Show Off: Issue 12

Projects from Our Readers

Greene & Greene Inspired Bench

Thomas Starbuck Stockton, Montgomery Creek, Calif.
This 30" x 19" x 48" mahogany and ebony bench crafted in the Greene & Greene style has abalone accents and a leather seat.

Cheval Mirror

Ken Bayer, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Bayer built this cheval mirror as a gift for his daughter using Honduran Rosewood for the frame and stand that measure
24" x 63" with an 18" spread at the feet. He crafted the frame with unique double wedge pieces that he glued together to form a tight-fitting spline.

Seed Pot & Lantern Vase

Brent Hanning, Nelsonville, Ohio
Hanning incorporated Native American themes into these two segmented pieces — a lidded seed pot and a lantern style vase — both crafted from cherry and sycamore and finished with multiple coats of tung oil (sanded between coats) plus several coats of polyurethane.

Cup or Box?

David Stewart, Richmond, Va.
Stewart’s fanciful piece creates the illusion that this lidded box is actually a cup filled with a recently stirred coffee. After crafting the cup from layers of butternut, Stewart carved the lid with “coffee ripples” and added a bloodwood handle that appears to be a spoon handle. Finish is lacquer.

Cocobolo Tables

Wayne Silva, San Diego, Calif.
These cocobolo sofa table and matching end tables are shown with two of Silva’s turned bowls. Silva is an avid boater, pilot and bicyclist who twice cycled across Australia alone.

Show Off PLUS

GeeBee Pedal Airplane

Larry Miller, Greenville, S.C.
A search for a unique and heirloom-quality Christmas gift project for his grandson, Ryan, led Miller to this challenging pedal aircraft which he describes here.

“I’ve got about 300 hours in this project! While not one for the faint of heart, it is a quite doable project for the competent woodworker with a well-equipped shop. Kits are available; as long as you follow the instructions and the designer’s recommended steps, the results will be highly satisfying. Access to a lathe for turning the nose cone is a definite plus, but it can also be done on a drill press.
This miniature GeeBee is a suitable gift for children ages 3-7.The prop turns as the plane is pedaled, and the plane is steered by a tail wheel through a joystick in the cockpit.
The GeeBee plane was built for pylon racing and became a big deal in the 1930s. Think NASCAR for airplanes and you get the idea: It had a large, powerful, 9-cylinder radial engine, was relatively light and was designed for maximum performance. However, its large engine, small size, low weight and minimal lift surfaces made it unstable, and it flew like a brick. Because it was dangerous, pylon racing was short-lived. Intact original GeeBees are prized for their history and performance potential.
This GeeBee started as one of nine pedal aircraft plan kits offered by Aviation Products ( The plan set ($20) for the GeeBee consists of seven “D” and “E” sized drawings. These have full-size templates of the parts and numerous sketches of assembly procedures, including the techniques for steaming and bending the fuselage sides. Aviation Products also offers hardware kits.
As you might expect, the nose cone is one of the more challenging aspects of this project. The nose rings are cut from eight segments of 3/4" solid stock and glued together along with two thicknesses of 3/8" plywood, one of which is appropriately slotted to accept the simulated pushrods that actuate the overhead valves on the engine. The rest of the nose cone is basically laid up like a barrel with stays. You need to construct three jigs to cut and form the 65+ stays that comprise the cone. It takes about 40 hours just to assemble this part.
The prop assembly is made of PVC pipe and plumbing fittings, part of the hardware kit.
Construction is mostly from 3/8" Baltic birch plywood. You can also use clear pine, aspen or poplar. Two 5' x 5' sheets of plywood are adequate, and you will need about 24 bf of 3/4" solid stock for other parts.
Finishing was something of a hassle, and far from flawless. My first attempt was with latex enamel, which turned out to be a disaster. The issue was with masking and shooting the second color, red. When the tape and paper were lifted, the paint came up too. I took the whole project down to bare wood and started over. The wood parts were first sealed with Zinsser’s SealCoat, then all were primed and finished with Rust-Oleum’s Professional brand Gloss White and Safety Red oil-based enamel. I have found these to be excellent oil-based enamel products, and I recommend them highly when this type of finish is needed.
The available decals are printed on Mylar and do not need water for application, nor a top coat if properly applied. The black striping that separates the colors is a 1/8" automotive pin-striping product. It looks good and was relatively easy to apply. Bicycle spokes became the wing and landing gear struts.
Bottom line: This was a difficult, frustrating and challenging project. But above all it was rewarding. And it’s only when you are willing to tackle projects such as this that you will have the opportunity to grow and expand your skills.”
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