Barnboard Whale

As you probably know, I live on an island and I like to include island-themed pieces in my shop. I’ve made lobsters, mermaids and fish. A few weeks ago I cut a whale shape out of an old piece of barn board, it’s 24″ long.

cut out whale 
It sat in my shop for awhile and I felt it needed something extra.
So I found an old bed spindle in my pile of wood parts, and a piece of driftwood from a local beach. I ran the driftwood over my jointer until I got a good stable base. Then I drilled one hole in the bottom of the whale and another in the top of the driftwood base. I glued in the spindle after cutting it to length.
Tada… a whale on a stick!
or should I call it a rustic whale weathervane?

I found this online, it sold for $1250.00


I wonder if I could charge that for mine?
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New Roof for the Shop

Last fall we decided we had better put a new roof on the shop before we experienced a big roof leak. When we bought the house we knew the shingles were in terrible condition and would have to be replaced.

The roof was done in sections to prevent the chance of rain getting through to the interior. The roofers started at the front.

Once the shingles were removed, we could see there were huge gaps in the planks the shingles were fastened to. This place is about 100 years old so these were likely the original roof boards. The roofer needed to put plywood over the old boards, so that they had something to actually nail the new shingles to. Of course this was the right thing to do but greatly increased the cost of the project!
The side roof of the shop had newer brown shingles on it but when they were removed, again, the planks underneath were in terrible shape.

   So plywood went on here as well and then the shingles.

Lastly the back was finished… yes more plywood!
The reason this post took so long was that I never got the “after” photos taken before the snow fell. I just took them about a month ago when there was still a little snow around.
The roofers did an excellent job, didn’t cut any corners and cleaned up quite well. BUT it did cost us a small fortune to have this done!


For those of you following my blog, you’ll know that I often decorate the outside of my shop. I’ve had fall leaves, a witch, a scarecrow, and Christmas ornaments. 

Our small town of O’Leary, PEI was in the running to be declared Hockeyville, given to a place each year that shows the spirit and passion of hockey. So to be part of the growing town spirit, I created some large hockey sticks out of plywood and stained and painted them. Two are large and placed on the front of my shop. The other three are smaller and hang from my tree, where I often hang things in hopes of attracting drivers passing by!
Well, our town won, which means we get $100,000 for upgrades for our hockey arena and we also get to host an NHL pre-season game next fall!

Reverse cut out Mermaid

I found some beautiful old pallet wood here on the island. It had so much texture, was very heavy and different shades of grey. Until I cut into it I had no idea what wood it was. It turned out to be red oak.
I glued four strips together side by side and then cut out a mermaid shape with my jigsaw. On the back I pin nailed strips of different widths of thin plywood that I painted and distressed in blue, turquoise and white.
I sold the piece, but the customer wanted it personalized to hang in her cottage. This piece is 37″ long x 13″ deep.
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Making an Ottoman and using Dixie Belle Paint

We really needed an ottoman for our living room. We have been balancing a pillow on an old stool, and it was just not the right height nor nice looking!
First I measured what height I needed to make it work comfortably and then worked backwards from there using the measurements that I did know. The foam was 5″ thick and from an old couch cushion. I cut it to a size of 15 1/2″ wide x 14″ deep, which seemed a good size to fit two outstretched legs and feet. The legs I used for the ottoman were from an old chair, I stained them a dark brown to match the legs of our chair as well as our couch. I used 1/2″ plywood under the foam and another piece above the legs. I just needed to do some math to figure out how long the pine shiplap boards needed to be to cover the small wood frame that holds the ottoman top to the bottom.
   So, in other words I had to solve for x and add a bit for overhang so the top of the legs which are screwed into the bottom of the plywood, are covered 1/2″ by the pine sides.

Previously I showed the shiplap I made out of pine. 
I decided to paint the pieces and some nice people at the Dixie Belle Paint Company sent me some paint samples, so I used that. This is a nice creamy mineral paint that covered my pine in only one coat. I used Blueberry, but they have many colours to choose from. 
Dixie Belle Paint 
They also sent me samples of “Seaglass,” “The Gulf,” and “Fluff” to experiment with. Check them out at their site HERE, they are pretty colours that I haven’t had a chance to use yet.
So, to put this thing together, first I put a piece of canvas drop cloth over the foam and stapled it to a piece of plywood that I sat the foam on.
I fussed with the corners and then stapled everywhere I needed to, to keep the material on the plywood as neatly as I could. 
Then I screwed some pieces of scrap pine and poplar supports to the underside. This is just in from the edge of the cushion enough to allow the shiplap to sit against the top of the supports and not stick out from the cushion top. At each corner I put a short brace.
Then I attached a second piece of plywood to the top of the four corner braces. The pine is attached all around this to cover the sides, and the legs are screwed into the bottom of the plywood. (The following photo shows the ottoman upside down)
I painted stripes on the top, also using the blueberry Dixie Belle paint.
Here are some photos of the finished ottoman with my two Chihuahuas as models.
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Building a Dog Gate on the Stairs

Due to winter and no tourists around at this time of year, it has been slow at my shop. Of course I keep busy trying out things and creating new products to sell this year. I have worked on a few things at home because my house has been ignored since I bought the old house that I have converted into my workshop.
We have two small Chihuahuas that can get up the stairs to our second floor, but can’t (or won’t?) get back down. So… if we don’t put something across the staircase, they often will go up and then we have to go up and fetch them! I had a piece of plastic lattice, that was left here in the shed by the past owner, and I propped it up on the staircase. It worked sometimes, but often fell over or one of us tripped on it! So finally I decided to make a proper dog gate.
I used some leftover poplar and the scrap piece of lattice.
I used my tablesaw to cut a groove in the poplar pieces to fit the lattice.
This groove doesn’t look so good on the end and I could have left it this way. 
Because I had left the poplar pieces longer than I needed them to be (always a good idea) I thought I should make a tongue on each end of the vertical pieces that would fit into the groove of the horizontal gate pieces. This makes it stronger and it also looks much nicer, see…
So the gate was all cut to size, to fit the staircase opening, and glued together.
I painted it white and added hinges to one side and a small latch to the other. Because of the wide baseboards, I had to add a small piece of wood (seen below on the right) to allow the top hinge to be attached in line with the lower one which is on the baseboard.
I really need to paint all of the wood around and on the staircase. It is currently beige but I want it all to be white. I’d also like to take out the carpeting and change the wallpaper, but that will have to wait for another time.  
For now, the dogs stay on the main floor when we want them to.

Ice Storm Photos

A few days ago our island was hit by an ice storm. It pretty well closed down everything for the day and coated everything with a thick layer of ice. We were fortunate, but many people were without electricity for a couple days. Many tree limbs came down, including quite a few from the old maple tree in front of my shop. I took some photos which I’ll share here.

The sign by the back door of our house:
 Our pickup truck:
The shaft of our snow shovel:
The back gate at our house:

Easel for a Wedding

Last summer I was asked to make an easel to hold a pretty frame at a wedding. The mother-of-the-bride wanted something that wasn’t bulky, was white, and was not distressed nor rustic.

I chose to use poplar, which is strong and takes paint well.
I didn’t have a pattern, I just made a basic easel to fit the size of the frame and that would sit at the height the customer wanted it to.  It is five pieces of wood plus a chain and a hinge.
There are three legs, a top cross piece and a ledge that the frame sits on.
The back cross piece holds the front legs and has a hinge on it which allows the back leg to be folded in for easier portability.
You can see in the following picture how the crosspiece is set into grooves cut into each leg.
Here you can see the back of the ledge that has grooves cut into it, it is both glued and screwed to the legs. The back of the ledge has a screw eye that holds one end of the chain. The other end of the chain is attached to the back leg.
The bottom of the legs are cut on angles to allow them to sit flat on the floor.
The easel was painted with a primer and then three coats of white semi-gloss paint. 
Here it is holding one of my framed seahorse designs.
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