Author Archives: Nancy Hiller

About Nancy Hiller

Designer-builder of custom furniture and cabinetry, specializing in work for period interiors from the late-19th through mid-20th century.

Finish Test Follow-up: A Surprise Ending

Three days after performing the finish experiment I wrote about in last week’s post, I was cleaning up the mudroom and had to move the samples. When I picked up the one finished with Osmo Polyx Oil, I was astonished to find that the stains from red wine and hot sauce...

Keep the Hot Sauce Off the Table – Testing Finish

Note: Next Monday’s post will be an update shedding light on the results here and adding further important information. As a maker of custom furniture and cabinetry, I use a variety of finishes. Some pieces need minimal protection – perhaps sealed with shellac and a coat of buffed wax, or finished...

Lumber Yard Visit: RRAW Roughcut Lumber/Davison HQS

Last week I paid a visit to RRAW Roughcut Lumber/Davison Hardwood Quality Specialist in Spencer, Indiana to see what had become of the massive oak burl they’d shown me a few months earlier. Back then they hadn’t sawn the log (beyond cutting it into two pieces – a 9’ section of...

Make Your Cooker a Looker: Affordable Stove Upgrade

Warning: This post falls under the category “First World Problems.”  This week we continue the kitchen design theme, but with an affordable stove upgrade instead of cabinets. Full disclosure: we’re talking about the most superficial aspect of a stove, its appearance. Yes, the stove is a tool – a conventional necessity...

Quit Worshiping at the Church of Inside Corners

One of my stranger findings from years of working with clients to redesign their kitchens is that people will guard their cubic footage like an angry vulture with a road-killed skunk. Suggest that they leave some portion of the space unused and they break into a cold sweat. Don’t get me...

An Extra-Thin Frame and Panel Back

A current job called for a solid wood frame and panel back that would fit in a 5/16″ rabbet. That’s really thin for a frame-and-panel assembly, at least in my world. (Granted, for Bill Robertson, it’s positively gargantuan.) Ordinarily, I like such backs to be 1/2″ thick. One way I’ve dealt...

21st-century Gothic: Book giveaway!

Blame it on the martini I had the night before. Or maybe on the dribble of eleventh-hour requests for illustration proofing related to my forthcoming book on English Arts & Crafts furniture. Whatever the reason, while I was sanding the 2″-thick edges of a current commission one day last week, trying...

How to Create Precise Joints in Reclaimed Lumber

A board with a straight, flat face with one square edge is widely considered a fundamental requirement for precision work such as joinery. Given this basic condition, all good things are possible (at least, in principle): accurate measurements, square shoulders, straight tenons. But a current dining table commission challenged how I...