Welcome to Issue #15 of
Wood Shop News

brought to you by: wooden-box-maker.com.

sharpening woodworking tools

In this issue:

  • Shakers
  • new and for sale
  • woodworking classes
  • in progress: rocking horse
  • on a personal note: house wrens
  • final words

  • Shakers

    The Shakers are known mostly for their furniture and boxes, however, they are primarily a religious sect. The left England in the 1700's and emigrated to the New World looking for religious freedom. In the newly formed United States they spread out across the land looking for converts.

    Click on the link to read more about the Shakers.

    New & For Sale

    Speaking of the Shakers, I've been working on Shaker boxes again. These range fom 13-15" in diameter and are large enough to use as a hatbox, sewing box, etc.

    Click photo for more information.

    Visit my sale page for new work and sale items.

    Woodworking Classes

    (Located S/SW of Boston)

    Learn new skills or hone old ones in small group sessions tailored to the individual. woodworking classes Classes are limited to 3 people and take place in my shop outside Boston. They generally meet once a week for 2-3 hours. The sessions go on as long as students are interested, a few months or a few years.

    woodworking classes As students progress, class becomes "open shop" time when they work on the projects of their choice while I answer questions and give suggestions as things come up.

    Individual instruction is also available.

    Click on the links below or contact me for more information.
    woodworking classes
    student work

    In Progress

    I never seem to write about making boxes, in this newsletter, despite the name of my website. This month is no exception.

    My job of choice this month is a rocking horse.

    This poor old girl had a bad split that needed repair, her ears were torn and her stirrups had fallen off.

    The crack was full of glue foam, so I suspect an earlier person had tried to patch it by filling a crack with expanding wood glue. Wrong choice! (Clearly they should have read my web page about wood glue.)

    I carefully removed the saddle and the material beneath it.

    Then I inserted a large chisel in the crack. I started under the saddle in case the edges of the chisel marred the wood.

    I tapped it down a bit, moved it over and repeated, wiggling the chisel back and forth to loosen the wood. It came apart distressingly easily.

    What a mess it was inside. And hollow to boot. No wonder it was so light. So I wrote a quick letter to the next person to open up the horse giving my name and the date, plus a brief synopsis of the horse's history. I hope someone finds it some day.

    Then I got down to business.

    I cleaned up the glue and flattened the glue joint as best I could. I didn't want to take off too much material, or the sides would no longer line up. So, I did what I could.

    If you look at the photo below closely you can see the line of new paint on the shoulder where I rejoined the pieces. Once the paint wears a bit it should disappear.

    Once the new glue was dry, I replaced the saddle, cut new leather for the stirrups and made new ears. I added a mane and tail (real horse hair) and presto she's ready to ride.

    On a Personal Note

    We have a bird house in our back garden that has attracted House Wrens for the past several years. They have successfully raised many broods of little ones and this year was no exception.

    I’ve been enjoying the show as the parents arrive with grub in beak. They pop into the house as loud shrieks erupt from the young. House wrens are noisy birds. The babies keep up a constant chirping through out the day and the arrival of Mama and Papa rackets the volume considerably.

    house wren

    House wrens eat small bugs, spiders and such. I’ve noticed that the parents will drop off a grub and leave carrying something small and white, which I assume is bird droppings. They may keep the inside of their home clean, but their nest is certainly not neat. It’s a ragged batch of sticks and twigs jumbled together.

    The young have been yelling loudly for several weeks now and I was thinking that it was time for them to fledge. This morning as I was at the sink doing dishes I noticed four tiny wren faces at the birdhouse entrance. “Today,” I thought, “they’re going to fledge today.”

    I abandoned the dishes (never difficult to do) and grabbed my camera. After crouching in the garden, long enough to get cramps, I saw the little faces reappeared. After the wrens got used to me I got some great shots, but the exciting thing was when I returned a few hours later they had fledged. One was still in the nest, but the others were all over the garden. I counted at least 7 - and they were just as loud on the ground as they were in the nest.

    I spent a good portion of the day watching and taking photos.

    Such tiny things, they are incredibly vulnerable now. I've moved back inside as we're now in the middle of a thunderstorm. I hope all of the little ones made it to shelter, what a day to pick to venture into the world.

    house wren

    house wren

    house wren

    house wren

    house wren

    Final Words and Errata

    I hope you have enjoyed reading this ‘zine.

    Do you have ideas for future topics? Comments? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just hit reply and tell me what you think.

    If you know someone who might enjoy this newsletter, please feel free to send it on. If a friend passed this on to you and you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting my website.

    Brought to you by the good people at
    Kate Taylor Creative Woodworking