Archive for the ‘Woodworking’ Category

Catch Up – December 2013 Completions

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

The months leading to Christmas have extra security around the shop. Guards are posted to prevent word getting out about possible gifts being created within. Blogging is ignored. All of the gifts made it out in plenty of time, but the blog didn’t write itself, and the wimpy guards wouldn’t write anything, heading for warmer regions the moment this winter’s cold arrived.

I did take a few photos, but am not excited with them. Dark Walnut needs a lot of light to photograph well. I don’t know whether these photos suffer from my capability, getting used to a new camera, or the dearth of real light bulbs.

One might surmise from what I show here that there are four grandchildren, each having 3 parts to their names, one family liking lighter color wood and another liking darker wood. Correct. Each of the grandchildren now have a pencil box, either of Cherry or Walnut, and each supplied with “The World’s Best Pencils” and a sharpener. Each of those boxes uses standard pencil box construction, simple dovetails, sliding lid, solid base.

photo of a pencil box made of cherry with the initials E J E carved in the lid photo of a pencil box made of cherry with the initials M A P carved in the lid photo of a pencil box made of cherry with the initials H E P carved in the lid photo of a pencil box made of cherry with the initials G N P carved in the lid

photo of a walnut walking staffA young woman in our family puts up with a very strange nervous system malady and sometimes appreciates assistance when walking. I thought she needed something better than the mass-produced piece of aluminum tubing she has been using. The walking staff is dual purpose, long for use as a staff, and with a handle for use as a cane. The twisty part is a double helix, similar to one of the symbols of her profession.

photo of a walnut box with an oval rose carved in the lidThe oval rose is one of my favorite classical carvings. I’ve made several of these carvings. The box with the oval rose is about 9″ by 6″ by 2 3/4″ high. The lid is a flip up lid which will stand open at just a bit beyond 90 degrees. No pencils in that box. It traveled with a load of cookies.

Finish on all of the boxes is shellac and wax. All of the Walnut items have additional dark stain, Min-Wax Jacobean. The walking staff has  a polyurethane finish, better for exterior use.

oval-rose-patternUPDATE: In response to Shannon’s comment, I’ve attached the pattern for the oval rose, both as an image and as a PDF.  The pattern is free. The carving sequence is an exercise for the carver.  :)

… and for hints on how to transfer complicated patterns, see the “Ponce on That” section of a recent post.

Acanthus Carving on a WHAT?

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Tool tote!

Yes, a tool tote. One project too many found me making numerous trips to the workshop, usually for a few tools per trip. It’s long past time to have a carry tote or tool tote for the projects away from the workshop. One of the very simple projects at Paul Sellers’ Woodworking Masterclass site is a “Carrying Tote.” The purpose of the 2 episode project is to teach the basic dado (housed dado in UK) joint. Hey, I had some lumber of appropriate size. Actually it was a bit wider and I wasn’t in the mood for ripping. So, I used the width I had and it worked out OK. Building the tote itself was easy.

But, it was plain. Plain wood. Ahhhh, the problem was an absence of carvings! Have to fix that…

There was a time that we vacationed away from the shop, and I substituted a pencil and yellow notepad for gouges and wood … making lots of drawings of Acanthus leaves and scrolls.

I borrowed from that collection for these carvings. These are shapes that are actually better in high relief, on wood an inch thick or more. The challenge here was executing them in low relief while still giving the right sense of shape. At the same time, I wanted them incised instead of raised where every knock and bump would produce damage.

The box is made of Radiata Pine from New Zealand, the “white wood” carried by our big orange home center. When I started, I was skeptical about carving this stuff. It actually worked out well, a bit stringy in places, but not too bad. Finish is 3 coats of shellac. No rub out. No wax.


Wow! They had a Party!

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

How often do you order something online? How many times have you seen the “Your order has shipped” email message? They’re usually polite, business like and factual.

Not THIS one… I wanted a few pieces of beech for a tool making project (details later, maybe, beech = planes usually) and went shopping online. Woodworkers Source listed just what I wanted at a price I think reasonable for the project. It was a small order, $32 total. Little did I expect the following as “Your order has shipped.” Enjoy.

I have some great news, Robert.

Our team of 107 hard working (and exceptionally good looking) employees has – with great care and attention – selected, packaged and shipped your order #78701 on this beautiful day.

I really think you’d have enjoyed watching all the action when your order came through. When I handed it to Robert, our master packager, he looked at the order, smiled, pulled out a pair of his favorite Italian leather gloves and slid them onto his hands. “Nothing but the best,” he said. And off he went! As he selected your order, he placed it all on a satin-lined chariot to transport it to the packaging center. And there’s more . . .

All other 106 crew members stopped. Every last one of them. They gathered around, lit incense and candles, and watched with hushed awe as he wrapped the entire order in the finest gold-laced cardboard and stretch wrap that money can buy. Seriously, you could have heard a pin drop.

In the end, the guys were so thrilled that they wanted to throw a party just for your order. We’re talking about a big fiesta with live music, a roasted pig, and a dessert spread of homemade chocolate ganache, Ukranian prune tortes, and cinnamon madeleines. You should have seen the look on the UPS driver’s face when he showed up. He thought he was going to pick up the packages as usual, but instead we picked *him* up carried him down the street on our shoulders while the band played. You can imagine what happened next, right? Our neighbors came outside to see what the fuss was all about, and when they saw your beautiful order they joined in, and toasted ol’ Robert who then delivered a rather moving speech on the joys of working with wood as a means to self improvement.

Someone must have called the local TV stations because the next thing I knew I had six interviews to handle for reporters who asked, “What does Robert Easton intend to make?” But don’t worry, your secret’s safe. I told them, “World peace.” Man! If only woodworking could do that!

Anyway, the guys hope to see pictures of what you make so we can have another party (I know what you’re thinking). I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at Woodworkers Source. We enjoyed every minute of it, and we’ve named you “Customer of the Year.” That gets you a pretty good parking spot right out front if you ever come see us. So come see us some time.

Okay, okay. You want the info, I’m sure. Your tracking information is below, or you can also get it all by logging into your at account at our website.

After you receive your order, we’d love to know what you think:

Thanks again,
Craig Haggarton and The 107 Good Looking Lumber Pickers
Woodworkers Source

Yes, putting some extra fun into business has me wondering what the next “Your order has shipped” message will say.

Oh by comparison, an order for some extra strong neodymium magnets sent a “Your order has shipped” message that was a long page of warnings about how dangerous the things were, warnings about not eating, swallowing, breaking, cutting, sawing, drilling, setting fire to, breathing the toxic fumes from burning, or placing them near stuff you want to keep working … like pacemakers. Nice info, but the tone of the Woodworkers Source message made for a much bigger smile.

Stop Apologizing for Using Wood

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Too often it seems …
Photo of a forest landWhen I’m browsing blogs about various kinds of woodworking, I read the “About” blurbs for the authors and find things like “I’m environmentally responsible,” or “I use only sustainable wood,” or some such nonsense. Things like that trigger my “I’m outta here!” response.

Shannon Rogers reached the point where he decided to write an article with exactly the same title as this post. Besides being the woodworker and online teacher we know him for, his day job is at a very highly respected hardwood lumber company. So, he knows of what he speaks when he talks about the very obvious sustainability of wood. Wood is one of the most renewable resources in the world. As Shannon says, “It’s already green!” “It grows on trees!”

Markets and international trading systems have matured tremendously from what they were 150 years ago when Honduras ruined it’s precious mahogany resource, or only 70 years ago when the Phillipines did exactly the same, destroying not only a source of income, but their watershed and hydro power generation capability by over harvesting.

Shannon points out that we have more forested land on the planet now than we had 50 years ago and that every species is being renewed, some a little faster than others, and that the more we use it, the more demand, and hence the more it will be renewed.

Shannon is also very generous in suggesting that the people like those I mentioned in the first paragraph are simply misinformed and have been fed “stupid falsehoods.”

Go read it. It’s one of the best things you’ll read today! “Stop Apologizing for Using Wood” by Shannon Rogers.

photo credit: Creative Commons: Christopher Schoenbohm, 2011

PS: For all you out there who regret owning Gibson guitars, with supposedly contraband fret boards, let me know. I’ll buy them at prices that will afford your consciences appropriate penance, especially goldtop and deluxe Les Pauls.

18th Century Bookstand – Woodworking Parlor Trick

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

We do some things just because they’re fun … or maybe a challenge.

photo - 18th century stand - 21st century book (Steve Jobs on a Kindle)I have this brand new book. It needs a stand.

Ah-ha! Roy made a really interesting stand that’s originally attributed to Roubo. I call it a parlor trick because it is made from a single piece of wood. Roy made his from Walnut, probably near an inch thick. For fun, and challenge, I made mine from a scrap of boat lumber left over from Eva Won. It is cedar and rough resawed to about 1/2 inch thick. Can it be resawed thinner and tortured into becoming one of these bookstands?

The trick is making a barrel hinge and resawing right up to the edge of the hinge. Roy shows you how in this episode of The Woodwright Shop. Other than lumber and scale, mine isn’t much different … other than using a utility saw for resawing (hah!). Go watch Roy. I’ll let a few pictures tell the rest of the story.

photo - rough boat lumber photo - barrel hinge layout 1 photo - barrel hinge layout 2 photo - layout an ogee curve bottom decoration photo - resawing with handsaw photo - drill holes for hinge corners photo - cutting the hinge photo - hinge almost done photo - just opened first time photo - the ogee curve top decoration photo - bookstand holding a 6 inch rule

Hollows and Rounds – All Chalked

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

photo of 25 planesSince the previous entry about these planes, a stack of dull irons sat next to the sharpening station. From time to time, in between other activities, I’d pick up an iron, hone it, mount it and test it. Upon testing OK, the number stamp on the end of the plane was filled with chalk, indicating it’s ready to use. They’re all finally honed and chalked.  Big THANKS to Richard Darjes, a commenter on the original H&R post, for the chalking tip. (click image for a larger view)