Monday, February 13, 2017

Help a brother out....

You know what sucks? Well, MEAN PEOPLE, that's for sure!

But - there must be a place in hell (or karmic hell) people who steal from others. Especially those who steal from people who can least afford to lose something. 

So when I read today that my friend Josh up in Portland was burglarized, 

and someone stole not only much of his artwork, but also - important things that he needs for his business (i.e.... business cards, stickers, shopping bags, dolly,) AND his PORTFOLIO - I thought - are you effin' kidding me? 

For an artist, that akin to stealing their lifeline. 

Josh is a great guy - as funny and talented and creative as the best people I know. Did I mention talented as hell? His Etsy store rocks, and his pop culture knowledge is second to none. 

So I have a favor to ask... he set up a Go Fund Me page to recover some of his losses. (You can click on that link to read more!)  I know that as an artist, he'll be discovering what he truly lost as time goes on... he'll be reaching for a tool, or a piece of work and realize that it was stolen, too. 

Shit like that gets into your psyche and it's unnerving - that feeling of being violated.

So please - if you can spare $10 or $20, please consider donating something to his recovery. He doesn't know it yet, but I am going to contribute to his goal whatever doesn't get covered by the end of this day.

Thanks for helping a fellow artist - you just added a few karmic points to your account!

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Lions and Tigers and Bears.... Oh My!

I'm not a veterinarian, but I play one sometimes... not on TV, but in the woodshop. 

It seems like there are a lot of animals in need of help, and they've been making their way to my door, in need of repair. 

This poor giraffe needed tail surgery - someone in the TSA line at the airport broke the tail off, and the owners were heartsick. The giraffe had made the long trip to Las Vegas all the way from Africa, sent as a gift, and the tail was splintered and torn. 

A little bit of glue,

 some tricky clamping, 

and my customers were thrilled. 

Wood It is - 1
TSA - 0

Seriously, I made these two very happy;  which made me pretty happy, too.  

But when this next beast found its way into my shop, the task was a bit more complex. (Not sure why jobs like this come in pairs, but they do.)

This bison was in a world of hurt - 

a missing horn, 

a snout that was missing one whole side,

and a broken tail.


The tail was fairly easy - some epoxy, and some filler, and a few well placed 23 gauge pins, and well...

 the repair was complete, although the tail was a bit shorter than its original iteration.  

The horn was another story - this was a bit tricky, and the best way to attach it was using a small dowel. With the dowel in place, 

I shaped the horn, 

and then pulled out a small sander for some detail work. Since the sculpture was rather crude, the shaping was easy. 

 I roughed it out, and once I had the shape in place,

 a little spray paint made it match its mate.

 Drilling the hole  wasn't difficult, 

but it took a bit of blending to make the horns match. 

Finally, I pulled out some detail carving tools and cleaned up the snout a bit. I've never carved a bison nostril before, and frankly - I hope it's something I don't have to tackle again anytime soon.  

I also promptly sliced my thumb open, so a bit of first aid was necessary before staining the snout to match. 

And just like that - another animal healed! 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

One of my favorite teachers....

If I told you that Las Vegas is rich with art, and has some of the best creative teachers in the world, would you believe me? 

It's true - we have world class turners, 

I'm proud to call Sharon a friend and mentor. Check out this article that came out in today's newspaper. 

Congratulations to Sharon and her amazing students - they're producing some of the best stone pieces in the country right now. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Woodworking Crazy!

This is a terrific video on bowl production - a lot different than making them one at a time in your woodshop. Yes, it's a bit impersonal, but damn... a bowl a minute?.... 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The year in review - part 2

Thanks for the...

Put your feet up and grab a cup of coffee - this is a LONG one!

My shop hosted 28 different classes this year, with – by my count – about 135 new students and 130 returning students. I posted a recap with photos of the NEW students on my website (you definitely should check this out!)  but below - I showcase some of the day to day experiences and projects by some of the "veterans" who sling lumber at Wood It Is!

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the two most prolific woodworkers are the shop - Lupe and Beth. Their work just continues to up the game, in terms of learning new skills, stretching their boundaries, and bringing new techniques to their work. Here are just a few of their many great pieces.

Lupe's epic wall unit started off in sections, 

and when she added these designs (via laser engravings in the doors)

the piece POPPED with personality.

 Not one to shy away from a challenge, she set her sites on some Maloof rocking chairs. 

And tables. 

Making these is considered the ultimate of woodworking challenges - and she nailed it. 

Beth was on fire this year, both literally and figuratively. We could call this - The Year of the Char, as she set her sites on charring wood and adding this gorgeous technique to her work.  

As always, she challenged herself with more chair building - and these pieces explored her interest in reproduction furniture. 

Her lathe work has added a fabulous dimension to her chairs, 

and she's really become a master as angled boring, check out this stool! 

Her demo at one of the Sin City Woodworkers meetings was as memorable as it gets. 

Speaking of chairs, we held a class in which we made prototypes of dining chairs - enabling us to work out all the details like back angles, cushions vs. wooden scooped seats, and a variety of tricky stretchers and details. Here are some of the cool ones!

Who else but ... Lupe again... she turned this 

into this!

Here are a few more....

The AWFS show is held every other summer here in Las Vegas, and this was an off-year. But we didn't lack for cool things to attend - like this Hardware show, held at our very own World Trade Center. 

Hammers are like jewelry to me,  

and I coveted every single one of these beauties.

There was an interesting (and somewhat insulting!) line of tools for women. Frankly, Beth, Lupe, Ann and I would tear these up! 

But this pegboard rack for holding pliers caught my eye, 

and Rick was kind enough to gift one to the school.

As one would expect - glue and sawdust played a very prominent role in the shop.


Speaking of oops, I had a slight kickback incident this year - the first one in many years. It reminded me of why it's important to stand off to the side when ripping wood!

 I lost a friend and client this year - one with whom I collaborated on many projects over the years. Like this romantic "Wheel of Fortune" for his wife, 


and this small wall sculpture.

Phil was one of the most upbeat guys I've ever known, and I'll miss his smile and the challenges he brought to me in the shop. RIP, buddy.  

This year marked another great year of gardening, and our little co-op of seed starters met early in the year, trading plants and getting our dirt game going. 

We started seeds, and traded plants, stocking our gardens for pennies! 

This year also brought a lot of new faces into the shop, and this lively trio 

surprised me by creating their own binders for their woodworking classes, complete with woodworking cartoons. 

 I love their enthusiasm!

 Here are a few of the projects I tinkered with this year... like speaking on a panel at this Maker Faire,

and making giant tees for a golf-themed bar mitzvah.

 This one project started with a grainy, 50-year-old photo 

to a reproduction trophy holding a presidential coin from the Philippine president.

 Finally, a hodgepodge of woodshop photos - projects we made, sights to be seen, and some pretty great memories. Enjoy!  And thanks for a great year!

Oscar Wild said "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" and that was the case with this project - a bigger version of the one above! 

Ann worked on this hall chest, to match a table made by her great-grandfather...

 here they are, side by side. Great work!

Lest you think that women rule the shop... check out these great projects by the dudes!

Who could forget when this bullet was revealed as Ann Marie planed this walnut board? 

She ended up leaving it in the wood when she made her hubby's military shadow box.

More shop shots...

Thanks for these pics, Boz - he and his wife Bella are the official shop photographers. 

A constant.... machinery issues! 

The case of the missing nuts...

Thanks for a great year, everyone!