Wood, Glass and Steel

We’ve got an interesting project where we really put the custom into custom built.

We’ll be starting with a picture, an idea and a space.

We’re going to use wood (of course) stainless steel and glass.

The basic design is a very contemporary stair.

It’s one of those projects that brings you to the shop in the morning – it’s really cool!

Here’s a picture of the stair treads with tenons, 2″ thick white oak:


Here we are mortising out for the glass


Here’s a pic of the stringers – mortised to accept the treads


Be sure to join us next week as we progress into this project!

Green Tractors and Lost Jobs

We Recently lost a job for some beds.  They were to go in a new house that was being constructed.  In the end the building project had a few too many overruns, and their budget was strained.  Not an uncommon occurrence. In fact, most custom homes stretch the budget over original project estimates.  Once you get in the middle of a project, it makes sense to do things right the first time.  I can’t recall ever hearing someone talk about their building project by saying ” I cut corners and cheaped out all the way – I’m pretty darned happy with the results!”

I had a similar experience this winter.  At the end of last fall I declared to my wife that our old Oliver tractor might have seen it’s last productive days.  I had found antifreeze in the oil and that ” It was time to drag the old girl out back and shoot her!”  Thanks to todays technology, within hours I was receiving caterwauling and gnashing of teeth.  You can’t get rid of the Oliver!!  That’s part of our past, our history.  Seems the wife had engineered a quick offensive to keep the tractor.

Ok, so I caved.  Everyone does at some point.  I did call in some owed time from son #1.  I figured with an online engine kit, and some free labor I’d get out of this for just over a large buck.

Over the next couple of months we sneaked out a couple of working weekends, and got the new engine up and running.

That’s when some form of an epiphany set in. While all the sheet metal is off the tractor, why not paint her?  Not sure where the idea came from, not sure why I agreed – no wait – I do remember why I agreed.  I figured a quick auction yard paint job, two gallons of central tractor paint at $33.45 per gallon.  Why not?

So we set to prepping the metal work.  Next thing I know – instead of a mask and paint in place, we’ve got every piece separated from the tractor.  Anything white, separated.  Lights, counterweight, floor boards, battery boxes – separated.  You get the picture.  The tractor indeed had gotten a new life and was growing by leaps and bounds.  So after weeks of prep work on all the individual pieces it was time for paint.

I made the mistake of asking opinions on the paint.  Should have simply gone to Central Tractor and bought the cheap paint.  Two gallons, $33.45 each, a little thinner, a little hardener, a gallon of primer.  All done I’d be in for around a buck twenty five.

Ohh noo!  Can’t do that – all that work in, you need to buy the good paint.  Seemed  the popular opinion of all those not spending a dime on this project! I succumb  to peer pressure and go for the auto body paint.  They shoot the color match camera – “yep we can do that color”

Wonderful – you can make …green?!


“So what’ll that run?”

“That would be $1,000.00 for the two gallons, sir”

“WHAT?”  ” No, no it won’t”

Hey – $250.00 a gallon sounds cheap after that heart attack.

So two gallons of paint, a gallon of primer, hardener, thinner, a quart of white paint, sandpaper and who knows what else.  I think we kept it under a thousand.

Are you kidding me?!

I hope the old girl was getting a new life because the project had taken on a life of it’s own!

That’s how every building project that has any meaning goes as well.  It grows, takes on a life of it’s own.  While there are definite limits, shortchanging the quality and substance of the job never pays in the long run.

While not complete, when we unveil this girl to the fields in the spring, there will be no regrets


Only a little tractor envy from the neighbors!