Monday, February 26, 2018

A New Post from The New Shop!

Okay, it's really just a teaser - sorry. I know, I know...

But the new shop is almost done and I thought I'd post a picture or two. This was harder than I planned on as I couldn't remember how to do it! I hope this looks right.

Anyway, here is a little taste...

Oh, did you notice the crisp shadow? Looks like a shadow from sunlight? Yes! A window! I've only been wanting one of those for like 10 years!

Here it is (different day - no sun):

Those are new stickers for the wood rack. Same wood rack as the old shop, but I've accumulated more wood (how does that happen?). I'm changing from 3/4" to 1/4" which should let me have 3 or 4 more layers of wood per shelf. I don't think the reduction in air gap will matter too much as I am not drying wood on the rack, just letting it adjust to seasonal variations in humidity. We'll see.

Oh, did you notice the anvil? Well, the new stickers are cheap lathing strips from the Borg. Very cheap. Very wet. So they are drying under the anvil so they don't warp. Kind of ironic considering their purpose...

Oh, you noticed the jazz cd on the windowsill? Bonus points if you can identify it!

Oh, and what is the "0421" on the trim? No idea - it was there when we moved in...I wonder if there is a safe in the floor around here somewhere...

Okay, that's enough noticing!

More soon! ish!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Punch, brothers! Punch with care!

Here's a small project from the shop before it went into hibernation. It's pretty self-explanatory, so I'll let the pictures do the talking...

Complete, and...

...oiled - it will darken in time and match better.

For me, there is something very satisfying in making old tools happy.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Hemlock and Cedar Box

Well, obviously the blog has been rather dormant of late. Shop time has slowed to a crawl as I approach the event horizon of my own personal black hole. We bought a new house and it only needed "a wee little bit of sprucing up..." Huh.

Anyway, just to prove that I have not completely disappeared, here's a couple of photos of a not-too-recent project. It's a box made of hemlock and cedar, and I really like how those two woods look together. It's on the large size (approx. 20"x20"x12") and I tried to keep it simple and clean.

A detail shot of the spinner:

Both the cedar and the hemlock are quartersawn, and I like the look of the parallel grain - it adds to the "cleanness" in my opinion.

And of course, it opens...

More posts as I get the chance - soon I hope, although the shop is sitting in a storage unit waiting for its new home. Don't worry, it's okay, I had it cryogenically frozen like Walt Disney...
More on that another time.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dynamite Chair Design

I love the ingenious creations that can result from having limited resources (tools, materials etc.). Here's a prime example. It was made by a miner at Independence Mine (gold) in Alaska from an old dynamite box. It probably dates to the late 1930s or early 40s.

So cool! Now I just need to find a dynamite box...

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Teasure Box for Clara

So I thought I'd take a short break from posting...and just nine months later I'm back!

Funny how life is sometimes...

Anyway, here's something that was created during that time - a treasure box for my daughter's birthday. I used poplar; I can't remember why, but it was nice to work with.

Clara told me it had to be "red, with purple corners". I mixed up some milk paint, and interpreted those instructions loosely...

...but she didn't care! Joy!

And in use.


Of course, now the boy wants one too...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tool of the Month #4 - They Don't Make Them Like That Anymore...

Okay, so this tool of the month isn't exactly a woodworking tool. It was made for "linemen", and as such was designed for cutting and twisting wires. But it's still plenty useful around the shop, but its function is not the reason I picked it for Tool of the Month - its form is.
The instant I picked it up, my hand said "quality!". Then my eyes agreed. There is just something about the way this tool feels in the hand and appeals to the eye that I find pretty darn satisfying. I find myself picking it up just to handle it and feel the way it sits in my hands. A little silly, I know, but it's not an accident, someone made it that way and it's an uncommon thing these days.
I guess I find it to be tool art - uncompromisingly functional, but incredibly appealing in its shape, texture and heft. 
Anyway, here are the details as I know them:
Manufacturer: Kraeuter
Location: USA
Model: 1831-8  8" Lineman's Pliers
Year: 1924- '40's?
Here are some shots, but I don't think they will do it justice.



I think the condition of these pliers, after almost 100 years, is a testament to their quality. I also love the art deco grips. Kraeuter called these the "Don't Slip" pattern and began using it in 1914. Here is the patent on that design.

The "Kraeuter, U.S.A." on the inside of the grips wasn't started until 1924, so mine obviously dates from that year or later.

There is something incredibly pleasing, at least to me, about a tool that was created with pride, by a company that cared not only about how a tool performed, but how it felt and looked. It doesn't seem like there are many tools being made this way anymore - which is sad.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Silly Stuff: How to Make a Tape Measure

How to make a tape measure in two steps:
Step 1 - Get a yardstick*.

Step 2 - Get a plane.



*Instructions intended for use in USA, Liberia, and Myanmar only!