Monday, 11 August 2014

New Baby!

There may be a slight production delay at Maple Ridge Creations over the next little while.

Let me explain:

I have a small, one man basement shop in my house. This means that while I might be feeling particularly industrious at any point in the day, there may be certain delays in production based on the schedule of the rest of my family.

This means that naptime usually precludes the running of the router, bedtime means no bandsaw, no sanding during supper and so on. Sometimes tools can't be run due to noise levels and sometimes I'm just (rightly) expected to be doing something with the family. Both of which are relevant to...

Our new addition! Many of you are aware that my wife has been expecting and Sunday afternoon we received our little Rebecca into the world.

This will mean at least a couple quiet days at the house for mommy and baby. I would ask that you please be patient if you are waiting for custom orders. They might be just a couple days delayed.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Children Sized Picnic Table

A few years ago some friends gave us a small picnic table for our kids to play with in the yard. This morning, just after I had started work in the shop, I was given the news that my oldest had injured himself and the table was effectively no more. 

Always being up for a new project, I set to work to make a new bigger, stronger picnic table for the kids to use. Here is what I ended up with:

The old table had been made from wood that was roughly 2 1/2" x 5/8". Obviously something a bit stronger was needed so I used 1 x 4" (which is really 3/4" x 3 1/2", approximately). It was only around 16" tall and since my kids are growing (both in size and number) something bigger made sense. The finished product is a little over 20" tall and big enough for an adult to sit on one of the seats (although 2 adults on the same bench is not recommended - this is a kids table after all). 

It's around 48" long, which means it should be big enough for those times when friends come over and more than big enough to run around, climb on, climb under and do all those other things that kids are wont to do with picnic tables. 

The legs and crosspieces are 2 x 4"s, which provides more than enough strength to support a small horde of children, and the center crosspiece stabilizes the top 1 x 4"s for some added resiliency. 

The one thing this particular table doesn't have is a finished look. And that's because it isn't really finished. It has no colour, either paint or stain, no protection from the elements, and it doesn't quite look fun enough for little kids. Sadly, that's what comes from being the children of a woodworker: the finish comes when there's time. However, it also means that after breaking the old table this morning, my kids got to play with this one by the afternoon.

I will be making this table available for sale for interested customers, along with full size picnic tables. Pricing will depend on size, materials and finishing options. Contact me at for more information.

Carved Bowls: A Sampling

When time and materials allow, I enjoy carving bowls. One of the great things about bowl carving today is that they don't really have to be functional, since most wooden bowls today are used only as decoration. This allows a certain freedom to the carver, which I admit to enjoy. 

Here's a quick sample of three bowls I've done so far in 2014:

Top view. The live edge is visible around the rim and along the top of the handles

This traditional Scandinavian style bowl with intrinsic handles is made from solid cherry. The live edge has been left on the face and its been finished with Danish Oil. 

Side view with the Madoc Market Square in the background

 Crotch-figure in the wood can be seen in the top left of the bowl above

Bowl? Tray? I don't really know, but I do know that this large decorative piece is made from a solid piece of silver birch and has some beautiful crotch-figure at one end. The bark has been left on and secured to the wood. Sunlight makes this bowl light up wonderfully.

The bark can be seen around the edged. It covers the entire bottom naturally. 

Top down shot showing the branch "stripe" through the middle

Bowl carving is just better when you can exercise a bit of freedom in design. This bowl shows off a pedestal style bottom and a branch inclusion really sets it off. made from solid poplar the cut of the bowl follows a tree branch all the way through from one side to the others. A bit of spalting on one end adds a final natural accent. 

The profile shot. High gloss finish makes this one hard to photograph well in direct sunlight.

Unlike most of the things I make, bowl like this are truly one of a kind. Each one is dependant on both the characteristics of the piece of wood as well as the mood and inclination of the carver for its form. I likely won't get to posting every bowl separately here, but I will try to get some up from time to time. 

However, all of my in stock bowls can be viewed (and purchased) weekly at the Marmora Farmer's Market on Saturdays or the Madoc Market on Fridays, at least until the end of August. I will be putting up a fall schedule soon. 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Mini Wishing Wells

So I was approached a couple weeks ago about the possibility of making a miniature wishing well. After some design work and pricing these were the final result.

Aren't they cute?

Side profile

They stand just short of 30" and are made entirely of eastern white cedar (except for roof base of plywood). The customer wanted something that would be left unfinished that would weather naturally but not rot quickly. White cedar fir the bill.

The cedar roof is glued down to add strength against wind

A great little wishing well for a small planter or to add a flourish to your garden. As always, custom orders and items can be made to order.

At present these little guys are priced at $120.00 CDN

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Custom Bench

I hope to do another post soon showing off some other benches, but I need to take some pictures first. Stay tuned and keep your eyes peeled for that, and also be thinking about any ideas you may have for a bench to fit your own needs. 

This was a custom project for a big city customer. I had a small sample bench (more of a stool really) with me at a Farmer's Market and the customer approached me and asked if i could make a custom bench. I assured him that I could and he took a card and told me he would email me some measurements. 

A few weeks later he emailed me the specifics. I found out later that he and his wife had gone around looking at benches that felt right and took measurements to get the best of all worlds. He also wanted something that would match a table that was already in his home. 

We were able to match the colour to his satisfaction, give him a firm price on the finished project and meet his measurements exactly. He was contacted and we arranged pickup.

He arrived on the specified day and was very happy (I could say thrilled, but we men are a bit more emotionally reserved when it comes to furniture) to see the final product. Sturdy, level, just the right colour, much better quality and a longer life expectancy than something from a box store (did I mention it's made from solid wood?) and all for a reasonable price. 

I like wood. Whether it's pine, cedar, poplar, oak, maple, cherry, walnut, mahogany or sumac, I like wood and I like working with wood; and my experience is that most folks out there like the way that wood looks and feels and even the way it smells.

I work with my clients to get them the best product for their money to meet their wants and needs. That might mean an indoor bench made from pine to keep the cost down, or a bench made from black walnut and curly maple to show off a dining room set or to sit in a living room. Maybe it's a cedar bench to sit on a deck with a good exterior finish, or maybe it's an oak dining room bench built to survive lots of rambunctious children at dinner time. 

Pricing is relative to size and materials but price estimates are free. Contact me at for a no commitment consultation for a bench or any other woodworking need. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Custom Signs

Inside or outside, sometimes you need to advertise a little bit. Maybe it's a family name sign to tell friends where you live, maybe it's a company or small business sign or maybe it's a bit of fun like a mancave sign. 

No matter what you're looking for, we are happy to try and meet your requests with signs tailored to your needs and tastes. To help you decide, here's a few options:

Basic Signs: The basic sign has basic information, and is pretty, well, basic looking. Typically made from 3/4" pine and left unstained so you can paint, stain or finish it yourself, or leave it unfinished and keep it indoors and let a soft patina build up over time. 

Extra Option #1: Extra Information: Have a street number, address or other information added above or below the basic sign. This option will include fastening hardware unless otherwise specified by the customer. 

Extra Option #2: Stain: If plain pine isn't your thing then you may be interested in adding some stain to your sign. Choose from a Minwax stain or another specified stain, dye, etc. I don't typically like to paint, but it is also an option (I suppose...if i have to).

Extra Option #3: Chains: Attach your sign to a post, tree or hang from a beam with chains. Typically this option includes 2 12" lengths of chains along with removable links. Chain lengths can be provided at different lengths as desired.

Extra Option #4: Finish: Exterior finish will provide considerable weather resistance to your sign and both interior and exterior finishes will bring out the colour and the grain of the wood. Interior finishes are available in matte, satin and gloss, exterior finishes are a blend of Helmsman Spar Urethane and teak oil, and are available in satin, semi-gloss and gloss. 

Extra Option #5: The Post: Posts are made from 4"x4" eastern white cedar and finished with a blend of Helmsman Spar Urethane and teak oil which both brings out the colour and adds to the already considerable weather resistance of cedar. Crossbeams are attached with notches and screws. I like to accent the posts by routing a cove into the edges. 

Extra Option # 6: Materials: Other woods can be used in lieu of those mentioned above depending on product availability. Costs will vary depending on the wood used. Western red cedar may be substituted for eastern white cedar if available. Cedar (white or red) may be used for signs, as well as various hardwoods. Please note that some woods may not perform as well in exterior conditions as pine. 

Why not add a little something to your front yard to give it a personal and distinguished touch?

For pricing and other information, contact Don at

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Custom Shelf

I was contacted back in the fall to do a custom wall shelf that would be a Christmas present. After spending some time getting specifics worked out, well, this was the eventual result. Since much of my work revolves around a scroll saw it's a bit on the decorative side. 

Above is the finished shelf as viewed from the front. It's made from pine and stained with Watco Cherry Danish oil. This one has two shelves; I have a similar one with 3 shelves holding up my DVD collection at home. Potentially, more shelves could be added as needed/desired. Note that each shelf has a spot for 2 screws to fasten it to the wall so more shelves don't increase the risk of it falling off the wall. Holes are spaced at 16" so they can be fastened into wall studs. 

One of the details that was worked out was what pattern or design was to be cut into the middle brackets. The customer decided on the hummingbirds and flower. Other designs are available or customers can provide their own. 

The roses cut into the bottom were probably my favourite little touch. They went along with the flower motif on the sides. I was really happy with how they came out. Again, almost any small pattern or picture could be cut into this spot, or it can be left out entirely if desired. 

A close up on the middle bracket. Note the Roman Ogee on the edge of the shelves. I was going to just use a round over but felt it needed a bit more. 

When all was said and done the customer was happy, the recipient was happy and I was fairly pleased with how it came out. For custom shelf pricing information or to ask about anything else please email me at