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Tiger Maple Finished With Golden Amber Aniline Dye Well Santa and Mrs. Claus have finished their list and have checked it twice. And now the nice little boys and girls in their family will each receive one of these reproduction mirrors for Christmas. I described the origin of the original, from which these are reproduction copies, in “An American Chippendale Mirror Makes A Great Gift”.

Tiger Maple With A Clear Finish Willow and I made six mirrors in all. Five are tiger maple and one is a combination tiger maple and cherry (I have a fetish for mixing woods). Four of the tiger maple mirrors were stained with Moser’s 1490 Golden Amber water-based aniline dye followed by 4 coats of hand rubbed Minwax Wipe-On Satin Polyurethane. This was followed by one coat of hand rubbed J. E. Moser’s Premium Quality Paste Wax.

The remaining two mirrors have a clear finish; 4 coats of hand rubbed Minwax Wipe-On Satin Polyurethane followed by one coat of hand rubbed J. E. Moser’s Premium Quality Paste Wax. The cherry frame, below left, will darken substantially over time as it is exposed to light. This will provide a nice contrast to the blonde finish of the tiger maple.

Tiger Maple And Cherry With A Clear Finish The tiger stripes are striking in all three mirrors. I am partial to natural (clear) finishes. However, the Golden Amber stain is a more traditional finish for tiger maple pieces. It’s simply a matter of taste and that is a very individual thing. Fortunately, the recipients chose their desired finish. Yes, Santa let them peak using the “anyone over 26 years of age can peak rule”. I think they will enjoy them for years to come and hopefully they will be passed down for many generations in our family.

I must admit, when Willow told me we were going to make these for the kids as Christmas gifts, I was feeling a lot of “Oh Humbug” – read “Pressure”. But now I am Ho, Ho, Ho Jolly. Merry Christmas to all and to all a Happy New Year from Chiefwoodworker.


Hunter Dressed As A Viking Barbarian This story begins on a sad note, but it ends with all the joy that is the hallmark of a Christmas season. My brother-in-law, Hunter, passed away on December 13th after a five year battle with Pick’s Disease, a type of dementia. He knew from the day he was diagnosed what his end would be like. But true to his nature he was happy, jovial and laughing throughout. I was with him on his last waking day when he laughed, joked and performed the funniest acts I have ever seen.

A Viking Barbarian With A Gentle Smile Hunter was a large man, a physical sign of his larger than life presence and personality. He had an infectious laugh that was somewhere between a jolly belly laugh and a roar. His life was full of adventure and mischievous play. He loved fast motorcycles, weapons of all kinds and dressing up in Viking costumes. If you didn’t know him and saw him approaching in his costume, he would scare the life out of you where you stood. But he was a gentle and loving guy, a supportive and caring father to his daughters, a best friend to his wife and a loving sibling to his brother and two sisters. There can be no doubt he will be missed by all who knew him.

But the point of this story is not the sadness of Hunter’s passing, but the joy he brought all who knew him – especially the joy he left me with this Christmas season. You see, Hunter had a very special friend called Max. A 20 pound, 10 inch tall, three year old Jack Russell Terrier. Max is now my charge. He is the cutest, most lovable and most loyal friend a man could have (save for my wife of course).

Hunter With Max Outside Their Bastrop, TX Home Jack Russell Terriers are working dogs. They need to have a job. So Max is going to apprentice with me in my workshop. As a beginning apprentice he will perform menial labor tasks such as fetching my lumber from the second floor of my shop where it is stored for drying. Max has already complained about lengths over 6 feet long, so I may have to shorten the longer stock. But hey, that is still easier than fetching the stock myself. Max can already identify cherry and maple but struggles with walnut, butternut and various figured woods. However, Jack Russell’s are an intelligent breed and in time he will learn.

Max & Chiefwoodworker In The Shop Apprenticeship European style, culminating in the title of Master Craftsman, is a long and arduous process. It will be some time before Max is trusted to use my Lie-Nielson planes and chisels. Like any apprentice he will have to work his way up the ladder, and that means mastering the preparation of rough stock on the power jointer and table saw first. Like all experienced woodworkers he will likely give up a few toes to the jointer and a piece of his nose to the table saw before he graduates. He will wear those scars with pride throughout his adult life. But in the end he will be ready to fill the shoes of Chiefwoodworker when I retire.

Please welcome Max to Chiefwoodworker’s Blog and Swamp Road Wood Works. You will be hearing more of his adventures in the future.


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