Tuesday, May 23, 2023

An incredible (local) basketball shot


This doesn't have a thing to do with woodworking, but it's pretty incredible. And happened right here in Vegas!

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Another small challenge

Here's an awesome project I just finished - simple, yet pretty rewarding. 

The head of a local non-profit came to me with a task - design a base for this metal sculpture. The piece is fairly small - a bronze book about 5"x10" open to an Anne Frank quote. 

Believe it or not - there are a lot of sculptors here in town, and I make a fair number of sculpture bases every year. Most times, they're pretty simple - a round or rectangular block of wood with a lazy susan underneath, for spinning the piece. I'd never designed a base for a "book" before, and felt a few prototypes would be a good way to figure everything out. 

My first thought was a flat base, slightly angled to tilt the book up a bit, for better viewing. A simple solution. 

Then I tried scaling the wooden base down, to emphasize the book. As the creator said - less wood! But we didn't love that design, either. 

Finally - a vertical mount seemed like a better option, 

and we felt this one was the winner. 

Here's the base, with the bronze piece removed.

The first step was to build the bases.

Now I've made enough bases to be a little concerned about the way this piece was to be mounted. There were some holes that were drilled and threaded in the back of each one. 

But unfortunately - none of the holes were in the exact same spot! 

So it wasn't like I could drill two holes and be done. Each piece has to be marked, drilled and mounted individually. Then things got really interesting! Some of the holes weren't even tapped straight, so mounting got even more dicey. 

I made a couple of patterns, locating the holes. This one in MDF first,

 and then a cardboard one... both sucked. 

 Even with a pattern, no two hole locations were the same. 

So I need to figure out a better method for marking each one individually. 

All woodworkers have heard of dowel centers - They allow you to precisely transfer the location of one set of dowel holes to the corresponding holes in the other half of a doweled joint. 

So I came up with my own version in metal. The threads were 1/4" x 20, a pretty common size, so I cut down a couple of bolts,  put them into my drill press and spun them, grinding a perfect center point in to each one. When threaded into the back of each bronze piece - they perfectly marked the hole location for each one. 

Some of the holes were really crooked. 

Another thing to figure out! But in the end, all of them were marked, drilled, and individually fit. 

Now here's my secret weapon - Mohawk spray stains. This can of stain has become my go-to for staining wood evenly, with a minimal amount of work. 

Because each base was custom drilled for each sculpture, I had to keep them in order. So I numbered them and started spraying. Bottoms first! 

Then the tops. 

And finally - each one was mounted, and checked for accuracy. 

I'm one of the "smallest" builders in town, and take on a good number of small projects like this. 

In fact, making prototypes is one of the best, most creative part of my work.  

And frankly - I'll leave building kitchen and bath cabinets to the other shops who want to tackle jobs like that. 

What's that line?.... been there, done that!

My next two jobs aren't very glamorous - I work with a lot of property managers who are constantly replacing cabinet components that their tenants either damage or throw away. So I'll be starting a cabinet door and a couple of drawers that went missing. 

As Roseanne Roseannadanna said - it's always something!

Monday, May 01, 2023

Coil springs - a humble beginning!

This piece of metal may not look all that glamorous.

 After all, it started out as a hunk of steel from a coil spring. 

But put it in the hands of a craftsman like my buddy Len, and you know you're going to end up with something pretty special.  Len started making knives as a hobby, but I suspect that given the beauty of his workmanship - it's going to turn from a side hustle to a booming business. 

Here's his new forge, 

but here's the old one, with a knife inside, getting its temper on. 

Len came by my shop a few months ago, in search of wood for handles. We went through a few boxes of wood, and he chose some lovely pieces. In return, he made this amazing piece for me.

It is CRAZY sharp! 

This particular handle is made of MonkeyPod - "a wood named for the spiral-shaped fruit pods which the tree bears. 

Outside of Hawaii, one of the most common names for the species is Raintree, which is due to the leaves’ tendency to fold up at night or during periods of rainfall, allowing rain to pass through its broad canopy to the vegetation below."

(Thanks Wood DataBase!)

He's even started making the custom fitting sheathes for his knives, and together - they are stunning. 

His sheathes are works of art by themselves, but combined with his knives - WOW!

If you're interested in acquiring one of his knives, drop me a message and I'll connect you with him - he's s hell of a nice guy, and an amazing knife maker. You won't be sorry.