And so it begins…

Yesterday, construction of the Chai Boy began! (read with the voice of Peter Faulk)


Here are the pieces of the top glued and clamped up



I decided to start on the top first. I had 3/4 walnut, so I had to glue up two pieces together to get the 1.5″ thick top that I want. I had one very long board to work from, and sides were rough cut (not smooth or straight) so I had to straighten one side. I could have used my big 7″ jointer, but lately I have been using a hand-plane to do the work. I finally have it tuned and sharpened correctly, and I was making shavings thin enough to read through. I’ve been having problems with my jointer and not getting the results I’d like, and I have found that my hand-plane works almost as fast and I don’t get the snipe or loose as much material.

What is snipe on a jointer? Snipe occurs when the wood looses contact with the infeed roller and allows it to rise slightly from the bed of the planer. Snipe can also happen on the beginning of the board as well.

For the past week or so, I have been debating about the size of the piece. I want all the dimensions to have Judaic meaning. Chai means “life”, and when you add the numerical value of Chet and Yud you get 18. 36 is another special number, it is double life. 7 is the number of days of the week with the seventh day being the sabbath. 8 is a “supernal” number. Boys receive their bris (circumcision) on the 8th day. So you see what I am trying to get at with the numbers. BUT, a piece that is 36″ tall and 18″ wide looks odd in a way. 36″ is taller than a standard table top, and 18″ is rather thin for a furniture piece. So I considered making it 36″ tall and 36″ wide. On paper it looks “right” but the Chet frame looks too thin, and I’m afraid the piece would just be too big and clunky. Technically, the hebrew letter when written correctly fits in a square, and that was another factor for changing the size of the piece. So finally, after talking about it with my wife, I decided to use my original dimensions idea. The numbers were too vital to the theme of the piece, and I figure, it might “fit” in more places if it were smaller. And as an added bonus, I would not have to buy even more material for a piece that may never sell.


The original sized Chai-Boy plan



The 36x36 Chai-Boy


Stay tuned and please subscribe!

So, “hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to work I go”…….

About yaakov

Husband, Abba, Furniture Maker, Turner, Bookseller, and all around working stiff.
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3 Responses to And so it begins…

  1. paloarte says:

    Hi Yaakov,

    This is an excellent idea!

    So far I’ve not done a Kosher cabinetry, but I’ve learnt a lot about the guidelines from my mother; she works at a Synagogue here in Los Angeles.

    Also, in regards to the number 18; life; my friend Daniel told me that number 8 is the life in Judaism. I just want to clarify with you if this is correct.


  2. yaakov says:


    I am sorry to say that your friend, Daniel, is mistaken.
    The hebrew letter Chet has a numeric value of 8
    The hebrew letter Yud has a numeric value of 10
    So the hebrew word for “Life” is “Chai” (ches and yud) 8+10=18

    Hebrew is obviously an ancient language, and “symbol numbers” were created, thus each letter of the hebrew “aleph-bais” has a numerical value. Even today, there are no symbols for numbers in hebrew. In Israel, you use Hebrew letters or numbers that we us.

    Hope that answers your question. I’d be happy to answer any others you might have.

    Thanks for reading the blog.

    kol tuv,


  3. paloarte says:

    Thanks Yaakov,

    It’s interesting to read your blog—throughout.


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