Thursday, November 29, 2018

It takes a village!

It's great to have students making projects that they can give away as Christmas or Chanukah gifts.  So the usually holiday class is either Instant Gratification Woodworking, where we make amazing "quickie" gifts, or the Advanced Cutting Board class, where we make cutting boards in steroids. 

Can you guess which one is running right now? 

This end grain board might be the all time favorite one we offer - the colors and patterns (or lack of patterns!) make it truly a unique board - one you'll never find in a store. 

This board takes a village.

It takes three times as much wood as a normal board, and we rely on the fact that everyone in the class cuts and preps wood pieces to share with each other. We mix everything together, so that each student's board has pieces of everyone else's boards... it's quite a group project.

Because it's an end grain board that we run though the planer, we have to glue a sacrificial 2x4 on the back end of the board, so that the vertical wood pieces are supported and can't chip off. 

It's complex, with no repeatable pattern, and you can tell by their faces - they're pretty damn proud.  

We snuck in a simple Domino cutting board, too! 

We'll be making two more boards, and one of them is extremely cool. I'll be sharing a new technique that's life changing for our projects.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Who you gonna call?...

There isn't a day that goes by when I don't get a call from someone asking me to make a woodworking cut, or fix something that's broken. 

Just this week, I built a trunk deck in a car for someone who wanted to camp and sleep in their car, trimmed the boards on a trailer deck,  and shortened some table and chair legs for a dining room set. It's not glamorous, but it sure does fill a need in the community. 

Click on that link above to read a disturbing story about the shortage of tradespeople. With most high school trade programs and apprenticeships drying up, as well as younger people choosing to not get involved in more blue-collar endeavors, it's going to be very tough to find someone to perform basic tasks like hanging a door, replacing a garbage disposal, or rewiring a lamp. 

I'm not sure what the solution is, but high school counselors should probably be steering more students toward these fields. Not everyone is college material, nor can many afford it. There should be a way to educate students about the need for woodworkers, plumbers, electricians, and more. Not to glamorize it, because trust me, there are days when it's ANYTHING but glamourous. 

But nothing beats doing something you love, and working for yourself. 

Friday, November 09, 2018

Another quick scooping technique

It's funny how things get away from you.... a student and I set up this jig on the tablesaw a while back, and I'd forgotten how cool and easy it was to scoop wood with it.  

It's simple to clamp a beam over the top of the blade, and then drill a hole directly over the center of the blade, so that wood can pivot over the blade. 

In this case, we used a drill bit as our pin. 

This simple jig will create awesome bowls in wood... you just rotate the wood, raising the blade little by little, until you get the desired depth.

Here's one in pine, 

and one in walnut.  If you look closely, you'll see a lot of texture from the blade, and frankly - it can be sanded out, or left there for a cool effect.  I ended up sanding this out, as I wanted a perfectly smooth surface, but I've seen some gorgeous pieces with the surface left textured, right off the saw.  

In an upcoming Advanced Cutting Board class, we'll be employing this technique on some charcuterie boards - can't wait to experiment with scooping some longer boards to see how this looks!