Wednesday, July 22, 2020

We lost a giant in the Las Vegas woodworking community

It's with a great deal of sadness that I write this post - I just learned about Ed Garcia's passing. 

Ed ran probably the most well known lumberyard here in town - if you ever saw a sharply dressed fellow walking through the stacks of wood, with his safety vest on, then you know who I am talking about. 

Over the years, Ed and I had many a conversation about the state of woodworking in this town. 

Ed's office was next to my saleswoman's desk, and I can't tell you how many times I peeked inside and saw him at his desk. Sometimes we chatted for a bit, and he'd share family stories or some crazy woodworking gossip. 

In fact, when I started Sin City Woodworkers in 2009, I needed a location to hold our second meeting, and Ed generously offered Peterman's warehouse to our group. 

I'm going to miss his charming smile and his leadership there. 

RIP, Ed. 

The Vegas woodworking community is a little dimmer without you in it. 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

A beam compass - my lifesaver today!

A project I'm working on needed a piece of melamine cut into a circle. Instead of cutting it with a router and compass jig, I decided it was just easier to draw it and cut it with a bandsaw.

 It didn't have to a be perfect circle, so it was fine to simply draw it on the panel, and cut it by eye. 

I pulled out my well used compass, 

but unfortunately, it wouldn't open up wide enough to draw a 17" circle. 

This radius would only draw a circle about 15.5 inches. No bueno.  

Then I remembered the beam compass that I purchased years ago. I don't use it that often, but when I need it, it's the perfect way to draw larger circles. 

The kit comes with these two heads;

 you supply the "beam." 

Any strip of 3/4" wood works for the beam. Of course, I had just gone on a cleaning binge at the shop, and threw out all of my scrap, so I found a couple of strips of plywood in the trash and made a beam. 

It didn't have to be pretty. 

And it wasn't. 

I set the points 8.5" apart, which would give me the 17" circle that I needed.

 Find the center and drawing the circle is a breeze.


 It was perfect, and the beam compass made it simple. 

You know what's NOT so simple? 

Keeping the shop cool when this is happening!

By the way, if I had it to do over, I might buy this compass.

Here's a good one, too:  FATMAX Chisel Compass

Stay cool, everyone - Summer is past the halfway point!

Friday, July 10, 2020

"You had time"... to build a Tie Cabinet

This shutdown (and the imminent re-opening) of Nevada has been a mixed lasting for a lot of businesses. Quite a few of my peers have told me that business is brisk, and that this period has been a blessing in disguise. 

For me, it's been a mixed bag. Not a day goes by when I don't hear from students who are yearning to get back into the shop. They miss the camaraderie, and the access to the tools. 

Frankly - they miss making cool stuff!

Speaking of cool stuff - I finally finished my tie cabinet. 

Back in the day, I used to wear neck ties. And I amassed a very nice collection of them - everything from hand painted silk ties (with woodworking motifs!) to some really fun designs. 

Who doesn't love a Mr. Potato Head tie?! 

A few of my ties have woodworking and plumbing designs, too! 

When I used to volunteer for the local AIDS task force, this condom tie was a big hit! 

I LOVELOVELOVE these pop culture ties, like this SPAM design and this Batman tie. 

And this Pink Floyd tie got a lot of use, back in the day.  

I had to thin out the collection - there were just too many!  

This cabinet had its start 17 years ago, when I made these doors at an Anderson Ranch design seminar. 

These doors hung in my studio for a long time, and every time I looked at them, I made a mental note to get that cabinet made. 

When I had some free time...

The shutdown gave me the time I needed - in fact, I've built myself a couple of pieces in the last few months. But this tie cabinet is one that I love the most. 

It features three drawers, 

and one removable tray. 

To commemorate this period, I lasered a small plate for the back. 

The shop is re-opening to the public this coming weekend, and it will be very interesting to have people back on the tools. 

It feels good to check this cabinet off of my "to do" list.  I'm looking at this shutdown as a blessing in disguise - I'm so saddened by the loss of life, the loss of people's livelihoods, and how some businesses have simply disappeared.  It's mind boggling to realize that some of these things are... simply... gone.   

But we're a resilient bunch, and we'll figure this out someday. Meanwhile, just "having time" will have to suffice. 

Here's one of my favorite Ani DiFranco songs - You had time.