Hohanshelt Residence railing for Gardner Homes

Unfortunately, I forgot my Canon today - so we have to settle for cell pics. I really wish I would've had a real camera, because the cell phone doesn't do these rails justice. I'm thrilled with how they turned out. The silver looks so clean on the horizontals against the maple - VERY modern indeed! THANK YOU to everyone at Miller's Custom Powder Coating, especially Brian and J.J. - I really appreciate the FAST turnaround! Installation couldn't have gone any easier either. The spacing between of the 1/4" flanges was perfectly fitted between the newel posts.

Enjoy your new home, Family Hohanshelt!

A BIG thanks to Matt Gardner of Gardner Homes for taking a chance...means a lot.



Railing for Gardner Homes

These rails were finished up today for Gardner Homes of Ankeny, IA. 1 1/2" sq. tube rails and posts coupled with 3/4" round horizontals. The biggest challenge was making sure the 1/4" x 2" flat bar that acted as the flanges that the horizontals terminated into, remained exactly plumb against the bottom newel posts and the trim build-outs at the top of each set of railing. The other challenge was getting the bottom horizontal as close to the noses as possible due to the tread heights and runs being at their maximum making the IRC 6" rule tough to obtain. They're there...but just barely.

These will be powder-coated Bengal silver for a finish. Installation pics next week.


Colombian church pew

As I pointed out in some recent posts, Gabriel Saenz's mother and stepfather both work in the trades in Colombia as a carpenter and steel fabricator, respectively. With my limited knowledge of Catholic furniture, I'm betting these pews are just that with the permanent knee rest on the backside. No padding? Hmm... sadistic indeed. Must be a tough monsignor...

Looks like steel framing with wood seats and backrests. Gabriel says they built 34 pews in total. Nice. Thanks for passing on the fine work from south of the equator...

Gabriel's platform bed - delivered and assembled

Here's the final product in the fabrication process of Gabriel Saenz's platform bed. As you see above, the second photo is of the production bed this commission was based on. The feet have a little more of a sharper bevel on them and the headboard is flush with the side rails, but those are about the only differences. Oh, that, and the fact that the Factor II Fab build is ACTUAL WOOD, not particle board with some veneer glued to it.

Thanks again, Gabriel.



I happened upon these yesterday at Lowe's. They were marked down to $7 due to them being "special order - returned." These should be on every shelf in every big-box and ma & pa store around. I hate having to use crappy, flathead decking screws on projects. Why is it SO HARD to find a legitimate Philips panhead wood screw like this? These totally RULE! I need to go back and buy the rest of them.

Large head wood pans forever!!!

Gabriel's platform bed - final fabrication

Well, fabrication is finally complete on Gabriel's platform bed. Today I finished by cutting some notches in the rail cleats with a corresponding rabbet on the end of each bed slat that will fit inside each notch. The slats will then have some thin OSB laid on them to further support the mattress with there being no box spring.

The feet were fastened today as well with some 1" dowel joints. A 3" length was glued in corresponding 1 1/2" deep holes in both the rails and feet. A couple of coats of Varathane and...done.

Thanks so much, Gabriel!! This was a lot of fun to build. I can't wait to see it assembled and shot by a professional photographer like yourself.

Cheers, mate.


T-Shirt designs...One of the three, please...




Okay, here's your chance to have some input. You can cast your vote here, or on the FIIF Facebook page. The first run will be 20 shirts. I'll do more if there's enough of a demand for 'em. Gonna be affordable: $10 for white on black 100% preshrunk cotton. $4 shipping within US.

I'll entertain "write-in" ballots if you have drawings...post 'em on the Facebook wall.


Gabriel's platform bed - headboard assembly

Too tired to explain everything...it should be done this week though. Hoping to get to polyurethane tomorrow.


Gabriel's platform bed - headboard dadoes

Straight edge, circular saw and a chisel equals some dadoes for the headboard to slide into. Getting closer!

Shirts...coming soon

Within the next couple of weeks, there's going to be some FIIF shirts available just in time for the holidays. I'll order some black ones to have my buddy Nate Fetus screen for me. They'll be available here on the blog for the low price of just $10 + shipping. I'll get sizes M-XXL. If you're looking for something larger, let me know.

...I can't believe Christmas is six weeks away.


Gabriel's platform bed - rail connections

Here's what will be the "hidden" connection of the rails (top) with the foot rail (below). The view of the foot rail in the picture is of the bottom. The bolts will fasten through the interior face of the foot rail and be tightened with two washers and nuts each. Unless you're cheek-to-the-floor, one will never see it - seamless.

Basically, fabrication of all the pieces is finished. I put a bevel on a huge piece of beam approximately 6" x 8" that four feet will be cut out of. Unfortunately, my camera batteries went dead and I wasn't able to grab and pics. I'll snap some first thing in the morning before cutting each individual foot. Being Mr. Smartypants, the degree of the bevel is 15 degrees, which is exactly the angle the headboard will be reclined at.

One more day of tidying up the cuts and then a full day of sanding. I need to get over to see Toby Larsen in Ames for use of his wide-belt sander to surface the headboard. Should have no problem delivering this next week after a couple of coats of Varathane.



Gabriel's platform bed - rails

All of the biscuit slots were cut today, but I failed to make sure I had enough #20s to glue up the headboard. In lieu of that, I selected the rails and "faced" them. Didn't get to any mortising - that'll be tomorrow.


Gabriel's platform bed - headboard

Here's a preliminary mock-up of Mr. Saenz's headboard for his platform bed. Like all our other glue-ups, this one will also be biscuit-jointed. That glue-up will be done tomorrow along with a whole lot of time on the mortising drill for the rail connections.


ISU Memorial Union - front desk signs

These signs have been a LONG time comin'. It was in the best of intentions to have these done and installed about five months ago before former Union employee, Kathy Svec, retired. Well, due to some unforeseeable circumstances (floods - long story) and some planned circumstances (a newly arrived son), they will be dropped off tomorrow awaiting installation by the Jim and Ed in the Union's Mechanical Dept., a former employer of mine. Actually, I was employed by the Memorial Union for almost 10 years during high school and college.

The signs were built out of oak the Union harvested during the most recent renovation when the Sun Room was extended south towards Lincoln Way. Not pictured is a 1/4" thick 1" wide border that is inset 1/4" from the edge of the perimeter. It follows the contour of sign where then two "C" scrolls meet in the center at the top of the sign.

Correct punctuation.

Oops. Of all the letters, symbols and punctuation cut from 1/8" steel, it was two commas that came up missing. Well, if you'll check the last pic in this post, you'll see was is the negative space of one of two commas that did make it off of the plasma table. I then carefully used a cut-off wheel to ever so carefully cut out two additional commas for the second sign. Slight variations? Yeah, but 10' in the air, it'll be tough to see with the naked eye.

Thanks to Rod Simpson and Kathy Svec for their collective patience with this job. I hope retirement is everything you had hoped it'd be, Kathy!!!

Gabriel Saenz's bed

Long time "i can weld..." blog follower, Gabriel Saenz, recently commissioned this platform bed through Factor II Fabrication. The bed is actually a mass-produced piece from a large company, but is literally just plywood with some stained veneers glued to it. I checked out one in person and was less than impressed with the construction. For Gabriel, we've decided to build his queen-sized commission out of reclaimed barn wood; like so many of the other recent jobs being done around here in the wood shop!
I really enjoy building with the reclaimed stuff. I've said it before - when this stuff is gone, it's gone forever. We'll never see lumber or construction techniques like this ever again. It feels really satisfying to preserve some heritage while hopefully passing it on to future generations. Thank you so much, Gabriel.

And, it's not as if Gabriel doesn't know quality - or lack thereof - when he sees it. This is a photo he sent me of a door his mother and step-father collaborated on in Colombia, South America. (I believe you told me Colombia...correct me if I'm wrong!) His mother is the carpenter, while her husband tends to the fire forging the steel and welding. This set of doors is for a church under construction in their town. Absolutely gorgeous! I'd love to head down south to work a few weeks on something like this with the two of them. That'd be a great working holiday...