Ana White and Some Truly Brilliant Ideas

Someone recently shared this house with me and I’ve seen her (Ana White’s) work popping up all over the Internet lately.  Ana White uses readily available materials to create some genius storage and living solutions for small homes.  These could easily be applied in many other situations in order to make the most of any space.  It rings well with me because it is all-purpose made to fit the space and needs of the occupant; not just an off-the-shelf one-size-fits-most approach.  Here is a tour of her recent work and I suggest visiting her website for a load of other great ideas, including many plans.

Ana White

The table versatility is particularly smart and functional.  This would be handy in an office or bedroom as well.  The video has a lot of good ideas for builders.

And finally, on her Brag Board, she has many other interesting projects to check out as well including a lot furniture ideas like this clever storage bed shown below.




Joinery Journey

Joinery doesn’t have to be a mystery or an unknowable. Have a read of Mr. Merritt’s take on joinery. I’m looking forward to more!


I love joinery.

There is something magical about fitting two or more pieces of wood together.

Before the advent of mechanical fasteners, joinery reigned supreme.  At that pre-industrial time is was the cheapest, fastest and strongest way of building with wood.  As nails, bolts and screws became less expensive they began to displace joinery for building with wood.  Mechanical fasteners required less skill and were faster. Thus the products produced became less expensive and the structural and aesthetic compromises were  accepted as “progress”.  Machines too brought an end to joinery’s reign.  Some joints that can be “easily” cut by hand are either impossible to cut with a machine or the setup is too costly.  So joinery was simplified or abandoned to accommodate mass production.

I have no intention of delving into a philosophical diatribe on the pros and cons of the industrial revolution.  My intent with the preceding was to…

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More Joinery

Here’s a beautiful trestle table coming together in Andy Rawls’ studio; spotted on his Tumblr this morning.

trestleSeeing this makes me realize I can’t wait to get some projects done over the three day weekend.  It makes me a little sad to say something like that.  Choosing a job for pay instead of a love for what you do every day.  Of course, the grass always looks greener…

dovetailtressleThis will be one solid table and will last for ages if treated well.  This kind of craftsmanship has slipped away from most of our daily lives.  You won’t find this at a big chain furniture store.  Have a look at more of his remarkable work by clicking the link below.


On Being Self-taught

I’ve heard people say they have to put a piece of wood aside until the spirit hits them. That’s procrastination. Pick it up and work it – you’ll feel the spirit. No, I think it’s an advantage being self-taught.

— Sam Maloof, December 1980, Fine Woodworking

Lost Art Press


People just like what I do and buy it. As for schooling, my clients are my teachers. They’re the ones who bring me the design problems. Schools get too easily divorced from the real world. In many places students graduate and become teachers without ever making a living from their work. They grow stale. There’s a preciousness I see in a lot of student work that comes from having too many hours to put into it. Perfection is fine, and nothing has left my shop that I’m not proud of, but you have to produce if you are going to make a living. I’ve heard people say they have to put a piece of wood aside until the spirit hits them. That’s procrastination. Pick it up and work it – you’ll feel the spirit. No, I think it’s an advantage being self-taught.

— Sam Maloof, December 1980, Fine Woodworking

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Three Legged Dutch Chair

DutchChairFrom the issue of “Work” made available today by the good folks at Tools for Working Wood.  Minimalist yet fairly ornate.  It would sit well in a corner to get it out of the way when not needed.


Click the image to head over and have a look at this interesting resource from the 19th century.

While you are in the internet neighborhood, have a look in their store for some great and out of the ordinary stuff.


Campaign Desk


Here’s an interesting piece of “gone native” campaign furniture.  There was much bad about empire building (and still is) but the bringing together of foreign cultures often created new and interesting art and craft styles.

While on the topic, if campaign furniture is of an interest, or if you want to even know what it is, head over to Lost Arts Press and check out Chris Schwartz’s new book on the topic.

Here are just a few designs from the genre known as Campaign Furniture taken from Schwartz’s webpage.  Click the link below to go right to his book store.


This Stool is Brown, Waxy, a Bit Oily and Sticky

I gotta make a couple of these.

Lost Art Press


Sticky? Yes. It’s made from three sticks. So it’s quite “sticky.”

ROUBO212PrI just finished up this campaign stool based (loosely) on A.J. Roubo’s model shown in “L’Art du Menuisier.” I turned round legs, whereas Roubo shows legs that are pie-shaped in section. When those legs fold together, they make a cylinder. Clever.

I know how to make legs like this, but I have to come up with a way to do this that doesn’t waste a lot of wood.

As I explained in an earlier post, the pivoting hardware is made using an eye bolt, all-thread rod, washers and acorn nuts. It looks OK, but I’m going to use different hardware for the next version to make it look bad-asser.

The leather, oiled latigo from the saddle industry, is great. Ty Black finished hand-stitching the seat last night. I attached the seat to the legs using No 10 x 1-1/4”…

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Folding Stools and Table

I have had many requests for dimensions of the stools and table so I finally sucked it up and measured some things to include here.  The only ones apparently on the web cost money so here are my dimensions.  Please modify them to fit your style, needs, or lumber.  A little time with some graph paper will go a long way.

Folding stools.  Here is my cutting list from most recent batch.  The angles of the feet  will have to be worked out for yourself.  Also, not listed are the stretchers (the cross boards between legs).  These are not absolutely necessary but make the whole shebang a lot stronger.  Use whatever you have.

Legs 1×3″: 4 @ 18″
Skirts 1×3″: 4 @ 11″
Seat 1×6″: 2 @ 16″ (can vary substantially.  adjust dowels accordingly)
Dowels 1″ oak: 1 @ 12 3/4″
Dowels 1″ oak: 4 @ 1 1/2″

First, make these parts.

Assemble like so...

Then finish with the rest of the parts (See top photo).

Table test. Suitable for light dancing.

Note in above photos the far side stretcher isn’t in place.  I ran out of wood this day.

For a 28″ tall table:
Legs 1×4″ hardwood: 4 @ 34″
Skirts 1×4″: 4 @ 20″
Top 1×12″: 2 @ 36-48″

Assemble just like the stool.

A little nomad furniture project.  Great for when guests arrive too.  If you are creative, the tops can be cut into ovals, rounded rectangles, or made circular.

Folding Camp Funiture

I’ve been making folding camp furniture.  The stools are sometime called “pea-pickers”.  They were somewhat difficult to figure out without a plan but some photos of others and experience making other furniture helped.


They’re not as easy to make as I thought they would be.  The holes must be very precise and dowels tight-fitting.  If everything isn’t square and precisely cut, the stool just doesn’t work.


This is their beauty.  They fold flat and have an integrated handle.  They can be made just about any size and out of any straight lumber.  My first one is made from scraps from around the workshop.  These later ones are from premium pine.


Seventeen pieces, twelve holes.  Stick ’em together.  Sit.  Mine are sturdy enough to use as a step stool, with some caution due to the narrow width.


A table of similar construction.  The top is about 22 x 46″.  I made it 2 inches lower than a standard table to fit the stool height.  A combination of pine, poplar, and oak.  Definitely strong enough if it is well-fitting.