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Justin Fink

The life and obsessions of an Editor at Fine Homebuilding Magazine

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When one of your former clients asks you to build a reproduction of an antique radio cabinet the first thing you do is say yes. After you say yes, you take a stack of photos printed from the Internet (shown here), some rough measurements provided by other enthusiastic radio cabinet owners, grab your scale, and figure out how the hell you’re going to do it. Introducing, the Waverly. Currently in progress, with some details to share as I roll through the build.

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Batching out some decorative molding for a 1930s radio cabinet a client asked me to build. Chamfer bit run in two directions, strips bandsawn apart, troughs painted black, then all of the rough edges and excess paint are sanded off with 220 grit.

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As promised in my last post, here’s a look at the finishing recipe I used for this Douglas fir. Maybe it will help somebody out on a future project. ————————————————Here I let the wood acclimate to my shop for several weeks, then dressed and beveled it, glued it up, applied a mix of WD Lockwood water soluble dye stain (lemon yellow and medium amber) to even all the early wood and late wood to the same basic background color, and to give the whole table top more depth and interest, almost a subtle glow the shines through the brown that goes over it. Speaking of which, from there I applied a coat of dewaxed shellac, then mixed up a glaze to apply some color over the top (General Finishes brown mahogany, prairie wheat, and some Benjamin Moore clear 409 alkyd glaze base to give the stain some slip, control, and a longer working time). To top it all off, several coats of some good old Man ‘o War satin spar varnish, which I chose because the amber color of true spar varnish complements the browns and yellows and adds to the overall glow. #keepcraftalive #finehomebuilding #finishing #rustic #farmhouse #table #trestle #woodshop #woodworking

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People in the woodworking community trip over themselves to spend $10 bd ft for lumber that somebody else has decided is “premium.” Hell, I’m guilty of getting some cherry now and again. But I’d also encourage those shopping for high price lumbers to consider some inexpensive alternatives, as long the style allows for the substitution. Here I was able to use framing lumber to keep this client’s rustic farmhouse table at a very reasonable price. But I didn’t hide too much behind the fact that it’s commodity Douglas fir with knots and pitch pockets. I did my best to make these 2x10s come to life. Yes, even framing lumber can look good if you take some care with it. I’ll do a separate post on the finishing recipe for those interested. #keepcraftalive #furniture #woodworking #rustic #farmtable #builtnotbought #woodshop #finishing

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It makes sense, but I’ll admit I never knew this about lifting heavy loads. Thankful to get to learn something new in this trade every day. Keep it coming, and #keepcraftalive !

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Finally got em in and done. What a relief that they fit. This was a fun challenge, but I’m happy to be moving on to the next build!! #keepcraftalive

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Putting together an article I’ve been pushing to get for a couple of years now! Hopefully this is the first of many features with @craftsmanship_revival and @buildstuffwithasa #finehomebuilding #keepcraftalive

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French doors (and all the stock to make the 4 stops for each pane of glass) in the “spray booth” getting a couple coats of Sherwin Williams Emerald urethane enamel. This is my first go round with this SW paint, which is said to be comparable to Benjamin Moore Advanced. Slow dry time leaving lots of opportunity for it level out to a smooth coat. Next up, wavy glass! #keepcraftalive #finehomebuilding #carpentry #carpenter #build #woodworking #sherwinwilliams #paint @sherwinwilliams @benjaminmoore

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What a relief it is to finish the majority of the build and sanding and get a coat of primer on these double French doors. The topcoat is high gloss, which magnified imperfections on the surface of the wood, making this all the more painful 😖 but after this first coat dries, it’s more sanding, touch up filler where needed, and it’s on to the dark blue top coats before setting the antique glass and installing. Ok...so maybe I’m not that close after all. #finehomebuilding #keepcraftalive #frenchdoors #builtnotbought #customwoodworking #customwoodwork #diy at Connecticut

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Despite about 15 years of building and Woodworking, I haven’t done too many jobs that involved divided lite doors, either big or small. Figured I’d dive right into the deep end... 🤷‍♂️ this is one of the two elliptical top French interior doors, fresh out of the clamps and still needing some spit and polish, but I’m pleased (relieved) to see one come together as planned. #keepcraftalive #woodworking #diy #doors #frenchdoors #carpentry #finehomebuilding

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Life can’t be all work all the time. #sanfrancisco

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Seems fine to me 🤷‍♂️ #oldhouse #proceedwithcaution

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When it comes to cutting holes—bigger than, say, 2 inches...but smaller than, say, 12 inches—nothing beats a fly cutter on the drill press. Set the drill to the slowest speed, clamp down the material, and watch the magic. It also makes for a great drill press wobble test, as you can see from my shim-shaking old craftsman in this video. #keepcraftalive #finehomebuilding #woodworking #cabinetshop #cabinetry #cabinets #carpentry #diy #build

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It ain’t pretty, but at least it’s cool. #workshop

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New/old jointer is up, coplanar, square, and ready to make some rough boards into smoooooth surfaces. #Madein🇨🇦 #livingin🇺🇸 #keepcraftalive

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Moving some stuff into the new shop 🤙🏻

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Try not to get too seasick while I shoot this without enough hands... what you’re looking at here is a customer with an elliptical arch doorway. I’ll be making a set of French doors to fit the existing space, but ellipses aren’t the same as a simple curve. The radius isn’t consistent, and that means an ordinary router and trammel setup won’t work. So, I’m making a template from cardboard. #keepcraftalive #finehomebuilding #carpentry #finishcarpentry #woodworking #frenchdoors #custom

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Almost ready for an oil finish and their upholstered seats

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