12 Lighthearted Questions for Kari Hultman, The Village Carpenter

I am introducing a new portion of my blog entitled 12 Lighthearted Questions.

The idea being that I send out 12 informal questions to a variety of woodworkers on the blogs and publish their responses, unedited.  Hopefully it will provide a unique perspective into some of our favorite woodworkers and to serve as a way for them to share a little more insightful information about themselves, with us, the woodworking community.

Why 12? Well, there are 12 inches in a foot, 12 eggs in a carton, 12 steps in the program, and 12 seemed to be the right number of questions that a woodworker might actually take the time to respond to!

I recently went back and read all of her amazing blog posts from 2007 on and I’ve chose Kari Hultman, of The Village Carpenter, as our first candidate. She was graceful enough to accept:

12 Lighthearted Questions for Kari Hultman, The Village Carpenter

1- Was there a woodworker in your family growing up?     Nope. My Dad is a retired nuclear projects engineer. I learned at a very young age not to ask him what he did for a living, because he’d tell me. In engineer’s details.

2- Who is your biggest woodworking influence?       Probably Chris Schwarz. I discovered his blog soon after I started mine, and his enthusiasm for and research into traditional woodworking helped steer me in the right direction.

3- What book would you buy as a gift for a novice woodworker?         If he/she were interested in working with hand tools, I would suggest Country Furniture by Aldren Watson. I haven’t read many power tool books, but the book that got me started in woodworking was The Complete Manual of Woodworking by Albert Jackson and David Day.

4- Does being a graphic artist influence your woodworking?      Definitely. Principles in design are found in all the arts and crafts: balance, composition, negative space, pattern, hierarchy, contrast…

5- What flavor ice cream?     Turkey Hill’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough!

6- You seem to use a lot of pine, which most woodworkers won’t touch.  What’s your favorite wood to work with?     I do love pine, especially the smell. My favorite wood is Pennsylvania cherry. Its workability, warmth, and depth are superb.  When it’s finished, it glows.  Plus, I can get it for a buck fifty a board foot. I’m never moving from this area.

7- I am a big fan of the drawer hanging jig you blogged about.  What is your favorite Jig?     It’s a jig that holds thin and small boards based on a design I found in an old woodworking book. I wrote a post about it: http://villagecarpenter.blogspot.com/2007/12/my-favorite-jig.html     (I did read all of Kari’s blog posts, honest I did!)

 8- Do you compost your sawdust?      I use it to line the walkways between my raised flower beds, and my dog (Daisy) uses it as a cloak of invisibility.

9- What is the 1st thing you do when walk into the shop?     This is silly, but I’ll often walk through my shop with my arms outstretched, looking from side to side, ala Vanna White. It’s sort of the way I “hug” my shop. Crud. Did I just write that out loud?

10- What is the most complicated joint you have ever attempted?      It’s not a complicated joint, but it was challenging for me—the through dovetail and tenons on my new workbench. The fit had to be such that the joints would hold the top tightly but could be pulled apart for transport. And look pretty.

11- What would woodworkers in the blogosphere be most surprised to learn about you?     I once stood in line for two and half hours to get Norm Abram’s autograph.

12-  What project is on your bucket list?      There are a number of antique tools that I plan to reproduce. Some involve engraving and inlay, neither of which I’ve ever tried, so I’m very excited.

Apparently this is Kari's secret to keeping her nails looking so nice!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank You to Kari for being such a great sport and sharing her “innermost” secrets!  And Thank You for all the years of amazing blog posts!  I can’t imagine anyone reading this does not read Kari’s Blog, but please head over there and show her some love!

Let me know what you think and hit me me up with comments and suggestions.  I’d love to hear from you.


Twin Cradle Series, Part 2: layout

One of the reasons I looked to Sketchup was the ability to create templates for the pieces.  While the pieces themselves were not really that complicated, it was extremely important that they not only be accurate, but also symmetrical. Templates seemed to be the best way to go. I have used story sticks in the past but I had never really created or worked with templates.

I did my research, watching the wood whisper’s videos and getting advice from my friends on google+.

I own a design company, so I am fortunate enough to own a 48″ plotter. Making full size templates super easy.  Printing full size in Sketchup was another story. I struggled with this for several days. But luckily, again, I was assisted by my friends on google+, including none other than Bob ‘Sketchup’ Lang.

At my local lumberyard I invested in several sheets of 1/2″ MDF.  As always, I brought my trailer. It’s bed is 48x 60. A perfect size for most of my needs and wide enough for a sheet of ply, or so I thought! Since my shop space is a premium I usually have the sheets cut in half for easy handling at home. They cut the 1st piece but when we went to put it on the trailer it wouldn’t fit. What the…? Anyone, anyone? Well it turns out that a 4×8 sheet of MDF is actually 49″ x 97″!! Who knew? Ok, well maybe you did, but I didn’t and the guys at the lumberyard apparently forgot. So, a couple of cuts later I was on my way.

With my full size prints, my new MDF and a can of spray adhesive I created my templates.  I must admit, the simplicity of the shapes made me feel I was being a little silly, and I could have laid this out by hand. But given the curves and the need for exact placement of the through tenons, this made sense and prove to be a worthwhile exercise for me. And besides I was taking true advantage of sketchup by figuring it all out ahead of time.

More on MDF in an upcoming post.

pro-to-type [proh-tuh-tahyp]


pro-to-type  [proh-tuh-tahyp]

Noun  1.the original or model on which something is based or formed.

This weekend I decided to jump into a small project: two picture frames. For Christmas I bought my wife two small paintings for our kitchen.  I loved the paintings, but the frames were a bit too formal for our kitchen.  So, I thought “no problem, I’ll just build two new ones.”  As always: easier said, than done.

I’ve never built a picture frame before, but how hard could it be?   Now normally when I come up with a project I do as much research as I can on the subject.  I Google, I hit the forums, WoodTalk Online, Lumberjacks and the like, not only for inspiration but for advise and instruction. I would even hit Amazon and buy some book like ‘Picture Frames and You’.  But this time I decided to just jump right in.

The frames I wanted would be simple outlines of wood around the paintings. No mitres, no fuss. Just give the canvas something thing to conceal the edges where the painter’s brush had stopped and trailed off.  I had an idea in my head, so I decided on Sunday I would just head to the shop and jump right in.  Not a big project, I imagined it would take me the afternoon, and it probably would have,  if I had done my homework and actually laid it out.  I was able to build a the frame in a couple of hours, but I was not satisfied with the result.  The frame was not as deep as I had wanted (due to the size stock I started with), I had not thought through how my joints would come together, nor had I thought through how was going to glue and clamps the pieces together (but besides that, it was perfect!…).  I did build something on Sunday afternoon, but I didn’t build the frame I wanted, I built a proto-type of the frame I wanted.

I think I’ve been shy of the concept of building a prototype in the shop, mostly because I don’t have enough time to build the actual project, never mind a crappy mock up of one.

When I was in scenic design school we would stay up for a week building scale models of the assigned production and then bring them into class for critique.  By critique I mean, watching the professor physically rip apart the model and say “maybe like this, or maybe not”, as you stared at your shredded weeks worth of work.  Perhaps I am scarred.   But on Sunday I really had to step back and say “hmmm, I really need to figure this out, and come up with a plan.”  Even for a simple frame. It’s just part of the process, even for a hobbyist.

So Sunday afternoon was not at all a waist.  I made a prototype of an idea I had for a frame.  I have already come up with a half dozen ideas on how to make it better, more unique and how to use better woodworking skills.  It may be firewood, but it was a great way to spend the afternoon.