Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Peanut Gallery and Making a Carving Knife

Where did the word peanut gallery come from?

Oh wait, here it is - 

peanut gallery:   a group of (sometimes stupid) people that make comments on something they are watching or listening to; spectators with a verbal opinion
"we will not tolerate comments from the peanut gallery," said the announcer.

Here's my definition: comments from douche bags focusing on insignificant details.

The reason I bring this up is because the fellow below made a terrific video on making a carving knife. He took the time to post it on YouTube, which brought out  - you guessed it - the peanut gallery. 

I've had experience with that: two years ago I put a video on YouTube about sculpting wood. And I got so many negative comments from the peanut gallery (i.e. - douche bags) that I took the video down. It just wasn't worth it to hear all their crap about how I didn't know what I was doing, or I was sure to lose a finger, blah, blah, blah. Haters gonna hate!

The same thing happened to the guy below - so after you watch the video on YouTube, look at his comments below. I think he pretty much nails it. 

Hat's off to this guy - I think the video is terrific, and even though I don't need a carving knife, I am tempted to make one just because he made it look so fun. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Little Butt Work

One thing is for sure - there's always something interesting going on in my shop. 

A few weeks ago, a family walked in with a wooden rifle stock - cut into two pieces! 

They'd shortened the stock so their son could shoot it more comfortably. But now the son was grown and they wanted it re-attached. At least they kept the piece they'd removed!

Even though they asked me to simply glue it back on, I felt that there was a better solution. Gluing end grain to end grain makes a weak connection, so I felt like it needed to be beefed up with something mechanical. Plus - the seam was going to look ragged, so I thought it best to accentuate it, rather than hide it.  

I managed to track down a piece of aluminum (thanks, Lupe!) and roughly cut out the shape I needed. I planned to attach it with screws running in both directions, for maximum strength. So I screwed and epoxied the plate onto the end, 

and then drilled some opposing holes. 

Then I did a final attachment using some long beefy screws. There's no way this butt is ever coming off again! 

Aluminum sands like a dream, so I sanded everything smooth and blended the stock back into shape. 

A little more sanding, some stain and finish and this family is back in business!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Performing a little hole control...

If this current project doesn't kill me - nothing will! 

I'm making two matching boxes out of Teak, and I must be allergic to the wood - it's tearing up my lungs. And yes - I've been wearing a mask, but it really doesn't help. Teak is so oily and resinous, the dust just clings to everything. 

Because the wood is so oily - you have to wipe the joints with acetone before gluing everything together. 

Of course, I tipped the can over while I was wiping everything. Oh good - more fumes!

Glued and ready to cut open. 

This box is designed to hold several different artifacts, so it took quite a bit of cutting and trimming to get the interior partitions to fit together tightly. Every cut sent me into a coughing spell. I even added in a small secret compartment inside, except it's not-so-secret anymore. 

I love these Lee Valley hinges, but they don't come with screws. WTF? 

And the screws that they recommend for the hinges don't really fit the hinge that well. See how the head of the screw protrudes just a bit? Not. Good.

This mini countersink took care of one problem, but... 

after countersunk, the hinge is now bi-colored. Time for a metal touch-up.

I pulled out my secret weapon... 

Seriously, I can't tell you how many little scratches and touch-ups I do with a Sharpie. You know how some people say they couldn't work without a roll of duct tape in their shop? That's how I feel about Sharpies. One quick swipe around that countersunk hole and you can't even see where the hole was enlarged. 

I mean it - I love Sharpies!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Doing the Hui

You probably didn't even notice that I slipped out of town for a few days - to my favorite spot in the world - the south end of Maui. It's my battery recharging station - full of sunshine, 

and whales, 

and good friends. 

Yes, that's a nude beach. Whatever. I'm in sheer heaven with my "brotherfromadifferentmother" Frankie. 

There were two art exhibitions that I timed the visit to see - but honestly, there is art and creativity everywhere you look. This cairn, stacked eight stones high, celebrated one friend's eighth year of sobriety. 

One of my favorite spots to visit is the Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center, up in the sleepy town of Makawao. Their annual juried exhibition had just opened, and I stopped in to see the work.  (Seriously - if you ever visit Maui, you must visit the Hui.)

Hui No‘eau Annual Juried Exhibition 2015
January 10 – February 19
Juror: Charles Cohan 
Receiving Day: Monday, December 29 / 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Members’ Opening Reception: Friday, January 9 / 5:00 – 7:00 pm
This prestigious competition offers an opportunity for visitors to view current work of local & mainland artists in all media, including ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, photography, jewelry, digital imagery, fiber, painting, and wood. Guest jurors include respected curators and artists from Maui, Hawai‘i and beyond, offering a different perspective for a unique show every year. With no theme, this exhibition challenges artists to submit their best work created within the past two years!

To be honest, I didn't think the show had work that was as good as in the past - but there were a few memorable pieces that stood out. 

Jim Meekhof's amazing Norfolk Island Pine bowl won a Recognition Award - rightly so! 

It was huge, translucent, and simply stunning. 

This piece just blew me away - a ceramic assemblage of three "ladies" -  highlighted with bright spots of red - celebrating lipstick, high heels, teapots - it was just exquisite. I'm sorry I didn't catch the artist's name, but her (his?) piece was my favorite.

There's a pottery studio on the back side of the property, and I always take a stroll down there, to see if anyone is working, or what's for sale on the racks. You can almost always find something interesting, like these two plates.

 Just up the road is Viewpoints Gallery, another favorite spot where my old friend Eva used to work. They were hosting their 10th annual Celebration of Hawaii show - and just my luck! - woodworkers were well represented.

This sapele bench with glass inlay might have been my piece - simple but gorgeous! 

The glass was amazing!

Lathe work is so popular here on the island - this vessel was HUGE. Like - threefuckingfeettall! huge!

Jazz was well represented at the show, he's a local woodworker who, it seems, is very prolific. About 4 or 5 of his pieces of furniture were on display, including this very well made cabinet with book matched veneered door panels and slow closing hinges.

His table and vessel were stunning - the grain was crazy. 

 Lots of hollowed forms here -  as in many of the galleries on the island.

I particularly liked Gregg Smith's Petroglyph vessel - with its segmented assembly and pyrography. 

I'm pretty sure this was the same artist represented at the Hui, but by then - I was tired from all the traveling, and forgot to check the names on these pieces.

Jazz is not only a furniture maker, but a sculptor as well. Gorgeous piece!

I'll have to look up Kamani - I've never heard of that wood. 

This owl sculpture was mesmerizing - with its spalted wood and abstract shape. A really lovely piece.

 Speaking of pieces - the whole time I was on the island, I kept thinking to myself– wouldn't it be great if I could find a log here to take home? I even looked up a few lumberyards, but to tell you the truth - I didn't feel like making the drive up-country. Traffic on the island is nuts, and I didn't have a lot of time to spare.

So - one morning – when I was getting in my car to head to the beach - lo and behold, I found this! 

I swear– the wood gods just dropped it out of the sky, next my car. I suspect it might be koa, but I'll find out for sure when I turn it into a carving mallet.  I'm still in shock that it just landed where I needed it to be - how does that happen?!