Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Work Center

Ready for installation
Hello again. Sorry, it has been a while.  My post master general became very busy. Maybe I really should learn how to do this.

Anyway, today I was looking through my notes and discovered that exactly one year ago I was building the upper half of this work center as one of the last large cabinets to go into the library.  The concept for this idea started out very different with many alterations and this is the final result.  This was the request. Computer screen in the bottom center, space for files to lay in, drawers to hold CD's and misc. desk stuff, shelving for books, built in lighting, moldings inspired by custom woodworking in the Kirtland Temple in Ohio, a treasured national historic landmark and sacred space.  What a pleasure it was to make. 
To be installed above desk area on right

Week 1
Week 2
Week 4
I wish for you all to have a great and wonderfull Christmas season.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Greene and Greene

Gamble house - Pasadena, California (1908)

The elegant houses designed by Charles and Henry Greene have come to define the arts and crafts movement in the United States.  A seamless fusion of simplicity and sophisticated detail with meticulous attention to building materials and natural surroundings, each Greene and Greene house is a model of timeless home design.

Other architects have enjoyed more famous careers.  Many others have produced more buildings.  But no other architects have left us with a more glowing legacy of beauty, craft, livability, and spirit than Charles and Henry Greene. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The World's Most Comfortable House

What makes the world's most comfortable house?  Unless I missed something, the people who are in that home are the most important ingredient.  But I still find all the descriptions about how the people lived, fascinating.  The most humble cottage could be a palace but I love reading about the mansions too. 

I decided to devote the next few posts to some amazing places and amazing people.  Starting with the largest privately owned home in the United States.  The Biltmore.  The Vanderbilt mansion.   Situated on 125,00 acres, the mansion is 135,000 square feet. Yes, One hundred and thirty five thousand square feet. 250 rooms, 34 bedrooms, 45 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces.  It took 6 years and the result of this human endeavor is spectacular. 

Contrast this with Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace.

 A common list of the failures of Abraham Lincoln (along with a few successes) is:

•1831 - Lost his job

•1832 - Defeated in run for Illinois State Legislature

•1833 - Failed in business

•1834 - Elected to Illinois State Legislature (success)

•1835 - Sweetheart died

•1836 - Had nervous breakdown

•1838 - Defeated in run for Illinois House Speaker

•1843 - Defeated in run for nomination for U.S. Congress

•1846 - Elected to Congress (success)

•1848 - Lost re-nomination

•1849 - Rejected for land officer position

•1854 - Defeated in run for U.S. Senate

•1856 - Defeated in run for nomination for Vice President

•1858 - Again defeated in run for U.S. Senate

•1860 - Elected President (success)

The rest is history on these guys.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

New York City Skyline-Walnut

This idea came in sort-of an unusual way.  When we were first married I looked around our living room in our apartment.  We had a couch, a love seat, a lamp, and a stereo.  I was working for Dad building houses.  So I built some furniture out of two by fours.  Shelves to hold the stereo.  Some end tables for the lamp.  And a coffee table to finish the room off nicely.  We were then able to sit high style in our living room listening to music, reading magazines, and looking at the bare walls.  In the magazines I saw abstract paintings.  I thought, I could do that.  So I bought some canvas and paint and began.  It didn't go so well.  But it didn't matter, it was an abstract painting.  Then I painted a skyline.  I poked holes in some of the windows and held it in front of the lamp.  COOL!  A skyline at night.  Then I made one out of wood.  Then I made one out of exotic hardwoods and asked a computer friend of mine to build some L.E.D. lights to put in two of the buildings to appear similar to elevators going up and down each floor.  Now that I am writing this, why did I not pursue this idea further? The possibilities are endless.  Anyway I saw a popular photograph of NYC at night.  I scaled it up, cut out pieces of walnut to give some depth.  I ordered fiber optic cable from a place in California.  I bought a small fiber optic flower arrangement, took it apart and mounted the motor, light, and rotating color wheel in the back of the shadow box.  I drilled holes in certain spots for the windows and inserted the fiber through each hole.  I clustered the other end and mounted it close to the light source and PRESTO.  NYC comes to life in your living room.

9/11, 2001- It was such a sad day.  I thought of this skyline out of wood.  I had gone to NYC a couple of times.  We visited many sites.  I still have the ticket stub from the world trade center observation deck.  That was in 1977.  I was 18.  That was an amazing place for a small town boy.  I know that they are building something new there and maybe it will look spectacular.  But it is not the same.  I don't know what it is about those twin towers that made that skyline extra-special.  But mostly it is a sacred place now and I'm so sorry for all the people whose lives were devastated that day.  Sometimes life really can be the best of times or really can be the worst of times.  I guess there is always hope for a better day.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rose Fish Tank

Last Summer, I built this cherry wood wall unit for Dr. Rose.  Now it sits in his office and made that room much more comfortable.  He wanted a space for books, storage, flat screen, fireplace.  And the coolest part was a huge custom made salt water fish tank.  As time goes on the beautiful fish and their surrounding environment should evolve into a stunning ecosystem paradise.  I hope to come back in the future to take some better photos.

I thought I would throw in some progress pictures for fun.  I think the full tank weighed something like 3000 lbs.  A rigid frame work had to be built inside the base cabinet to support the weight.  The most satisfying part of this project was making a new friend along with his wife, Melissa. 

I need a bigger space however.  Cari put up with the cabinets sitting in our living room half the summer.  Not one complaint.  That is one more reason I wash the dishes and vacuum alot.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Classic Rock.....

Let me explain...One day Cari asked me why I don't do much with our sons.  I said, I do plenty with Doug and Todd, ask them. Cari and I were both turning 50 that January.  It was right before Thanksgiving and I was trying desperately to think of something that would be really classy for her and also to prove to her that my sons and I have a tight relationship.  We secretly got together and in 4 hours recorded this Classic Rock masterpiece.

I'm still working out the bugs on this idea.  A record album coffee table.  It's harder to build than it looks.  But in this one I put all the old records that I grew up with.  It's fun to look at it and go back in time playing almost every song over in your mind.  Those were the days.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Until We Meet Again....

Leah Tanner Cardon
June 28, 1919-July 16, 2011
Leah Tanner Cardon, 92, of Farmington, a lifetime resident of San Juan County, passed away of natural causes on Saturday, July 16, 2011. She died peacefully in her home, with characteristic dignity and grace, surrounded by members of her loving family. Leah was born June 28, 1919, in Kirtland, the third child of Donald and Mamie Taylor Tanner.

In spite of losing her mother in a tragic accident when Leah was 9 years old, she flourished in the small town atmosphere of Kirtland, supported by many relatives and friends.

When her father married Ruth McGee, the family moved to Allison, Colo., where he operated a flour mill. Leah continued her education in Allison until she reached the 9th grade. In order to finish high school, she moved back to Kirtland, where she lived with her beloved Aunt Peg and Uncle Hugh Foutz and their family.

In 1937, she graduated with honors from Central High School. As was the case with most Central High students, the educator who made the greatest impact on her life was Mrs. Grace B. Wilson. From Mrs. Wilson, Leah gained a life-long love of literature and the cultural arts, which she passed on to her children.

In 1940, Leah served as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Eastern Canadian Mission. She later attended the business college in Albuquerque.

Shortly after the end of World War II, on April 3, 1946, she and Robert M. ""Bob"" Cardon were married in the Idaho Falls Temple. Leah and Bob were married for 54 years. Together, they raised a family of eight children. This proved to be her greatest mission in life. She was an extraordinary mother and grandmother. Her posterity love and honor her name and her example.

Leah was a good citizen, avidly involved and interested in the welfare of the country. She served as an outstanding and well-loved teacher in the LDS church. Leah particularly enjoyed teaching teenagers within the Seminary Education system.

Leah was a blend of humor, intellect, modesty, courage, and deep personal spiritual strength. A friend to all, especially to the elderly, she served wherever she saw a need. Her quiet ""behind the scenes"" acts of service have left a legacy that will never be forgotten.

Leah was preceded in death, on July 25, 2000, by her husband, Robert M. Cardon; and, on Jan. 13, 1991, by her son, Robert D. (Butch) Cardon; her parents, Donald and Mamie Taylor Tanner, brothers, Wayne, Harold, Halworth and Tommy Tanner; sisters, Marie Tanner, Helen Tanner Stradling and Ramona Tanner; maternal grandparents, Elmer Franklin Taylor and Mary Steele Taylor; paternal grandparents, Joseph Baldwin and Nora Foutz Tanner; and one great-grandchild, Luke Cardon.

Leah is survived by her sons, Doug Cardon and wife, Jan, Sam Cardon and wife, Tammy, Jim Cardon and wife, Cari; daughters, Pam Jones and husband Wes, Diane Smith, Kathie Kempton and husband, Greg, and Peggy Avery and husband, Ron; brothers, Colin Tanner, Dave Tanner, Jim Tanner and Steve Tanner; daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Richardson; sisters, Ann Tanner and Donna Tanner; 39 grandchildren, 68 great-grandchildren and five on the way; and many dear friends.

Friends and family may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 22, at Brewer, Lee & Larkin Funeral Home, 103 E. Ute St. in Farmington.

Funeral services for Leah will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 23, at The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints, 400 W. Apache St., Apache Building, with Chris Herman conducting.

Leah will then be interred next to her husband at the Kirtland-Fruitland Cemetery.

Pallbearers are Leah's grandsons, Garrett Jones, Adam Cardon, Matt Smith, Cardon Kempton, Paul McPherson, Tyler Cardon, Doug Cardon and Nathan Kempton.

Honorary pallbearers are Leah's other grandsons Mike Jones, Ben McPherson, Jess Smith, Dallas Smith, Jacob Smith, Michael Smith, Matt Cardon, Luke Jones, Todd Cardon, Taylor Kempton and Ethan Richardson.

The Cardon family wishes to thank Northwest New Mexico Hospice and Home Care for the kindness shown to their mother.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorial contributions be made in Leah's memory to Northwest New Mexico Hospice, 608 Reilly Ave., Farmington, NM 87401.

Those who wish to send condolences to the family may do so at www.danielsfuneral.com.

Leah's services are entrusted to Brewer, Lee & Larkin Funeral Home, 103 E. Ute St. in Farmington, (505) 325-8688.

Monday, July 11, 2011


My Mom is 92.  She is hanging in there but fading.  Your parents have to move on eventually, everyone does.  So why is this so difficult?  I think I know.  Because she is such a beautiful person.  One of a kind.  She is my anchor.  My master teacher.  No-nonsense.  Devoted.  She seemed to sense who needed her attention and compassion, the most at the time.  She would move slowly from one person to the next "He who is in the service of their fellow man."  She has great wisdom.  She knows how to do everything in the right way.  My four sisters said that their efforts combined doesn't come close to what Mom could do alone.  A blend of humor, intellect, modesty, courage, and deep, personal, spiritual strength.  She is great and noble.

My Grandad Cardon died on Christmas day 1961.  I was two.   Dad told me all about him.  He said he wished I could have known him in his prime of life.  I feel like I know him pretty well from Dad's stories.  Now I have the same wish for my Grandsons.  I wish they could have known my Mom in her prime.

You come to the realization that her crowning legacy left for you is that she showed you how to live.  It reminds me of this quote, "Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words."-St. Francis of Assisi.

And you wonder how you can ever come close.  You think over and over in your deepest personal thoughts.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Mom... and when the time comes, you wish her a safe journey to the other side. My greatest desire for her is to be accompanied by the finest angels God has to offer.

Front  L-R-Jim, Mom, Kathie
Back L-R-Peggy, Doug, Pam, Sam, Dianne

Friday, July 8, 2011


I am a trend setter.  Like a palm reader or a psychic, I can see the future with certain things.  This has nothing to do with high fashion.  Most days my clothes are covered with sawdust, paint, dirt etc. I've tried coveralls.  They don't work for me.  My friend Rusty is the only guy I've ever really noticed who dresses good. (Except my friend Tiger,he dresses good too.) I've asked Rusty sometimes how to dress.  He is very talented in many things.  He puts on coveralls when he gets serious about working on stuff.  That's why I tried them.  I guess it's my body shape.  After about 3 hours I feel like I'm walking around in a really wet diaper. 

Anyway, if you don't believe me about being a trend setter, ask Cari.  Wait a minute, let me ask her first.
I did.
She said, "Don't say you're a trend setter. That is really embarrassing.  Just say that some things you think might become popular all of the sudden start appearing in stores and magazines."

I'm thinking (Well, what do you call that?)

OK, just to test my psychic abilities, I'm going to share with you one of my ideas that I haven't seen out there yet.  If this secret turns out to be a trend, I'll share some additional secrets later.

Secret #1
Re purposing very old doors into bookcases, the possibilities are endless, I'm building some right now, in progress.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Tools

I've been buying tools from the beginning.  I would acquire some tools as each project came about.  I have tools now for most things.  Can you ever have enough?  You get attached to some tools.  For example, I have a square bought in 1982 in Danbury, Connecticut.  I have used it on every project since.  I have an older model belt sander that I hope will last forever.  Because of the way the handle is shaped, I can hold it in one hand, and perform many tasks quickly.  I bought a newer model, not realizing they had changed the design of the handle.  I tried it, and it now sits mostly in his place in the hall of shame cabinet, watching his productive, happy cousin.  When your tools work well, when they are oiled, sharp, clean, and accurately set up, there is no other feeling like it.  

Which brings me to this part of the story.  The library room is 800 miles from my garage.  Can you build well with portable equipment?  I'm here to tell you I think you can. 

My Traveling Tool Kit
 This isn't the greatest set up, but it is what I have at the moment. 
I'd like something that works a little better. 
 Perhaps someday I will...my life isn't over yet.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Exquisite Example of 19th-century tool-chest craftsmanship.
Massachusetts piano maker, Henry Studley built his magnificent tool chest over the course of a 30-year career at the Poole Piano Company.  The chest lived on the wall near his work bench, and he worked on it regularly, making changes and adding new tools as he acquired them.  It holds some 300 tools, so densely packed that three strong men strain to lift it.  It is just 9" deep, 39" high, and about 19" wide.  Studley was well into his 80's before he retired from the piano company.  Before he died in 1925, Studley gave the tool chest to a friend.  That man's grandson, Peter Hardwick, loaned the chest to the Smithsonian in the late 1980's and later sold it to a private collector in the Midwest. 

I found this information in a great book, "Treasure Chests"

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Library Progress: First Three Cabinets

Bathroom sink cabinet
Sample kitchen cabinet built in 1996
While waiting for the room to be advanced in construction far enough with all the rough in work, windows, electrical, and fire proofing foam which was sprayed before the insulation and drywall installation, I decided to design and build the two sink cabinets so that the plumbing could be completed.   The bathroom cabinet was fairly straight forward with the exception of altering the top row of drawers to extend a few inches out beyond the lower section.  This was a small detail that I had only seen before in my Dad's kitchens, who used to build his cabinets right in the house.  I someday still want to build a set of kitchen cabinets that have this look and feel. In fact, I still have an experimental sample upper and base cabinet I built back around 1996 with an updated version of Dad's design. 

The other sink cabinet is also straight forward with the exception, two small sliding trays to hold dissecting tools in the drawers. 

Then I started drawing what I ended up calling, "The Mother of All Base Cabinets."  This cabinet has 16 drawers to hold 3 by 5 index cards. ( To be used for reference notes, not a book index) Four file cabinet drawers below and on the two wings, glass doors.  Later I added a shadow box cabinet with glass top for displaying smaller treasures.  The poplar secondary wood to hold the small drawers in place became quite interesting to build just by themselves.  Keeping in mind the sketch on the long wall.  The challenge was to build something that you feel will blend well with the overall feeling of the room.  It doesn't have to be the exact same everything, but it needed to somehow tie in.  This can be a tricky thought process.  Sometimes it becomes more work thinking than the working part.  But hey, what's a brain for? 

In progress

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The American Dream,

Son Todd and Bob the Dog

plays out
 in my mind like this. 

Wife, kids, grand kids, house with a fire place and picket fence.
  A faithful black lab dog,
 a shop stocked with beautiful wood,
 tools and machinery.

If you have ever been in a well planned out cabinet shop
where everything is flowing,
the feeling you get from that experience
 is as satisfying as visiting
 the seven wonders on the world.

The first time I
 felt that was a
long time ago in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  We walked down a narrow street on the outskirts of the city.  We ran into a small building oozing with character,
 stepped into a show room filled with hand crafted furniture and some of the most beautiful hand carved doors I had ever seen.  At the other end of the room, there was a large glass window about 4 feet high and 10 feet long, which you  could walk over to and see this old master craftsman working at the bench.  You could see wood shavings all over.  It was a small space, but in the back ground large enough to contain the tools and machinery and wood.  I could see two younger men working in the background and getting the lumber ready for its final calling.  It was almost like the wood seemed proud to be a part of this process,
 where the master could take them and make the most out of what they had to give.

I don't know how to describe that sensation you get when you know you want that experience, other than to say that you feel it to the depths of your soul. 
Passion-intense emotion-the object of admiration.

Everytime I see someone making something, whether it be an artist, musician, or someone who creates, or hear a great speaker, or read a great passage in a book, or see something beautiful, that intense emotion shows up.

Heaven, Happiness, Joy, Satisfaction, Peace.
I don't know which one to call it,but it is one of the greatest
 of all blessings on this Earth that I am extremely thankful for.

The Last Supper -Ben Mcpherson

Friday, June 17, 2011

Side-Track-Up a Creek Without a Warranty

While we are on the subject...
Not long ago, I bought a used stereo receiver in a pawn shop.
I brought it home. It didn't work. I took it back.  I explained  to the man at the counter, that it turns on, but after about 30 seconds it shuts off.  The man had a bald head, and I only mention that, because his head and ears turned BRIGHT RED when he told me that I might have experienced a power surge in my house.  I asked him to plug it in.  He did.  It turned on but after about 30 seconds it turned off.  I asked him if HE just had a power surge in his store?  He was red and silent gathering his thoughts. 
He said, "You might have jostled it." He kind of have a lisp.
I said, "Did you say, jostled it?" To my surprise, I also had a lisp. (You try it...jostled, out loud...now imagine saying it in a heated argument.)
He said, "Yes you might have jostled it taking it to your house."
(When he sold it to me, it still had the box with that rigid white foam and we put it in that box when I took it home.)
So I said, "Most of this stereo equipment travels 5000 miles from Japan being jostled the entire journey, so how can you possibly say I jostled it taking it home in the cab of my truck."
He was silent, his head and ears were still red but his lips were thin and white. I called on my magical  powers, snapped my fingers, and gave him the Rocky Mountain Quick Steps. 
The conclusion of this little story is a bit anti-climatic.  That word, jostled... threw me off.  It calmed me down.
So I said, "Your not going to give me my money back, are you?"
He said he was not allowed to do that.  I looked around. He looked like the owner to me, and I thought to myself. "What are you going to do, fire yourself?" 
So I said, "FINE! Thank you very much, you have a nice day."
 I had to take it to an electronics repair shop.

That is all I have to say about that.

Except this.

Last summer, Cari filled her unleaded car with diesel.  I know what you are thinking. You can't do that, the nozzle is larger than the hole.  (Unless you stand there and hold the nozzle manually for however long it takes to pump and top off 15 gallons of fuel.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Side-Track- Taken to the Cleaners

Several years ago I bought 40 cannon balls.  The story goes like this.  I went into an antique store near downtown Denver on Broadway.  I was looking around and spotted a couple of what looked like 20 lb. cannon balls.  I picked one up and asked the fine looking older gentleman if these were real cannon balls.  He most assuredly said that they were indeed, and told me that back in the old days (of honor and integrity) they used to heat them up first before firing them into the enemies ship to cause more damage and catch things on fire.
 I said, "Wow, this is splendid."  OK...I didn't say splendid, but I did say, "Do you have any more?"
 He said, "OH YES! Quite a few."
 I said, "How many would I have to purchase to get a price break?"
He said, "FORTY."
My heart began pounding. With a beam in my right eye and a mote in my left, and trying not to show any signs of intense satisfaction, I said, "Very well."
He had his young assistant, (scoundrel in training) go to the back and help me load my newly acquired treasures.  This was Saturday morning so when I came home I found no one around for the moment, so I stuck them in a base cabinet in the garage where they sat growing in value over time, similar to what stored gold bars might do.

 A few months later on another beautiful Saturday morning Cari shook me and said,"Are those cannon balls in the garage???"
I said, "How did you know those were cannon balls?"
She said, "Your the only one I know who would actually buy 200 cannon balls and hide them in them in the garage."
I assured her that this was going to be well worth the purchase.

Today I decided to pull these babies out of their treasure chest, clean them up a bit, and dive into the world of militaria.  I found some sites selling cannon balls and my heart jumped out of my chest when I saw how much some of them were worth.  I hobbled out to the back where Cari was planting some flowers and told her that she may be able to give her 2 weeks notice.  THEN!  I saw a site about FAKE cannon balls with a picture of what looked like MY cannon balls, and once again, my heart leaped out of my chest but for the opposite reason.  This was the best of times and the worst of times. For sure.  (These are actually grinding balls from a ball mill, used by the mining industry to crush raw ore in a giant tumbler.)

  Does anyone have any ideas of what you can do with these?

If your interested I'll sell them to you for my cost.
I've seen deck railings where the post had wooden balls on the top, maybe a nice five inch, 23 lb steel ball might look nice.  What about the bottom Newel post on a stair railing? A four poster bed? A door stop? A paper weight?  A conversation piece?  I even took one to a good friend to cheer him up when he had a bad week. (This is when I thought it was a real sacrifice)   

That's about all I have to say about this.

I can now put this behind me and go onward and upward.