Monday, February 27, 2012

Great Single Malts $40 and Under

Unfortunately my local tooling shop was having some difficulty with their machinery and I have been left twittling my thumbs over dull jointer knives. It has given me some time to mentally sit on ideas and concerns regarding the whisk(e)y cabinet which seemed to be helpful.
It has also given me (whether I wanted it or not) time to ponder the contents of such a cabinet. In closing of my time twittling I though I might make a post on the likely topic of single-malt Scottish whisky!

I am no authority on whisky. I am just a chap with meager earnings who happens to fancy his beverages be it coffee, tea, beer, whisky, what-have-you. With rising interest in such a stereotypically unapproachable commodity, I though it might be nice to attempt a fellow layman's point in direction to begin or further one's exploration.
The selections featured fit into the $40 and under range reflecting the best prices I have found around the Twin Cities.

The opinions are my own, the photos are not. I've linked them here from browsing images.
In alphabetical order...

- An Cnoc 12 _ Speyside
Bright, shining and complex. Refreshing, as far as whisky goes. This expression shows confidence in the bright side of Speysiders.

- Bowmore 12 _ Islay
Sweeter and softer than some of its kin. This Islay not only offers a nice gateway to the peat, smoke, and brine of the region but plenty of character of its own to enjoy. Imagine a dissolved fisherman's friend (cough drop) in a small rock pool near a seaside campfire.

- The Dalmore 12 _Highlands
Dates on the nose and perhaps some raisin in the finish. These are presumably attributes yielded by the 50% sherry cask maturation. A soft entry and spiced finish makes this an easy "daily dram" or a nice variation to a brighter collection.

- Glenkinchie 12 _ Lowlands
Floral, light citrus, with a wisp of smoke hiding among some grassy notes. Unfortunately there are only two Lowland distillery options we can get here in the U.S. This lowladdie may have a couple quirks but it still paints a lovely picture for me.

- Glenmorangie Original 10 _ Highlands
Fairly bright and highly complex, such as the An Cnoc 12, however this expression offers a very light hint of smoke. It is also a tad drier perhaps due to the little smoke, or maybe its Highland nature. Either way, you'll have plenty to think about.

- Highland Park 12 _ Highlands (Island - Orkney)
The malt of Highland Park has been touted as "the greatest all-rounder in the world of malt whisky." I am inclined to say that rings true for this group. Hints of peat with a great soft smoke surrounded by a balanced body showing the qualities one might expect to find in a highlander.

- Laphroaig 10 _ Islay
Here's your smoke and peat monster on a "budget." Smoke, peat, briny seasides, iodine, it's all there. For many it can be a love/hate thing. I have yet to decide. Most of the time I'm interested in a "sophisticated" balance, but sometimes I'm in the mood for something more gruff.

- The Macallan Fine Oak 10 _ Speyside
The Speyside region represents about 50% of Scotland's distilleries. If you are looking for an overview of the region I may suggest this number. At "first glance" the Fine Oak 10 may be a bit "boring" or middle of the road. Well, that's the trick isn't it? In furniture craftsmanship I know it is quite difficult to produce something in which nothing sticks out.
Sure, it may be a bit simplistic, but there are quiet details to be found. It also illustrates the qualities shared by many expressions of the region in a fairly clear and unpretentious way.

- Tomintoul 16 _ Speyside
What it lacks in brand presence, design, and packaging, it makes up for in quality and at a bargain price. The Tomintoul 16 has a sophisticated nose with so much to explore it will take your lips some time before greeting this "gentle dram." Among other things, the palate has a lovely vanilla cream taste and texture leading to a very softly spiced finish.


Alright, that wraps up my little list. I hope you've been able to enjoy this divergence from woodwork, or just brush it by.
Rest assured, it's back to shavings, and swarf next time!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Liquor Mock

After a few days of sitting around and thinking I'm happy to be working on a mock-up and design for a liquor cabinet geared towards brown liquor/whiskey.
One should be able to store 8 or 9 bottles with enough room to jostle them around a bit without much worry. Depending on the dimensions of bottles I imaging one could fit a couple more in. Perhaps a maximum of 3 deep and 4 across. Myself, I could imagine having 3-7 bottles which works out great because I like space.
On the right side there will be some glass storage with an adjustable shelf. Also a drawer for such things as a tasting journal, watch-glass covers, perhaps your Whiskey Bible, a towel/shammy? Whatever.
I'm wanting this cabinet high enough as to make use of it comfortable but low enough to use the top for service.

I'm looking to make the cabinet integrated with the stand in a way that I have seen before but have yet to make. The top of the "stand" will also be the bottom surface of the cabinet. This therefore has to be a veneer constructed cabinet. This gives me a chance to try another option I have yet to try. A different species of wood in the interior than the exterior.
I'm looking at a Walnut exterior and a White Oak interior. This plays on a couple of things. I'm aiming to make this a fairly masculine piece and play on the craftsmanship of the liquors them selves. What woods are typically regarded as more masculine than Walnut and oak? Also these liquors get their color and shades of flavors from Oak of course. Also the Oak will better illuminate the interior. Walnut? Well there's just something about oil finished Walnut that warms my blood a bit, like a nice glass of whiskey.

I have a feeling this is going to be another simple looking yet fairly tricky build. There are plenty of details and construction considerations to be pondered and re-pondered. Hopefully they wont keep me up too late at night.

I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that I should be bringing the table into it's home, Rustic Bakery tomorrow morning. I also work a closing shift there tomorrow. If you are perhaps interested, come in to see and use this table before it gets abused!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Table Photos

Feels like I haven't had a lot to show for recent work. I suppose it is true with the chair and sofa not yet complete with upholstery. Well here is that table I put together after the sofa.

Highly Shaker inspired but through my own/"Krenovian" eyes and hands. If it were not going to Rustica Bakery I may have thinned down some of the proportions, but I feel I mostly achieved what I was aiming for considering the space.

I had two pairs of stretchers to choose from. A pair with fairly clean straight grain or these pieces with highly curved grain and one with a small group of knots. I liked the more "figured" pair for a bit of more visual interest in a fairly simple form.
The problem was that I wanted to keep all my components straight. With this much curve, keeping the stretcher straight it would visually sag with an optical illusion. What I did in this case was curve the stretcher's tops and bottoms with perhaps a 1/16" amplitude trying to lift the visual sag yet maintain a fairly straight looking component.
Did it work?

There we have it. I don't know when I'm going to get this to the bakery. Hopefully within the next week. I could really use the space in the shop ;).
Speaking of, It seems I may be having a little lag time in starting the next project. I'm aiming to make a liquor cabinet specifically geared towards whiskey and perhaps other brown liquors. Perhaps out of Walnut and Oak, again ha. I can't seem to get away from those for too long. I still have a cabinet out of Cherry in mind for sometime down the road, I haven't gotten any good cherry for it though!
Till next time!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Getting Oily

Alright, where was I? On to shaping?
SO. I gave the legs a bit of a taper using the jointer and a stop block. The taper is slightly over 1/8" thinner at the bottom. A tapered pillowing on the inside/joint side of the legs gives a slight back taper as well. Very subtle though.
I'm giving all the edges of the table a little more substantial "rounding" with slightly more "aggressive" or deeper set plane strokes. My thought here is to be safer in case of bumping into corners/accidents, be a little more robust/accepting of bumps and dings from chairs, and leave a slightly stronger "fingerprint" in line with a slightly rustic leaning.
What I also find with this softening of a Shaker style adds a bit of perhaps Scandinavian Modern side to it. Thus far, I like it.

This is a piece that with cross the middle of the table from one long apron to the other. I bored a normal screw hole in the middle of this pieces to pin the table top at the middle. On either end of this piece I used my "slot mortise" set-up to make these elongated holes for a screw to go into the top and "float" with seasonal movement. Pretty neat.

I've made brass brackets again for top attaching at the perimeter of the base. Here I'm treating the edges of the bracket mortises with a small chisel I had made at IP. Keeping these edges simple and slightly rough.

Boof! The base is dry fit to work on some of the leg end grain treatment before pre-finishing. Here you can see how that middle piece I mentioned works.

Here I am getting oily with a Water Lox marine sealer.
I suppose I'm always excited to see work come together, this time is no different. I'm looking forward to see how this all turns out. It is a bit of a different piece, came together fairly quickly, and the most "exacting" designing I did was just a 3/16 scale drawing. Sort of came together under "intuitions" gathered by previous projects and notions.

But hey, lets not forget this guy...
I finally got to the webbing while waiting on oil on the table.
This is the first time I've completely assembled it. The tweaks I made from the chair prototype feel like they paid off.
A cargo van would make my life easier in transporting this around town though :/ heh. Off to the upholsterer, figure out how/where to take some photography, then to its intended residence!