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Lincoln logs for my Grandson!

I embarked on a seemingly endless task of making Lincoln Logs using a guide from Pocket83 (hosted by  Pocket83 suggested using an extremely thin kerf blade to cut the #2 pine into boards that were 10 ½” wide.  I cut 9 boards from each 8’ board.  I routed the dados for all the notches in the boards.  I fashioned logs from each board and then rounded them over resulting in 4-notch logs.  Some stayed this length, and some were cut into 3-notch, 2-notch, and single-notch logs.  Many small remnants remained that I glued together for the purpose of fencing, borders or whatever one imagines. Pocket83 even has a great guide for making gable end pieces in such a way as to be modular.


Then it was time to stain nearly 500 pieces of Lincoln Logs!  They turned out great!  If I had to do it over again, I might thin the stain a little so they wouldn’t turn out so dark. Take a look at the pictures below to see how I created a unique Lincoln Log set for my grandson.

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Woodworking projects

In the last month I’ve created an original configuration Rhoma puzzle from juniper along with 3 alder bases and started building a wooden base for a jointer I picked up on Craigslist.

The one item that has me the most excited is working on the jointer base. The metal base is just too big to scoot next to my wife’s car. The wooden one, while narrower, will still have adequate lateral stability to stay upright.  Pictures below are just the beginning of the cart/case. As I build it, I see that my plans need to be adjusted. Hopefully I can get the project finished up shortly!

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Home Depot job buckets lids

I ran into an interesting situation regarding those job buckets at Home Depot. I have been re-engineering the way I do dust separation/collection from my equipment.

I want the vacuum motor directly coupled to the orange bucket instead of how the first picture  demonstrates.  Previously, the shop vac attached to one port and the tool attached to another. The inefficiencies arose quickly because of the additional hose needed to connect them together.  If I stack the shop vac on top of the separator and dust bin, I increase the suction and get more efficient particulate collection (see second picture).


The last two pictures depict the old and new lids, respectively. The grooved, old lid nestles the bucket bottom into an airtight connection whereas the new lid does not. For my application the new lid is nearly worthless!

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Maple quarters from rounds

I got my hands on some maple this weekend! The maple tree was likely three or four feet in diameter, cut into about 12”-18” rounds and then quartered.  I spray painted the end grain and then made boards 1¼” thick.

Note: Spray paint is probably not the best sealant to use; it might even be the worst! This was Rust-Oleum brand, so I might have lucked out since it is oil based. The next best option might be garage floor sealer. What are your thoughts?



#hallcastlepuzzles #woodworking #puzzles #brainteaser


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Finished puzzles in elm and standing cedar

This weekend I had the opportunity to create two puzzles with wood I haven’t used yet. The elm was quite challenging as stress was released as I cut the wood. The grain pattern tends to pinch the blade when making sticks or it wants to veer off away from the blade. I overcame this tendency by cutting shorter sticks. The standing cedar was even more stress ridden. I’ve had it drying in 1 1/4″ boards about 4 inches wide and about 1′ long for a year.  When I first planed them they immediately bowed. Thankfully, the small pieces that I ended up using did not exhibit any twisting or bowing; a good portent for the fruit woods!


Notice the stark difference between sanded and finished puzzles. I always find it very rewarding to see!

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Final figured (in the last year) how to make the cuts needed to make the puzzles…

Final figured (in the last year) how to make the cuts needed to make the puzzles I am now selling on my website. Check them out at


Reshared post from +Hall Castle (HallCastlePuzzles)

This weekend I spent some time gluing some walnut puzzle pieces, alder bases, and poplar bases (new wood choice). Next up, sanding the bases. This 5” random orbital sander has made my life so much easier when it comes to sanding! I’ve found that the 220 grit offers the most flexibility. The 220 grit is all I need for coarse and fine work. Once the incessant sanding was done, I wiped all the sawdust off and applied Danish Oil Finish.

I also created an enclosed alder base that I think makes the puzzle even more challenging. You have to place the pieces in order since they can’t be slid in from the side like with the open base.