This is the most basic joint I do, and I reserve this only for pieces that don't require higher-strength joints. Things like small desk shelves and appliance covers can be made with this joinery. The holes for the screws can be filled with dowels, then cut flush to the face of the board they are drilled through.
This joint is only a little more complex than pocket screws, but provides added durability by allowing the long grain of the dowels to be glued to the long grain inside their mortises in each board. It also eliminates the exterior holes that are visible with pocket screws. The legs of these meditation stools were joined to the seats using dowel tenons.
Box joints are constructed by creating an offset series of cuts in two joining boards which then slide together like fingers lacing together. They work fine when the boards are aligned in the same direction, such as the boards around a box or chest, but wouldn't provide the durability needed for opposed-grain joints like a rail attached to a stile.
The mortise and tenon is the go-to joint for creating long-lasting and durable pieces of furniture. It is made by creating a housing in the face of one board which accepts a tenon on the end of another board. It provides excellent strength and durability by maximizing the surface area of the long grain to long grain contact so the glue can attain maximum hold, and also provides good mechanical strength.
Miter joints are one of the more visually appealing because they allow a seemingly continues grain structure around a box, tray, or other small piece. But, the most basic form of the joint doesn't provide as much strength as others because it glues end grain to end grain. This is why splines are added. A spline is a narrow piece of wood that is added into the joint to increase the surface area for glue. This provides durability, and when using a nice contrasting wood, it also adds a decorative element to the piece. The miters on this serving tray were strengthened with two splines. The bottom contrasting wood is an inlay.
Dovetails provide excellent strength and a decorative appearance. They are made by creating "tails" in one board, which are like a short section of a triangle, which join into a series of "pins" on the joining board, which are also like a section of a triangle but facing perpendicular to the direction of the tails. The tails and pins lock together due to the angles that join their sides together. This joint can be used for a variety of functions, but isn't suitable for some joinery where a mortise and tenon is most appropriate.
There are other joints that will be used for various projects, but there isn't much need to provide photographs of them, as they are either less structural or less visible. These include, but may not be limited to, tongue and groove, dado, simple slat housing (essentially a mortise), panel edge joint, and various different versions of the above joinery options.
This basic finish option will be the most common for most woods. It is a basic finish using any film-forming clear coat, such as polyurethane, clear acrylic, lacquer, shellac, or any of a variety of clear or semi-clear finishes. It results in some of the most true-to-nature color for the wood while still providing substantial protection. This serving tray and the photo transfer were finished with a clear water-based finish.
Dyes can be used to add decorative effects, enhance figure, or assist in color matching. Dye is excellent for adding color with less potential to muddy the grain than pigment stains. Dyes and pigments are often used in conjunction with each other to achieve specific colors and depth, and to accentuate different features of the wood.
Pigment stains lay down particles of color on the surface of wood -- especially in the tiny grooves between the fibers, in pores, and in the fine scratches left by sanding. Pigment stains can be used for a variety of purposes. The walnut coat rack above was dyed, sealed with shellac, then glazed with an oil-based pigment stain before clear coating.
For custom furniture and other pieces that will get mild exposure to UV light, such as pieces that sit under windows, I may use marine varnish as part of the clear coating process. For outdoor pieces that use costly woods, I will do all the clear finish layers with marine varnish, or possibly epoxy topped with marine varnish. This outdoor garden bench is made from western red cedar and quartersawn white oak. It is finished with a seal of epoxy topped with six coats of Epifanes marine varnish with added UV inhibitors and hindered amine light stabilizer (Tinuvin 292, and Tinuvin 1130).
If a wood needs to be stabilized due to softness, rot, or insect damage, I will soak and fill all voids, recesses, and rotted wood with a two-part epoxy that will cure into a hard plastic that provides strength and stability. It also produces a gorgeous deepening of the wood's natural colors. This spalted maple meditation stool seat was soaked and subsequently finished with a thick layer of epoxy. Stabilized wood can often be finished with a "regular" film finish so long as it is structurally sound.
Pieces for use in cooking, serving, or storage of food will be finished using the best finish for the job at hand. Technically, all regular film-forming finishes are food-safe once fully cured, but many aren't suitable for certain uses. For example, film finish should never be applied to a cutting board -- the film can chip off into the food, which isn't a serious safety concern so much as it is unpleasant. Most kitchenware will be finished with oil or an oil/wax blend. Vessels for storing dry goods will be finished with the desired finish and left to cure for up to 30 days (for film finishes) before shipping..
There are a few other finish options for your custom furniture. These include but may not be limited to paint, layered distressing, french polish, oil and/or wax.
For custom orders that exceed a $300 estimate, I require a payment of 1/2 of the estimate up front. The remainder is due upon completion of the project, which will be shipped out or delivered once the final payment is received. For custom orders estimated at or under the $300 threshold, full payment is due up front. If labor is less than anticipated, a refund will be issued.
For custom orders, I will accept payment by credit/debit card, PayPal payments, or money order, or cash if paying in person.
If my estimate exceeds the true final price of the item, the second payment will be reduced to make up the difference. I will never charge more than the estimate so long as the initially agreed-upon piece is not altered. If, however, alterations to the design/construction are made by the customer, I reserve the right to adjust my estimate and charge for the added materials and labor accordingly.
For custom orders under the $300 threshold, I will accept cancellations within 7 days of the initial order. For those custom orders exceeding the $300 threshold, I will accept cancellations at any time during the process, but some or all of the first half payment will be forfeit, depending on how far along in the production process I am. If a cancellation is received on one of these custom orders, I will make clear what portion of and for what specific reasons the payment in advance will be reserved.
Contact me today to begin planning your custom furniture or custom woodwork. Please note that I bill for time spent beyond the first hour of communication. I do not, however, bill for time communicating if I am asking for approval of changes or for general updates I send out.
Stillwater, Oklahoma, United States
Monday - Sunday: 8am - 5pm