Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pruning Works!

These photos were taken yesterday as I split potential chair parts from the butt log of a northern red oak. The tree had just been felled, and had grown up in somebody's yard. It was almost exactly the same age as I (slightly north of 50), and in one of the short pieces I split, I found a branch that had been pruned off when the tree was about 25 years old. These pictures tell a story (I hope)!




The photo above shows

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Trees With Personality

I love trees. It doesn't strike me as incongruous that a woodworker would love trees, although some of my non-woodworking, tree-loving friends have commented on it, and some of my woodworking associates are at times taken aback by my enthusiasm. You see, I don't just love trees in the abstract, as most woodworkers do. Who wouldn't love the very idea of huge plants that make a material like wood to hold their leaves up in the sunlight so they can photosynthesize: a material that we can use to make furniture, utensils, tools, paper, houses? Yes, that's wonderful.

But when I say “I love trees” I also mean individual trees, as individuals. Walking in the woods of northern Wisconsin yesterday I ran into a bunch of trees with great . . . personality is really all I can say. Some of these trees I have known and loved for years; others I encountered for the first time on yesterday's walk. So I tried making a few portraits. Click through to see some of yesterday's images.



Octopus?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Tormek On Sale at Highland Woodworking

EDIT: As of yesterday, February 21st, these are SOLD OUT



I make no secret of my longstanding connection to Highland Woodworking. Since 2000, I have taught classes there, and for a while I wrote some of the copy for their catalog. I have an obvious financial interest in their continued success.

So with that big, clearly-stated proviso, I am going to share this: Highland is clearing out their last few Tormek T-7's. They have been selling for around $650 and they're getting rid of them for $499. 

I have had Tormeks on and off since the 1990's. I have an on-and-off relationship with them. Currently I'm "on." 

I won't make this into a pro-con essay on the Tormek's merits and flaws. I'm just passing on the information that this machine, which is very seldom discounted, is on sale until the stock runs out.

I'm also passing on this information: when I bought mine, the diamond stone-truing jig and the horizontal tool mount were sold separately. Both are included in the package with this deal.

 http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/tormekt-7grinder.aspx

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wall Shelf Build-Off

I think of Chris Wong, of Flair Woodworks and Time Warp Tool Works, as one of a very few people I have interacted with online whom I feel I'd consider a real friend if I met them in person. Lots of folks I've only encountered online provide valuable information, or giggles, or inspiration. In addition to his design sense, industry, and craftsmanship, Chris conveys a strong sense of humanity, kindness, and likeability with his online presence. 

So I was delighted to see this on my Twitter feed:





I participated in #SSBO two years ago and had a great time; in the process I built myself a piece of shop furniture which is not only supremely functional, it's also the envy of my woodworking buddies. In fact it's out on loan right now, in the shop of a budding young carver.

Here are details about #WSBO:
 https://flairwoodworks.com/2016/12/27/the-wall-shelf-build-off-january-28-29/

As luck has it, Ms. Lee and I are updating the master bath at Chez Lee, and we could use a wall shelf as we button things up. A wall shelf to coordinate with a frame we need around the wall mirror . . . so there's a chance I'll participate in this Build-Off, too. We'll be brainstorming this weekend, to see if we come up with anything worth entering. Ian Kirby comes to mind; we'll see what Ms. L. thinks.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Carving Spoons

Here are a few spoons I've completed recently. Most have some areas that are sanded, many have some areas that are knife-finished. One thing I'm learning is that even if I plan to sand the spoon, sanding time is cut way down if I do some careful finishing knife work after the spoon is thoroughly dry. (I guess I assume you know that it's easiest to do most of the carving while the wood is as wet as possible).

All of these spoons are finished with raw flax oil.

The spoons pictured are spoken for by their new owners. Others will be available in the weeks to come; watch this blog for news on that.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Build a Workbench in a Weekend




This past weekend was my second “Build a Workbench in a Weekend” class at Highland Woodworking. Five students and I put in two very full, very busy days of work and produced 6

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Long Workpieces on a Short Workbench

If you don't have a long bench but need to work on the edge of long boards, here's a trick (or what the computer-semi-literate call a “hack”). I have a good iron tail vise on the end of my short but heavy bench. This works well for the typical work I do and the space I have to do it in. The photo shows how I handle workpieces too long to rest on the bench lengthwise.