Thursday, October 08, 2015

Mark your calendars...

We're only about a week away from the Lie Nielsen Hand Tool Event - here's a link to read more about it!

If you've never touched a high quality tool in your life, here's the chance to experience something amazing.

 The Lie-Nielsen staff will be bringing their entire arsenal of hand tools for everyone to try out - from planes to chisels to scrapers, and much more. All of their tools will be available for a test drive, as well as for purchase. 

Kevin from Glen-Drake Toolworks will also be in town, sharing his cool, ergonomically amazing hand tools, such as hammers, marking gauges, and dovetail saws. His tools are top of the line, and will give you a whole new appreciation for using "the correct tool for the job."

Local wood carver Dennis Patchett will also be on hand to share some carving techniques and show some of his work. His carved linenfold panels are some of the best carved pieces in the state of Nevada. We're proud to call him a friend, teacher and mentor at the school. 

Mark your calendars - 

Friday, October 16   10-6 pm
Saturday, October 17  10-5 pm

Studio: Wood It Is!
  2267 W Gowan, Suite 106
North Las Vegas, NV  89032

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Check out this bonus issue of American Craft Magazine; you're going to love it...

For obvious reasons, American Craft magazine is one of my favorites. 

Their articles are always fascinating and on the cutting edge of what's hot in the world of makers. 

Here's a REAL treat - they have published a bonus 2015 issue and - great news! - it's ALL ABOUT FURNITURE. 

Here's a link - ENJOY!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Welcoming a new beast to the tool arsenal...

Be it ever so humble (and confusing!) - we have finally acquired a CNC at the shop! Well, Denny has... he made the plunge during the AWFS show, and has been working diligently to learn the ins and outs of it. 

CNC is a process used in the manufacturing sector that involves the use of computers to control tools. In our case, we have a router hooked up to a computer, and we can tell it to cut a variety of design or profiles. Honestly, it allows for perfection a (woodworking) world where perfection is iffy, at best. 

Denny's CNC choice? A Legacy Explorer, with a table that will hold about a 4' piece of wood. It's a good start for dipping your toes into the pool of CNC mania, since learning the software is much of the battle. 

Actually, most of the battle. 

Our first project was a Photo Booth, in which an iPad and SLR camera were linked together. The iPad sits in the rectangular window, and you can press a button and have your picture taken, just like an old time photo booth. 

 The photo will then be displayed on the iPad screen. This booth is used for parties, where your guests can fool around and shoot photos of themselves. It's great for capturing fun shots at parties, weddings, etc. 

We've also been working with a few clients, doing some logo work with them. This logo, cut into small "coins" of wood, will become pendants down the line. Here are our practice cuts,

 and the the final pieces. 

 As we get better with software, the ability to produce some amazing carvings gets easier. 

 This urn came out exceptionally well, and opened up a huge arena of possibilities for us. 

 So what does the future hold? Well, we have a ton of irons in the fire, both with clients and with some of our own projects. I made this mahogany bog chair (sometimes called a plank chair) a few weeks ago, and I hope to carve something in the back of it soon. The hardest part is deciding what to carve! 

And don't faint...  but I'm almost done with the Sassafras dresser I started a while back.

 I think I'll try to carve something cool on the back rail of it, to match the headboard I carved a while back. 

Damn, having the CNC opens up all sorts of possibilities!
 Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Here's a followup to a couple of interesting requests!

A very sweet young woman wrote to me the other day, asking if I could save some plane shavings. 

You know - the kind of thing shavings that come from hand planing wood.

 So Denny and I grabbed a couple of planes and some a few pine boards, and went to work. She picked up a box full of shavings that afternoon, and lo and behold! She 
sent this picture of her handiwork a few weeks later. I love the creativity that people possess!

 Another wildly creative (and ambitious!) fellow wandered in, asking if I would straighten out some boards that he'd recycled from various shipping pallets. Honestly, when he brought the boards in (and there were a TON of them!) - I thought he'd gone off the deep end! 

But - a job is a job, right? 

We ripped them into parallel strips, trimmed the ends,  and gave them a thorough sanding. A few weeks later, he sent us this shot - a wall in his den, paneled with the reclaimed lumber. He still needs to fill in a few gaps he has, but what a terrific job he did!

Seeing this almost makes me want to rip apart some pallets and get started....

Well, almost. I'm not that motivated!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Summer of Chair Making

 Chair making seems to be the benchmark by which all woodworkers are judged: if you can build sturdy, comfortable (and attractive!) chairs, you can call yourself a woodworker in its truest sense. 

Seems like I've passed that test, as I've been on a chair making tear lately. Here are some examples of the latest work coming out of my shop - a set of six walnut chairs that I call - cowboy inspired. 

The clients requested rustic elegance - live edges and knots to be included, with pegged joinery and rusty upholstery tacks. (Notice the diamond shaped pegs I used - yes, every joint was reinforced with 1/4" white oak pegs.

 I built four side chairs, and these two arm chairs. They chose a gorgeous leather from Tandy (I didn't even know they still existed!) and the upholsterer did an amazing job putting it all together. 

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Meet one of my favorite buddies....

Did you ever meet someone and think to yourself - he is such a nice guy, I just wish him all the luck in the world? Like - you're just rooting for someone's success?

That's how I feel about my buddy Braxton. 

He started off as a student a few years ago, but as I've gotten to know him, he's just blossomed into a full-blown friend as well. Stay at home dad, bicycler-extraordinaire, and kick-ass woodworker. Maybe even better - a hysterical yet informative videographer. 

Add them all together and I'm really proud to call him a pal.

His company is Timber Manufacturing, here's a link. 

He builds some amazing pieces, like that slab bench above, and this bench below. 

Check out this cash register counter for a U-Bottle-It store in Henderson. Braxton was recently featured in an online profile by Lane Brothers Woodshop, and it's a pretty interesting scoop on his life. Here's a link.

(Thanks for the plug in the article, B!)

Check out this wall unit and 13' long steel-framed white oak bar top that he built for Khoury's Fine Wine and Spirits. 

Our woodworking community here never fails to amaze me, and over the years, we've forged some really great friendships here. About a year ago, Braxton met Zac Higgins at one of our Sin City Woodworker meetings - and a solid friendship was cemented. The two of them both have very informative YouTube channels, and an awesome following. In fact, they recently  collaborated on two videos - you need to check these out! 

Here's Braxton's side of the story - 

and flipping it over - here's Zac's take. 

Their YouTube channels dedicated to both quality woodworking, but they also add a fun element embedded in their work. C'mon, who else uses elbow macaroni or Captain Crunch in their castings, to produce cool stuff on the lathe?  

I hope you'll subscribe to both of their channels, and maybe even drop them a line if you have some cool stuff to share. Seriously, you couldn't meet two more awesome guys sharing their passions. 

Friday, September 04, 2015

My first garden

If you get sick of reading about my garden, you may want to quit reading this post! 

The funny thing is - I didn't realize I was a gardener for a long time, but then my mom reminded me of this school project when I was nine years old. 

It was Catholic school, in Inglewood - we had to start a plant from a seed. My teacher ended up calling my mom, begging her to take the plant that I had started home. It had gotten too big. 

I guess that was the start of my gardening career. 

This zucchini was bigger than me!

Well that was then, and this is now.

The gardening club that I started this past spring was such a success, I can't wait to do it next year. In fact, a few people have asked me to add their name to the list. For just a few dollars to buy some packs of seeds, we all started plants. And then traded with each other. It was amazing to see all the plants that showed up from everyone's labors, we had hundreds and hundreds of them. 

Alas, my 2015 garden has reached the end of its life. Once the squash bugs and horn worms show up, it's all over. I pulled everything out last weekend. 

So the squash bed went from this 

to this.

 When these bitches show up, you're done. 

Oh, don't worry, the fall vegetables are going in soon. 

Here's a slideshow recap of the 2015 garden... Enjoy!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Keep Better Records

Do you remember a while back, when I wrote about a military flag display box that I built?  It started like this, 

and progressed like this. 

I always love it when customers get back in touch with me, and send me photos of a piece I built, after it is gifted to someone. Here's what came via email today. 

It's filled with patches, medals, coins, mission flags - a great way to commemorate a long career.

It's also really interesting to see how all the awards and memorabilia fit into this case, and awesome to think that this will be around to pass down to another generation. 

You know what I wish? I had kept better records. At one point, I was probably built 30-40 pieces of furniture a year, but over time - I've just lost track of what I've done. I couldn't even venture a guess as to the number of things I've built. 

So - to all new woodworkers out there - keep better records. It'll help you when giving future bids to customers, and it's just nice to be able to look back on your body of work and see the progress you've made.