New work and a long-overdue update

Things have been pretty busy here in Hickey-land. My family sold our old craftsman home in NE Portland and bought another old home in SE Portland. I’ve finished up the Mastery program at NW Fine Woodworking Studio and life with my two girls has been continuing at what sometimes seems a break-neck pace. As such, this post is going to be a bit of a data-dump.

First, the new house;
This new space has the advantage of a large 4-car garage that I have been converting to my new shop. One advantage (of many compared to my old basement shop) of the new space is the south-facing glass roll-up door. The plentiful natural light ought to improve my finish surfaces. Whoo-hoo!

Here are two photos of the space as we bought it (full of the old owners stuff);

IMG_6248 (1)IMG_6243

Since this photo, I’ve completed the insulation on walls and ceiling with venting for the roof, installed new electrical outlets (5-220V!!!) , built lumber storage and a “clean-room”, and completely drywalled all the walls. It’s starting to shape up into  decent space! One thing I’d still like to do is put in a plywood floor. The bare concrete threatens to chip my tool blades every time I’m in there, plus its cold and uncomfortable.

The new ceiling insulation. Note the attic space; future lumber storage area!



The house itself is a bit of  a fixer. The previous owners seemed to style themselves as “artists”, but I discovered quickly that this translated to a lot of very poorly done do-it-yourself work with incredibly ugly finishes. From the  80’s-era mitered trim to the scary electrical work; it all needs replacing. I recently tore out to the studs the master bedroom and bath;
I then rebuilt the entire area with new tile walls and shower, a tile bathroom floor and white oak hardwood throughout the entire upstairs area. I learned a whole lot; including the fact that the biggest bang for the buck you can do to a house like this is replace the trim around the windows and doors. It looks fantastic! Not really woodworking, but it’s been keeping me busy and I feel great saving a ton of money over having it done professionally. My attention to details learned in part from woodworking has served me well during the remodeling.

I found a reproduction sideboard that we decided to use as our bathroom vanity. I admit, I almost cried a little while cutting the holes for the basin sinks;

But it was worth it;


And a shot of the hallway leading to the master bedroom; new oak floor in-progress. Note the new Kapex compound sliding bevel miter saw. It’s awesome!

I also finished the mastery program at the NW woodworking studio this past year. If anyone is considering the studio for woodworking education I encourage them to give me a call. There is a lot I’d like to share about what to expect from Gary Rogowski.

Here are a few photos of some of the work I did while there.

A mid-century coffee-table. Walnut with spalted alder drawer front and cowhide mesh with brass rivets;


A windsor-style walnut and ash chair. Unfortunately, I broke the arm-rail while shaping. After several tries at another I decided to leave it split in three pieces. Not my preferred choice, but it’s only a prototype for a later one anyway. I can’t seem to locate any finished photos and I gave the chair to my cousin, so here is what I have;



The ash came from this log, sourced from my buddy Jack at Jack Reynolds Woodworking;

A few in-progress photos showing the hand-work;

Outside of the mastery program, I completed a few commissions and other small projects this year.

The one-eyed purple people eater table;

And a few small boxes such as this one;


And two bedroom side-tables for a client/friend. Wenge and zebrawood. Unfortunately when I updated my OS on my imac I seem to have lost a lot of my finished photos (thanks Apple…). But here is what I have anyway;

That’s about it for now. I’m just finishing up the remodeling for this year, and have been busy with lots of other house projects, but I’ll try and be better about posting more regularly. My progress has been somewhat slowed due to this;

But there is still plenty I need to do.
Last shot; my two lovelies on my new toy, in the “clean room”;


Like I need another hobby, right?

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