Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Another terrific round of classes coming to an end... and some new ones starting!

Some of my classes are coming to an end this week, and a new round start back up next week - no rest for the weary! 

I'm always grateful for people who up their game and really put some effort into their projects - like the grain management on the front of this box.  It's not a great photo, but the box was wonderful, and the figure on the front pops right out at you. A terrific job.  

And this breadknife - she wanted a knife that looks like a bow, and this two-handled knife accomplished that quite nicely. She plans on adding some embellishments to this, and I can't wait to see what she does. Again, upping their game! 

I've been caught in a tornado of repairs lately - making duplicate parts for customers who either lost or broke something - it's not that fulfilling, but they sure do appreciate having someone make their widgets. I had to wheel out the lathe and make a small finial, duplicating that small part shown below. (Of course, I forgot to take a picture of it before it was picked up!) 

Speaking of lathes - think they can't be dangerous? Check this out!

 I'll be starting another job today - making all new slats and various parts for a porch glider that has seen its better days. Again - not very inspiring, but someone it going to be very happy to have their glider back! 

Here's a little glimpse of last night's class.

Back to work!....

Monday, October 21, 2019

Not exactly a woodshop accident, but ....

Someone was having a really bad (but lucky!) day. 

He's lucky to be alive.

 After reading that article, I was reminded of the time I was driving and swerved in my work van. I accidentally send a can of paste wax flying across my dashboard, and of course, the lid wasn't on the can very tightly.  So some of the wax chunks flew out, and one landed in my coffee, unbeknownst to me. 

As soon as I took a big sip of it, I could taste the wax (not a good taste, either!) and had to end up calling the poison hotline. Note to self and everyone else: Paste wax is NOT a good thing to ingest. I tasted it for days.

Friday, October 18, 2019

It takes a village....

To me, making things in wood is like writing a song. We all have the same raw materials to work with, but each of us sees (or hears) something different in our brains. 

One of my students picked up a couple of walnut slabs from Andrew's shop - Reclaimed Secrets, and wanted to make a coffee table.  

Clearly, he had an idea in mind as he started cutting and assembling this amazing table.

 His vision included metal legs fabricated by our shop neighbor, Hugo. Notice the leg that spans gap in the top. 

There's a gap of around 3-4 inches, and he didn't want the metal leg showing  in that gap. 

So we designed a unique leg that wouldn't show, yet provided enough strength to support the table.  

What an awesome build. 

It truly does take a village to make some of these pieces, and this one will be  remembered for a long time. 

Nice work, Alvin! (and Andrew and Hugo!)

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Working on a fun live edge piece

Since I returned from vacation, I've been working my tail off, catching up on some commissioned work. Here's a fun one - a client dropped off two slabs, unsure of the type of wood. They were fairly short - each one was about 30" in length. For whatever reason, they were cut apart, but the grain matched perfectly. 

Since my planer is only 24" wide, and these were just a bit wider, I pulled out the Festool tracksaw and ripped off the splintered edge. 

It probably would have been a better idea to hook up the Festool vacuum, but these two cuts would have practically filled up the vacuum bag, and those Festool bags aren't cheap!  

As is the case with most live edge slabs, these weren't flat. The best way to test this is on a perfectly flat surface, so I used my tablesaw table to determine where the high spots were on the wood.  

I like to mark the high spots with some chalk, 

and then shave off the high spots with a scrub plane, which takes them off very quickly. This rounded plane iron was razor sharp, 

and made quick work of the high spots.

As every woodworker should know - the planer can't fix a warped board.  The planer will only make a board a a uniform thickness, but if the board is warped, it will still be warped when it comes out of the machine. That's why it's so important to get one side of the slab flat, and not skip this step.

These boards had a very weird texture - it was soft and beautiful, but there were voids on one side of the slabs,  which resulted in some pretty bad chipping.

 Nothing the planer couldn't handle though! Again, the output of sawdust was so profound that it was easier to disconnect the dust collector and just let the dust fly. 

With a respirator on.... let's not forget that! 

After they were flattened and a uniform thickness, it was easy to cut the miters for the waterfall edge.  

I clamped them together, ensuring that the grain lined up properly, 


and marked out lines for the dominos that will hold the mitered joint together. 

Four big dominos on the mitered edges hold this corner together. 

A little sanding, and an easy glue-up followed - like I said - this was an easy project, and after a little sanding, I'll order a metal leg and finish this piece for my client. 

Stay tuned!