Dealer's Delight (Shout Out to jasonborthwick!)

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Project by DeepWater posted 12-28-2016 08:35 PM 1203 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My Pop’s hands shake which makes it difficult to do some tasks including playing cards sometimes. After seeing a custom game box made by jasonborthwick, I ask for additional details so I could borrow his design for his playing card holders, this is my version. I had a long board so I ended-up making 4 sets of 4 playing card holders.

I used a nice piece of straight-grained Hemlock since I live in the Pacific Northwest and we have so much of that wood they practically give it away. Following Jason’s directions I simply cut three 5 degree equally-spaced slots ⅜ inch deep in the board and then cut off to size.

Since Hemlock isn’t that exciting to finish plain, I tried Traditional Japanese Charred Wood (aka. Shou Sugi Ban or Yakisugi). It was typically used on Cedar, but I gave it a try and think it turned out okay. I’d be interested in hearing what others think or seeing similar finishes. This is not fine woodworking, but a useful item in any case.

Shout out to Jason for inspiring me and making a nice set of gifts!

2 comments so far

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121 posts in 2889 days

#1 posted 12-29-2016 01:42 AM

DeepWater that is great work. Your Pop’s will appreciate it. That is a nice effect with that type of finish. I have been wanting to try Shou Sugi. I am in FL and have been building green egg BBQ carts. I think that would be a great finish that would holdup. I may do a panel with spar urithene and Shou Sugi and test them head to head. I saw that jointers bench you just restored. What a beauty that bench is, you bought it back and it will serve you well. I am getting ready to build my first roubo from salvaged white oak 2×6’s I am on the Fence whether her to make a center tray and cover setup or no tray. I will work all the he way around it and am installing a pattern makers front vice and an end vice. I have a few hand planes I am going to store on the bench eith in a cabinet under the bench or something else.
Please let me know what you like or don’t like about yours.

Jason Borthwick

View DeepWater's profile


18 posts in 2491 days

#2 posted 12-29-2016 05:40 PM


Thanks much, I appreciate you giving me a great idea. I like the Shou Sugi since it’s an alternative to just letting the cedar turn silver or having to seal/finish it again every year and it’s easy to do. As I understand the technique, you finish the Shou Sugi with oil following the charring and it’s supposed to seal nicely. Both our climates would probably be a good test. The rain we get tests any and all finishes out here (averaging 80+ inches per year) as you can imagine.

As far as my bench goes, I’m mostly happy with it. It feels like it came along and mirrors my woodworking skills. I couldn’t really appreciate it when I first bought it, but as I continue to work I find it becoming more and more important to my success. It was home made, but I never had an opportunity to talk to the maker which might have helped as I tried to tune and refinish it. I got it about 6 years ago, but it was only this fall that I finally felt like I had the tools and skills to flatten it properly.

I love the idea of a big heavy Roubo in old oak, I think that will make a great bench. That old oak will be rock hard though so you’re going to earn every bit of effort on that bench. Hope you enjoy sharpening tools! ;-)

What I don’t like about my bench:
  1. The fit of the tail vise is a bit off. It isn’t quite flat and aligned with the bench top and while it won’t effect my work, the tightening/loosing as you turn it is too tight. I’ve messed with the fasteners holding it in place and put dry lube on the metal slide, it’s not nearly as nice as a store bought vise. Take your time and really work on alignment and movement. I’d love a pattern makers vise someday so your idea is great!
  2. The wood strips making up the top didn’t have their grain running in the same direction which meant I got tear out when I was hand planing the top. It was a pain, ensure you have the oak grain running the same way so years from now when you have to refinish your top it’s easier.
What I like:
  1. It’s mostly high enough for work. I’m trying to be careful with the stance and technique when I work.
  2. It’s heavy, your bench will be too. Mine barely moves even when I push.
  3. The tool tray, I think having one down the middle of a walk around bench is a good idea, just ensure you can brush out wood chips and debris easily.
  4. Two vises are great, but I would tell you to drill a very straight set of 3/4” holes in a grid pattern across the entire top unless you don’t like that look. I have an old table that I glued MDF and hardboard to that has holes spaced in 6” square patterns very precisely across the entire top that I use for glue and assembly. I built homemade jigs and try to use classic woodworking holds. I drilled a few extra holes for the end vise, and may even drill a pattern in the jointer bench if I get frustrated with my ability to secure my work. You can sorta see the pattern on this photo:

Make it flat, check it again, and make it flatter across all corners everywhere! You won’t be sorry you did later on!

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