Woodshop Buzz
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The Master Carpenter
•Custom Built-In-Place Woodwork
•Interior Trim   •Custom Cabinetry
•Railings   •Window Seats   •Doors
The Craftsmanship Difference

Craftsmanship is a way of life

Woodshop Buzz is where I show you some behind-the-scenes information and pictures on how a project is built. I also like to talk about American Forestry, which is in a state of vigorous health.

On occasion I will elaborate on Building Departments, their mandate, and how to deal with them.

This time I want to examine some of the differences between woodworking and typical carpenter work. I was a carpenter for more than twenty years before I decided to upgrade my skills and tools for woodworking. It has been an enjoyable transition, always bringing surprises.

Final Finish Matters

The last part of a project, and one of the most important, is the surface treatment with paint, or stain and varnish. When my work is finished you can do the final treatments yourself, or if you want, either I or my painter can put the final finish on.

It’s rare for a stain to be the correct color right out of the can. The color usually has to be modified. Often a glaze needs to be applied over the varnish to get the color and opacity just right.

If you plan to do your own final finishes be prepared to practice on sample boards until you have the color right and the correct level of final gloss.

If you want us to do the final finishes I will include the costs in my estimate.

Wood Matters

Wood is beautiful. When I started The Master Carpenter, my first project used red oak, and cherry. Since then I have added birch, curly maple, quarter sawn white oak, walnut, red gum, sassafras, poplar, ash, and other American hardwoods. I have also worked with European steamed Beech and African Mahogony.

United States hardwood forests are sustainable and well managed. You can be proud to use American hardwoods on your project.

The beauty of wood emerges when it is prepared correctly. I sort my boards for the best appearance and treat it well as I work it.

I pay attention to proportion and finishing touches so that a finished project will have a “rightness” to it.

I don’t rush the work. Woodworking should allow the wood’s qualities to speak. Sometimes that means just enjoying the work and staying fresh and attentive.

Tools Matter

Woodwork requires specialized hand tools.

Power tools are essential.

Method Matters

The way a person works is important. Impatience, coming to a project inattentively, or shortcutting the preparation of the wood, can result in the best qualities of the wood not standing out.

There is nothing mysterious about the steps that are needed to finely craft a project. But if all these steps are followed, then the final result can be very special. Colleen, for whom I made an Arts and Crafts bathroom, told me that even little children coming out of the new bathroom, tell her “Wow!” when they emerge. She is so happy that she followed her heart and had it done.

Modern production techniques tend to hide the wood grain. Even furniture manufacturers use final finishes that take the life out of the appearance.