2023 was a pretty good year for woodworking. After the whirlwind furniture building of the last few years, I had a chance to sit down and work on some smaller projects to practice my skills and progress as a craftsman.
Though not exactly find woodworking, I spent January rebuilding the solar shed and adding more power to the array. I also added a heated box for the battery bank to keep them warm during the cold, cold winters.
After a 20+ year break from the game, I decided that 2023 was the year to reintroduce the family to Dungeons and Dragons. While painting minis and planning campaigns took up the bulk of my time, I also used the opportunity to build this cherry battle board to make all those maps just a little more dynamic. The polycarbonate top means we can draw directly on the map with terrain and spell effects.
Continuing with the theme, I used a bit of scrap wood and my laser cutter to whip up some quick and dirty paint storage trays, to keep everything nice and organized. Not too exciting, but it’s too cold in February and March to spend serious time in the unheated woodshop.
I did also get the chance to visit this incredible bench by George Nakashima, which is absolutely stunning.
In April, we milled. Several big black walnut trees came down at my folk’s place, so I converted the little electric Ford Escape into a mobile sawmill and turned those trees into boards. Which should tell you a bit about what my projects will be for 2024.
In May, the weather was finally warm enough to work on some larger projects. I finally completed the last piece of the music corner that I began working on at the beginning of 2022. This boarded bench comes straight from the Anarchist’s Design Book, my favorite source for good vernacular furniture designs and an essential addition to any woodshop.
I am very pleased with the final furniture set.
In June I made a board from a very clean piece of pin cherry that my slab guy had in the back.
I also made a small cherry frame for a watercolor I commissioned from Michelle Banks.
In July, I knocked together a big honking target for axe throwing. Yar.
After letting the pin cherry board stabilize for a few months, it was time to turn it into a cherry and ash sofa table, to sit behind the sofa and hold all of my wife’s Lego flowers.
The irony of spending all of that time cutting huge dovetails into a piece that no one will see because it sits behind the sofa is not lost on me.
In September, I took a break.
In preparation for the launch of the Rosalie Conservation Center and Rum Distillery, I put together a very lovely little dovetailed box to hold a special bottle of rum for a VIP (it was the Prime Minister of Dominica).
I also took advantage of some scrap wood to make some custom Rosalie Bay Rum swag.
November always seems too busy and too wet to get any big project done.
December brings the year full circle, with a small end table designed to hold all the family’s growing Dungeons and Dragons paraphernalia, topped with a cherry slab that helped me teach my 7-year-old the meaning of chatoyancy.
Throughout the year, I also continued refining my scrap wood reuse project, namely over critters and coasters. Coasters are boring, but oven critters are little animal-shaped tools that help you move a hot oven rack in and out of the over. I currently work up classic over squirrels and the more on-brand over shark.
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