Friday, November 28, 2014

Start saving your scrap wood.....

Holy crap, there are a couple of woodworkers in London who have formed a company called "Yard Sale Project" and their work is just incredible. Taking scraps to a whole new level, they produce sculptural pieces like the chair below.

Their work is mildly reminiscent of Wendell Castle's old laminated furniture of the 70's and 80's, like this popular piece. 

But on steroids. And better. 

I think I just found a use for all those cutting board scraps I've been saving....

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Need a good Thanksgiving laugh?

They say laughing aids in digestion... so after you stuff yourself with your turkey dinner...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A terrific piece of equipment for your shop

Having a good out-feed table is essential of working safely. 

Here's a terrific design - it won't take up a lot of room, and seems fairly easy to build. Plus - you can customize it to your saw. 

I used a commercial version of this saw (made by HTC) for many years on my old Unisaw. It was one of the best features in my old woodshop. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Here's Your 2015 Photo Challenge

Almost a year ago, I started a photo diary, initiated by a friend who mentioned it on Facebook. She framed it a little differently - it was her daily gratitude journal, depicting something each day of the year in which she was particularly grateful to have experienced. (Thanks, Louise!)

I loved the idea of that, so this past year - starting on January 1, 2014  - started my own collection of shots commemorating each day. Honestly - most of them wouldn't make much sense to anyone - maybe just an image of somewhere I visited - like this one, when I bought some shoes at REI. (I thought their tree sculptures were cool.) 

Or this - after an afternoon of playing. 

Or this one, when I discovered a family of burrowing owls on the trails where I ride. 

 The photos are random and odd and interesting, at least to me!  In fact, it's great to scroll through the photos, remembering what made each day special.

I'm not sure why I always find golf balls in the desert, but I collect them - and I have a TON!

This was a message from a dear friend, who had passed away - a double rainbow to tell me that she was thinking of me, from wherever she was in the universe. 

 So - here's your challenge - there are about six weeks left in this year. Time to think about starting your your own photo diary. 

Honestly - it's been terrific - here are some tips for taking great photos. I hope you join me in making your own journal in 2015.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wood Or Plastic Cutting Boards: Which Is Better?

If I had to venture a guess, I honestly couldn't tell you how many cutting boards I've made in my lifetime. 

Easily - hundreds.  

Possibly - thousands.

 It's quite possible that my family and friends are sick of getting them as gifts, although they're way too polite to say so. 

There has long been speculation that wooden cutting boards harbor bacteria, so for a while, there was a huge rush to use plastic cutting boards. Damn, those are ugly AND boring!

So - finally - an answer to the question - 

Wood Or Plastic Cutting Boards: Which Is Better?

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Practice makes perfect

Almost every Saturday at the shop, you'll find Ann fooling around on the lathe. 

She's takens some lessons from Jimmy Clewes, but more importantly - she practices. A lot. At any given time, you might find her wearing her Lee Valley turning jacket and making bowls, spindles, salt cellars, lidded containers - whatever. She's constantly experimenting. 

Check out these small bowls that she made from eucalyptus logs that someone donated. 

She was trying to understand the appearance of the bowl in relation to the tree's annual rings, so she turned two samples, with the grain "smiling" and "frowning" in different directions.

In addition to her lathe work - she's mastered sharpening her lathe tools on the grinder. It wasn't easy to learn, but she can now sharpen a bowl gouge like a MASTER. That's been a huge help in making her turnings so successful. 

She's now incorporating her spindle work into the furniture she's building. 

And damn proud of it, I'd say!

Which brings this point to my mind... the holidays are now on the horizon, and there will be some past students wandering into the shop, hoping to make some holiday gifts. So much of woodworking is about practice. Practicing cuts on the saw, practicing gluing things together, practicing assembling pieces of wood - without practice, these skills get rusty.  So if you're thinking about swinging by to make a few things, I'd recommend brushing up on some skills - the end result of your projects will definitely reflect the extra work you've put into it. 

Here's an absolutely fascinating bowl video that one reader sent to me - wow! Call me boring, but this video had me captivated from start to finish!

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Woodshop GIFS

If you've wondered where the regular blogposts have been....

Damn! I think I just figured out how to make GIFs!