Leftover Cedar End Table

Table or Stool?

The giant stack of cedar we were given is essentially gone, with the remainder good for nothing but pegs, wedges, and fire starter, although the shavings make a superior smoked salmon flavoring, when thrown on the fire in the smokehouse–think Virginia juniper instead of red cedar, as the tree is technically a juniper instead of a cedar. This piece is a gift to the in-laws who gave us the truckload of lumber to begin with.

I actually made this to be a stool, but once possession changes hands, it is up to the discretion of the new owners, who have always been thinking end table. The legs are made in the same fashion as “stick” chairs, as in the very old style of Windsor chair known as “Welsh stick chairs.” The usual Welsh Windsor is normally made without stretchers between the legs, as opposed to an English style chair. The piece, chair or table, therefore is considerably lighter than one with stretchers.

I have also finished my Roman workbench, and a picture of it will help to explain where all that red cedar went.

Smokehouse, Part Four–It’s Almost Finito Mussolini

My Future is Nothing but Smoke

Friday, 2/11, was a warm 68 degrees F, so we smoked some wild Salmon in the new smokehouse. Life is hard.

I snaked the recipe from Hank Shaw, who has the great website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. It’s simple and delicious.

Smoked Salmon

1 medium wild Salmon Fillet

Marinade of Sea Salt, brown Sugar, and Water

Start about six hours before smoking, and marry-nate the salmon in this mixture. Then let it dry, skin side down, for another two hours.

This is a warm smoke cook, so here are the rough guidelines. Cold smoke is from about 70-100F, warm smoke is 100-130F, and hot smoke is 130-190F. These rough guidelines are for people who happen to own cooking thermometers.

Not us. Old timers around here would laugh at the idea of wasting money on a thermometer, when you can just open the damn door and stick your hand inside to see how warm the smokehouse is. Besides, they had those free advertising thermometers nailed up on the front porch (usually Coca-Cola). They would have pulled that down and used it. A lack of money leads to a surplus of creativity.

At any rate, the Salmon smokes for around two hours. After an hour, brush on some sweetener. Shaw uses birch syrup; we went with honey, as we have a beekeeper who lives a mile from here, as the bee flies. We have already seen one of his bees on some blooming crocus we have.

Naturally, after an hour and a half we got impatient and hungry, and finished the Salmon in the oven. It was a bit dry and overcooked, but still nice and smoky. It made superb Salmon cakes as well.

The last bit is fitting this thing for real winter cold smoking, which is going to take some serious labor, hooking up an old steel wood stove to this smoke mansion, in a way that will result in the whole thing not burning to the ground. Good thing my labor is free.

Smokehouse, Part 1–The Cold Smoke Machine

The Things You Find in the Scrap Pile

The game is afoot, as Sherlock liked to say to Watson. I am finally finishing off my brick oven, AND building a smokehouse to go along with it. There’s some history to go along with this plan.

Back in the day, every farmer in our area had a smokehouse. MJ’s grandfather’s was a beauty. He built a fire right in the middle of it, but only smoked meat during “hog killing weather,” which began in November when it formerly became very cold.. In short, cold smoking was the only smoking he did, which meant that the temps inside the smokehouse never topped ninety degrees.

I’m going for one that will cold smoke and hot smoke. I will be able to build a fire in the smoke house, and one outside of the smoke house, thanks to the steel wood stove that was buried under my scrap pile. Moving it also helped clean out my workroom.

Be that as it may, the foundation is also completed now, and I am ready to frame this thing. Check back in another week or two, as we are about to have some very good weather for working outdoors.

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