Saturday, March 26, 2016

Another hidden gem in Las Vegas

If you live in Vegas long enough, and do a bit of exploring out in the suburbs, you'll find some hidden treasures that will become your favorite places to visit. Every time I discover a place like that, I feel like the baboon shown below.

(Baboon's Reaction To Man's Magic Trick Is Absolutely Priceless)

Honestly, there are so many terrific places to visit - like Bob Taylor's Ranch House, for the best steak in town, or the Dispensary, for a burger that's not only terrific, but cheap!  

So when I discovered this gem - Doc's Saddlery,  I was fascinated! Best of all, it's just two minutes from my home, and offers a glimpse into the rustic side of this town.  

And some terrific leather work, of which I needed when repairing that steamer trunk that I blogged about last week.

Doc's is in the middle of a residential neighborhood, but years ago, it probably felt like it was in the middle of the desert. No telling what secrets are buried out there. 

When you walk up to the front, you feel transported back into the 50's. 

People tend to forget what a rural place this town used to be, but up in my neighborhood, there are horse trails and farms everywhere. 

Wild animals (or remnants of them!) just hang around.

This horse skull was lurking right behind the counter; I had to step behind and take a closer look, because let's face it - how often do you get to see a horse skull?

The saddles are amazing; just hanging out in this shop will give your creativity a boost. The shop is filled with leather punches and every leather working tool under the sun. 

I had a chance to chat with Doc; he seems to be the type of guy with a bunch of stories under his hat, but none that he wanted to share too much. In fact, we wouldn't even pose for a picture, but let me shoot one of his alter-ego, rolling a smoke. 

If you ever find yourself in need of some leather work, I highly recommend heading to Doc's shop for a visit. Hell, even if you don't need any leather work done, you'd be doing yourself a favor by just visiting this shop and checking out his work. 

It's worth the drive; you can thank me later. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Getting teed off!

You've heard me say it before - I get to work on some of the coolest projects. The past few weeks have found me working on some giant golf tees - don't ask why. Seriously, doesn't everyone need 14" tall tees?

Here's a prototype I started - I decided to make one, timing myself to see how long it would take. 

Milk paint makes everything look better! I decided on Federal Blue for the tee.  

I wanted the base to "look" like grass, and there was a green Milk Paint that suited this perfectly. 

The hairdryer makes quick work of this. 

Once the first tee was made, it was time for a little production work. 

A little blue tape on the tool rest made laying out my cuts much easier. 

Since these are going to be painted, I used a little filler to fix some of the cracks in the wood. That's what I get for using construction grade 4x4s for these!

This job is nearly complete - with one tee left to make. There's one slight problem when making cool stuff for other people - I always end up wanting one for myself, so I made an extra tee for myself!  

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A treasure chest of work!

Let's face it, after working with wood for 40 years, things can get a little boring. I would hate to think how many hours I have spent sanding wood!

So when someone came along with this steamer trunk and asked me to rebuild it, adding in a few custom features, I was hooked! 

It needed a lot of work, the handles were shot.

 The interior was lined with wallpaper that was disintegrating. 

And this little girl kept staring back at me, as I lined the bottom of the trunk in aromatic Cedar.  Did you ever feel like someone was staring back at you? I was totally creeped out.

 Finding the Cedar was an adventure, I went to Lowes and it took six sales associates telling me that they didn't carry it, for me to find it on my own. You would think that the sales people know what they have on the shelves, but apparently they don't.

 Fitting the last board or two with a hand plane felt good.

I found a hidden gem in my neighborhood – a leather worker who could replace these worn-out handles.

 (I plan on blogging about him and his business soon- trust me, he's one of those interesting characters in Las Vegas!)

These handles have definitely seen better days! 

I kept to all of the old nails that I pulled out, to reuse them. 

These new handles looks spiffy, don't they?

Doc's leatherwork is phenomenal.

Then I turned my attention to the inside of the lid, which was particularly damaged.

 I took out the dividers and decided on a game plan. The lid was so badly damaged that I decided to cover it up with some bendable plywood.  I cut the sample strip and fit it into place, to determine the right width of the plywood. 

It was nearly impossible to use one solid sheet of plywood, so I had to do it in halves, with a center piece of trim covering up the seam.

 Damn, the lid was proving very problematic!

So I decided to turn my attention on the wheels. 

There was one broken wheel, so I ordered a brand-new set of four. 

When they arrived, the bright brass finish needed to be darkened and aged, 

so I applied a brass patina that aged them perfectly.

 I even darkened the screws, not knowing if I would use them or the original nails.  

The new wheels weren't the exact size of the old ones, but close enough. 

Here is one installed - it looks perfect!

There are only two things left to do a this trunk, and hopefully I will get to them later this week. Some jobs feel like a real chore, but this one is quite enjoyable. It almost makes me want to go on Craigslist and buy one of these trunks for myself!

Stay tuned for the finished photos!