Demystifying Door Construction

Constructing passage doors can seem intimidating. In this video I share with you how I built a custom door and demystify the process of door construction. 

One of the ideas that I really want to impress on everybody is this: Don't be intimidated by new projects. Consider this when approaching a new project; most of the woodworking actions needed for it, you have done on other projects. By recognizing this, you create the mindset that you need to build something which seems intimidating such as a door. 

I hope you enjoy and find the video helpful.

Your friend in the shop-

Todd A. Clippinger

Share the Love - Share the Knowledge

The Work of Andy Parent

In my last post, I shared a bit about how other artists influence my work and I introduced the readers to my friend, Andy Parent, as a good example. 

After that post, I received some emails asking to see a finished photo of the King's Chair. So I asked Andy and he finally sent me some images of the finished project. 

Thanks to Andy for sending me the images, I can now share with you some more of his creative works.

Actually, Andy made 2 King's Chairs to go at the end of the pool table. In this image, you can also see the chandeliers that Andy made and the lights on the wall between the chairs. 

Andy also did some fireplace chairs. In this image you can also see several of his other pieces such as the fireplace mantle, bar stools, sconce light, and metal framing for the panes in the cabinetry seen in the background. 

The fireplace chairs have an interesting feature designed into them, the backs fold down to create larger sitting areas when the clients have parties. 

So what I can say is this; to help stimulate your creative thought process, surround yourself with creative people, even if they don't work in the same medium as yourself.

All images in this post are the property of Andy Parent of Iron Ox Inc. and used with his permission. To see more of Andy's work visit

Until next time - Be safe in your own shop!

Your friend in the shop,

Todd A. Clippinger

Share the Love-Share the Knowledge

Creative Friends & Influences: Andy Parent

One of the greatest things I enjoy as a professional woodworker and remodeling contractor, are the connections that I have with other artisans and craftsmen. By surrounding myself with other artists, it constantly challenges and expands my creative vision. Among those is a good friend and metal working talent, Andy Parent. Andy's unique vision for metal work has greatly influenced my own ideas for design. 

Andy Parent on the King's Throne

Andy's metal working business, Iron Ox Inc, is located just down the street a couple blocks from my own shop. With his shop being so close, we see each other on a pretty regular basis, and the conversations we have are very stimulating as the sparks of creativity fly.

Andy showing a fireplace screen he is manufacturing for a client

I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to collaborate on some projects with Andy, and we often call on each other to hash out design ideas or to gain a different perspective from a fresh set of eyes.

A design session with Andy Parent of Iron Ox Inc.

Andy has a great balance of technical ability for working metal and artistic madness. If you met him personally, within the first few minutes you would understand the artistic madness comment, but this picture of him with Poseidon's Trident might give you a glimpse.

Andy displays Poseidon's Trident made for a charity auction fundraising event.

To get another look at Andy, his nephew has produced this video as part of his college cinematography course. "The Moments We Steel" by Jared West.

Andy has had a positive and energizing effect on myself as an artist and craftsman. You can check out some of his work at his Iron Ox Inc USA site.

To stay energized as an artist, make friends with other artists. It really keeps the mojo flowing.

Your friend in the shop,

Todd A. Clippinger

Share the Love-Share the Knowledge 


Backstory on the Fireplace Prototype Seen in WOOD Magazine

Here is the story on the fireplace prototype that is published in the current issue of WOOD Magazine (May 2014, Issue 225.)

My clients have a gas insert installed into an old fireplace. The insert did not fit completely into the fireplace and the surround was just outright hideous. This is when I got the call to see what I could do for them. 

The original fireplace with an ill-fitting gas insert, poor design, and just outright hideous. 

We had an initial meeting and talked over some ideas. They wanted to move forward with the project even though I had not hammered out anything solid. They really liked my ideas and trusted me since I had done work for them before. 

At that time, I was hitting a point of serious burnout. When I hit a period of burnout, I have issues with trying to make the thought process flow as it normally does. I don't do well sitting in front of the computer drawing in SketchUp and I can't make a go of it on paper. But I still do well handling something tangible such as model parts. Since my mind was fried, I was not even going to deal with doing conversions for a scale model so I just built the model in full scale.  

Determining proportions on fireplace prototype. 

Yeah, I know you're thinking, "Why doesn't he just take time off?" Well, I have my own business and it doesn't work that way. I gotta make hay when the sun shines because January thru April are typically very lean months. When the jobs start coming in again I just work until I drop. 

For modeling in cardboard, I purchase 4'x8' sheets from Xpedex. They have shipping supplies such as boxes, slip sheets, packaging, etc. Another good place to get cardboard sheets is from Costco or Sam's Club. If you ask they will usually let you take the slip sheets that come between merchandise on pallets. Slip sheets are typically 42"x48" (approx.) For assembly, I just use a hot glue gun to put it all together, this is great as it works out fast and holds just fine. 

Building the fireplace prototype in full scale, complete with varied thicknesses and reliefs. 

After presenting the prototype to my clients, they were just absolutely impressed and sold on the project. Although it impressed them that I built a full scale model, the fact is I did it because I could not hardly keep a clear thought in my head due to burnout, but I still pulled off a great design. 

Here is one key to coming up with a good design: use the architecture of the house and the overall design of the environment to guide you on the project. You might do a flawless job on a project, but if it does not flow well with the overall design of the house, that is a point of failure. 

One point to keep in mind when using a model: The model helps give a good sense of how the project will look and is a point of reference for what works and does not work. Changes do not require a new model be made, the changes agreed upon are implemented in the final project itself. 

The fireplace surround installed and complete. 

If you are interested in seeing the progress photos of the project that I posted for my clients to follow, you can check them out here: Fireplace Project Album 

In the fireplace album you will see the original reference photos, lots of progress photos (especially of the cardboard model), and the final project from a few different angles. There are no captions, the images alone pretty much tell the story. 

That is all for now and until next time, be safe in your own shop!

Your friend in the shop-

Todd A. Clippinger

Share the Love-Share the Knowledge

Guess Who's In The Latest Issue of WOOD Magazine:)

An Article on Design & Prototypes

The current issue of WOOD Magazine (May 2014, Issue 225) has a good article on designing projects and building prototypes. The article contains 6 points on the process of taking a project through the design and prototyping, to a finished project. 

"How Do You Do It In Your Shop Todd?"

The staff at WOOD Magazine asked me to contribute information on how I design and use prototypes. For the article they ended up using a picture of me building a full-scale cardboard fireplace for a client, and a key quote for the side-bar titled "5 Must-Know Design Principles. 

I give kudos to the staff at WOOD Magazine, the article is practical and accurate in depicting the design and prototyping process. It lays out the steps that I use as a professional in designing and building a project for clients. So Kudos to the staff at WOOD Magazine for a great article that shares how it is really done. 

WOOD Magazine May 2014, Issue 225 Article on Designing & Prototypes

I Share in Great Company!

I was pretty excited to see that I share in great company with this issue. Friend and fellow woodworking blogger, Matt Vanderlist from Matt's Basement Workshop, has written an article for this same issue's "Unvarnished: Straight talk from the WOOD-wide Web." Matt shares some gold nuggets for the growing woodworker.

In fact, what Matt shares are exactly the lessons that I learned in my own journey as a woodworker and craftsman. I believe that what he shares is a valuable read for every woodworker and you should check it out. 

Also be sure to visit Matt's website: Matt's Basement Workshop. He is a prolific woodworking blogger and I am sure you will enjoy what he shares with the woodworking community. 

Matt Vanderlist writes a great article for "Unvarnished."

Be sure to check out the latest issue of WOOD Magazine, it is slated to stay on the store shelves until May 6, 2014.  As always, they have some great articles by some great guys;)

Your friend in the shop-

Todd A. Clippinger

Share the Love - Share the Knowledge