Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Checking out the Las Vegas Wood Turners Show at the Summerlin library

Last week, I headed to the art gallery in the Summerlin library to check out the Las Vegas Wood Turners show.  

I'd never been to that library before, and finding it was a bit of a challenge. But I know one thing– I ended up at a couple of different gated communities, and the guards there who were giving me directions couldn't have been nicer. 

Kudos to Summerlin guards!

This sculpture greeted me, right as I pulled up to the library. Finding the gallery was easy.

The overall quality of the show was very nice, it's nice that the Wood Turners arranged this exhibition.  I really liked Don Finleys lidded boxes. His pieces are gorgeous.

Eckhard Fadtke's work was some of the best in the show – it was in a whole other universe, than some of the other work exhibited there, IMO. 

His segmented pieces were incredible.

What is it with guys and the balls? 

At the very first meeting of the LV Wood Turners group that I attended– they had a competition for turning balls. They were checking them for shape – whomever had a perfect sphere was going to win. And then they rolled their balls down a pathway,  to see which ball would roll the straightest. Everyone was walking around, feeling each others balls, and it was a very funny way to be introduced to the group.  

(I love first impressions like this!) 

Here's a bowl full of balls! 

My buddy, Ed Theissen, is getting better and better at turning. He's been going crazy with stacked Baltic Birch plywood, 

 practicing his form. Good for him!

More balls! 

I love this multiaxis turning by Christian Brisepierre, it's easy to see why he's an instructor here in town.

 This turning, of a woman's body, was amazing. It was only about 8 inches high, But I studied it for a long time – the form was exquisite.

The show doesn't close until December 8, so if you're in the area– I highly recommend you stopping by and checking out this work. And if you get lost - know that there are some security guards that will help guide you to the library. 

Nice work, guys!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sad cats

Who makes these videos?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Eleven obscure facts about wood

Why not "Ten obscure facts?" instead of eleven? Why ask why?

While doing some research on a piece of furniture I am designing, I found myself "doing the Google" well into the night.  I'm convinced of this: there is no limit to the amount of obscure woodworking minutia out there on the web. 

Here are some of the coolest facts I found. Don't ask me to cite my sources, I can barely remember finding some of these. It was late, and I should have been sleeping!

1.)  In Pennsylvania the Hardwood Timber is growing 2.44 times faster than it is being harvested.

2.) Square drive screws were invented by P. L. Robertson in 1908 and were originally supposed to be used on Ford's Model T. There were referred to as Robertsons, as in - buying a box of "Robertson screws." 

 3.) The bark of a Redwood tree can be up to 24 inches thick.

 4.) Louisville Slugger makes 1.6 million wood bats a year. 

 5.) A single tree produces approximately 260 pounds of oxygen per year. That means two mature trees can supply enough oxygen annually to support a family of four!

 6.) It was rumored that because metal was scarce, the Oscars given out during World War II were made of wood. This is, in fact, false. Only one wooden Oscar was ever given out - to ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, who received a wooden Oscar for his work with his wooden dummy, Charlie McCarthy. 

7.) Contrary to later legend, none of Washington's false teeth were made of wood. 

 8.) The Milton Bradley company uses only Vermont Maple for Scrabble tiles.

 9.) Trees can send out warning signals to other trees about insect attacks. 

10.)  In 1813 a Shaker-Sister by the name of Sister Tabitha Babbitt invented what was later to become the TableSaw.  Sister Tabitha is also credited with inventing the cut nail.

And finally.....

 11.) One in ten European babies is conceived in an IKEA bed.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Minor woodworking surgery - or a "dutchwoman" repair

About a week ago, I received a hilarious comment about my last chair post. Someone wrote and asked if I would post a better picture of the chair I'm building, since the last one looked like someone had tossed their cookies under it. 

When I looked back at the photo, I agree. But I swear, that stain on the concrete below the chair isn't vomitus. 

I will post a picture of the two chairs shortly, as soon as I apply a few more coats of oil to them. Meanwhile, I had to perform minor woodworking surgery to the second chair. 

There was a gap on the back of the chair - I evidently cut my seat notch a hair too big. 

But the true sign of being a competent woodworker is knowing how to correct your fuck-ups, and trust me, there are bound to be a few here and there. 

The best way to fix this is to add - as my buddy John E says - a dutchman. my case, a dutchwoman. This is the area what needs one. 

I was in "the zone," an area in which I rarely land on the first attempt. But this shim was cut perfectly the first time. Must be the planets in the right place. 

Clamping it into place was tricky, 

since the chair leg was an odd shape.

So I made a custom clamp pad. 

 I just traced the profile on the block, and sliced it on the bandsaw. 

 Whenever I glue something tricky, I'm reminded of my friend, Dave. Dave was a pretty calm guy, but would totally freak whenever he had to glue something together  I'm not sure why – it just gave him a lot of stress to glue things. My feeling is this – get everything you need right in front of you, so you don't have to be running around to find clamp or a glue block. Being prepared makes it go smoothly.

In this case, I really wanted good pressure all along that little Dutchman, so I added a small block under my clamp to even out the pressure.

After the glue dried, you could barely see the repair.

Doesn't this look a hell of a lot better?

And finally – the second chair is assembled and drying.

Friday, October 18, 2013

A seamless vacation - and my current favorite cat and dog video

You probably didn't notice anything different about my blog last week, but I was on vacation. I went back east to visit my family, and I swear I put on 10 pounds, just from love! 

I like how I can schedule blog posts while I'm away, so I set a few things up to publish while I was gone. Sweet.

So - I'm back to work now, and the shop is about to get super busy. I'll be teaching four nights a week, which is a first for me. I have 30 students coming up in this session; any teacher will tell you that's a pretty heavy load.

Meanwhile,  I'm working on a post about something I'm fixing right now, but it's not quite finished. So - I'll give you a link to this video. It's my current favorite. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A follow-up on an earlier piece...

After some houseguests suggested my spare bedroom needed to be a little more user friendly - I built a tall chest in red oak. It had plenty of drawer space, and a countertop area for holding a backpack or purse. 

The piece went together fairly quickly, but - as in most of my pieces - I suffered with the details. I must have made three different versions of drawer fronts - carved, painted, and laminated, until I decided on these.  

(Here's proof that I did, indeed, commit to a design!)

It's the small stuff that bogs me down, not the larger picture. Go figure!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Someone has a great imagination

Holy crap, this video is terrific! This has been floating around on Facebook for a couple of days - if you haven't seen it, you MUST! 

Speaking of Facebook, have you checked out the page for my woodworking school?  As the say.... Like Us on Facebook! The 200th person to "Like" us gets a free gift - I'll give you a hint:

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

EOJ Syndrome

Yes, I'm suffering from EOJ Syndrome. Ever heard of it?

It occurs when you're close to finishing a project, and you just can't seem to complete the last part of it.... hence the "End of Job" moniker. 

My dining chairs are nearly complete - in fact, I spent yesterday sanding and assembling one in the shop. It was harder than I thought it would be! It's funny how a chair with nine small wooden parts can be so tricky to assemble and clamp, when a bookcase that has ten times more material can be assembled in minutes. 

Anyway, I needed a break from all the difficult joinery and fitting, and decided to play with something fun. I looked at the stack of logs sitting in the corner of the shop, 

and decided to pull one out and see if I could come up with something made out of one log. 

Eric made a resawing jig for the Laguna bandsaw last week, 

so it was easy to split this log right down the middle.

I have no idea what kind of wood this is – but it's really heavy. CRAZY HEAVY.  It's heavier than anything I've ever worked with – and I think it could be Hickory.

Once it was cut into two pieces, I sliced a one inch thick slab from one of the halves.

 Slicing open a log is like Christmas – you never know what you're going to get; it's usually a nice surprise. 

I sliced off a chunk from the left over log 

and squared it up, so that I could mounted into the lathe.

It's sort of cool to see how the parts of this fit back together. 

Before mounting this on the lathe,

I tilted the blade to 45°

and sliced off the corners.

Let's get this thing mounted!

It was easy to rough-turn this into a cylinder but I needed some direction about the knobs I wanted to make.

 So I sketched out a few shapes.

 It's so much easier to work with a design that you can visualize, instead of just going with the flow. I came up with three small knobs that I liked - all different. Of course. 

 Here is a very old lathe tool that I bought years ago, when I used to make rolling pins on the lathe. The end of that allows you to cut a perfectly sized half-inch tenons. 

(The rolling pins I used to make  hung on the little wall holder. I use this tool to make the two pegs that held the rolling pin.  And over the years, I made a butt load of pegs. We're talking hundreds!)

 Once the wood slips into that part of the tool, you know you have a half-inch tenon. For reproduction work, this tool is perfect!

And just like that – I have some nice knobs!

 When I parted the three knobs off of this blank, the tops needed some sanding. And - they were difficult to hold. So I made a jig to hold the knobs while I sanded them.

 This little coat rack is shaping up. I drilled some holes, and installed the knobs.

Finally - the coat rack is finished - three coats of oil, and it is gorgeous. Just in time for cooler weather, with everyone wearing jackets to the shop. The biggest question will be - where will we hang it? It's way too pretty to hide away in some corner of the shop!

Once it's in place, hopefully my bout of EOJ will dissipate and I'll be able to finish that last dining chair. A distraction like this coat rack is a necessary part of life!

One last thing - Happy Birthday, Mom! Thanks for all you do!