Wednesday, September 27, 2017

When you can't find it... make it!

A few months ago, I refurbished this tired Mid-Centurytury Modern desk with its sagging typewriter return. It needed some TLC, and some structural work - including raising the return about five inches, 

updating the privacy panels,

and rebuilding the drawers. 

One major problem was a missing handle - and with hours of searching and research, I still couldn't locate a replacement part #19305.

This missing end didn't really seem all that complex, and I always kept the thought about making one in the back of my head.

 Then I met a woman who had spent some time in the local Maker Space, and she mentioned 3D printing, and how she might be able to get one of the ends made.


It took a little time to perfect the dimensions and the details of this end piece,  but I'm thrilled what she and the techies came up with! 

Now it's time for me to make the wooden insert - luckily I had one to use as a pattern.  

Slicing a piece of walnut and shaping it was easy, but cutting the angled tenons on each end was a bit of a challenge. 

I pulled out a few tools and within a few minutes, 

the tenons were perfect!

When I put everything together, I realized that only one of the new ends was threaded.

Here's the tap and die set to the rescue... 

cutting the threads always makes me a little nervous.

But everything came out perfectly. 

I added a little spray paint and distressed the new parts a bit, so they matched the set that was 60 years old. 

And just like that - I had a matching handle that blends in well with the original.  Can you tell which is the original and which one is the replacement?

I'm working on one last piece to complete this set - stay tuned for a modern transformation to a common office dilemma... how to hide a beast of a copier.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Rustic Coffee Table with a Surprise....

Let's face it - we live in a tumultuous world - with home invasions, road rage incidents, and a variety potentially violent situations that we often don't see coming. 

So when a student recently asked about making a coffee table that might hold some of his weapons - it seemed like a pretty interesting idea. He was hoping to  use a live edge slab from Reclaimed Secrets, a local lumber mill that sells some dope slabs.

The big challenge was finding the hardware - in this case, we needed a heavy duty, full extension drawer slide so that the tabletop could slide open, without sagging or binding. 

It took a few calls and some online research,  but we finally found a 500 pound capacity slide that was rigid enough to handle the job. 

I feel sorry for anyone who thinks they can drop in on this home!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Woodshop Headphones ... what's in your ear?

If you knew how many hours I spend in the woodshop, then you'd understand why ear buds are so important to me. In fact, they might be one of my most important "tools" in the shop right now.

 With commissions piling up, I've been doing a ton of work with loud machinery, and this set by Plugphones perfectly deliver crisp sound in my ears. I'm a huge podcast listener, and these earbuds not only fit your ear better, but they have noise reduction qualities, so I can actually hear spoken words while the planer is roaring, or the dust collectors drone for hours.

 A while back, I attended a convention and wandered up to a booth, discovering these. The best part about conventions is that you learn about new products, or find things that you've never seen before. 

When these are in my ears, I can work and enjoy great programming at the same time. Seriously - the noise they block is amazing!

So.... what are YOU listening to in your shop? 

If I had to list my top favorite Podcasts, ones that I tune into weekly - I'd have to say:

 If you're interested in upping the sound quality in your shop, check out the links to the right. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Wanna find your niche in woodworking?

Who knew that there was such a need for piano legs? When a sweet older couple wandered into my shop with this broken leg, 

 and it sent me down the rabbit hole, trying to locate a replacement. 

As with most older customers, they didn't have a ton of money to throw at a replacement leg, which is what it turned out to require. 

One piano restorer quoted me $1500 for a replacement!

After a discussion with the piano owners, who told me their piano was simply for their grandchildren to bang on when they visited,  we decided to make two new legs. They explained that their piano bench was a hand-me-down, and was of a different style, with straighter tapered legs. So - if I could match that design, they'd be satisfied. 

As they said - they don't have to be pretty, they just have to hold the thing up!

I'll tell you this - measuring this leg was the hardest part! 

There wasn't a flat surface on the leg, except for the very top, and getting and end-to-end dimension was tough. Years ago, I'd come across a similar situation, and used my tablesaw to get an accurate measurement. 

Here's the leg, butted against the fence, 

and just touching the blade. 

My read-out told me the leg as a hair under 25 1/4" long. 

Sweet. I found some thick stock and laminated a couple of leg blanks, 

and after they dried - I milled and tapered them. Even added in a little decorative kerfing to dress them up a bit.  

A bit of sanding and some stain and lacquer and my clients were on their way. 

Who knew?!  I'll tell you this - if you want to start a whole new cottage business - teach yourself how to make piano legs. There's a whole market out there, waiting for you to show up!

Sunday, September 03, 2017

3D Printing - how cool!

Remember that Mid-Century Modern desk that I re-built a few months back? 

One of the handle ends was missing, and hours of research didn't help locate one.

 But a student of mine mentioned that she had started working at the local SynShop, learning all kinds of cool techniques, like welding, robotics, lasering and 3D printing.

Hmmmm.... 3D printing... that started me thinking about a replacement part for a handle. 

It took a while to coordinate things, but Rachel was finally able to get the part printed. 

And threaded for a new bolt, no less!  This is SO exciting - the desk is going to be whole again, once I get the part and paint it to match the older parts. 

Meanwhile, I'm working on another piece for this office set that will match the desk - a wrap-around cabinet that will hide a Xerox copier. 

Staining the cane to match the older cane is the most difficult part, but once that's done, it'll be smooth sailing. 

One thing's for sure, I'll be happy to wrap up this project and start on some new stuff. It's never boring in my shop. Classes start soon, and I'm looking forward to cooler temps in the shop. 

Happy Fall, everyone!