Monday, September 19, 2016

Another Fun Military Trophy Project!

This is all we had to work with - a faded photograph of an wooden trophy,  possibly from the 1950s, with a military medal held inside it. The photo was old and wrinkled, but the message was clear - make another one of these!

The fellow who brought it to me had tried to make one, but he lacked the equipment to duplicate it.

And the daughter of the now deceased man in the photo wouldn't lend the medal out. She was terrified of it being lost. So she'd had a small disk of plastic made, to use for sizing. 

Luckily, Denny's Legacy CNC was able to cut the top wheel, and engrave the soldier's name into it. 

But that was just the start - the base had to be made, and several details needed to be solved. The base was about 3" tall, and the daughter wanted the new medal holder to be pretty close to the actual size of the old one. So we found a piece of 12/4 African Mahogany - almost unheard of in the part of the desert! 

That's 3" thick!

It's best to round it out the blank before starting to turn it....

Of course - I forgot to take a pic of it when it was done. 

To make the connection between the base and the top, I needed a pin on which the top could swivel. As much scrap metal as I have in the shop, I couldn't find anything to use, so I ended cutting the head off of a 1/4" bolt. 

Call me MacGyver!

And - BAM! we have the body of the trophy pretty much finished. 

I added a little milk paint to the lettering, to make it pop, and some stain to bring out the rich color of the mahogany. 

And finally, we needed to figure out a way to mount the medal. I had some of these glass retainer clips, and I hammered two of them flat, and mounted them from behind.  The little retainer bolt was too long, so I cut it shorter; it worked perfectly!

And finally - another completed project and a very happy customer!

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Doing the woodshop shuffle...

As my friend Julie up in Canada says - I get the coolest projects!  Like this motorcycle seat I'm working on, 

or this petrified wood table that is on the bench right now. 

(More about that later....) 

I've just wrapped up teaching the busiest session I've ever had - with great students who were filled with creativity. It's pretty awesome to give someone a one-on-one lesson on the tablesaw and watch their confidence explode. 

For me - that's what teaching is all about. 

But in addition to all of that, I've had some ridiculously fun projects come across the bench - like this sword that a local metalsmith made for his wife. 

He wandered in, in need of a better handle than the one he made. 

The tang of the sword was beefy and tapered, 

so I laminated a blank of wood that fit the tang perfectly. After turning it, I drilled a few holes, to pin the two pieces together. 

The swordsman eventually used some threaded rod for the pin, and alas... this project was in-and-out of my shop in a matter of days. Sometimes things happen so quickly - I don't have a chance to see the finished product.

But... wait'll you see what Denny and I did recently - when someone came in with this old faded picture from the Korean war...

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Celebrating the Olympics...

Just in case you haven't gotten your fill of Olympic coverage...

Monday, August 15, 2016

Another awesome challenge in the shop....

Just when I thought I had a handle on my Summer projects, this motorcycle seat found its way into my shop. This black and white seat is fiberglass, and hollow, but the owner wanted one made of solid wood, for a show bike he's building. 

You know my motto - Sure, I can build that! 

It's funny - your mind can play tricks on you, when you have too many options. I call it analysis paralysis. Too many choices and you get frozen, unable to pick the right one.  Good thing my buddy Denny stopped by and talked me off the ledge.

It's really the case of "Two heads are better than one"  but in this case, Denny's and my brain equal about 1.5 brains. No argument there.

We prepped and laminated some maple and mahogany, to mimic the striping in the seat, and then figured out how to cut the various pieces, 

minimizing my work down the line. I really like the curve of this seat, how it gently sweeps upward.

 So we figured it out, and Denny took the piece home to cut on his Legacy CNC.  

He's gotten pretty good on programing the software, and had this cut completed in no time. Here's a sample, 

and then the real deal.  

Determining the angle of the layers was easy, 

and they stacked up quite nicely. 

Band sawing out the waste and getting the curve into the pieces ahead of gluing will make shaping everything much easier. 

At least that's the plan!

I like how the grain book matches its mate; hopefully this will glue up without too much trouble. (Famous last words...) 

Pretty soon - it will be time to start carving. 

Stay tuned!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Turning Oak into Lace

Well, this will blow your mind...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

We do it because we love it...

My friend Julie Rose reminded me of something a few days ago - she posted this on her FaceBook page. 

A lot of people think that they're going to save money by making something by hand, but the (sad) truth is - you're probably going to spend more. You'll need the proper tools, which you might not already own. And you'll need the materials plus various shop supplies, like screws, glues, finishes, sandpaper, wax, etc.

Bottom line? You're going to spend more if you build it yourself. (Long-time student Lupe can attest to this!)

But the benefits of making things for yourself are multifold. In fact, I was reading an article on this website the other day and the author, Ronnie Citron-Fink, brought up
 brought up 5 key topics. I love what she wrote:

5 Benefits of DIY
1. A deeper connection to the things that keep us alive and well. The human-made world is mostly beyond our comprehension…you make your world a little less confounding by sewing your own clothes, raising chickens, growing vegetables, teaching your children, and doing other activities that put you in touch with the processes of life. In addition, the things you make reflect your personality and have a special meaning.
2. An appreciation for the things you have and the systems that make it possible. The flip side to enjoying the things you make yourself is discovering how challenging and time-consuming it can be to make them…I’ve become an active participant in the human-made world, I’m more observant of it. I care more about how things are made, paying close attention to each object for lessons in craftsmanship I can apply to my own projects.
3. An opportunity to use your hands and your brain. Human beings evolved opposable thumbs for a reason. The sense of reward you get from making something with your hands can’t be earned any other way. It’s obvious that people learn faster from “hands-on” experience than they do watching someone else do something.
4. A connection to other people. When I started making cigar box guitars, I stumbled onto a group of DIYers…They are happy to share ideas and advice about building guitars, banjos, and ukuleles with newcomers. I’ve found this same spirit of generosity at other online hangouts devoted to building electric vehicles, autonomous aerial vehicles, and raising chickens.
5. A path to freedom. In this era of economic uncertainty, DIYers have learned not to rely as much on governments and corporations to take care of them…Even if you have no desire to become a full-time maker, DIY can provide a certain degree of freedom from depending on others for everything you need.

In my mind - all you have to do is look at the faces of these makers: