Sunday, January 30, 2022

Wait - I am a miracle worker!

This is proving to be a challenge - but a good one!

Someone wandered into my shop, with pieces and parts of a broken-down, much abused base to a pool table. Sometimes, when a furniture component arrives in pieces, it's difficult to figure out how it is supposed to look. So a little research brought me to this photo - a vintage Brunswick Billiard Table, specifically - the "Celebrity" model. 

"Celebrity" indeed - this base has long seen its glory days! One of the best parts about the internet is doing research on things like this - and I loved this old advertisement for the pool table. 

These parts came to me in the worst of shapes - it almost appears that they've been repaired before, and it's possible some of the mounting holes have been re-drilled. 

In this case, I'm a woodworker, 

not a miracle worker! 

I had to re-assemble this base, to get the correct spacing of the mounting holes. 

This piece was SO wonky and warped, it was a challenge to get it to fit back together.

Not to mention that the entire base was made of compound angles. 

It's a good thing I love geometry! I was running out of workbench space in the shop, so the trash can pulled double-duty that day.

Here's the new base, bolted together upside down, so that I could check for the correct hole placement. 

I'm assuming this fella didn't want to get four of his best friends to lift the slate top onto the base, only to find out that the holes didn't line up!

 And once again - I neglected to shoot a photo of the base assembled and UPRIGHT... but you get the idea. (Too many people in the shop this week, I was completely distracted about shooting good photos, but I think maybe one of the visitors might have one of the base.)

This piece was a challenge - both in its design as well as its construction. Part of the challenge was computing all of the angles. Figuring out how to make the base strong, with more modern joinery was a good exercise for me, too. 

How do you get better at woodworking? Build a piece like this!

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Juggling my commissions....


And just like that... I'm back. 

I've been hunkered down, producing a ton of work in the shop lately. From re-storing a vintage pool table, to building out a Mercedes Cruiser van, to turning massive table legs - the shop is anything but dormant. 

One of my favorite repeat commissions has been working on these juggling "barbells" - I don't really know what else to call them besides that.  

I've made dozens of these over the years, and I'm not sure why I never did some research about the fella who orders them. Here he is, with a few of the "barbells" in the lower center of this array of his "tools."

I've never met him - everything is done via email, Zelle, and the good old USPS. 

Unfortunately, these "faceless" transactions occur much more frequently during these Covid times, but that's OK... work is work. 

Just like the TV cooking show - Chopped - I start with a few "ingredients" - blocks of plywood, 

and dowels.

The blocks are laminated together,

 three layers high, 

and then drilled for the dowel "handles."

I've found that it saves some time to rough out the round shapes, so I trim them on the bandsaw, with the table tilted. There are a few tricks to gluing this 3-piece assemble together, and luckily, I've figured out how to do it efficiently and perfectly.

I'll be on the lathe for the next day or two, finishing these up... meanwhile, the only video I could locate on this juggler is this old, grainy YouTube clip.