Tag Archives: Build

Knap Gen Tu

This is the second design from Knap Lamp.  A play on words, generation two (Gen Tu).  Knap Gen Tu, as most of my designs, is a one of lamp.  It is currently for sale, the price is $250 plus shipping. Click on “Shop” on the menu bar above.  I will ship to US only.  Build pictures are available on request.

Knap Gen Tu features the mystery switch of the first design operating 4 LED strip lights (one strip on each side of the lamp), and has an 8′ cord.  It is made of Oak with a golden oak stain covered by 3 coats of poly.  Measurements of the lamp are shown in the following pictures.

Pasta/Noodle Roller

This is how egg noodles were made “back in the day” before they were mass produced and available on your grocer’s shelf.  By varying the distance between the cutting ribs you could make anything from spaghetti to fettuccine to wide egg noodles.  Depending on the recipe for the dough you used you made pasta or egg noodles.

Starting with a glued up, laminated, turning blank of hard maple (Cherry, Walnut, etc.) it isn’t a hard project, but does require some precise turning to make it work.  I took the corners off on the table saw to save some time on the lathe.  I wanted the finished piece to be about 19″ long with the handles so I made the blank a couple inches longer than that.

The first step is to just make the whole thing round  with a roughing gouge, which doesn’t take too long.  You want to get it close to the same diameter the full length of the piece.

Next I did the a handle on each end using whatever tools I found necessary.  A large skew, a small skew, spindle gouge, and parting tool.  Then took my time sizing the main barrel of the roller to make it precisely the same size from one end to the other.  This is necessary to have the “cutting blades” all contact the work surface at the same time.  The final touch was to use sand paper on a wood block to get it exact.

The last turning step was to lay out the cut outs for the noodles and remove the material between the cutting blades.  I made this one to make 1/2″ egg noodles, with each blade being 1/8″ wide at the base, tapered to almost a point where the roller meets the work surface.

The tapering to almost a point is precise turning with a small, sharp skew.

Final sanding and the turning is done.  Removed from the lathe and checked on the top of the table saw shows the “blades” all meet the work surface at the same time.

The handles are accented with five shallow turns accented by holding a steel wire against the wood turning on the lathe which burns the accent into the wood.  Simple but elegant addition to a wood turning like this.

Finally the excess material is cut off with the chop saw.  I know some people just use a parting tool to do this but I’ve had things go flying doing it that way.  A little hand sanding finishes the handles.

The finished raw wood is nice looking and then doing three coats of walnut oil really makes it look great.

Now where did I see that recipe for the perfect egg noodles?

Granite Top Parsons Desk


My son is a successful internet guy.  He must be because people pay him really well to do what he does.  What exactly he does is beyond what my mind can grasp, but it really isn’t something you need to know to appreciate this build.  If he wants me to show a better picture of the finished desk in an uncluttered office he will have to send me a better picture.

The story begins with an email from my son telling me he saw a picture of a parsons desk that would work really well for him in his soon to be new  office.  Unfortunately it cost thousands of dollars, and he’s basically cheap like me.  When I looked at the thing it didn’t seem like it would take much to build one similar so we got to talking.  Next thing I knew I was drawing and figuring out how to build such a thing.  And then started measuring the lumber I had to work with.

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Now unlike the guy in the movie that said “oak’s nice” my son doesn’t really like oak.  And hard maple is pricey like walnut and cherry, so we looked for an alternative.  What we settled on is poplar.  Poplar is easy to work with and pretty structurally sound, which is important when supporting a slab of granite that will weigh in over 200 lbs.

The first parts I made were the legs.  Notched so the weight would be directly supported on those legs rather than rely on fasteners to hold the weight.  To cut down on the overall weight of the finished desk, I designed the legs to be hollow but we wanted them to look, I believe the word my son used was “brawny”.

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Edge gluing with good glue and lots of clamps, then using the planer to do the final sizing produced just what we needed.

Then it was time to make the top framework.  This had to be very structural to support the weight and have the necessary support under the granite so it wouldn’t ever crack.  Laminating seemed to be the answer rather than using a single board of the width I wanted.  Stronger and much cheaper to produce.  Originally I was just going to make up the parts needed and send them to my son for assembly, but as the design came to physical reality, it seemed a better idea to ship it as an assembly.

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It was going to take a lot of clamps and gluing to make this thing come together correctly.  So I went on to assemble the parts and fasten it all together as a unit.  The cross braces are notched to fit snugly into the side rails, which were glued and screwed together.

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The top had to be assembled to be as exactly “square” possible so the granite would fit when it was added to the project.  And the dimensions had to be spot on also.  Another challenge was to be sure no screws or “plugs” would be visible on the outer surfaces, so fastening the legs to the top frame had to be engineered so all the screws are on the inside surfaces.

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The measurements and “square” of the desk were darn near exactly what was ordered.

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The finished desk is 30 inches tall, so the wooden base needed to be 29″ to allow for the 1″ granite slab to be installed on top of it.  The top was “squared” to really close tolerances in hopes the granite would be finished as closely as the wooden base.

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The bottoms of the legs were plugged and then the final sanding before staining.

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The first coat of stain turned out to be too red for the desired color so it took another two coats of darker brown to get what we wanted.  In the end, it came out just about how we wanted it.

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Then a couple coats, three actually of semi gloss polyurethane completed the finish.

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One thing you can’t see is that the top edges, where the granite would be glued to the wood surface, was done with a top grade spar urethane, an exterior grade urethane, so the glue holding the granite would have the best possible surface to bond with.

The base was now sent to my son’s house where the granite was to be delivered and installed.  The finished desk is just what he wanted.  Another job well done.

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Now I expect him to make a lot of money as he enjoys his new work surface.






Garden Bench


I didn’t take any pictures as I built this English Garden Bench but there is a good “how to” right here.  It isn’t one of my unique designs but it is a very nice and comfortable bench.  I built this one for a friend that wanted a place to sit outside her place of business.

The bench is made from Southern Yellow Pine.  I selected this wood because it has a very nice wood grain and this bench is mounted under a covered area so it won’t be directly in the weather.  Also I added the “feet” which are made of pressure treated SYP because they are in contact with the concrete of the covered area.  To be sure it wasn’t stolen, I made steel brackets to secure it with anchors to the concrete.  If a thief wants the bench he will really have to work at taking it.

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The finish is two coats of a premium outdoor semi transparent stain and then two coats of spar urethane over that.  Hopefully it will last for years and years.



Kitchen Island


Do you ever find that there just isn’t enough space for all the things in your kitchen?  This was a welcome addition to our kitchen for just that reason.  I have to admit it wasn’t all my design, the idea was on an episode of Ask This Old House not too long ago.  However, I did take it to another level by making the butcher block top rather than buy one all assembled.

Let’s start with the construction of the butcher block.  It was something I had never done before so it was a bit of a challenge.  The first thing I learned was that it takes a lot of wood to make a butcher block this size.  It all starts with a few large pieces of rough cut oak.  I just happened to have some laying around.

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It is a real talent to look at a rough cut board and find the usable pieces of it with just your trusty tape measure and your wit.  I’m still learning but it is getting easier with every project.  After careful consideration, it still takes a lot of time on the table saw and mitre saw to get the pieces cut and ready to run through the planer.

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At this point I have the pieces cut to width (+ or – about 1/16″) but they are all of varying length.  And the thickness of each is marked as they come out of the planer so when the time comes they can be matched to form each layer of the butcher block.

The next chore is to put the pieces together to form the block.  It’s like putting a puzzle together without all the pieces being designed to fit together exactly.  It took a while, but I made the best use out of the pieces I had and got it laid out in the proper order.

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There’s no glue on anything yet, I just have them clamped together so none of the pieces warp or twist overnight.  No time to glue anything today.  It’s important to glue and clamp as soon as you can after they are planed.

The next day when I got to gluing, I had to work with parts of the complete block that would fit through my planer.  The planer is only 13″ and the top will be just over 27″.  That means 3 parts, not just 2, which makes for a bit more planning, but really it wasn’t too hard to work with these pieces.

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I won’t go into the whole gluing process, let’s just say that a project like this is not for somebody that hasn’t had some experience working with wood glue and clamps.  It takes a lot of quick application of glue, lining up of pieces, then clamping tightly to get the three sections of the top made.

Then each piece is surfaced by running the three pieces through the planer after the glue is completely dry, being very careful to have each piece cut to the same thickness when the final cut is done on each side of each piece.

Being careful not to try to take too much off on each pass, and keeping all three pieces in order while working with them.  Two finished pieces, and finally all three.

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Final assembly of the three pieces is a very precise process so the seams where the three major pieces are joined look the same as every other joint of the butcher block.  It will no longer fit through the planer so those joints have to be smooth enough so  that they can be finished with a belt sander by hand.

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I didn’t have enough long clamps so I improvised by connecting a few shorter ones together.  It looks quite the mess, but it really worked very well.

Now it’s time to make some very precise cuts to end up with a nice butcher block that is “in square” when it’s done.  Lots of measuring and marking so it comes out right.  Ideally it would get cut on a table saw, but the one I have doesn’t have a large enough table to do it safely.  So a good circular saw and alignment guide had to do the job.

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Finally a carefully routed edge to finish it all off.

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A couple coats of stain and then three coats of polyurethane should keep it looking good for a few years.  We decided to finish it this way because we are not going to use it as a cutting board.  If you want to use it as a cutting board you will have to finish it with a few coats of mineral oil and then coat it from time to time with more mineral oil.

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Now for the cabinet.  I cheated by not making the cabinets myself, using a couple wall cabinets that are close to matching our kitchen.  Wall cabinets you ask?  Yes, wall cabinets, not base cabinets.  If you use base cabinets and install wheels so it  can roll around, it would be too tall.  Using wall cabinets allows the installation of wheels and have it come out the same height as the counters in your kitchen.   This is two 30″ x 12″ wall cabinets, upside down for now.  Note the back of each cabinet has been cut so there is a level surface across the bottom.

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A piece of 3/4″ plywood cut to fit will support the base of this island and allow for a good solid way to mount the wheels.

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The wheels I used are 3″ polyurethane wheels that lock in both directions.  I used swivel wheels on all four corners.  Marked then drilled and fastened with carriage bolts so the heads of the bolts can be drawn down level with the plywood.  Then the plywood base is secured to the cabinets with screws down from the cabinets.  This holds the cabinets together at the base also.

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Now on wheels, it’s time to get the top ready for the butcher block top.  Filler strips of 3/4″ plywood are added so you have a level surface to mount the top.  I glued them in place and secured the two cabinets together with screws before installing the top.  Large clamps hold them together while I work on the assembly.  I used shims between the two cabinets at the top as I screwed them together.

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Now the top gets located onto the top of the cabinets with an even overhang side to side but with a one inch off set on the longer edge.  This is to make room for a towel bar on one end of the island.  Like the base, the top is secured with screws up from the cabinet, through the plywood spacer blocks.  This makes for a solid connection.

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The doors and shelves are installed and it’s beginning to look like a kitchen island.

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Not being able to find a towel bar I liked for a reasonable amount of money (I guess I’m cheap) I made one out of some scraps of oak I had and a dowel I found laying around the wood shop from a previous project.  A couple stainless machine screws installed with washers and lock nuts hold the towel bar in place.  I also covered the cabinet seams with a fancy piece of trim to make it look a bit nicer.

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A very useful addition to our kitchen.  It serves as some extra storage and counter space as well as being a serving cart or extra table space for the holidays.  With the wheels we chose it rolls easily anywhere it is needed.