Shaker inspired dining table – finished

Cherry Shaker inspired dining table

Here are some pictures of the stained and polyurethane finished table.  The stain is an old masters rich mahogany. I could say a lot about the old masters stain but I’ll just say this, I won’t be using it again.   The table came out well and I’m quite proud of it.  It took considerably more coats of urethane on the top to seal all of the wood grain then I expected resulting in a bit of a delay in being able to deliver this table to it’s  happy new home.  I’ll be delivering it tomorrow and it should provide many years of lasting service as the family dining table.

Cherry Shaker inspired dining table     Cherry Shaker inspired dining table

The top finish is a satin non gloss, but the depth of the 8 coats of urethane goes a long way to have that deep reflection in spite of the lack of gloss.  I’m pretty happy with the final product and I know my customer will be happy when she sees her new table.

CX500 Cafe Racer Build – chopping the rear frame

Honda CX500 rear frame mods


Having a vision for a project, and making that vision reality are often two different things.  Originally I was thinking I’d leave more of the rear frame for the seat.  Then I came across this bike (see below) made by the wrench monkeys.

Seeing their rear frame mods, I decided I needed to do something similar.  I’m not sold on their seat design but I like how they smoothed out the ugly factory stampings and rounded it.  This will allow the seat to more closely follow the frame and sit about 1/2″ lower at the rear.

Honda CX500 rear frame mods      Honda CX500 rear frame mods

    I did the initial cut with my trusty Milwaukee  Sawzall.  I used a large 1″ washer to scratch the final profile centered off the shock mount studs.  I then did some closer to the line rough cuts with a 5″ cutting wheel on a right angle grinder.  Followed that up with a some careful grinding and finally some hand filing to match up with the scratched line from the washer.   I hammered out some 16 gauge steel and welded it in place.  They came out pretty good. I’ll likely spray it with something after a light wire wheel buff.  When I pull the frame apart for the final painting I’ll metal finish/fill weld so that it’s nice and smooth and shiny.

Honda CX500 rear frame mods

I have also cut off the rear muffler mounts and some other frame brackets at this point.  The electronics will all fit up under the seat with some new brackets welded in place.

Ferrari 308 stainless steel exhaust build

Finished Ferrari 308 exhaust in place


A friend came to me asking about building a custom exhaust for his Ferrari 308.  Of course I said we could do it and that it’d be a fun project.  I put together a rough price list/cost estimate for him and he decided to go ahead with the project.   We were not reinventing the wheel here but instead just copying one of the commercially available units with some minor changes like original style dual exhaust tips and keeping it 100% stainless steel throughout.


Stainless Steel Exhaust Flange for a Ferrari 308 GTS     Stainless Steel Ferrari 308 GTS exhaust Tips

Before we got started we took careful measurements of the exhaust tubing size and did some tracing of the exhaust mounting flanges.  We did look extensively online to buy the flanges but nothing was available in mild steel, forget about in stainless steel. Being a Ferrari they are of course very much not a standard part.  I drew them up in CAD, generated the G-Code for my CNC milling machine and banged them out.  I say that like it was trivial but the piece of stainless steel stock was nasty.  It had some internal work hardened spots from shearing which ate up a few carbide end mills.   I then fabbed up some exhaust tips, polishing the tubing on my metal lathe prior to welding them up.  I hammer formed the 2 to 1 sections and they came out reasonably well. I did use a tubing expansion die at the end to form the perfectly circular opening for the tubing by stretching it out the last little bit.

Ferrari 308 GTS Quatrovalve

The Ferrari 308 in question was also undergoing a complete suspension overhaul at the same time. You can see my buddy in the back doing some cutting.

Ferrari 308 Stainless Steel exhaust build    Ferrari 308 Stainless Steel exhaust build

I’m beveling the tubing edges prior to tack welding.  I find that beveling the edges of tubing results in a much cleaner final weld that can be metal finished easier.  My buddy claims he will metal finish all of the welds and polish this thing up someday.  The pic on the right is me welding up the exhaust bits we are satisfied with off the car.  Only after checking multiple times that everything is in the correct spot and fits well did I do any final welding.  There are spots on the exhaust I wouldn’t be able to weld up fully if I waited till the entire unit was tack welded together so we built it in stages.

Ferrari 308 Stainless Steel exhaust build

With any sort of custom exhaust fabrication process, it’s important to tack weld and check everything often and repeatedly.  I bet we took the exhaust on and off the car over 50 times during this build.  Carefully measuring, checking level, angles, and fitment each time we made a change.  Here you see one side all tack welded in place during the build process.

When the car is back down on the ground I’ll take a video clip of it running and taking off so you can all hear the glorious sounds this thing makes.  Ferrari  engines have a beautiful sound and this exhaust brings out the best of that.  This project is continued and completed in this second post titled,  finishing up a Ferrari 308 custom stainless steel exhaust.


A hallway mirror, in well figured Tiger Maple

Figured Maple Hallway Mirror


This beauty is a hallway mirror I made from some gorgeously figured tiger maple I picked up.  Sometimes you have to buy wood at the lumberyard when you see it.  I was shopping for some mahogany one day and saw this pile of recently pulled from the kiln maple at my local sawmill,  Goosebay sawmill and lumber.  I simply had to have it so I bought a couple pieces for a future project.  This mirror is one such future project.  It uses 100% solid brass hardware and has a nice little storage area for wallets and phones so they do not get lost.  The pegs hold the car and house keys.

Figured Maple Hallway Mirror      Tiger Maple Hallway Mirror

My only real issue with this mirror is that it’s too skinny and looks a bit odd in the hallway.  I have just enough of the tiger maple left to make a wider version.  When I do I will likely put this one up for sale on Etsy or at some local craftsman shows.