Monday, September 20, 2021

Finishing up, and starting anew....

Autumn is definitely around the corner, and classes start back up this week. For me, that means prepping a ton of material for everyone - and if you'd visited my shop last week, you would have seen stacks of wood everywhere. 

Cue up the "short people" jokes - but here I am, buried in stacks of wood. 

Seriously, there was a butt-load of wood that had to be processed, and in that process, someone pointed out to me that there is an actual measurement referred to as a butt-load.  


Yes, in cask units, the largest barrel measurement is a butt-load. I learn something new every day! 

Judging by the phone calls I've been receiving, I'm also sensing that people are gearing up for the holidays. There have been quite a few calls from people who have started their home improvement projects, only to find out that building (or assembling) furniture is harder than they anticipated. 

In some cases - it's easier to simply use the box as a side table, rather than assemble the table. 

Let's hope this isn't an ongoing trend! 

And even though the prices for some woods have come down a bit, it continues to surprise me how expensive raw materials have become. If you add in the cost of hardware, wood finish, and labor - well... plan B becomes a more affordable option. 

Here's someone's "Plan C" - not too glamorous, but effective. 

I'll be buried in the shop for the next six weeks, welcoming around 40 new students, and building some kick ass pieces. 

What's your Fall project?


Saturday, September 11, 2021

Some people are SO creative!

Now that cooler temps are on the way, I've been looking forward to getting back into my studio at home for a little clay work. It's been ages since I threw a pot on the wheel, or rolled out some slabs for tile. 

It's still a little too hot to fire one of the kilns - but I've had visions of tile making in my dreams lately. Until I can post anything new, check out this hilarious ceramist, and his interesting wall piece.


♬ original sound - Liz

Some people are SO creative! 


Monday, September 06, 2021

Can I brag a little?

 The bookcase class is winding down at the shop, and I have to say - these students really rose to the occasion. It's so much easier to teach a class where everyone is on the same page, building the same design. But - my old woodworking teacher never stopped anyone from building what they wanted to build. I mean - isn't that the point? You want what you want!

So when some of these students came to me with their designs, I had some apprehensions about their projects. Especially since some of them had only completed the Basic Woodworking class, and didn't have much experience under their belts. But I'll tell you - they really surprised me with their pieces. And believe - some of them really struggled! 

This bookcase is constructed from 1" red oak, designed to hold a large collection of record albums. Those are pretty heavy, and although she had a few technical problems,  this bookcase is going to work perfectly for K's collection.

 JR's walnut bookcase was compact and solid; a sweet little design. when this gets a finish on it, the colors are going to pop and this will be amazing!

 Freya's cherry bookcase has a lot of detail and elements that really stretched her skills. This piece will (gorgeously) darken with age, and I suspect it's going to be a great addition to her home. 

Again - she had one or two technical issues that she solved, and well... isn't that what taking a class is all about? Learning to put out little fires while we build?

 One of the huge surprises in the class was Jen's corner cabinet - this was a pretty complex piece for someone right out of a Basic WW class. 

She had to learn a lot of new techniques, with tools she'd never touched before this class. She nailed every aspect of it! I can't wait to see how it looks with finish on it. 

Ama's energy and vision for her pieces are a constant source of pride for me - she is one of those rare students who works like the energizer bunny. She never gives up, has energy and technical skills for every piece she builds, and when she sets her mind to it - there's nothing she can't accomplish in the shop. 

I've lost count of how many huge pieces she's built - from this massive built-in desk, with upper cabinets,

to the cantilevered TV unit, to the Murphy bed. 

These two twin tower bookcases will be mounted next to the Murphy bed - all told, this piece is about ten-feet wide, and seven feet tall. She's only been building with me for a few years, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. 

And finally -  Luis designed this piece for his office -  six-foot wide bookcase with beefy shelves, and (eventually) doors on the front. He completed this piece in only four sessions, so about 12 hours in the shop. It still needs some work, but he's one of the most efficient woodworkers I've ever met. 



You bet!

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

In and Out

If you live near the west coast, you know all about In-N-Out. 

It's a wildly successful burger joint, one that shouldn't be missed. So if you're on a quest for the perfect burger, you may want to visit California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona or Texas.

If you don't live near one - sorry. You're missing out on a pretty damn good burger. Their menu is limited - burgers, fries and drinks. Not much else. But seriously - they narrow their concentration and make perfect grub.

Here's a great blogpost about the history of the company, in you're interested in reading more. 

So the phrase - in and out - was rolling around my brain today, when a fellow walked into my shop with this perfectly charming sculpture from Africa. Doesn't everyone need a wooden hippo? During a move, the sculpture was damaged - he's not waving in this picture. 

During better times, he was holding a hat, tipping it, as if to greet someone. Poor thing!  

The break was pretty clean, and actually revealed a dowel that had attached the hat to his hand. I re-drilled it in a different area, 

and sanded the two surfaces flat. It took a time or two to get the angle correct. And although I couldn't identify the wood (possibly Mahogany?) it felt slightly oily. 

A trick for gluing oily woods is to wipe the two surfaces with acetone, to clean off the oil. 

Once they were cleaned, I used a bit of Titebond II glue, and clamped the two pieces together. 

I'll have to do a bit of Dremel work once the joint has dried, to blend the two mated surfaces. 

But this was one repair that was In-N-Out of my shop in one day.  I love repairs like these! 

But here's the truth about me and burgers - I've tried them.  Many of them here in town! 

And if I had to rate them...   here are the best burgers in town, in my opinion:

#1 - Five Guys

#2 - Sonic

#3 - In and Out