Making a Difference with What We Make

Posted: October 22, 2011 in Home

After receiving a lathe for Christmas from his grandpa, Nathan turned his first pen when he was 9.  The First Pen. He loved creating something that people could use and made several more pens and sold them to friends and family members. Several months later he was paid $70 by a friend to turn 5 pens out of olive wood from Israel. This gave birth to The Pen Project.

The Pen Project started out as an idea. Could God use our projects and what we make to make a difference in the lives of other people?

This blog is a collection of projects we have done for ourselves and some are for other people, but they have all been for fun and learning. We hope you enjoy them and learn something too.

After I got all of the wooden structure of the chair repaired, I turned my attention to the fabric that covered the chair. The chair fabric was made to look like leather and I found something very similar at Hobby Lobby.

I saved the backing and foam and reused it with the new fabric. Keeping the fabric pulled tight I worked my way around the chair using a hand stapler.

Using a sharp knife I trimmed the extra fabric. The final step was to staple and glue in the welt cord. I tried to use hot glue at first but it didn’t hold with this type of fabric.

I ended up using a leather glue that once it dried seemed to hold the best. This required me to clamp the cord down until it dried which slowed the process.

Once I finished with the chair back, I finished the seat cushion which only required stapling.

Here is the finished product.

Chair Restoration – Part 2

Posted: October 21, 2017 in Restoration

I started this project knowing it wasn’t going to be too complicated but would require some creativity.

The chair had some cracked places where some of the wood had split and fallen off. Over time, some of the screws had worked their way loose and the holes had become stripped making the whole chair unstable.

I cleaned out these split areas and squared them off the best I could so I could glue in some new pieces. I also scraped all of the joints clean to get rid of the old glue so the joints would have more surface area to make good connections.

One of the arms had split at the joint so this needed to be repaired. I used pine because it is easy to shape and would take stain to get the color close.

After the glue dried I was able to shape it to the chair and carve out the hole and keep it tight.

This joint had been filled with wood putty that was crumbling so I chipped it all out, squared off the end and added a new piece. This made the whole process longer because I had to wait for the glue to dry.

For the stripped screw holes I drilled them out and glued in wooden pegs and then cut them off flush.

After all of the repairs were finished, I screwed the whole chair back together and glued each joint. I put clamps on the whole thing and let it dry.

The next post will be replacing the fabric. 

Chair Restoration

Posted: October 8, 2017 in Restoration

I recently took a little time off from work to recharge a bit. Recharging for me looks like no agendas and no pressure projects that allow me to use my mind and hands toward a finished project.

A friend of mine had an office type chair they were fond of but it was looking a little ragged. 

I took it on as one of my projects for a couple of reasons. First, I have never refinished a chair so this would be a new experience. Second, since this chair isn’t an antique or anything like that, there was no pressure to get it right. Perfect!

This chair needed more than new fabric, it had some stability issues that would also need to be addressed.

The first step would be to dismantle the whole chair and build it back making any necessary repairs. I removed the base and collected all of the bolts and screws in a little container so I wouldn’t lose track of them.

I removed the seat cushion and the fabric from the back.

There were some previous repairs done to this chair that I would have to modify in order to give it more strength.

More to come on this project.

DIY Bee Hive part 3

Posted: September 27, 2017 in Other Projects

In two previous posts called Building Bee Hives and DIY Beehive – Finger Joints I explained how this project got started and how I set up a jig to create consistent finger joints. Once I had this jig set up, building the deep and medium supers were pretty simple and straight forward.

The final parts of the project were to build the base, top and lid.

The lid goes on top of the boxes and under the top. There is a small 1 inch hole to allow ventilation.

I still need to paint the whole thing white and cover the top with tin. I will finish that up closer to spring when I will actually put bees in the hive.

In the previous post Building Beehives, I shared how having my own bees is something I have also been interested in.

In this post I will show how I made finger joints using a stacked dado head cutter on my table saw. While this method isn’t original to me, it was the simplest method I could find.

The wood I am working with is 3/4 inch thick so each of my fingers in the joints will be 3/4 inch. So I made a jig that would help me keep each finger of the joint consistent.


You will see in the picture above I have a piece of stock 3/4 inch thick glued into the jig. The jig is slid over and clamped to create a gap between the blade and the piece of stock that is 3/4 inch wide.

You stand the board on its end and clamp it to the jig.

I have already cut this piece but to show how the jig works, you run the board through the saw and then move it over.

You keep moving the board over until all of the fingers are cut.

I put together the first deep brood box with some minor adjustments. I learned that if the jig moves even a little, it will throw off how the fingers line up. But a little chisel work makes it fit nice and tight.

I glued and clamped the box and added the handles on the ends that will allow me to lift the box easily from the base.

Up next I will make the base and lid.

Building Beehives

Posted: September 10, 2017 in Other Projects
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Honey bees are something I have been curious about for as long as I can remember. My interest began when my dad used to talk about raising bees with his grandfather. But honey bees aren’t something you just step into.

Recently a friend of mine, who also had an interest in bees, bought a couple of hives and we began discussing our common  interest. There are many bee keeping suppliers but I really wanted to build my own hives.

So my friend bought me this book.

As they should be the plans are very detailed and easy to follow.

I started by cutting all of my pieces to size first. Mainly because I didn’t want to switch back and forth between a single blade and a stacked dado head that is needed to make the finger joints. 

In the next post I will put together the base and begin the deep boxes.

It has been awhile since I have posted about the 1982 O’day DaySailer I bought last year. You can read about in a previous post called New boat, New Project.

I did the shake down sail earlier this year to determine what really needs to be done to the boat. This particular model of sailboats has a 23 foot tall mast that has to drop through the deck when installing the mast. This is a bit of a challenge and requires several people to do this safely. After some research I decided to install a tabernacle system which allows for a much easier time of raising the mast.

I ordered the part from D&R Marine. It came with very easy to follow directions. The most intimidating part of this project is cutting your mast so make sure you measure carefully.  You will actually make two cuts so measure and mark both spots before you do any cutting.

After cutting the mast I installed the bottom half of the tabernacle to the short piece that was the bottom of the mast.

I used a chop saw made to cut metal to insure that I made the cut straight. You will also need a drill and tap plus there was some filing I had to do in order to remove the barbs from the cut.

I dropped this part through the deck and connected it to the bottom of the boat with a drill, tap and stainless steel screws provided by D&R Marine.




Once it is installed you can see that the tabernacle sits just above the deck. The whole plate is stainless steel so no worries of it rusting.

The top half of the tabernacle is installed on the bottom of the long piece of the mast after cutting an additional 1.5 inches.

This system works beautifully and I was able to raise the mast safely on my own. You slide the first pin through which allows the mast to pivot.

I could lift the mast and use the line and pulley for the jib to help lift it into place. Once it straightens, all that was left was to insert the back pin that holds the whole thing in place.

This whole system allowed me to raise the mast easier and safer by myself than before with the help of three other people. I am excited to take the boat out again in a few weeks.