Wednesday, July 17, 2013

All Projects Great and Small

Consistent blog updates are, in many cases, riding shotgun with the devil; that is, the result of idle hands. In many cases, working with wood at length leaves few resources for chronicling it. Anyway, some stuff lately:

A garden gate made of cedar drawbored mortise and tenon frame, with reclaimed oak floorboards, walnut accents, and cedar braces. The walnut is scrap from a Maloof inspired rocking chair class at the woodschool and the oak is leftover from reflooring my home. The glass bit is a microwave carousel plate from a thrift store, with seed-of-life motif applied using beads by my visionary wife. The neighbors seem to like it so far, and it was fun to build.

I have a brief product review for you:

I recently added a long overdue lamp to my mix. I am working in a dark space, despite what those filthy lying glowing windows try to tell you. The lamp I have is fine, meh, whatever. Not great, but it has a nifty magnifier which kindof works, when you get it exactly right. It is from Lee Valley (since I more or less trust their 3rd party sourcing). This is it. I give it a C+ to B-  or "meh" rating. However, the star of this show is also from Lee Valley, the 3/4" lamp bushing. This little jammy sticks into any doghole, assuming you are running 3/4". I hope you are, because then you can use Gramercy holdfasts, Veritas Wonderdogs, and so on. Anyway, I have been constantly running this lamp (and the bushing) all around the shop, with the brace and 3/4" bit in tow. Yeah, it came with a clampy deal, but who wants to move that around (it lives at the sharpening bench) when you can just plug and play? Get one, and thank me later.

What has really been taking a lot of my time and energy, though, is more akin to carpentry than the joinery I typically pursue. A friend and neighbor is building a new shop (for handtool woodworking) and wanted a traditional design, in this case modelled after a cobbler's shop in Colonial Williamsburg. The shop is itself largely built with hand tools, and I am pleased to be on the crew. Here it is just after raising the ridge beam, and just before adding the ceremonial hemlock branch, known as Topping Out.
Tons of fun. More as it progresses. This is also why I have been riding around town with a tool tote on my bike. Nice work if you can get it, so they say.

And on a smaller scale, I have been building another School Box. This one is unique in having walnut trim (as above, I have a little pile of it). Body is alder, bottom is pine, and partition is oak. This one is also unique in that I slightly redesigned it using design principles from Jim Tolpin and George Walker's By Hand and Eye. I actually lent out my copy of Joiner and Cabinetmaker, and so took measurements from an existing box, and softened them into compliance with whole number ratios with my dividers. I am optimistic about the result. I am still using the same techniques and abiding by the order from the customer, but in terms of layout, the box shell and molding are slightly more harmonious than the inch-honoring model. I'll post the finished version soon with an "authentic" version for side by side comparison, but here it is tonight: top attached and hinged, but still needing top molding and a lock:

More soon. Until then, I remain,