Monthly Archives: April 2014

Not Quite a Prototype

Here’s the result of my trying a couple of things in the shop: A Shooter Sampler Tray:

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It isn’t really a prototype as there are too many flaws which cannot be corrected. The good news is, I learned from those flaws. The next one will be a prototype…

I used the router table (with the old top) to cut a rabbet or reveal around the bottom of the block. What this does produces a shadow and makes the block appear to “float.”

The top corners were chamfered to created the angled edges.

The wells for the shooter glasses were carefully drilled about as deep as possible without drilling through the bottom. The deeper holes hold the glasses better.

This practice piece is made of red oak and measures ¾” x 3¼” x 10″. Since this is just a practice piece, I didn’t apply any finish to it.

The prototype should be done by Friday…

New (Old) Material

We spent much of today doing yard work – mostly just winter clean-up. The sun was out, the wind was down and it almost felt warm. It was good to be outside. I took the new chain saw for a test drive through the tree we lost in December – fun stuff! Now the wood needs to be split and then transported to Little House or Maple Island for drying and, eventual, burning (we don’t have a fireplace or a wood burning stove here). Much of the winter debris – sticks and small branches went to the burn pile in the yard. Creating a fire-pit was added to the list…

While checking different parts of the yard, I “found” (in much the same way Columbus “discovered” America) two old and very weathered doors on one of the outbuildings. Now, this outbuilding is in a serious state of disrepair…

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The doors in question are well past the point of no return as doors. But, the wood in them looks promising for repurposing as WoodDot Designs projects. And old barn wood has great potential for “artistic enhancement” (that’s one I learned while visiting the Chihuly museum in Seattle) into decorative and functional items…

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And then, really old barn wood just looks cool – without enhancement of any kind.

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Later in the day, while looking for something (didn’t find it and now can’t remember what it was) in the barn, we came across a treasure trove of old wood. Big pieces, little pieces, oak, pine, maple and who knows what else, molded trim pieces, dimensional lumber and old barn timbers… I’m excited about the possibilities with all this new (old) material!

New Directions

My woodworking is going in new directions.

One direction is toward larger items like Craftsman style furniture. This table, for example, came out of the shop this week.

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This project (and my brother-in-law) taught me many new skills: squaring up lumber to improve accuracy; mortise & tenon joints; sanding techniques; gluing/clamping techniques; and, perhaps most importantly, patience.

Another direction is wood turning – using a lathe to create bowls and spindle items. I was gifted a small lathe last year and I have finally decided to learn to use it. I have to admit a great deal of frustration (mostly with myself) as I climb the learning curve.

Of course, I am continuing with my boat building and with the small, useful items I’ve been making. I suspect the new skills I am learning will improve and enhance all of my woodworking.

Spring

Spring is here! Sure, the calendar told us spring arrived on March 21st… but winter weather – and the snow – hung around until early this week. Of course, the weekend weather forecast calls for “…up to 1″ of snow” Sunday evening…

BUT, this week has been warmish enough for the pile of ice and snow in front of the barn doors to melt enough for me to open those doors and get into the barn! Hey, I know for some folks that isn’t newsworthy but for me it means spring is here! It is an exciting time of the year.

I’ve been in the shop learning new techniques – like how to use a lathe. This is very new to me and the learning curve is a bit intimidating: let’s take a sharp tool and hold it against a piece of wood that is turning at a pretty good speed… what could possibly go wrong with that? Well, I’ve got a good teacher and, with some patience and practice I might learn how to use a lathe without hurting myself. Anyway, the lathe opens up more possibilities for me.

It is an exciting time of the year! The countryside is coming alive. I’m learning new techniques. I have a shop space to build out and outfit. There are new tools to acquire. There are new ideas to work on. And… life is to be enjoyed!

Inspiration from the PNW

We were out of town for five days visiting family in the PNW. The weather was, for the most part, a very nice change from what we left in Michigan. While in Seattle, I found inspiration from the memorial service for my cousin, Bill Strothman, killed in the March 18 crash of KOMO-TV News helicopter. He was a special person and will be missed.

I also found inspiration for new WoodDot items while visiting the Chihuly Garden and Glass at the Seattle Center. I will be working on those items in the next week or so.

I am excited to be back home, ready to add new equipment to my shop and to be working on new ideas!