In the Shop

In the Shop was established in 2020.  I create easy to follow build models for woodworkers of all levels of experience, as well as discuss tips on how to take your project to the next level.  Come build with me In the Shop!

RK Woods

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Beer Cap Epoxy Table

Beer Cap Table

September 2023

This was my first epoxy pour project. I wanted something relatively easy that would allow me to get my feet wet.


It turned out nice and makes a great addition to our back patio.  Overall, not a difficult project but i did learn a thing or two.





Short Cut #7 Cutting Board Repair

Cutting Board Repair

July 2023

Unfortunately, the cutting board that i made last September split.  My friend, the recipient of the board, asked me if there was a way to fix it.


I thought epoxy would be the easiest fix.  I mixed a little acrylic paint with the epoxy with the hope that the repair would blend in with the wenge.  The repair is invisible and my friend was happy with the result!!


Making A Chess Board Part #4

Chess Board

April 2023

The 4th and final video in this build is all about the finish and drawer details.  The finish is a blend of boiled linseed oil, tung oil, and wipe on poly. 

I added dividers to my drawer to make it easier to organize the chess pieces and I finished off the drawer using a suede flock.

This project was a lot of fun and I learned a few things during this process.



Making A Chess Board Part #3

Chess Drawer

March 2023

The 3rd video in this build is all about making the chess piece storage drawer.  This was my first ever attempt at half blind dove tails and they turned out great.


I also used my lathe to turn a knob for the drawer.  I rarely use my lathe for anything other than turning pens and I am pleased with the result.



Making A Chess Board Part #2

Chess Base

December 2022

Part 2 of this chess board build focuses primarily on the base.  The base is made from maple and walnut.  I used simple tenon and groove joinery for the main body and frame and panel construction for the very bottom of the base.

A couple of additional details are the chamfer profile i added to the bottom and the magnets that i epoxied to the inside of the back side piece.  These magnets will hold the drawer closed.



Epoxy inlay cuttingboard

Epoxy Inlay

November 2022

I had an absolute blast working on this project.  The end product was donated as a raffle prize to raise money for our local veterans, and I got to collaborate with one of my woodworking friends.

Ty Gregorty over at wood works rx helped me with the cnc work.  Be sure to check out his site at


Short Cut #6 Shop Made Wood Putty

Wood Putty

October 2022

It is always difficult to find a wood putty that actually matches the material you are using.  In the past I tried several different products before realizing its a lot easier to simply make my own.


A simple mixture of glue and saw dust from the project material I am using does the trick. The type of glue used can effect the color but the match will still be far superior to anything you will find in a store.


Making a Chess board Part #1

Chess Board

October 2022

In this video, I combined two of my favorite things: woodworking and playing chess.  This chess board is made from maple, wenge and walnut!!


Part 1 of this series focuses on the top / playing surface of the board.  Part 2 will cover the base.




Short Cut #5 Buying Hardwood by the board foot

buying hardwood

October 2022

Buying hardwood can be a bit challenging and frustrating if you are unfamiliar with how hardwood is sold.

This video covers a couple of things in which everyone buying hardwood should be aware.  Most importantly, what a board foot is and how to calculate total board feet.


Grizzly 0860 DC Tool Review

Grizzly G0860

September 2022

This is my first tool review.  I really love this dust collector but I tried to be as honest as possible, noting the bad with the good.  

I have 5 machines hooked up to this system and i have been more than pleased with its overall performance.  I hope  someone will find this review helpful.  


End Grain Cutting Board

cutting board

September 2022

This cutting board was made for a good friend of mine.  The basket weave pattern was achieved by using a combination of maple, wenge and padauk.



The greatest challenge in this project was the glue up.  Doing a little at a time over a period of several days got me there.






Farm house table build

Farm Table

May 2022

This Table is one of my favorite builds.  My wife had asked me to build her a farm table for over a year and I finally tackled the project.  The best part of this project is how much my wife loves it.

The Table top, base and bench are all made from solid ash.  I painted the base with white oil based paint and sprayed a top coat of poly over the paint.  The table top was darkened with a gel stain and then several coats of wipe on poly were applied.

The table comfortably seats 10 people and we have already created many memories sitting there!!


Short Cut #4 Turning Pens - Initial Cost

Turning pens

April 2022

This short cut takes a quick look at the costs associated with turning pens.  I did not include the tools that were already a part of my woodworking shop.


Pens make great gifts and are fun to make.  Turning pens is also a great way to use up all those precious scraps that are so difficult to part with.



Shop Built Mallet

Joiners Mallet

March 2022

This shop built mallet is made from curly maple, padauk, and wenge.  It features a through tenon that I drawbored using 1/2″ dowells.


The drawbore adds mechanical strength, making the joint strong, tight and reliable for years to come.



Short Cut #3 Back to the Drawing Bore


February 2022

A mortise and tenon is a great joint.  One of my favorite woodworking tricks is to add a drawbore to this joint.


The drawbore adds mechanical strength, making the joint strong, tight and reliable for years to come.




Squaring Up A Board

Squaring a board

February 2022

Every project begins with cleaning up and squaring rough lumber.  This video covers the five step process I use to achieve that.


This can be done with hand tools, but I prefer to use power tools for all my milling.



Short Cut #2 Dont Forget To Brush Your Teeth

Blade cleaning

January 2022

Over time, residue known as pitch, builds up on the teeth of saw blades.  This residue will decrease the performance of a blade dramatically.


The blade will behave as if it is dull but in reality, it just needs to be cleaned.




5 Ways to make your table saw less dangerous

Table Saw Safety

January 2022

Shop safety is always on my mind, especially when it comes to using my table saw.

One mishap on the table saw can change a person’s life forever.

This video covers a few ways to make the table saw less dangerous.




Short Cut #1 Waxing & Relaxing

Paste Wax

December 2021

I Wax the surface of my table saw and other tools for two reasons.  It helps protect my tools, but it also makes the tools easier to use by reducing friction.

I always wax these tools when I am in between projects.


Gaming Desk Build

gaming desk

His wait is finally over, now my stepson can game in style!!

September 2021

This is one wicked awesome  gaming desk made from walnut!!

Part 1 is all about making the legs.  I made them from 8/4 walnut and relied heavily on my festool domino for the joinery.

In Part 2 I build and attach the apron.  I also build and install the drawer and keyboard slide out.

Part 3 includes installing the desk top as well as applying the finish.


2021 Shop Tour

welcome to my neighborwood

July 2021

A tour of my shop. look at all my cool stuff.


My shop is an extension of myself.  It is not just a place where I build things, but a place where I also rejuvenate my soul!!





Corn hole boards

i am cornholio

these boards are already getting a ton of use at family gatherings and weekend cook outs!!

May 2021

These cornhole boards are made from 1/2″ ply and construction grade 2x4s.  This is a very easy weekend project!!



in the end, they recieved a couple of coats of spraypaint and a protective coat of poly over the paint.  



I also added some decals.  (not pictured)




Making a Picture Frame

mom's frame

I feel like a terrible son, it only took me about 8 months to get to this build. I think it turned out great and mom agrees with me.

April 2021

The picture is frame is made from curly maple, wenge and padauk.



I took a slightly unconventional approach on this frame and was happy with the results. 



Most importantly, Mom loves it!!



Built in Display Cabinet

cabinet display

Our current home came with a very bizarre area next to the fireplace. There was a mirror backed cavity in the brick wall that looked horrible. I turned that monstrosity into a cabinet display that looks very natural and clean!!

April 2021

This entire build was made from scrap pieces of birch plywood and scrap poplar.  The only trip I made to the hardware store was for paint.





I used left over vinyl flooring for the back.  This really made the cabinet pop!!




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Farm Style Cabinet Doors

Yes dear!!

My better half requested a farm style look for the display cabinet's doors.

March 2021

The frames of these doors were made from scrap pieces of poplar I had laying around the shop.  The panels were made from 1/4″ birch ply that I also had laying around the shop.



The only materials I purchased for this build were the door pulls, hinges and a little paint.




Baby Storage Bench

Toy box

With the arrival of our daughter, came a disorganized and messy house. This project was an attempt to address that issue!!

November 2020

The bench is made from 3/4″ birch plywood with solid poplar trim covering the plywood edges.  The back is made from 1/4″ birch ply.


The bench was primed and finally painted with high gloss white paint.  The baskets were ordered from amazon!!



Handcut Dovetails


Dovetails are a great method of joinery that can be made with handtools and mastered fairly easily!!

October 2020

Cutting dovetails by hand is a fairly easy operation if you know the steps.  If you can cut a straight line with a handsaw and follow those steps you will be cutting dovetails in no time.



There are a few different ways to approach dovetails.  In this tutorial I demonstrate my preferred approach and I also discuss the tools I use.



Maple & Walnut Serving Tray

serving tray

This tray was a fun project that came with a few challenges. The end product turned out great!!

October 2020

Made from maple and walnut, this serving tray features hand cut dovetails on a compound joint. 



The dovetails were the real challenge on this project but the beveled sides also called for some creative solutions!!




Routing the groove for the bottom and clamping on the beveled sides proved to be tricky!!




Making Bandsaw Boxes

bandsaw boxes

I really love making these boxes. They are easier than they look, and they can be completed over a weekend!!

September 2020

The box in the video is made from bubinga and maple, but I have made many boxes from a variety of other wood species!!






Bandsaw boxes are one of my favorite projects. They are a lot easier than they look and they are a great opportunity to get creative and to try out some different wood species!!




Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools Since 1978




Matt's Cutting Board

Cutting Board

always great to hang with an old friend!!

September 2020

This board was made from maple, cherry, walnut, and purple heart!!






The best part of this project was getting to work with an old friend!!




Wahoo Game Board

a family tradition

My family has been playing wahoo as far back as I can remember. I can recall some pretty intense battles taking place at my grandparent's kitchen table.

August 2020

My first several boards, I made from solid walnut or mahogany.  The board in my video is made from walnut!!


After making several boards for family members, I started using plywood as well.


Using birch ply and walnut veneer ply has enabled me to produce a board faster and cheaper, and the results are still great!!



Sculpted Keepsake box

Abel's box

These boxes have definitely become a thing. I have produced around 20 sculpted boxes and I dont think I am done.

August 2020

This video series has a special place in my heart.  It was the first video tutorial that I made and the project became my personal tribute to someone we lost.

The box in the video is made from zebra wood and maple.  However I have used several different species on these boxes including many exotics!!

My favorite to date is the curly maple box with wenge splines and handle!!  

I like to flock the inside of all my boxes.  






Farm Table build

Happy Wife

This is probably my favorite project to date. Not so much because I enjoyed the build, but because my wife absolutely loves it!!

July 2020

The table is made from solid ash as is the base and bench. This was the first project video I made and it is more of a slide show.  



The table top features breadboard ends.  I used threaded inserts, epoxied on the bottom side of the table top as means to secure it to the base.




The base features through tenons as does the bench!!




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