing, and I always thought they were wailing on the metal to get it to move. Not so. Once the metal is up to temperature, it’s really easy to shape it and move it. You only have about 15 seconds to work the metal until it has to go back into the forge, but you can achieve a lot with a few well-aimed hammer blows.

I am excited to explore more into the world of metal working, as I think this would be a great added skill to what I already do. From forged drawer pulls to metal brackets for my timber frames, I think this art form could add a lot of visual impact to the woodworking!