Category Archives: Take it up a notch

The Long Awaited Sailboat


Scott enjoys hobbies.  I was over the whole “motorcycle” thing, and he had been dreaming of building a small sailboat for a few years.  We compromised and decided if he sold the motorcycle to pay for the kit to build a sailboat, I wouldn’t complain.

He wanted a boat that was large enough to fit the 4 of us, but small enough it didn’t require a full trailer.  Ultimately after a lot of research, he opted to build a Northeastern Dory, and purchased a ‘kit’ from Chesapeake Light Craft.

  • Building a boat is not for the faint of heart.
  • It is not for a novice woodworker (even though you can buy it as a ‘kit.’)
  • Building a boat is not for an impatient person.

Those are my disclaimers.

The end of November 2013, the long awaited kit arrived:

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Scott immediately got to work gluing (with epoxy) the puzzle piece lengths together:
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A boat shaped started to take form:
12-28 (14) 1-2 (1)his is a ‘stitch and glue’ build.  Meaning, the wood is a thin plywood, that can bend and you stitch it in place with wire.  While the wires hold the wood together, you then epoxy the wood.  Once the epoxy is dried, you clip the staples / wires and they aren’t visible anymore.
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The progress wasn’t as ‘visible’ from this point on, until the end.  Lots of meticulous sanding and gluing…  (hence all those clamps!)
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Building the seats.  Using a ‘spokeshave’ to get a nice beveled edge on the lip of the seat for added comfort:
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All complete!  Set sail in May 2014.
Scott worked a little on the boat almost everyday, from January – May.
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It really is a lot of fun.  Sailing if there is wind, rowing if it is calm.
We are able to pick the boat up and carry it to the waters edge with 2 people.  I wouldn’t say it is “light” but it is manageable with 2 men.  1 man and 1 woman – it’s pretty heavy.  But, the boys help on my end and we make it work.

LINK:  Chesapeake Light Craft - Northeastern Dory

Block & Tackle

Scott’s in the process of building a wooden sailboat.  To go along with the boat, he made these block and tackle.

They are beautiful.  Works of wooden art to me!




All hand made.
Wood -  Jatoba and Ipe (both exotic hardwoods)
Stain - Being such dense woods, these soaked in a warm linseed oil.  The warm oil will penetrate much deeper into the wood than oil at room temperature.

Star Wars Bed


As stated earlier, the boys each made a special request for a specific bed, when they were 3.  Our oldest picked a boat bed.  Our younger picked a Star Wars Ship.

I don’t have many photos of it in the design/build phase.

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Scott’s thinking was, he was going for a land-speeder type of ship, but he wanted his own design with a Star Wars feel to it.  He also wanted to make it long enough that our son could grow and still fit in the bed.

The main part of the ship is built out of douglas fir, to help keep it light.  Plywood that was put over the douglas fir, which made it really heavy.  Heavier than we wanted it to be.  (you live and learn) The trim is 1″ angled aluminum.  1/8″ Masonite was glued to the plywood.  Then, 1/4″ Masonite shapes were glued onto the plywood to create some dimension.  He opted for Masonite because it has a really smooth surface, and once painted, it almost looks like metal.  The trim along the mattress is oak, which has held up really well over the last 7 years.  The guns are built from simple PVC pipe, spray painted flat black.  The ship was spray painted a metallic silver.

When we moved, we couldn’t turn a corner in our new house.  It was either get rid of the bed, or cut it in half.  As the move was hard enough on our son, we opted to cut it in half.  :)  Enough tears!  But, this compromised the structure a little, so it now resides on the floor instead of on landing gear…


star_wars_bedroom_mancaveI couldn’t resist some Star Wars vinyl decals up top…



Ship’s Wheel

ships_wheel_mancaveinvadedWhen Scott built the for our boys, I contributed one piece.   A wooden steering wheel that I bought at a craft store.  It quickly fell to pieces with all the abuse the boat bed got.  I should’ve known better…

Years later Scott decided he was tired of looking at that sorry broken wheel so he took matters into his own hands.  He constructed a ship’s wheel.

Although he wanted an excuse to build a steamer, he found a way to construct the wheel without bending the wood…



Handles were carved on the lathe.  The rounded pieces were cut on a bandsaw.  He staggered the cuts as shown in the second picture.

Handles - Redwood.  It was a FAST solution for a ‘toy’ steering wheel.  Had this been constructed for a true boat, he would’ve used an exotic hardwood, such as ipe.
Wheel – Hickory
Center – Jatoba

Entry Table

Scott made this beauty for our front entry area.  We have a small space.  The last thing we needed was a big clunky piece of furniture to enclose it more.  It’s the perfect size at 14″ deep.


The legs he rounded on the lathe and then added the braided pattern with a power engraver.  It’s a lot of work, and if you do a complicated pattern on a table – remember you’ve got to do it x4!


This is actually made from leftover flooring
(the flooring underneath the table as a matter of fact).


Wood – Hickory
Stain – First it was rubbed with Mahoney’s Walnut Oil.  Once that had a chance to seep in for a few days, Old Masters – “Special Walnut” was then applied on top.  Using the Walnut Oil first really helped the grain come alive.
Top Coat – Lacquer (Satin)
Handle – Restoration Hardware

*Mahoney’s products are not found at big box retail stores.  They are going to cost you a little more, but they are a great product.





Scott built this custom bookcase for a specific spot in our house.  Although I don’t have ‘plans’ to offer you, it’s still fun to look at from a design standpoint.

I told him I wanted something that would feel solid at the bottom, without me worrying it might tip over on a child. Aesthetically bottom heavy.  I scoured the internet for something, and nothing caught my eye.

It has adjustable shelves, and wooden drawers.
It’s perfect for the space and for what I was envisioning but couldn’t find.


Material Used:
Wood – Alder with a little Rosewood trim for accents
Stain – Old Masters “Dark Walnut”
Hardware – Home Depot .com



Built-in storage around our fireplace.
living_room_mancaveinvadedWe loved (we have since moved) the storage it offered behind the cupboard doors.  The glass shelving was a nice way to keep the space open as we were afraid dark wood shelving would make the space feel enclosed and too dark.

Cabinetry (visible) - Alder
Cabinetry (inside) – Birch
Fireplace Mantel – Alder
Stain - Minwax “Dark Walnut”
Topcoat – Lacquer (satin finish)
Shelving3/8” annealed glass plate, clear