Catherine Larson

DIY beer flights

Posted by on Apr 07 2013

Step 1: Get wood that is roughly 4 inches wide and 3/4 of an inch thick with relatively little warp.

Step 2: Create a jig. This is especially important if you plan on making multiple beer flights. This just means a pattern, usually with a cheap wood. Unfortunately my cheap wood wasn’t the same width as my finished wood, so I’ve had to do a little math to ensure that the circles where the glasses fit were properly centered. For me, that meant allowing for 2/16th space – or the thickness of a puffy emory board – between my jig and the edge of the hard wood. I created my jig using plywood. I drew a handle on the plywood and cut it out using a scroll saw. I only cut the handle on one side so that I could flip the jig over so that both sides of the handle match.

Requirements: scroll saw (or some other type of saw that allows for curves)

Step 3: Create the holes in your jig using a hole saw. It helps to know the diameter of the glasses you are going to use with the beer flight. The glasses I used were about 2 inches. I thought that would mean a 2.25″ hole saw would do the trick. It does not. Go even larger. I ended up using a 2.75″ hole saw. The reason is that you must take into account the space the bushings would use up when used with the router. What’s a bushing? Then line up 4 circles, evenly spaced and start drilling with that hole saw.

Requirements: 2.75″ hole saw used with a hand drill (or drill press if you happen to have one of those lying around)


Beer flight and template

Step 4: Lay your jig/template on top of the wood you are going to use for the beer flight. Trace the pattern on to your wood using a contrasting color so you can see it. (If your wood is dark, use a bright piece of chalk or bright color pencil for more exact lines. If your wood is light, use a regular pencil.)

 Step 5: I should have suggested that before you picked the wood for your template that you made sure that your router’s bushing would work with the thickness of the jig. A bushing allows you to move a router around following the pattern/jig that you created. If your jig is too thick, then the bushing and the router bit won’t be able to reach your actual piece of wood. I discovered this the hard way and maybe you will too. Don’t let this discourage you. Your router bit will depend on the type of router you have but you’ll probably need some sort of bowl/tray router bit or straight bit.

Requirements: router, bushings, straight or bowl bit for router

Please note: Be sure you know how to use a router. They are serious tools. Get trained. Also – keep a handvac handy – they output a lot of wood shavings and sawdust. Wear eye protection and hearing protection.

Step 6: Set your router to your desired depth. Following the jig, make many slow and steady passes until you reach the desired depth.

Step 7: Start sanding. I used an orbital sander, as well as just a block with some adhesive sandpaper attached to it to polish this beer flight down.

Requirements: orbital sander and sandpaper or a block of wood with sandpaper wrapped around the block.

Step 8: Varnish. If you plan on eating directly off of the paddle – say by flipping it over and using as a fancy cheese plate, then be sure you use a food safe varnish.


Morris Chair (for beginners)

Posted by on Mar 30 2010

Building a chair is hard work. I’m building a Morris Chair along with a fine group of fellow woodworkers under the tutelage of the Chicago School of Woodworking. I’ve worked on this chair for over 40 hours and it’s reached the point where a visible chair is forming, but a long road of chiseling, sanding, varnishing, and touch-ups remain to be seen. The building of our chairs has not been without its mistakes. The important part of this is that each mistake is a learning opportunity for each of us at the shop. It’s a chance to build upon what we have already learned. This is what makes me continue to go back to grind of building this magnificent chair.

The Donated Art Project

Posted by on Jan 03 2010

I received my copy of the Donated Art Project! It was thrilling to open the package and see this lovely book. I feel such an honor to have been part of this project, and I thank Dawn Wheat for having included my work alongside the work of fellow artists.

Artist, Dawn Wheat put together a call for art to compile into a book that in turn is selling via blurb. You can read more about the Donated Art Project here.  You may purchase the Donated Art Project here.


Posted by on Aug 22 2009

For the 2009 HotShops Omaha Show, I chose to practice my hand at chip-carving. In early 2009, I took a class from Wayne Barton through the Chicago School of Woodworking. After the class I made a deal with myself – not to begin practicing my carving until it was nice enough to sit on my porch. That way, if I didn’t have time to practice, there was no guilt for not keeping up with it. The second reason is that I don’t have a separate studio from my home. This meant cleaning up wood chips from the floor of my home if I carved indoors. Outside was just more appropriate, and the dead of winter was not a good time to sit outside.

chip_carving_porchSeveral months passed and soon the 2009 HotShops show with the theme of Labor/Labour came closer to its deadline. I thought to myself, summer is on its way, it will be nice enough to carve outside, I need the practice, and I want to do something labor intensive for this show. After carving as many blocks as I did, I found the ‘chore’ to be relaxing. But it is hard to do if you are new to the process, and it takes time and patience. I found my fingers grew numb after daily carvings. But the result of my persistence is evident as I look at the first block I carved compared to my most recent block. I’m glad I took the time to wait.