So many uses for old wood window sashes

Lately, we have been trying to clean up our yard and do a little spring/summer cleaning. Like many cleaning projects go, we have uncovered some products we completely forgot we had. One of my favorite new finds is our wood window sashes (for pictures and prices click here). While these wood windows are not operable as windows, they can be turned into windows or short doors by attaching hinges. Dan Drllevich, one of the owners of the Millwork Outlet, built a one of a kind playhouse for his daughter using the old window sashes for all the windows and doors. If you are interested in learning about how he installed these, he would be happy to give you some tips when you come in to our Maple Valley store. In addition to using these sashes as windows and doors there are a ton of different ways people have repurposed these window sashes. At only $25 a sash you could make each one of these projects and still have money left to burn!

I LOVE this table because it is so easy to make! Attach some legs to your favorite window sash and voilà you have a coffee table.  We have about 30 wood window sashes that are very close to this size and have internal grids. The internal grids add an extra element of design and allows the table to be one continuous piece of glass versus having a true divided lite sash where the wood moulding would divide your table into smaller pieces of glass, which would require more finesse when setting down your coffee cup and saucer.


Nothing says french cottage kitchen better than this pot and pan hanger. I can just picture a longer version of this hanging over a kitchen island with a faux peeling paint job. Very vintage and very cool! Again, this would be super easy and I have a couple of pieces in our yard that would work great in this application. In this project having a true divided lite sash is critical as it provides a place to attach the hooks.


This designer is using a window sash as a visual barrier between a patio and garden which is a cool idea. But, how much cooler would it be if hinges were attached and it was used as a garden gate? Using a window as a garden gate is great because it provides an obvious transition point while still allowing visitors to admire the beauty on the other side of the gate. Rather than dividing a garden into tiny sections it opens up the garden while still providing the feel of a gate. I would love to see an example of a window sash used as an operable garden gate!


It really doesn't get any easier than this! This is a true divided window sash that has been hung on the wall as a decoration and is usable to boot! Installation is as easy as hanging a picture frame.


This project is probably my favorite because it combines the wood window sashes with one of my all time favorite materials- barn wood. I am a firm believer that it doesn't matter what you build with barn wood it will always look great. What I love most about barn wood is the imperfection. While this project is definitely more advanced than the wall hanger, it is a pretty simple and super affordable way to make a unique cabinet. I think my Nanny's canned golden peaches would really complete this picture!



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Repurpose Doors into Headboards

One of the latest decorating trends we have fallen in love with at the Millwork Outlet is repurposing doors into headboards. We have had more than a couple of customers search our warehouses for a door they can turn into a do-it-yourself headboard. Creating a door headboard is not only fun, it can also help you save some money. Door stores often buy their doors by the pallet load. Certain size doors are more popular than others so as the best sizes start to sell out, the stores get stuck with sizes they can't sell. You can often get the left over doors at VERY reduced prices. Below are my  favorite examples of these door headboard materpieces. I choose these examples not only for their orginality, but also because these just happen to be made out of doors we currently have for sale in our surplus warehouses!
Four Panel Door Headboard 
This is one of my favorite examples because the designer obviously appreciated the history of the door. The designer turned the door into a woork of art and challenged the idea of what a traditional headboard should look like. Made from two four panel doors, this headboard is truly a statement piece. In this application the doors were left their original size. The tall ceiling height in this house allows these doors to remain the standard 80". However, a similar look could be accomplished by cutting off the bottom panel and not extending all the way to the floor. The best part about this design? Millwork Outlet's hemlock four panel doors are on sale for only $99 each. For $200 and a bucket of paint you could create a VERY cool custom headboard!

Five Panel Door Headboard
The five panel door is probably the most popular door for designing headboards. The five equal panels allow the door to be turned on it's side which means you can use them in rooms with shorter ceilings and you only need one door for each bed. We especially like this one because the designer used antique door knobs to highlight the vintage look.

Louvered Door Headboard
This is a very unique design. I have never seen louvered doors used in this application, but I love it! Louvered doors generally come as half louvered or full louvered. These doors have a very cool lower panel, but I think a full louvered door would look great too! The Millwork Outlet just got a BIG shipment of louvered doors in and in true Millwork Outlet style, we put them on sale. We have all different sizes available. Click here to view our pictures!

Shaker Door with Stair Spindles
This designer took the door headboard to a new level by adding stair spindles on the top. New, stair spindles can get pretty spendy, but people often replace broken stair spindles or whole stair systems so you may be able to find used ones on Craigslist or through your local building materials outlet store. At the Millwork Outlet we are currently closing out our three panel shaker doors, which is another style door that looks great horizontally, and our red oak spindles. If you get the stair spindles with the turn at the top and bottom you could get two sections out of each spindle.

Arch Top Two Panel Door Headboard
Now, I am fully aware that this bed was probably NOT made out of actual doors, but since we have such a GREAT deal on our two panel arch top doors I wanted to include  this picture. I searched the internet high and low for an example of a headboard using an arch top door and could only come up with this. So, if you decide to try the two panel arch top headboard and you post it online, you would be the first!  It seems to me that you could replicate this bed using two panel arch top doors and probably save a whole lot of money. Right now our two panel arch top doors are only $45 each!


Classic Shoulder Plane

record 073

The Record # 073, from the eBay posting

Another milestone in my lifelong quest for excellent hand tools: a Record #073 shoulder plane. A little rusty but complete and completely restorable, purchased from England via eBay. These are the classic production steel shoulder planes, made 1933-1994, based on Edward Preston’s design, that eventually became the model for the current Lie-Nielsen shoulder planes. Four pounds, eight inches in length and 1-1/4″ wide, with an adjustable mouth, these beauties are capable of of incredibly fine cuts. Arguably Lie-Nielsen has made some subtle improvements in their model, but functionally there is no difference  –  and at less than half the cost, I’m very happy with the Record.

The plane arrived with just a light coating of surface rust on part of the body (no pitting). After completely dismantling the few parts, and a thorough cleaning, the rust was dispatched with a bit of steel wool and lube — leaving the patina typical of a fine tool well used and cared for.

Record 073

The Record 073 as-is upon arrival from England

Record 073

A light coating of corrosion, very manageable

Record 073

Record 073 stripped down for cleaning

Record 073

Record 073 restored and ready for action



joinery float

joinery float

‘Floats’ have been made and used for centuries. Simple tools, they are a cross between file and a saw, designed to remove material evenly from a surface while leaving it flat. You may be familiar with the ‘planemaker’s’ floats, used in the heyday of wooden plane making to flatten and refine the plane’s bed and other surfaces that were chopped out of solid blocks of wood. Floats have excellent uses in basic joinery, too.

float teeth

float teeth

Floats resemble files, except that instead of lots of little ‘teeth’ the float typically has a row of teeth from front to back, each tooth extending across the width of the steel, shaped about like a rip saw tooth in cross section. The teeth act like a row of chisels, each taking off a little bit as the float is passed over a surface.

float in use

Joinery float in use

If you know how to shape and sharpen hand saw teeth, you can make your own floats — although speaking from experience it’s a little tedious to do so. I have a joinery float that I purchased from Lie-Nielsen a while back that I have been very happy with and recommend highly. It’s a real boon when adjusting the fit of tenons, and can be used in other circumstances as well. These have to be sharpened occasionally, which is accomplished with the use of a 6″ double extra-slim taper saw file. The L-N tool I use is their model #FF-T, face float Push .

L-N provides them in ‘pull’ configurations as well as different shapes and sizes. For an online how-to article about making floats, check this out. The author is dealing with narrow floats here, but the principles are the same and his techniques are sound.

through tenon

A floated, well-fit through tenon


Making Shop Stands

Pair of Stands Krenov-style shop stands are strong, lightweight (unless you use, say, bubinga :-) ) and nest neatly without taking up lots of floor space. Making them is a good exercise in basic mortise-&-tenon joinery, planing and assembly. In my ‘Mortise and Tenon’ class, each student makes a pair of stands to take home. In order to make the most of the two-day class, I prepare all the stock in advance. Students learn to plan and execute mortises, using one of my horizontal mortising machines; saw tenons and bridle joints on the tablesaw; fit the joinery by hand, and assemble the completed stands.

Below is a gallery of images from a recent class. These cover some of the basic milling operations not done in class as well as some of the joinery operations.


A Thoroughly Modern Kitchen

They were an older couple and made an apartment from the top floor of her daughter’s home. They took the largest room upstairs, turned half into a living room and the other half for the kitchen. This enabled me to stand in living room and capture a good shot of the whole kitchen. Few projects are like that and it’s one of the reasons I have this photo displayed on the gallery of our website.
They had thought long and hard about how they wanted it laid out and he, having been an engineer, drew the floor plan. They also said it was to be very modern and blond in color. I’d love to take sole credit for the design of this beauty but, I’m happy having gotten the job amongst three bids (and simply helping with it’s design).
Here is the room all prepped before installation…

before cabinetsAs all the cabs had toe-kicks, we built our bases (2X4′s), leveled them and began placing each cab in place.

first cabinets inMy son, Brian, working on the island (notice the quarter-round glass shelves on left)

modern kitchen island being installedNotice the roof pitch (ceiling slant) that required we make cabs with slanted tops to which the crown molding had to be wrapped at an angle. The ‘crown’ was simply ‘one by’ material so we increased the height of the piece on the face compared to the side runs. My elder son (Russell) is contemplating something in the background.

modern cabs with a slantHere is the first picture after completion. You’ll notice the island’s counter made of contrasting strips of hardwood. You can see the stove top’s highly stylized vent hood. It was important to get a beauty because it was so prominent.island counter top of different woodsHere is a shot of the island from behind. We maintained a continuous veneer for the doors and drawer fronts in a clear finished maple. All were mounted over-lay with long, thin chrome pulls.

modern kitchen islandHere you can see the left side of the kitchen and the effect of the glass shelves (which are on the right side as well).

stylish modern kitchenThe cabinets on the far right and left are open shelved from behind, though you can barely see it (opposite the fridge). The coffee maker, toaster, can opener, etc. are there for easy access. This frees up counter space and keeps the kitchen looking clean and orderly. Our client is in the background. ( I interrupted her making dinner when I stopped by to photograph)ultra modern kitchen islandThis makes a handsome master shot. The track lighting is very cool looking and if I’d had a slightly wider lens, I could have shown the glass shelves on the right and left sides. Maybe I’ll go back and photograph the kitchen again some day. Might even make a nice, short film for the video page on our site.

kitchen of the futureRussell Hudson / Hudson Cabinetmaking, Inc.