Ash Sofa Table

This is the first fine woodworking project that I attempted. Built of solid ash with a dark walnut stain finished with multiple coats of shellac.


Legs- I ordered 3″ squares for the legs from the lumber yard. They arrived in fairly good shape, just needed a little surfacing, then I cut them to size. Then I cut the mortises (morti?) in all the legs for a total of eight.

Aprons- the aprons consist of 2 long front & back aprons, and 2 fairly short side aprons. After milling the lumber, next I cut the tenons on all four pieces. Looking back, I should have figured a better way of cutting the tenons on the long aprons. There just wasn’t enough ceiling height, and it was a little dangerous to try and hold them steady…even with tenoning jig on my table saw. The last task on the aprons was to cut biscuit slots to receive buttons to attach the top.

Top- the top is pretty much standard. I glued up a couple boards based upon grain direction. I eased all edges with some 220 sandpaper. The top is attached with some shop made buttons that fit into the biscuit slots I cut in the aprons to allow for wood movement.

Shelf – the shelf is basically like the top, except it has a notch at each corner where it meets the legs. I cut the notches with a jig saw.

Shelf supports- I made some square blocks, and then cut a standard curve for the bottom edge of the support. I cut the curve on a scroll saw and sanded to the line with a drum sander.

Finish – dark walnut oil based stain followed by 5 coats of shellac. I used a standard walnut stain manufactured by MinWax, and an amber shellac out of the can by Bullseye.

– JR


Favorite Woodworkers

Here’s a short list:

Jesus – the most important and most influencing woodworker in my life. He is the reason for everything that I am. He is with me on every project. If you need his help, you just have to ask.

Norm- no last name is needed here either. He is the icon of the modern age of woodworking. Without Norm, I am not sure how evolved the craft would be today, nor how well the power tool market would be. I don’t think there could ever be a replacement that affected so many like Norm has. I personally bought tools that I saw him use that are still in like new condition because they never come out of the case but once a year.

The Schwarz – truly the current go-to-guy for Woodworkers thirsting for true knowledge of old school woodworking. His knowledge, and that ability to convey that knowledge to his followers is amazing. He doesn’t just spit out the knowledge, he performs the necessary research first, and then passes on all that much-needed information. He realizes that in order to truly master the craft, one has to fully understand the craft. Memorizing or practicing a technique ‘because this person said it’s the way to do it’ will never truly enhance your existence in the craft because there is no understanding to why you do this or that…like go out and buy power tools you’ll never use. There needs to be a foundation to build upon, and Chris Schwarz will help you build a sound foundation.

Matt &Marc – these guys are the kings of the online woodworking community. They have picked up the torch from Norm of combining entertainment and woodworking know-how, and their place on the internet allows them to spread the good word about woodworking to the entire world. They have created a substantial network of Woodworkers in a community that really helps all levels of Woodworkers to increase their knowledge of the craft. After a while you begin to feel like they are one of your close friends.

– JR

Intro to the VCF

My passion with woodworking began when I caught my first episode of The New Yankee Workshop. I think I must have been around 9 or 10.

I would wake up every Saturday morning to try to catch Norm instead of cartoons. Not to mention fighting my sister for the t.v. This was back before we had a t.v. with a remote…so we literally fought over the t.v., not just the remote. There’s nothing like watching Norm assemble a joint while you’re pinning your sister down to the living room carpet.

From there I went to building all kinds of stuff with my Uncle and “old man” John. John taught us both a lot…he was a former builder.

Then came the Internet. The flood gates of knowledge flew open, and that was the end of me. I was hooked for life. Not a day goes by without thinking about the craft.

I started my first real project at my in-laws garage. After four years of apartment living, we got our first house. Then I set up shop for real. That opened the door for more tools, and more serious projects…a few of which I plan on posting here in more detail.

Unfortunate to my woodworking passion, now I am back at the in-laws. We sold our home and are waiting to move into the new one. On the benefit side of things, although I was in the middle of building a nightstand, it’s a nice break from the shop and gives me the opportunity to start this blog.

Hopefully there will be many posts to follow this one. I have a ton of ideas running around in my head.