Monday, February 27, 2017

The American Worker

There's an interesting article in the New York Times  weekend Magazine, and it started me thinking. It's about the American worker, and the jobs he or she does. You can click on this link to read it.

Several concepts jumped out at me - the first was that during the next decade, the top jobs will be in nursing, or some form of healthcare. Is that because of longer life expectancies, or because our overall health is that much more in need of care?  (I suspect both.)

Service worker jobs - everything from nannies to Walmart greeters - are going to be another growing sector, and that's a little scary. People with these lower paying jobs often don't make enough to support a family, let alone save for retirement. 

But even more revealing is the fact that blue collar trades have all but disappeared. You know, the kind of skills like fixing a roof, installing a door, or repairing something that is broken in your home.

Think about those statistics...only 6% of students want to pursue skilled trades. 

I'm not sure what we do to lure people into the trade fields, but I do know that not everyone is college material, not to mention the fact that not everyone can afford college in the first place. 

What it really boils down to is that the people who are doing woodworking are busy. If you're a decent craftsman, and have a reasonably sound reputation, you're probably busy with work.

  I've been absent here because I've been swamped with work, building some interesting pieces and  performing some challenging repairs. People who hire me often tell me that they've tried without much luck to find someone to do their repairs. I guess that's what keeps my phone ringing, so I can't complain. 

Anyway, that's what I've been pondering lately, as the work piles up, and so does the sawdust... 

It's never ending...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Help a brother out....

You know what sucks? Well, MEAN PEOPLE, that's for sure!

But - there must be a place in hell (or karmic hell) people who steal from others. Especially those who steal from people who can least afford to lose something. 

So when I read today that my friend Josh up in Portland was burglarized, 

and someone stole not only much of his artwork, but also - important things that he needs for his business (i.e.... business cards, stickers, shopping bags, dolly,) AND his PORTFOLIO - I thought - are you effin' kidding me? 

For an artist, that akin to stealing their lifeline. 

Josh is a great guy - as funny and talented and creative as the best people I know. Did I mention talented as hell? His Etsy store rocks, and his pop culture knowledge is second to none. 

So I have a favor to ask... he set up a Go Fund Me page to recover some of his losses. (You can click on that link to read more!)  I know that as an artist, he'll be discovering what he truly lost as time goes on... he'll be reaching for a tool, or a piece of work and realize that it was stolen, too. 

Shit like that gets into your psyche and it's unnerving - that feeling of being violated.

So please - if you can spare $10 or $20, please consider donating something to his recovery. He doesn't know it yet, but I am going to contribute to his goal whatever doesn't get covered by the end of this day.

Thanks for helping a fellow artist - you just added a few karmic points to your account!

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Lions and Tigers and Bears.... Oh My!

I'm not a veterinarian, but I play one sometimes... not on TV, but in the woodshop. 

It seems like there are a lot of animals in need of help, and they've been making their way to my door, in need of repair. 

This poor giraffe needed tail surgery - someone in the TSA line at the airport broke the tail off, and the owners were heartsick. The giraffe had made the long trip to Las Vegas all the way from Africa, sent as a gift, and the tail was splintered and torn. 

A little bit of glue,

 some tricky clamping, 

and my customers were thrilled. 

Wood It is - 1
TSA - 0

Seriously, I made these two very happy;  which made me pretty happy, too.  

But when this next beast found its way into my shop, the task was a bit more complex. (Not sure why jobs like this come in pairs, but they do.)

This bison was in a world of hurt - 

a missing horn, 

a snout that was missing one whole side,

and a broken tail.


The tail was fairly easy - some epoxy, and some filler, and a few well placed 23 gauge pins, and well...

 the repair was complete, although the tail was a bit shorter than its original iteration.  

The horn was another story - this was a bit tricky, and the best way to attach it was using a small dowel. With the dowel in place, 

I shaped the horn, 

and then pulled out a small sander for some detail work. Since the sculpture was rather crude, the shaping was easy. 

 I roughed it out, and once I had the shape in place,

 a little spray paint made it match its mate.

 Drilling the hole  wasn't difficult, 

but it took a bit of blending to make the horns match. 

Finally, I pulled out some detail carving tools and cleaned up the snout a bit. I've never carved a bison nostril before, and frankly - I hope it's something I don't have to tackle again anytime soon.  

I also promptly sliced my thumb open, so a bit of first aid was necessary before staining the snout to match. 

And just like that - another animal healed!