Saturday, May 05, 2012

Bing Bang Boom

It is ironic that prostitution is legal in most places in Nevada. Years ago, I used to introduce myself as a wood prostitute, because - to make a living, I had to do just about anything in wood for money. Some of my prouder moments included making things like a custom antique bedpan display cabinet, or designing an adult sized crib. Don't ask.

But I'm also lucky to have the chance - and the challenge - of making some pretty interesting pieces, too - like the Ferrari crankshaft stand, or the Thunderbirds helmet display cabinet. It's all good. Really.

A couple of weeks ago, a fellow and his wife stopped into my shop to show me this slide rule display stand.

It's funny how our lives are shaped by small events, but had a miserable twit of a ninth grade science teacher. So I hated science with a passion - which is odd, since I employ quite a bit of it in my current work.

Still - I've never even seen a slide rule up close. Do they even use those any more?

The series of slots that display the slide rules had to be space pretty accurately, so I decided to make a prototype first. I cut a couple of triangles out of plywood, to test the spacing of the slots.

Using set-up blocks, I found that the slots were 5/16" wide.

So I installed a 5/16" dado set in the saw, and tilted the arbor over to a 45 degree angle.

Making all these cuts was similar to the way one would cut finger joints on a tablesaw.

Once you set up the jig, you can cut them all day long - with perfect spacing.

Here's the first cut on the scrap wood.

As the cutting progressed, you simply use an indexing pin to create even spacing.

Even though he only ordered ten of these, I made a dozen - in case of any screw-ups on my part, which was entirely possible.

Since each one held a dozen rules, so that meant I had to cut 288 slots.

That is a ton of cutting, and sort of where the prostitution thing comes in.

Still - with some good music playing, and the right frame of mind - I can get myself into the zen of the moment on projects like these. It's all good - I'd still rather be sweaty and covered in sawdust than sitting behind a desk, listening to the sound of fingers clicking on keyboards. Or office gossip. Or attending team-building meetings. Oh, just shoot me if I ever have to do that.

Seems like I've been doing a lot of very small projects like these lately, but you know - they're much kinder to my back, and in many ways - very satisfying. They're quick - you design them, build them, and move on.

What's that line - Bing Bang Boom?


Vegas Lupe said...

Prostitute is such a harsh and demeaning word...How about: "woodworking madam"? The difference might be that a madam makes a few hundred dollars more (unless you do a job for the Secret Service).

Pardon the curiosity...Adult sized crib??? Do you have a picture of it?

BTW, got to admire your simple and elegant solutions to woodworking projects. Thanks for sharing. :-)

Julie @ followyourheartwoodworking said...

Ahhh, the old "angled finger joints" trick! Really, who would have thought of that? Great solution!