Friday, August 30, 2013

A REALLY Cool Bicycle Park

My friend Susan sent me a link to this fascinating video

What a terrific idea for keeping our bikes safe, and also - keeping the streets free of clutter. 

Wonder what an "account" or membership costs? 

I did a little research - For students it costs 1,300 yen to park for a month and 1,800 yen for the rest of the folks.

Thanks to Google - I calculated this in dollars. For students - it's $13.25 a month, or $18.34 for the rest of us. 

Don't you just love the internet?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The more, the merrier....

It's not that often that I finish an order this quickly. But it's crunch time at Studio:Wood It Is, and things are about to get a little crazy. 

At last week's Sin City Woodworkers meeting, I formally announced that I have been hired by CSN, another local college here, to get their Continuing Ed Woodworking program up and running again. CSN has one of the oldest community based programs in town, and I'm really excited to add them to my schedule. They will bring in a whole new group of woodworkers to the shop - and as with all creative endeavors - the more, the merrier!

So the shop is going to be much busier than before, and it's time to clear some things from my workload. Let's finish up this table base extension...

Once the glue had dried on that blank I'd laminated into a column, I fastened it to a faceplate and loaded it into the lathe. Thanks to the digital angle cube, the joints were perfect - tight as could be.

 I had decided to mount that transition piece to the bottom of this blank, you can see it here, on the left. 

It's amazing to me that I get paid to have so much fun! Turning this column was a joy - the wood (mahogany) is a perfect density to cut,

 and the chips were piling up.

 The shape was starting to emerge, and only about half of this form was even going to show, so I didn't have to do very much cutting on this piece. All I really needed to do was true it up and sand it. 

And - viola! It's finished, and awaiting stain.

 I've started using the stopwatch on my iPhone when working on orders - it allows me to keep track of my time, and honestly - it's invaluable for making me a better estimator when quoting future orders. In this case, I had told my client it would take about three hours to complete this piece. I started the stopwatch when I initially started cutting and gluing this blank together, and then restarted it when I resumed work on it, the next day.

At the very end of this project, here's what my clock showed...

I love it when things work out the way they're intended to work! I'm still learning about all the cool apps that the iPhone has available, that help me in the woodshop. (My current favorite is a fractions calculator called Fraction Plus.

If you have any cool apps that mesh well with woodworking, let me know! Meanwhile, you know where to find me!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

So much for a day off....

 I don't know what it is with rush orders, but they seem to be all that are coming my way these days. Someone walked into my shop with this table base and asked if I could make it taller - by adding some sort of extension onto the top of it .

Sure, no problem... 


Oh, OK... ten days. 

No problem!

First things first - I needed to add some levelers to the three feet on this pedestal. It took longer than I thought it would, but - isn't that always the case?  This pedestal is going to support a granite countertop, and adjustability is always important when dealing with heavy loads like that.

After the levelers were in place, I measured to determine that I needed an extension about eight inches high. But the transition from the existing base to the new piece bothered me. I was concerned how they would look butted next to each other. 

In cases like this, it's best to make a completely separate transition piece. 

So - I threw a piece of wood on a faceplate and turned a thin transition disc. 

 Here it is, mounted in place. 

OK, levelers and transition are done... let's figure out the main part of the extension. 

There are a few apps you can use to determine stave construction dimensions, and after imputing the proper dimensions, I ended up with this simple cutting diagram.

Luckily, I had some Mahogany in the shop, just waiting for a job like this. 

After squaring up a piece of the board, I set the blade to the appropriate angle and ripped the eight pieces that will form the piece.

It's funny - I try to take Sundays off, but it always seems like something pops up and I need to head to the shop on my "day off."  

In this case, I just needed to get this piece glued together. Sunday or not.

Hopefully, I'll get this piece turned tomorrow and can start on matching a stain. 

No rest for the weary. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

This Beats Brookstone!

This may or may not have happened: I was almost locked out of my house last week.

I watched a short video on making one of these a couple of weeks ago, so today - I went in search of a rock.

 (This video seems so lame compared to that chair making video a couple of posts ago - I almost didn't post it!)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

From A to B.....

It feels like I mail a lot of packages, but after talking to some friends - my postage bills are nothing compared to theirs. I found this nifty little video, where someone stuck a camera into a package and filmed its voyage. 

It's pretty interesting, although I almost needed some Meclinzine to watch it.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

An AMAZING Whale Video

It's been about six months since I was in Hawaii, and I've been missing it lately. In a perfect world, I would be building furniture there. Meanwhile, I have to get my fix of the  islands via YouTube. 

Here is a terrific video - click on this link to watch it directly on YouTube.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ahh... the brilliance of youth...

You might remember that I posted this photo last year, featuring a complex joint that one of my students was playing with - this was the mock-up, made of scrap material. It's an interlocking mortise and tenon corner, perfect for a four-legged table. 

 Chris finally finished the table, in solid Walnut with a few Maple butterflies thrown in - 

to keep a crack from expanding. 

This table was glowing from the finish he applied - Watco, wet-sanded, followed by an application of paste-wax.

 Chris is on his way to NYC, where he'll begin his studies in the Masters in Architecture program  at Columbia. 

And we wish him all the luck in the world!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Best Woodworking Video of the Year!

This video is insanely clever. 

If you do nothing else this weekend - watch this video!

Better yet - click here to watch it on YouTube. 

Then watch it full-screen. It's that good. 

(Thanks for the link, Sharon!)

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Thanks for the cool wood video, Eric!

Here's a pretty great video on quartersawn wood - how it is cut, and what the wood will look like. 

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

And in other news.....

File this in the WTF? department!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

AWFS Fresh Wood Show - and the final show wrap up!

One of the highlights of the AWFS show is the Fresh Wood Competition, which features an industry sponsored competition of high school and college students work. The quality of some of these pieces is so high, it's hard to imagine that these pieces are being made by such new-to-the-craft woodworkers. 

This chest of drawers by Preston Drage was really gorgeous,

 but the winner in the case goods category was this desk, Graham Lutz.

There were some terrific chairs entered into the competition this year, some of my favorites were Vidar's chairs by Ben Cooper, which incidentally won first place in the reproduction category. 

I have a soft spot in my heart for Tage Frid's Three-Legged Music Chair, and John Barry did a very nice job on his. 

 Making those stools is rite of passage into becoming a real woodworker - here are mine.

This "Lolita" chair was lovely in its simplicity and craftsmanship. It won an Honorable Mention award -  nice work, Greg Laird!


In the truly quirky category - these Cow Horn Chairs by Rossel Berard were sweet. 

This chair, called The Rumper by Darcy McDonough, didn't look very comfortable, but was apparently built with ergonomics and proper posture in mind. I would have loved the opportunity to sit in it!


And this "Keep on Rockin'" chair by Justin Chin was just plain fun. Hard to completely appreciate it from this photo, but it is in the shape of a musical note, and quite innovative. In fact, he won First Place in the Chair category. 

 This inlaid table by Thaddius Berglund - a high school student - was pretty amazing! And it won First Place in the Table category. 

 A few people I spoke with really loved this Conversationalist Bench by Andrew Prioli of the Rhode Island School of Design program. Its gracefulness and craftsmanship made this a stunning piece. 

Musical Instruments made a strong statement in this year's show, with Mark Hudson's "Gui2ar" winning second place. 

This Les Paul PurpleHeart electric guitar, by Ed McCravy, won first place in the Musical Instrument category. Deservedly so!

Visitors to the Fresh Wood Booth were allowed to vote on their favorite piece, and this low table by Kristoffer Edlund won the People's Choice award. This bent lamination base turned Walnut (and Maple!) into a giant pretzel. And combined with its glass top - so you could see the table from above - it was gorgeous. Every time I tried to shoot a picture of this piece, it was surrounded by people, checking out its complexity. Really nice work, Kristoffer!

Finally - Mollie Ferguson's"dulcius ex asperis" chair in Madrone won best of show. A gorgeous piece with impeccable craftsmanship. Again - the College of the Redwoods continues to produce some of the best woodworkers in the world. 

All in all, with the exception of a few AMAZING pieces, the quality of work this year didn't seem quite as high as in the past. But still - considering that these pieces are being built by people with ten years of experience or less (some MUCH less!) - their pieces are still quite amazing. 

Finally - some people have asked about my overall observations about this years AWFS show. So here goes -

- There were so many glaring omissions of tool manufacturers, it felt as if this show was in the grip of a horrible recession. At the last few shows, both exhibition halls were filled. This year - not so much. We were down to one hall, with many "regulars" missing. I was really looking forward to seeing some of my favorite booths - like the MilkPaint people, for example, but many of them were missing. Still, I loved checking out Doug Mocket's latest gear, as well as chatting with the Mohawk people. And of course, I loved the Box on Demand dudes. 

- Some of the exhibitors were downright crabby - but I think I would be too, if I had to stand on the floor, BSing with people for five straight days. I could never do what they do! As I was walking around, in search of a cold beer - I realized I couldn't find one. I'm pretty sure they sold cold ones in the past - so maybe that's a change that they might want to reinstate, if only to make some of the salespeople a little more friendly. 

- From talking to a few people who also attended classes - I think the quality of the individual classes has gotten better and better. Both of the classes I attended were excellent, and the instructors were quite open and available for discussion afterward. It didn't seem like there were some of the bigger names from the past, like Michael Fortune or Jeff Miller, but this new round of instructors were really on their game. 

- I brought home much less swag than ever before, but that's probably because the last thing I need is another cloth bag, packet of sandpaper samples, or pamphlet on a $40,000 tool. By the way, many thanks to Patty at SawStop's booth, who sent me a cool banner for my school. Patty continually hooks me up with nice promotional items and I appreciate it. 

- My favorite booth? Lee Valley, without question! 

I'm already looking forward to the 2015 AWFS show! Mark your calendar -