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Weekly Recap (8/20-8/31)

The last two weeks have been very interesting.

Monday 8/20 was my first day back in the shop after my tablesaw accident. I had big plans for the week, thinking I would work double hard to catch up on missed time. This was way overzealous. I found myself working much slower than I was used to, and honestly I felt a bit discouraged. I thankfully built a little positive momentum later in the week, but I still found many tasks still left undone.

Monday 8/27 began much better than the previous week. It seems that I regained some of my strength and energy, and was able to work at a level more similar to what I am familiar with. I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful shop helper two days, and we were able to complete a lot of great quality work. I made a commitment to bring in my shop helper one day a week to start, and I am very VERY excited about this.

I am still feeling behind; I guess two unexpected, forced, weeks off of work will do that to you. Although I am working to catch up, I am feeling optimistic!

 

First Day Back

About 2 weeks ago I cut my thumb on my table saw. I was tapering some red oak legs for a small table. I have yet to finish this project, but this is a model of what it will look like soon.

Small End Table

 

I want to be clear; this injury was not an accident! Nor was it equipment malfunction, or bad luck. I cut myself due to stupid and reckless behavior in the shop. I plan to update and improve my safety systems in the shop, and I hope to post more about this later. For now, I wanted to take a second and share my experience of returning to the wood shop following my injury.

Honestly it has been a little scary to use my power tools with blades, especially my table saw. There was a tangible feeling of fear and anxiety as I powered up the saw for the first time yesterday. I felt like every cut was dangerous and had the potential to catch me again. Obviously this fear is exaggerated due to coming back from a fairly significant injury, and I expect it to diminish with time. However, I do not want it to disappear completely.

I believe this fear will morph into a deep respect for the real possibility of injuries due to my occupation. I think I possessed a typical stubborn “ten feet tall and bulletproof” mentality, and thankfully my saw carved that faulty thinking out of me! Yes I got hurt, but it could have been SO MUCH WORSE. Just Google Image “table saw accidents.” I am thankful for a serious lesson on shop safety!

Weekly Recap: Design, Accounting,& Project Prep

Hello there, I hope this blog finds you well. This past week was a good week at Houston Woodworking. I am still out of the shop due to my thumb injury, but I was able to be productive with some of my administrative tasks. Doesn’t being productive feel great!

Design

Our mission statement is simple: “Designs and builds commercial and residential carpentry projects with authentic craftsman quality.” The design process is so important for efficiency and quality. Using SketchUp to build 3D models of my projects is an important step to insure authentic craftsman quality in every project that I build. This extensive preparation and planning also allows me to maximize material usage and avoid waste! I spent about 25 hours or more this week designing projects in SketchUp. Here are a couple pictures from some of the projects that I designed this last week.

Accounting

Wow I am a rookie at accounting! Just being honest. Accounting does not come naturally to me, but I believe that accounting is a VITAL component to success in business. I am working hard to learn accounting basics. I am also working hard to improve and create better consistency with my quotes for clients. Hello spreadsheets! I have made some progress in this area, although I prefer building beautiful furniture, accounting is beginning to grow on me. Bring on the numbers.

Project Prep

I plan to return to the shop next week on “light duty,” and I AM SO EXCITED! I have a list of 5 client projects and 3 shop projects that I want to complete. I already created my materials list and organized it by project. I took time to preplan my materials and accounting projections. I am excited about this step because I believe it is an important component of prioritizing work and staying consistently organized, which are two areas of personal growth for myself. Did I mention I am excited to return to the shop!

Weekly Recap: Shop Injury and Lessons Learned

Hi there, it has been a weird couple weeks for me at Houston Woodworking since my last blog post.

Bad News:

I cut my thumb on my table saw a little over a week ago. It was 100% my fault, I was tapering some table legs and using a VERY dangerous jig. The cut was serious enough to require surgery, but thankfully I should make a full recovery. The several days following the accident were very slow, and I did not do much.

More (Possibly) Bad News:

I may need a second surgery on my thumb. I will know more information on this after a followup doctors appointment in a couple weeks. I will post an update at that time. Please join me in praying against a second surgery!

Good News:

I will say that this accident has helped me draw nearer to God and refocus my dependency on him for all provision. It is no secret that I am a man that trusts in Jesus, and I want my faith to known through my business. I was not good for much last week, but I am going to take this next week to accomplish some of my more administrative, computer based, tasks for Houston Woodworking.

Lessons Learned: 

Working with power tools always has the potential to be dangerous, but I have grown too comfortable with them. I was not practicing appropriate shop safety techniques, and I was swiftly reminded that tools are to be respected. I am going to increase my safety awareness and practices when I am able to return to the shop. I am thinking about shop safety in two different sections.

  • Acute shop safety: protection against accidents and injury.
  • Chronic shop safety: protection against long term conditions that can occur due to exposure to various elements in the shop.

I am going to expand on these in future posts.

 

Weekly Recap: Going Live, Community, Designs, Organization, and Growth

 

Wow what an exciting week at Houston Woodworking!

  • We officially launched our website and Facebook Page on Tuesday 7/24. The response was so exciting. Currently the Facebook Page has 157 likes, and I am so happy with that result. I hope to continually build our reach by posting good quality content. Your likes and shares are very helpful, and we greatly appreciate your support.
  • Houston Woodworking joined the Lake Houston Chamber of Commerce. I want HWW to be a company that is informed about, and involved in, community news and events.
  • We have been designing many exciting projects including a farmhouse table and benches, 2 custom closets, a small side tables rolling coffee cart, a platform bed, and a large office renovation for a local Humble business. Some pictures posted below.
  • I completed a home office renovation in my own home. I painted the room, built a custom desk, upgrade two existing file cabinets, and built 2 floating shelves. The extra work and storage space is so helpful. In addition to being a beautiful upgrade to our home, this project has increased our productivity! Pictures coming soon.
  • I have been practicing various lumber distressing techniques. The use of reclaimed wood in projects can add interest and beauty to a piece, but sometimes reclaimed wood is difficult to find and expensive. I am currently experimenting with a variety of distressing techniques to synthesize reclaimed wood.
    • Rough and uneven handplaning
    • Crosshatching a brass bristled brush over surface
    • Creating nail holes and wear marks, including rust stains for authentic character

 

 

Building the Providence Stage Panels

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This is the stage panel project Houston Woodworking designed and built for Providence Community Church. These panels measure about 32 feet wide by about 6 feet tall.

Materials

(3) 4×8 sheets of 3/4″ oak plywood

Over 50 pieces of 1x4x12 pine lumber

1,000’s of 18 gauge 1-1/4″ brad nails

Several 1-1/4″ Kreg brand coarse thread screws

Several 1/4″ hex bolts 2-1/2″ long as well as nuts and washers

2×2 steel piping for frames (built by a different craftsman not associated with Houston Woodworking)

Design

PCC Middle Panel

This project was designed in two parts, the picture above is the SketchUp model for phase 1. The final design was modified and phase 2 planning was drawn without the use of SketchUp.

Build

These panels were fun to build! The geometric pattern was so satisfying for an OCD(ish) type brain such as myself.

I used plywood for the wood frames that the planks are attached to. Plywood is often more square than dimensional lumber and it served as a great material to make the frames. They were constructed using pocket holes.

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Please ignore the horribly messy workbench in the photo!

Once I had my plywood frames I established my angle for the wood planks. The first panel made was very tedious, but it served as a template for the rest of the build. More information on this soon. Once my angle layout lines were properly drawn I began to place slightly over-sized 1×4 planks onto the frame. I attached using brad nails. Since the panels are mirror images of one another I was able to cut multiple 1×4’s at a time.

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After the wooden planks were attached I used my Makita plunge saw and track to clean up the edges. I found this to be faster and more precise than trying to cut every angle perfectly on my miter saw.

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I used this first panel as a template to build the remaining panels. I placed the template panel plank side up on my workbench. I then began building the next panel on top of the template, but plank side down. This process did two things: first it insured perfect alignment between the two panels, and second it created the mirror image needed for the chevron shape. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of this process.

Once the panels were built everything was sanded to 80 grit and stained “Special Walnut” by Minwax. Yes, this did take FOREVER, and I managed the worst splinter of my entire life during this finishing process.

Once all panels were dry they were taken to the church and installed. The install process was simple. I drilled holes through the plywood and metal frames then secured the panels using bolts. Care was taken to make sure that each panel was straight and aligned properly with one another. The panels were also attached to one another using pocket holes and screws. There are a total of 8 different panels in this project.

Conclusion

If you are still with me I want to thank you for taking the time to read this build article. I hope that you found it interesting and possibly even a little educational.

 

 

 

Houston Woodworking is Open for Business

I am so excited to write this blog post. Houston Woodworking is officially open for business. I have been working hard over the last two weeks to build up our website, get our logo designed, set up social media, and many other important behind the scenes business tasks.

Mission Statement:

Houston Woodworking designs and builds commercial and residential carpentry projects with authentic craftsman quality.

Vision:

I love designing and building and I hope that my love and passion for the craft shines through each and every project I build.

Logo:

Courtney Martinez designed the Houston Woodworking logo. She is one of the most talented, creative, and professional graphics designers you will find. She can be found on Facebook @cocomardesign.

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Website: www.houstonwoodworking.com

I created Houston Woodworking’s website by myself using WordPress. I believe it is simple and clean, but please continue to check back as I will be updating and improving my website continually.

Facebook Page:

Houston Woodworking can be found on Facebook @houstonwoodworkingcompany.