Tuesday, February 09, 2016
I was thinking about mine the other day, when I was struggling with a project and wondering what direction I should follow. It was one of those "WWGD" moments, as in - What Would Garold Do?
Garold was my first woodshop teacher, and was perhaps the first person to actually suggest that I could make a living at working with wood.
I was about 15 at the time, and he seemed so much older and wiser - when in reality, there was only about ten years difference in our ages. (Twenty-five years later, we discovered that we actually share the same birth date - how's that for irony?!)
He was big on brainstorming and sketching, and pushed me to build things I would never have attempted on my own. I often find myself with pencil in hand, working out details on a napkin or scrap of paper. Or even giant sheets of cardboard.
Later in life, he left his teaching position at my high school and joined Kent State University, where he was involved in their wood program. Some of my best memories involve giving lectures to his freshmen classes, discussing the role of women in the woodshop. Afterwards, we'd share a meal and a beer, and catch up on life.
He's retired now - if you call building a cabin, and working part time - retired. If I'm lucky, we speak once in a while, catching up on old friends or what we're building.
So - Happy Birthday, Garold! Wishing you many more years of creativity and good health!
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
So it's been 13 years since my dad died, and I sure do miss him.
He had the first woodshop that I ever worked in, but I don't ever remember him actually teaching me to build anything. It was more like him saying "stay away from that tool!" which I totally ignored.
He was always working (like I do) and usually too busy to do fun things (like me). But his shop was always filled with mysterious looking tools and good wood, and it was there that I built my first rubber band machine gun
or my first skateboard ramp.
Even though he'd yell if I used too much of his lumber, I believe he was proud that I was able to cobble together small projects so nicely.
So here's a tribute to the man who taught me so many things - loyalty, work ethic, family values, and how to swing a golf club.
And here's a favorite quote that comes to mind when I think of him:
People living deeply have no fear of death. ~Anaïs Nin, 1967
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Thursday, January 21, 2016
It's so easy to take ourselves too seriously. We think what we're doing is just so life-or-death, when in reality, our stuff is pretty ordinary. We're not re-inventing the wheel, or solving life's mysteries; we're just all going about our day trying to pay the bills, feed the kids and critters, and hopefully sleep well at night.
To me, it's the simple things that really make me happy. An ice cold beer in summer. Pretty tulips sprouting up in the yard in spring. Stella running up to greet me when I walk in the door.
So I've been trying to beautify things in my surroundings. Simple stuff. Check out this log - I have no idea what kind of wood it is (I may send it off to be identified)...
but it's very pretty. Yellow pretty.
The re-sawn plank is perfect for my latest project - and one of the cutoffs allowed me to make a couple of pegs.
And boom - another tool holder for the shop - this time, holding the brand new Lie-Nielsen draw knife.
Speaking of important things - have you heard about the #DStrong campaign? Now THIS is important.
Saturday, January 09, 2016
When they say diamonds are a girls best friend, they obviously weren't talking about me. As far as I'm concerned, there isn't a better way into my heart than to buy me tools!
So when I got this new hammer for Christmas, I decided to give it some special love – and hang it on the wall in my office.
A while back, we had a huge log delivery at the shop, and I saved a few smaller logs for projects exactly like this. I sliced off a few small slabs, it almost looked like I was making potato chips.
Some of the slices were actually translucent.
Once I had one that seemed perfect, I took the scrap end of the log and made a few long pegs with my tenon cutter.
I'm not sure how it happened, but the plugs were actually a little crooked. It added a lot of character to this hammer hanger!
To soften the front edge of the pegs, I put them in my drillpress and touched the edge with a little bit of sandpaper while they were spinning.
Since the plugs were half-inch diameter, I drilled a few half-inch holes in the right spot and glued the pegs in place.
Since the hammer has a little bit of weight to it – I added a few screws from behind to hold the pegs in place.
And here it is – the 15 minute hammer hammer!
I love doing little projects like this, they're creative and fun, and keep my skills sharp.
Now if I can only figure out how to hang this baby!
Sunday, January 03, 2016
Friday, December 25, 2015
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
It's ridiculously cold right now, but as with every holiday season - there's no time to stay home and under a blanket. We've been finishing up last minute gifts for customers, and working like crazy to get the shop in shape for the next round of classes that start in just a few weeks. (They're almost all sold out, BTW!)
Here's a lovely little video to fuel your creative urges.
And below, pictures of a few things we've been working on.