Who Says I Have No Class?

Article - October 14, 2010

The last two days was a real blast from the past. Many of you know I used to teach classes out of my old shop. Well one of my favorite students, who I am now pleased to call a friend, paid ahead for several classes. Between his schedule and mine, we were never able to get together for the last two. And to be honest, at the time he paid I was already cutting back classes and well on my way to not doing them at all. So fast forward two years, a new house and a new shop later, we finally got together to resume where we left off.

Now the last time we met, Greg wanted to build a simple shop sharpening station. I had no idea that he never finished the project and was actually waiting until our next class to do so. So as you can imagine, a project that sits around for about two and a half years, mid-construction, is just FULL of surprises! Mind you, this is after two Arizona summers with no finish on the wood. So of course, the drawers were off, the case was no longer square, and the plywood was that wonderful pee-stain yellow color. But we had two days to work with and we were determined to make some magic. So we dug right in.

The piece itself is fairly straightforward casework. Three drawers, a pull-out tray, and a door that conceals a few adjustable shelves. Greg also decided he wanted a dead flat surface to work on, so we created a cutout for a big old block of granite. With the new increased stress and weight, we opted for a 3/4″ back panel and an extra layer of 3/4″ stock on the top.

With the case and drawers being “less than square”, we had a few challenges when applying the walnut trim and the drawer fronts. But I kept reminding Greg that this was just a piece of shop furniture and that its a skill-building project more than anything.

In the last few minutes, Greg decided he liked the idea of a backsplash of sorts, so we quickly whipped one up and trimmed it out to hide the slightly uneven edge at the back resulting from some over-aggressive sanding. We’ve all been there, right? You just cover what you can, hammer what doesn’t fit, and fill the remaining gaps and holes.

Greg left with huge smile on his face and I think he’s really happy with his new sharpening station. He still has some sanding and finishing to do, but the project is pretty much complete. And while I don’t plan on doing one on one classes again any time soon, it was a lot of fun catching up with Greg and focusing on a simple project for a couple of days. Now the normal state of madness can resume in my humble little shop.