Furniture maker Thomas J. MacDonald has been featured in Forbes Magazine, Fine Woodworking Magazine and The Boston Globe. He has also been honored to have his furniture on display at the Massachusetts Historical Society, the RISD and Concord Museums and his alma mater, The North Bennet Street School.
Shaker-Inspired Step Stool
A Shaker-inspired Step Stool is Tommy's project on this episode of Rough Cut. This simple piece serves as the perfect introduction to woodworking, and throughout the episode Tommy explores the technique of making dovetails. For inspiration, he travels to Rollingsford, New Hampshire, and meets up with Allan Breed of the Breed School of Fine Woodworking. There, Allan shows Tommy his unique way of cutting dovetails, which includes holding the saw upside down. Upon returning to his shop, Tommy works with local woodworker Al D'Attanasio to explain the important and varied techniques of making dovetails.
Boston's Old North Church may be most famous for its steeple lanterns, which once signaled the start of the American Revolution. Another standout characteristic of the building is the dentil molding. Host Tommy MacDonald travels to the historic site to gain inspiration for his newest Rough Cut project, a Wall Cabinet. Then he heads to Beverly, Massachusetts, to speak with fine furniture maker Phil Lowe about adding architectural detail to projects. After this trip, Tommy returns to the workshop to build a Wall Cabinet, which features detailed moldings such as a dentil, cove, and quarter round.
Octagonal Lazy Susan
The Octagonal Lazy Susan featured on Rough Cut this week has a lot of bang for the buck. Not only is the octagonal shape beautiful to look at, but the inlaid veneer of birdseye maple and beeswing mahogany really make the piece magnificent. In this episode, Tommy provides detailed instructions on how to build the initial shape, but then takes particular care with his instruction on how to do the inlay. On a very special Rough Cut Road Trip, Tommy gets a behind-the-scenes peek at Historic New England, a massive warehouse of historic artifacts and furniture that is not open to the public. Back in the shop, fellow North Bennet Street School graduate Eli Cleveland joins Tommy to build the Lazy Susan.
Perfect for Veterans Day, or any other day, this episode of Rough Cut features the building of a Flag Box, perfect for housing the American flag. As a special feature in this episode, Tommy welcomes five retired members of the military into the shop to help him fold the flag for the box. And to add another dimension, the box itself features splines made from live oak from the USS Constitution. Throughout the episode, Tommy provides detailed instructions, highlighting the techniques for achieving successful splined miter joints. Tommy also goes on location to the USS Constitution to speak with naval historian Margherita Desy, and is paid an in-studio visit by fellow woodworker Al D'Attanasio.
Greene and Greene-Inspired Dressing Mirror
In this episode of Rough Cut, Tommy tackles a Greene and Greene-Inspired Dressing Mirror, perfect for practically any room. To get inspiration for the mirror, Tommy heads out on a Rough Cut Road Trip to the magnificent Gamble House in Pasadena, California. There he finds brilliant Arts and Crafts examples by architects Charles and Henry Greene. Back in the shop, Tommy works with North Bennet Street instructor Steve Brown to explain the details and joinery in the project including finger joints, cloud lifts, and drawer construction.
Arts and Crafts-Style Chair
This time, on Rough Cut, Tommy takes on an Arts and Crafts-Style Chair. This episode will demonstrate how to make the legs, arms and back, mostly through standard mortise and tenon joinery. The Road Trip brings Tommy out to Alta Loma, California, where he visits the home of one of the biggest names in chair making: the late, great Samuel Maloof. There, Tommy visits with Samuel's wife Beverly as well as a curator. Back in the studio, Tommy is joined by master furniture maker Chuck Bender of The Acanthus Workshop in Pennsylvania.
Pie Crust Tray
On this installment of Rough Cut, Tommy builds a traditional Pie Crust Tray. For inspiration, he heads on a Rough Cut Road Trip to the new Art of the Americas wing at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. There, Tommy meets with curator and chair of the Art of the Americas department, Elliot Davis, to talk about the Chippendale and Federalist-style pie crust tables they have in their collection. Tommy takes his MFA knowledge back to the shop where he and Eli Cleveland walk through the turning and carving techniques needed to make the project.
On this Rough Cut episode, Tommy makes a practical Serving Cart, essential for any kitchen, out of scrap tiger maple. The project is a basic cart form, however, for the top serving area, Tommy goes on a Road Trip to look for the right solid surface. In Canton, Massachusetts, Tommy explores different kinds of man-made and solid surfaces with the help of fabricator Paul D'Attanasio. Ultimately, he decides on a man-made solid for his project. Back in the shop, Tommy's friend Al D'Attanasio stops by.
The Drop-Leaf Table featured on this episode of Rough Cut has a lot of bang for the buck. Not only is the shaker-type style beautiful to look at, but the finger joints are fun to learn how to make. To get inspiration for this project, Tommy takes a Road Trip to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to see drop-leaf and gate-leg tables from centuries past. Back in the shop, Tommy is joined by Chuck Bender of The Acanthus Workshop in Pennsylvania.
Turned Floor Lamp
This time, on Rough Cut, Tommy demonstrates the turning technique by using a lathe and shows how to turn cove and bead shapes into a Tall Floor Lamp. He heads to New London, New Hampshire, on a Rough Cut Road Trip, to visit the studio of artist Peter Bloch, who turns lamp shades out of Aspen logs. Back in the studio, Tommy is joined by his friend and fellow woodworker, Al D'Attanasio.
The Standing Mirror in this episode of Rough Cut is one of Tommy's favorite projects, due to its simple design augmented by Paul Schurch's magnificent marquetry. On this episode's Road Trip, Tommy visits Schurch's studios in Santa Barbara, California, where Paul demonstrates basic marquetry.
Veneered Coffee Table with Metal Frame
The Rough Cut Veneered Coffee Table project brings Tommy on a Road Trip to the metal works shop of Payne Engineering in Canton, MA. There, Tommy learns the basics of making a metal frame. Back in the shop, Tommy builds out the coffee table and teaches some basic veneering techniques. Then, Tommy is joined in the shop by fellow woodworker Laura Fuoco.
Laminated Coat Rack
In this episode of Rough Cut, featuring the Laminated Coat Rack project, Tommy teaches basic geometric patterns using different species of wood by stack laminating. Then, Tommy and crew head out on a Rough Cut Road Trip to Brookhaven, New York, where studio artist David Ebner is busy making his famous Scallion Coat Rack - a project that teaches both lamination and turning techniques.
Console Table/Hdtv Stand
Tommy looks at the technique of bending wood for his Rough Cut Console Table/HDTV stand project. To get some inspiration, Tommy goes on a Road Trip to meet with the curator of the Brooklyn Museum. There, he learns about the Thonets, who are famous for perfecting the technique of steam-bent lamination. Back in the shop, Tommy is joined by Rough Cut regular Eli Cleveland.
Sand Shaded Clock
On this installment of Rough Cut, Tommy takes a look at the art of sand shading, a technique dating back to the ancient Egyptians. He demonstrates how this art form can be uniquely applied to his Sand Shaded Clock project. For the Rough Cut Road Trip, Tommy heads to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, which houses some beautiful examples of sand shading made by John and Thomas Seymour. Back in the shop, Tommy is joined by St. Louis radio personality McGraw Milhaven.
Simple Case Construction Book Case
This time, on Rough Cut, Tommy discusses project design and explains how to do basic mortise and tenon joinery for a Simple Case Construction Bookcase project. He takes a Road Trip to the Furniture Divas exhibit at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts. Back in the shop, Tommy is joined by New Hampshire furniture maker Tom McLaughlin.
The final project in season two of Rough Cut is a Potting Station, perfect for any outdoor gardening space. To gather inspiration for the project, Tommy heads on a Rough Cut Road Trip to the Massachusetts Horticultural Association in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where gardens curator David Fiske shows Tommy what is needed for the perfect potting station. Back in the shop, Tommy is joined by friend and fellow woodworker Al D'Attanasio.
Coopered Leg Table
On the premiere of Rough Cut Season 3, Tommy creates a beautiful ambrosia maple Coopered Leg Table - perfect for a dining room or office. To get inspiration for the piece, Tommy travels to beautiful Napa Valley for a visit to the incredible Seguin Moreau Cooperage. Here Tommy gets an up close tour of the wine-barrel making process. Full of ideas from Napa, Tommy returns to the shop to teach the technique of coopering.
This time, on Rough Cut, Tommy takes on the key tool in any woodshop - the workbench. With help from his shop coordinator and Rough Cut technical advisor, Eli Cleveland, Tommy will demonstrate how to make a workbench with mortise and tenon joinery and a beautiful solid maple top.
Barley Twist Lamp
On this Rough Cut episode, Tommy tackles the difficult technique of off-set turning on a lathe when he makes the unique Barley Twist Lamp. The lamp is made out of beautiful mahogany and topped off with a specially made glass top designed and created just for this project. For the Road Trip, Tommy visits his good friend, glassblower, Niels Cosman at his Rhode Island School of Design studio. Niels will make a special appearance back at the Rough Cut shop when he personally delivers the finished lampshade to Tommy.
Mitered Hall Table
This week on Rough Cut we're making a Mitered Hall Table out of one giant slab of figured maple. Tommy will show us how he achieves the look of one continuous grain pattern by interpreting the wood. And for the Road Trip Tommy takes us to Berkshire Hardwoods in Western Massachusetts where we meet owner, Jeff Poirier, and learn how he takes a local tree and turns it into a beautiful piece of stock.
The Dovetailed Toolbox created on this week's episode of Rough Cut has played a supporting role in Tommy's shop since the very first season. Tommy will demonstrate how to achieve the striking dovetail joinery found on his toolbox and what kind of things you can do at home to "make it your own".