Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A painting marathon

If you Google "famous quotes about friends", you'll find a variety of wise words about friendship. I'm still woozy from the long weekend spent in my studio, where my friend Stacey and I spent about 45 hours over four days there painting.

Well, painting makes it sound like we were rolling the walls with boring white paint.


We... no, SHE transformed the place into an actual art studio, where just walking in the room makes someone feel just a little more creative than before. It's amazing. So I was struggling to come up with words to explain how the weekend went. But I'd be missing the point if I just spoke about painting, and neglected all the other fine points about what occurred.

First and foremost,
Stacey is an artist and a friend. Who else would show up armed with sketches, tools, paints, brushes and inspiration? And energy! On the first night, we prioritized and decided which paintings we couldn't do without. Here she is, starting the big wall, a huge square "canvas" on which to paint a massive tape measure.

Just to give you an idea of the size, this wall is 18' tall and 18' wide, hence the need for the scaffolding.

One of the coolest parts is how the tape continues across the floor.

For many years, I've used handprints in my logo, and we decided those might be a nice addition in the tool room.

I have a crooked, arthritic index finger and Stacey managed to capture that in the painting.

Any long time reader of this blog will know that nearly two years ago, I lost my beloved Aunt Dena. She was an amazing artist and art teacher, and collected crayon memorabilia. In fact, her license plate was "CRAYONS", so what a fitting tribute to include some crayon artwork in my space.

I actually worked on this painting, and ...trust me... I am NOT a painter. Perhaps I was channeling Dena's spirit, this painting over the door is just perfect.

The outlines.

My helper.

And then the color...

The weekend was wrapping up and we still hadn't even started the last huge wall, the one we were both looking forward to the most. Stacey changed her travel plans and arranged to stay an extra day to complete this.

Did you figure it out yet?

Stacey's final detail - her signature.

This screw is 24' long, I'm not sure if this picture can really give you an idea of how great it looks in this space.

What a great weekend, thanks to Stacey's talents and determination.

I'd like to take a moment here to thank everyone who contributed during this painting frenzy - from Danny and Rick from Exotic Millworks, who loaned us their scaffolding, to Larry M. for bringing us lunch that first day, to Jill for picking up a paintbrush and lending a hand. And let's not forget Terry, Helen and Janet for lunch the next day, and ... well, the list goes on and on. I will do a proper acknowledgment in the next few weeks, as I write more about the completion of this school. It's been an amazing process, thanks to the MANY people who have helped out, offered a kind word, and have been so supportive along this journey. I'm really humbled by the outpouring of kindness.

Thanks to everyone, I couldnt' have done this without them.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Corpus Clock

What an amazing clock. I'm not sure I'd want one in my bedroom, the noise might be a little much.

(Thanks to my cousin in California for sending me this link.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Third meeting of the Sin City Woodworkers

The third meeting of Sin City Woodworkers was special for a couple of reasons - it was our first get together in a while, since we'd skipped an April meeting, due to a lack of venue. Since my new studio is close to being operational, we held it there. And had the swamp cooler been working properly in both rooms, all would have been perfect. Alas, we were only 50% cooled.

Still, it was a very nice get together.

John Eugster gave a very informative demo on making custom profile cutters and making scratch stock. John is a consummate professional, with efficient and graceful movement while performing his craft. He's a joy to watch.

We discussed a few things important to maintaining a group - including setting our dues ($20 a year) and choosing a permanent night for our meetings. We chose the third Wednesday of each month for our meetings, which means our next one will be held on June 17.

Other topics includes a future "garage sale" of woodworking tools and accessories, as well as formally adopting the name "Sin City Woodworkers". See, someone had raised an objection about the name, and wanted to discuss it further.

Here's my tip when you raise an objection - be there to discuss it. As it turned out, it was a non issue because everyone seemed pretty happy with the moniker, and chose to blow off the one dissenting opinion.

I'll be posting something shortly about the classes that I announced - I've started registering people for classes starting in just two weeks. Stay tuned...

Monday, May 18, 2009

At the Red House...

As a furniture maker (and therefore, a furniture seller) I'm all for creative marketing when selling furniture. This ad is a hoot, you can read about it here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The (final) demise of Woodwork Magazine

In October of 2008, I blogged about Woodwork Magazine, mentioning that I'd gotten a letter saying they were "re-organizing".

Imagine my surprise when I received this a couple of days ago..

So much for reorganizing, they have disappeared.

I'm sad to see it go; I enjoyed their magazine. Perhaps there's a correlation between the fact that they didn't have page after page of advertising, and the fact that they're gone.

Remember this - it's all about the Benjamins.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Unpacking the beast

I owe my buddy Larry a nice lunch.

He and a friend stopped by just as the new tablesaw was being delivered. Just the crate and all of it's stickers got my heart pumping.

After opening the main crate, we slid the beast into the mobile base, thus making it easier to assemble. Of course, I'd like to say I remembered to bring my camera and documented the whole assembly, but...

About that lunch bet - here's a tip. If you ever have an opportunity to make a bet on whether or not a power cord comes with a $4500 saw, bet that it doesn't.

If you're lucky enough to live in a great place like Las Vegas, there are some fantastic places you've always wanted to try, but probably couldn't afford. This bet could be a great way to win a free lunch in the restaurant of your choice.

Way to go, Larry.

My next question is - why the hell do manufacturers do that? Oh, I know, they want the machine to be hardwired into the wall. I understand that, but even so - where's the cord to do so?

Now I have to run all over town trying to find an appropriate molded cord. Note to the SawStop company - just because you make one of the coolest saws in the world doesn't give you the right to flake out on this issue.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Be it ever so humble...

If you wrote out a list of all the things you'd really want in a woodworking studio, you might include high ceilings, lots of natural light, a good assortment of electrical outlets, and nice neighbors. For once, I just might have what I really want.

One of the reasons I've haven't been blogging much is that moving my shop has been taking up a lot of my time. Well, packing and moving, paperwork, licensing BS and much, much more.

And even though the shop is not anywhere near being finished, the third meeting of the Sin City Woodworkers will be held on Tuesday, May 19 at 7:00 PM in the new digs - 2267 West Gowan, Suites 106 & 107. It's pretty easy to find. The zip is 89032, in case you want to MapQuest it. Gowan runs just north of Cheyenne, and the nearest cross-street is Simmons.

When you pull into the main driveway, drive straight in; my shop will be about halfway back, on the right. I'm still moving in, and don't know how organized the place will be, but at least we'll have a roof over our head and no one chasing us out. My seating is limited.... well, OK, I have exactly two chairs in the whole place. So I suggest you bring a lawn chair with you.

Local woodworker John Eugster, of Woodworks by John, will give a presentation on making scratch stocks, favored by well known woodworker Garrett Hack. He'll show how simple they are to make, and will demonstrate how to use them in your next woodworking project. For anyone looking to add a touch of personalization to an upcoming piece, this demo is a must-see.

I was thinking it might be kind of interesting to hold a woodworking garage sale sometime in the future, and let some of us bring tools/wood/supplies that we'd like to sell or trade with other woodworkers. During the last meeting, I mentioned that at some point, we'll need to discuss dues or some sort of cash flow, so that we can cover the expenses for this group. Maybe we can discuss dues and figure out what everyone thinks is fair.

Another thing - I love the way the woodturners in town raffle off wood blanks and other goodies. If
anyone has something they'd like to donate that we can raffle off to the group, I'd love to hear from you. I have a few items I'm willing to give up, and hope others will pitch in, too.

I've commissioned an LA artist to spice things up a bit. In the coming weeks, she'll be coming to town and adding some much needed color and character to the walls. Stacey Campbell is not only talented and creative, she's not afraid of climbing up scaffolding like this and painting for hours.

And finally, anyone wishing to enroll is a woodworking class with me is invited to contact me for more information. Enrollment is starting soon, and I'll have more details about classes, prices, and schedules in the next couple of weeks. If anyone has any preferences about times or days of the week, please feel free to contact me with your suggestions.

Oh - and I'm offering private lessons, too... for those with performance anxiety or a general aversion for sharing tools. If you're interested, let me know.

By the way, the SawStop gets delivered tomorrow. Let the games begin!