Walnut Step Stool: Part IV


 walnut step stool

The step stool is nearly complete, all I need to do is machine the African Blackwood 1/2 inch and 3/8 inch square plugs, cut and install the plugs, do a little final sanding and it will be ready to apply the finish.

making a step stool

The African Blackwood plugs are done and look good. I sanded the entire stool with 320 grit and 400 grit sandpaper. The step stool is now complete except for the finish!

step stool finishing supplies

In the above picture you will see the finishing supplies I need for applying the Danish Oil. Before applying the Danish Oil I used the tack cloth to remove any and all dust on the stool from sanding. I don’t want any dust mixed with the oil. Once the dust was removed I put on the disposable gloves and used a clean cotton cloth to apply the oil.

unique step stool
On my initial application of Danish Oil I applied a liberal amount to the entire stool, the surface was very wet. I started with the bottom of the stool and worked my way to the sides and top. You can see that using the Danish Oil makes the walnut grain and character pop with color!

homemade step stool

These next couple of pictures give you a better idea of the walnut color after applying the Danish Oil. The walnut is really beautiful, lots of color and character.

step stool

Once the first cost was completed, I waited 30 minutes, then wiped off any access Danish Oil. I let it dry completely between coats, about 12 hours. Before reapplying the next coat I sanded with 400 grit sandpaper and then removed all dust using a tack cloth. I continued this process every 12 hours until I had applied four coats.

walnut step stool

Here are a few pictures after four coats of Danish Oil. At this point I have decided to apply a wipe on poly (polyurethane) to protect the surface. Before applying the poly I like to wait 48 to 72 hours, this will insure the Danish Oil has dried completely.


making a step stool

Sometimes I like to just use the Danish Oil and nothing else but the Danish Oil is not a hard finish. It will scratch and mark really easy. So, since this stool will get a lot of use I decided to also apply a couple coats of Wipe on Poly.


Before applying the first cost I sanded with 400 grit sandpaper, then removed the dust using the tack cloth.

stool-sanded-with- 400-grit

The white is the dust from sanding.


I have had good results in the past using the Minwax Wipe On Poly so that is what I am going to use. The step stool is ready for the first coat. Wearing gloves, I use a clean cotton cloth to apply the poly.

After applying each coat I will have to wait 4 hours before I can apply another coat. I plan to apply three coats and will sanded between each coat using a 1000 grit sanding pad. Again removing the dust using a tack cloth between each sanding.


Above, the first picture of the step stool completed after applying three coats of the Minwax Wipe On Poly.



Can you see the reflection of the chest on the finish of the stool?!

beautiful-walnut-step-stool unique-step-stool




I am pleased with the results, my wife loves it and that’s what counts! Making this walnut step stool for my wife has been a lot of fun! What do you think, do you like my step stool?

Time spent on Part IV: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time spent making stool from start to finish: 6 hours, 45 minutes

Making a step stool:
Walnut Step Stool: Part I
Walnut Step Stool: Part II
Walnut Step Stool: Park III

Previous Post:
Walnut Slabs
Walnut Wood Gloat

My Work

Click image to view more information on my cutting boards.

walnut double handle cutting board



Potato Skins


potato skins

I love potato skins, they make a create snack! They’re the perfect food when watching basketball!

Start with a few potatoes. Preheat the oven to approximately 400 degrees F. While the oven is heating, thoroughly scrub the potatoes, then them dry with a paper towel.

Use a paper towel or with clean hands to rub canola oil all over the skins until they’re nice and moist and wonderful. Place them on a baking sheet and bake until the skins are crisp and the potato is tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 to 40 minutes or so, depending on the size of your potato.

potato skins

While the potatoes are baking, cook your bacon. I like the thick cut and like to cook it in a microwave for crisp bacon. Once cooked, chop it on your cutting board.

Next, grate up some sharp cheddar, mild cheddar or your favorite cheese! Then slice/chop the green onions.

Once the potatoes are done, let them cool just a bit, then slice them down the middle. I like to use an ice cream scoop to scoop out the insides. I place the potato into a bowl and use them for mash potatoes the next day.

I like to brush the outside of the potato skin with melted butter. If you want the outside skin to be really crisp place them back into the oven skin side up and back for 2 to 4 minutes until crisp. Or just place them back on your baking sheet right side up. Place the cheese into the potato, then your bacon. Then stick the potato skins back into the oven just long enough to totally melt the cheese and sizzle the bacon.

potato skins


The green onions are next, add sour cream if you like! You’ll love these a lot!! 🙂 In the south, some people call thme tater skins!


See my dessert Recipes!

Making Crème Brûlée               Hot Fudge Cake

creme brulee       hot fudge cake and ice cream

Strawberry Pie                            Chocolate Cheesecake

strawberry pie       chocolate cheesecake recipe

Cheesecake                                 Red Velvet Cake

cheesecake     red velvet cake

Click image to view more information on my cutting boards.

walnut double handle cutting board


Favorite Garden Magazine

2014 garden magazines

This year more than year’s past my mailbox has been flooded with garden magazines. From plants, to bulbs to supplies and equipment! I think I have tossed at least 10-12 magazines into the recycle bin that I didn’t want and in todays mail I received another two.

It’s not cheap to print color magazines and pay bulk postage for mailing.

What is your favorite garden plant magazine? Have you received a lot of gardening magazines this year?


Have a Great Weekend!



Hike Along


mountain laurel

Last Saturday afternoon I had a couple of hours and decided to take a hike into an area I had not hiked before and where the terrain is extremely steep. My hike took me across the mountain on the north side thru heavily covered areas of Mountain Laurel.

maountain laurel and rotted stump

I have mentioned in other hiking post that I have been hunting for a cave that was used by soldiers during the revolutionary war and a revolutionary war grave site. There are historical records with articles talking about this cave and grave site. I continue make hikes across the mountain in my attempt to find both of these.

green moss

Soon I was standing at the top of a gorge that is about 1500 feet deep trying to figure out if I was going to be able to hike down, trying to find the best path down.


I could hear water running, maybe a small waterfall. After searching for a clearing so that I could look over the Mountain Laurel, I could finally get a look at the bottom of the gorge. I had not hiked down this gorge before but I was determined to get to the bottom.

green moss growing on rocks

Almost to the bottom, decide to snap a couple pictures.

bottom of borge

It took me about 35 minutes to get to the bottom and it was worth my efforts.

huge white oak tree

Pair of huge white oak trees!

native ginger plant

I checked my compass in the direct the creek was flowing to determine if I could follow the creek. It appears the creek is flowing south which should eventually take me down the mountain. I will continue to watch my compass so that I can easily make my way back to the house.

native yellow wild flowers


animal bones

Animal bones, maybe a squirrel? Was it eaten by a fox, coyote, eagle, hawk, owl maybe?

green moss

Moss is growing all along this creek.

large rock


mountain stream

The water is crystal clear and cold.

mountain stream

There are several small waterfalls along this creek..


Can you spot the snail?

purple wild flowers





Moss and ferns growing on rocks.


This waterfall is about 20-25 feet tall.

yellow alage growing on rocks


“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for new and richer experience.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Enjoy your day!

Older Post:

Thinks I saw
Small Waterfalls





Two Red Fox!


trail cam red fox

I wish these pictures had been during the daylight so we could see their beautiful red colors and their huge fluffy red tails! The smaller ref fox has a lot of black on his legs.

red fox trail cam

reconyx trail cam red fox pictures

reconyx trail cam red fox pictures

reconyx trail cam red fox pictures

reconyx trail cam red fox pictures

reconyx trail cam red fox pictures

reconyx trail cam red fox pictures

My Work

Check out my other trail cam photos!

Red Fox Returns

Red Fox
First Night
Raccoons, Bring One Bring All
Bob Cat
Talking Turkey
Wild Mountain Turkey
Mountain Wildlife


See my dessert Recipes!

Making Crème Brûlée           Hot Fudge Cake

creme brulee       hot fudge cake and ice cream

Strawberry Pie                        Chocolate Cheesecake

strawberry pie       chocolate cheesecake recipe

Cheesecake                              Red Velvet Cake

cheesecake     red velvet cake

Click image to view more information on my cutting boards.

walnut double handle cutting board

Walnut Step Stool: Part III


stool pieces before sanding

After talking to my wife, we decided to change the legs and add a slight curve similar to the curve on top of the stool. I measured and marked for making the curve, then using my adjustable French curve I marked for my cuts.

walnut step stool

Using double sided tape I placed both legs on top of each other, the double sided tape secures the two pieces together allowing me to make two cuts instead of four and both cuts are matching cuts. I used the band saw to make these cuts, cutting shy of the line and then I will sand up to the line.

With both legs still together with the double sided tape, I sanded the cuts along the legs starting with 120 grits up to 320 grit. I then removed the two pieces from each other and the double sided tape. Incase the tape left any residue I sanded that area with 320 grit. After sanding the legs, all pieces are now ready to run thru the router for machining the edges.

router set-up

The above picture is the top of my router table which includes my homemade guard that ties directly into my dust collection system. The guard provides protection from the cutter and the dust collection keeps the area free of dust.

I want each piece to have a 1/8 inch round over except the top, so I need to set-up the router to handle these cuts.

making a walnut step stool

I unplugged the router, installed the 1/8 inch round over bit then adjusted the height of the cut. I then ran a couple of scrap pieces of wood thru the router to test the height. Once the height was correct, I proceeded to run all of the boards that need the 1/8 inch round thru the router.

Next I unplugged the router again to set-up the 1/4 inch round over bit for cutting the two long sides of the step stool top. Same process as before, after testing the height using scrap wood, I ran the long sides of the top thru the router. In the picture below you can see the long side now has a 1/4 inch round over.

working with walnut

In order to make a bead along the short ends of the top, I needed to raise the router bit and go thru the set-up and testing on a piece of scrap wood. In the picture above and below you can see the round over with a slight bead, I think it will add character to the top of the stool.

making a walnut step stool

The areas that were routed now need to be sanded. Once the sanding is completed I am ready to double check each piece and start assembling the step stool.

First thing is to assemble the legs and stretcher, after making several measurements I started the assembly of the legs and stretcher. Drilled 1/4 inch holes that will receive the 1/4 inch dowels in both the legs and stretcher. I will apply Titebond III wood glue to each dowel before inserting into the hole as I assemble the stool.

making a step stool

The stretcher adds strength and support.

building a walnut step stool

If you look at the pictures of the top after routing you will notice I still need to cut four square holes for securing the top to the legs. After measuring the location for each hole, I then cut the four 3/8 inch square holes, this is very tedious and takes time.

making a step stool

The four holes cut along each end are 3/8 inch square that will be used to secure the top to the legs. The three holes in the center are 1/2 inch square that will be used to secure the top to the stretcher. I made two different size holes to add contrast, these holes will be plugged using African Blackwood.

walnut step stool

I then assembled the top of the stool to the legs and stretcher. Same process as before, drilling 1/4 inch holes for the dowels, adding glue to the dowels before inserting into the holes.

walnut step stool

The step stool is looking good! My next steps will include machining the African Blackwood that I will use to plug the holes.

I also need to decide on the final finish, there are lots of choices. I am leaning toward starting with Zinsser SealCoat, then an oil based gel and finish up with lacquer or polyurethane. The other supplies I will need for applying the finish are rags, foam brushes, gloves, 400 to 1000 grit sanding pads, time and patience’s.

Making this walnut step stool has been a lot of fun!

Next post: Machining and installing square plugs, final sanding prep and applying the final finish.

Time spent on Part III: 1 hour 45 minutes

Making a step stool:
Walnut Step Stool: Part I
Walnut Step Stool: Part II
Making a Walnut Step Stool: Part III
Walnut Step Stool: Part IV

Previous Post:
Walnut Slabs
Walnut Wood Gloat

Caladium Bulbs


caladium bulbs

Last years picture!

Hello everyone!

I had gone to Lowes to get a couple things so I decided to walk over to the garden area and they had a huge display of spring bulbs. I love the colors of the caladium so I purchased a few packages. Caladiums are easy to grow and add a big show of color to the garden!

caladium bulbs

There are eight bulbs per package for $6.98, that’s .87 cents each, not to bad a price. I enjoy growing caladium, they are easy to grow and add beautiful colors to the garden. Caladiums are a great companion plant with impatiens, begonias and ferns too.

Caladium bulbs need warm soil at around 60 degrees F. In my area, the soil doesn’t get to 60 degrees until after Mother’s Day. If  you plant too early, when the soil is still cool, the bulbs will rot.

caladium bulbs

All caladiums love filtered sunlight, shade and need well drained soil that is rich in organic matter. I always add mushroom compost and fine pine bark when planting.

Plant the bulbs with the point side up only about 1 to 1-1/2 inches deep, spacing them 8 to 14 inches apart. I also like to grow caladiums in containers, that way I can move them around easily. Osmocote Outdoor Smart-Release plant food, 19-6-12 works great several times during the summer.

The height ranges from 18 to 24 inches but 8 to 12 inches for the dwarf variety. Width and leaf sizes varies with cultivar and age of bulbs. In my area, I would have to dig up each bulb to save them for next year due to the cold temperatures, the bulbs start to rot at the first frost.

It only takes a few days before you start to see the caladium shoots and they will last all summer as long as you water them regularly. Enjoy your day!

We loved with a love that was more than love.
Edgar Allen Poe

My Work

Hot Fudge Sauce, Chocolate Cake and Ice Cream

hot fudge cake recipe and ice cream better than Shoney's hot fuidge cake hot fudge sauce hot fudge syrup hot fudge sundae made from scratch best dessert ever awesome dessert chocolate dessert chocolate fudge Michael's Woodcraft Greenville SC

If you love chocolate, you will love this recipe! This recipe is better than the old Shoney’s Hot Fudge Cake, if you can remember that! This has got to be one of the Top Food Pleasures EVER! Ok, if you love chocolate, you are going to love me for this post!! This is one of the most magnificent, hot fudge sauce recipes you will ever taste!

If you try my Hot Fudge Sauce recipe, it will become one of your most favorite recipes ever. Let me warn you though, it is very addictive and oh so delicious!!! You won’t be able to stop eating it, your taste buds will explode with pleasure and you will want more and more!

On your first bite, it will make you do the HAPPY dance!  🙂

….MMM so good!

best ever hot fudge cake recipe

I am telling you this is a serious hot fudge sauce recipe that is homemade and easy to make! Does this recipe remind you of the Shoney’s Hot Fudge Cake, well it looks like it but this recipe is much better, thicker and more delicious, I promise you. Are you drooling yet?

best ever hot fudge cake recipe

This recipe has been in our family for a very long time, over 50 years. When I think of this recipe, I think about how wonderful it taste and all the good times with family! We would even hand churn ice cream and add this hot fudge making a vanilla fudge swirl ice cream.


hot fudge sauce

I often give away the mason jars of hot fudge as gifts!

With your spoon drizzle the hot fudge sauce over cool cake and ice cream it will be gooey, thick and get thicker as it cools but never turns hard.

ultimate hot fudge sauce

I know what you are thinking, how many calories? Too many to count…does it really matter, enjoy it, don’t feel guilty, just try it, enjoy it because you deserve it!


> see picture of the brand of items I use.
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light or dark Karo syrup
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 tsp salt
3 tablespoons margarine, I use Land Of Lakes brand
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

**Recipe makes 2o ounces.


homemade hot fudge cake

Start by combine all ingredients except vanilla into your pot. Vanilla will be the last ingredient added once you take the chocolate sauce off the stove top.

easy to make hot fudge cake chocolate syrup

Above, all ingredients in pot ready to start heating! Cook over medium heat, stirring until full boil. Boil for 3 minutes, constantly stirring.

easy to make hot fudge cake recipe

Above, all ingredients combined about ready to start boiling.

hot fudge syrup recipe

Above, low boil on medium Be careful stirring, (be sure to constantly stir) you don’t want to splash the HOT fudge sauce onto your fingers or hand. After boiling for 3 minutes, remove completely from the heat and add 1 tsp pure vanilla extract and stir to incorporate.

hot fudge syrup recipe

While the chocolate syrup is hot pour into a glass container. I use the small wide mouth Ball mason jars.

homemade hot fudge sauce

Using the wide mouth mason jar will make it easier to heat and gives you easy access with a spoon to remove the chocolate syrup when you are ready to eat! A jar of my homemade hot fudge sauce makes a great gift too. 🙂 Be sure to store the hot fudge sauce in the fridge until you are ready to eat. As it cools it will become really thick. All you need to do is heat it in the microwave to get it hot and ready to eat! Now to make the cake, I use Duncan Hines cake mix and just follow the instructions on the back of the box.

hot fudge cake syrup

Use a 9 X 13 inch sheet cake pan. All ingredients mixed and ready to go into the oven.

Big Boy's hot fudge cake recipe


Maybe you prefer only the cake and hot fudge, it’s just as delicious! 🙂 You can also use this hot fudge sauce to for fondue, dipping fruit, strawberries, pineapple, marshmallows, etc., you name it!!

to die for hot fudge cake

When I make this recipe I will buy the Mayfield vanilla ice cream in the rectangle carton to make it easy to slice the ice cream. Cut you a piece of cake, slice it in half, cut a piece of ice cream to fit, then you are ready to cover with the hot fudge sauce! Add whip cream too! homemade hot fudge sauce homemade hot fudge sauce hot chocolate fudge sauce

If you don’t want to do the cake, it’s great with just ice cream! Or over brownies or cup cakes, be creative.

Please Pin my pictures!

Check out my recent post, I have to tell you that the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cakes is Awesome!!!  SO is the Crème Brulee and the Strawberry pie, and…..

Making Crème Brûlée          Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cake

creme brulee       best ever chocolate chip cake recipe

Strawberry Pie                        Chocolate Cheesecake

strawberry pie       chocolate cheesecake recipe

Cheesecake                              Red Velvet Cake

cheesecake     red velvet cake


Walnut Charcuterie board serving board tray food presentation tray Wood Tray handcrafted Michael's Woodcraft Greenville South Carolina woodworking

For more information, view more images or to order, click SHOP NOW

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Things I Saw

Wanting to be alone yesterday afternoon I took a long hike down the mountain. I needed time alone to think and I also wanted to take a few pictures for a post today.

small stream

I hiked toward a small pond that is feed by a small stream. As I approached the pond I could hear and see a dozen or more water frogs jumping into the water. This pond is only 10 feet deep with crystal clear water, I could see the bottom covered in leaves. This pond is feed by a small stream that runs above ground but in a few areas runs underground. I forgot to take any pictures until I started hiking back along the stream.

Here are a few pictures of the things I saw!

fungi and lichen growing on tree

moss growing on fallen tree

fungi and lichen growing on tree

native wild flower

I am not sure of the name of this native wild flower but as I looked around they were everywhere. Do you know the name of this plant?

The first visitor today, which was Tex, see her post below, identified this flower as Bloodroot. I was also given a link by Elizabeth, http://creeksideresort.net/blog/?p=159

native wild flower

hole in tree

hole in tree

odd looking bark on white oak tree

Odd looking bark on the south side of this huge White Oak tree.

hickory nut

Half of a Hickory nut, probably opened and eaten by a squirrel.

native wild flower


Love is not about how much you say I Love You
But how much you prove that it’s true!

Enjoy Your Sunday!