Sunday, November 23, 2014

A terrific piece of equipment for your shop

Having a good out-feed table is essential of working safely. 

Here's a terrific design - it won't take up a lot of room, and seems fairly easy to build. Plus - you can customize it to your saw. 

I used a commercial version of this saw (made by HTC) for many years on my old Unisaw. It was one of the best features in my old woodshop. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Here's Your 2015 Photo Challenge

Almost a year ago, I started a photo diary, initiated by a friend who mentioned it on Facebook. She framed it a little differently - it was her daily gratitude journal, depicting something each day of the year in which she was particularly grateful to have experienced. (Thanks, Louise!)

I loved the idea of that, so this past year - starting on January 1, 2014  - started my own collection of shots commemorating each day. Honestly - most of them wouldn't make much sense to anyone - maybe just an image of somewhere I visited - like this one, when I bought some shoes at REI. (I thought their tree sculptures were cool.) 

Or this - after an afternoon of playing. 

Or this one, when I discovered a family of burrowing owls on the trails where I ride. 

 The photos are random and odd and interesting, at least to me!  In fact, it's great to scroll through the photos, remembering what made each day special.

I'm not sure why I always find golf balls in the desert, but I collect them - and I have a TON!

This was a message from a dear friend, who had passed away - a double rainbow to tell me that she was thinking of me, from wherever she was in the universe. 

 So - here's your challenge - there are about six weeks left in this year. Time to think about starting your your own photo diary. 

Honestly - it's been terrific - here are some tips for taking great photos. I hope you join me in making your own journal in 2015.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wood Or Plastic Cutting Boards: Which Is Better?

If I had to venture a guess, I honestly couldn't tell you how many cutting boards I've made in my lifetime. 

Easily - hundreds.  

Possibly - thousands.

 It's quite possible that my family and friends are sick of getting them as gifts, although they're way too polite to say so. 

There has long been speculation that wooden cutting boards harbor bacteria, so for a while, there was a huge rush to use plastic cutting boards. Damn, those are ugly AND boring!

So - finally - an answer to the question - 

Wood Or Plastic Cutting Boards: Which Is Better?

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Practice makes perfect

Almost every Saturday at the shop, you'll find Ann fooling around on the lathe. 

She's takens some lessons from Jimmy Clewes, but more importantly - she practices. A lot. At any given time, you might find her wearing her Lee Valley turning jacket and making bowls, spindles, salt cellars, lidded containers - whatever. She's constantly experimenting. 

Check out these small bowls that she made from eucalyptus logs that someone donated. 

She was trying to understand the appearance of the bowl in relation to the tree's annual rings, so she turned two samples, with the grain "smiling" and "frowning" in different directions.

In addition to her lathe work - she's mastered sharpening her lathe tools on the grinder. It wasn't easy to learn, but she can now sharpen a bowl gouge like a MASTER. That's been a huge help in making her turnings so successful. 

She's now incorporating her spindle work into the furniture she's building. 

And damn proud of it, I'd say!

Which brings this point to my mind... the holidays are now on the horizon, and there will be some past students wandering into the shop, hoping to make some holiday gifts. So much of woodworking is about practice. Practicing cuts on the saw, practicing gluing things together, practicing assembling pieces of wood - without practice, these skills get rusty.  So if you're thinking about swinging by to make a few things, I'd recommend brushing up on some skills - the end result of your projects will definitely reflect the extra work you've put into it. 

Here's an absolutely fascinating bowl video that one reader sent to me - wow! Call me boring, but this video had me captivated from start to finish!

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Woodshop GIFS

If you've wondered where the regular blogposts have been....

Damn! I think I just figured out how to make GIFs! 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Lie-Nielsen Tool Event Recap

So it's been a week since the Tool Event, and I'm still recovering! 

My respect goes out to event planners - there is a hell of a lot of work you have to do when putting on an event like the one we hosted here last weekend! And after months of planning, dozens of lists, and hundreds of hours - the Lie-Nielsen Tool Event went off with nary a hitch. 

The classroom was in great shape, and the woodshop was cleaned, but there was a slight problem - with crates with all of the tools in them didn't arrive as scheduled. 

That meant that the day of the show started very early for us - as the Lie-Nielsen crew had to set up the morning of the show. The day started very early for us! 

Luckily - one of my neighbors helped us unload the crates with his forklift.

 The crates were huge, filled with tools and workbenches - they gave me a back ache just looking at them!

Everyone pitched in, and somehow - everything was set up in less than two hours. 

Amazing! At the last minute we hung the signs on the street - and we were good to go.

This was the calm before the storm - testing the Internet connections and awaiting the attendees. 

There was a lot of tool porn here - you couldn't help but feel excited by seeing their beautiful wares.

 I even got in the spirit of things - and got a Lie-Nielsen tattoo for the weekend.

 Kevin, of Glen–Drake Tools gave demos using his lathe tools, as well as dovetail saw demos, and generally entertained us for the weekend.

 His hammers were huge hit, featuring both left and right-handed versions. How cool is that? He even left me a few goodies and some signed spindles from the demos. 


Juan Vergara, an infill plane maker from California, captivated the crowd with his handmade planes. 

We're talking high-end pieces of woodworking magnificence here, and by the end of the show - he seemed quite pleased with the sales he had made.

Here's Juan, modeling one of my saws!

The second day of the show started with an amazing sunrise, and the day went much more smoothly than the first! 

The Lie-Nielsen staff - Robert, Danielle, and John couldn't have been more professional or friendly!  Their hard work and kindness made a lot of new fans here in Las Vegas.

And by the end of the day, we were all pretty punchy and ready for a cold beverage. 

I'd like to thank everyone that helped me pull this event off - and there were so many who helped that I hope I don't forget anyone here.

To the cleaning and set up crew - Lupe, Denny, Joe, Beth, Richard, Ann, Eric, John, Adam, Kris  - I couldn't done this without you. My sincere thanks!

 Lupe printed the vinyl signs that we hung on the street, and for that - I am very thankful.  Denny and John hung the signs  - I have much appreciation for the work you both did.

To Kelley of Sparkly Tees and Kyle (The T-Shirt Guy) - thanks for printing great T-shirts for the event. And thanks to Adam for coming up with some of the artwork! 

Mario, of Ario Signs, my neighbor and friend printed the new vinyl banner for the expanded classroom, and I'm so appreciative of his work! Oh -  and my old high school friend, Terry, designed it.... I've known Terry for 40 years, and it was SO COOL to have her involved in this project!

Thanks to Doug, of Southwest Garage Cabinets, another neighbor - who helped unload the truck with his forklift. That job would've been much harder without you!

Beth wrote a great letter to all of my fellow tenants in the complex, explaining what the event was about, inviting them to attend it, and warning them that the traffic could be dicey in the parking lot. Her letter helped smooth out what could've been problematic - and I appreciate her savviness in mitigating these problems. She's a terrific business woman and I'm constantly learning new things from her. 

Many thanks to Ann, who babysat Stella for the weekend! That was a huge load off my mind!

We had a few press releases printed in local newspapers, and I want to thank Jill for writing them - your journalism degree served me well!

And finally - to Denny, my right-hand man and an incredible guy. (He'll kill me for adding this photo of him glam-modeling the T-shirt! It was a long day and we were punchy!)

All of the exhibitors commented on how helpful he was, helping them setup, assisting them in every way possible. Every single time I spoke to them, they thanked me over and over for his energetic assistance.  And I couldn't agree more  - he took a huge load off my shoulders, and for that, I'm so thankful.

 I really hope I'm not forgetting anyone! - but if I am, know that your help played a big part in making this weekend successful.

The good news is... 

Lie-Nielsen asked if I'd like to do it again next year!

You betcha!