notes from the workshop...

Today I spent several hours cleaning up the garage. It really needed it badly as I was having trouble finding tools I needed for projects. Afterwards, I spent a little time setting up some new blanks for a few slimline kits I have left over and turning a few blanks from last week:

Left to right: An oak hair stick (a little on the thick side, but it was fun to turn something not on a mandrel), Bloodwood Fountain Pen, Basswood/Bloodwood Slimline, Oak/Yellowheart "Cross" Slimline, Padauk/Purpleheart Fountain Pen w/Walnut Stripes...

Otherwise, I'm trying to justify/rationalize a purchase of a bandsaw. Anderson's in Maumee has a factory reconditioned Delta 10 inch half horse bandsaw with stand for $129. That's about $70 off the cost of new saw. Beyond the financial cost, I would need to come up with somewhere to put it in the garage. Floorspace is at a premium until I get a dumpster to get rid of some of the old building/demolition stuff from our various home improvement projects...

Jen's Birthday Present

Today I need to bake a cake and take Jen to to the Fulton County Fair. As a sneak peak at one of the items I made for her, this is my first attempt at making a round container/box. I used a router to cut the main components which was well before I purchased a lathe (the would have made it much easier and more accurate). I learned quite a bit while making it...mostly what not to do, but that gives it charm and character. We'll file this under Amazingly Rustic....

more pen pr0n

This weekend I spent a bit of time on Saturday making a field-mod to Jens desk. There is a shelf for the CPU which was not large enough to accommodate an upgraded system. I disassembled it and widened it by a couple of inches. The rest of the day was spent preparing blanks to turn on Sunday. I wanted to experiment with combining different grains and woods with the slimline kits I purchased on-line. I also prepared an acrylic blank for a classic fountain pen. From left to right: Slimline from Purpleheart and Oak, Slimline with Aromatic Cedar, Slimline with Basswood and Hickory, Slimline with Bocote and Oak, Classic Fountain with Acrylic, Classic Fountain with Rosewood:


I spent some time turning pens this afternoon. From left to right:
- Designer Series twist pen & .7mm pencil set in African Padauk and gold standard hardware (commissioned by Stephanie)
- Designer Series twist pen in African Purpleheart with a band of African Blackwood on the lower barrel and platium group (rhodium) hardware (commissioned by Lisa)
- Atlas Series twist pen in African Blackwood with platinum hardware (just for fun)
- Designer Series twist .7mm pencil in Cocobolo with gold standard hardware (just for fun).

I also spent a little time cutting out the frame for my clock project, but it was getting really overcast and dark in the garage. Tonight I think a little PS2 is in order...that and a shower...

a grand weekend

Not only was the weather for more tolerable this weekend, but I had a chance to play in the garage both Saturday and Sunday. Friday night we had dinner with my sister and her family, my mother, and my brother David who was up from Florida for the weekend. He was going to the Pontiac Nationals in Norwalk with my brother in-law Matt. The remainder of Friday evening was spent playing playstation with my sweetie.

as the wood turns

This weekend I purchased a 10 pack of European Style pen kits (really a savings over the individual packs) and turned seven of the ten. All the blanks are prepped and ready to be put on the mandrel, I just couldn't do anymore today (too much time standing at the lathe...back hurting, age showing. etc...). The stock all came from a Woodcraft grab bag, so I'm not entirely sure what some of them are, but from left to right around the arc: purpleheart, aromatic cedar, walnut, zebrawood, not sure (might be white ash), yellowheart, basswood.

Pen Project

Today on this old garage/workshop, Craig made a pen box to hold the gift set for his brother. The box is a standard miter carcase constructed of aspen and cherry. This is only the second box I have every made using miter corners, and I still have a long way to go to make them look pretty. But it's a good start...we'll call it amazingly rustic...


Time to get some lunch, clean up the garage a bit, then start Harry Potter now that Jen is done...

while you were reading harry potter....

Craig was busy in the garage this afternoon. I turned two pens and a letter opener to go with the European Style pen I turned last week for my brother. I also turned a American Classic Style fountain pen with a reverse pump for Jens collection. Last, I turned a European style pen from cedar for myself!


I also started a pen box for the set for my brother, that has to set-up overnight, then I can finish that on Sunday...

back from school

I had another shop class today. Woodcraft had an introductory pen turning class. Machines used included: Drill press, band saw, and lathe. I have never used a lathe before, but that was a non-issue as no one else in the class had either. We each took about 20 minutes to practice on the lathe with a piece of scrap wood to get the feel of it. Afterwards, the instructor ran through the procedure and techniques for turning a pen on a mandrel. He had several species of wood available to turn, I decided on purpleheart since I figured Jen would just commandeer the pen when I got home, she might as well like the color.

woodcraft class: fear my shiv

I took a scroll saw class at the Toledo Woodcraft store today, mostly to make sure my technique is correct. I have never had any formal training, or even informal training, with most of the power tools I own, I just read books and try them, hoping not to lose a limb in the process. The class was productive and yielded a few good tips in some areas I was struggling with. The instructor also gave me a few shortcuts to use when working a project. I was probably the most advanced person in the class, but then it was a beginner class, and I have been playing with this saw for about a year now. The end project was a letter opener made out of cherry (when I saw the plans at the end of the page, I said quietly to myself: ooooo, a shiv).

Bevel Sawing Practice

Earlier this spring I tried my hand at bevel sawing on my scroll saw. I made a small Celtic knot on a three point box. This was done out of some scrap pine I had lying around. I was pleased with th results and wanted to try it using a better stock and a bit larger. I found a plank of mahogany in my wood pile that would do the trick. The main box is built up of two layers of mahogany with the top having a bevel cut for the relief pattern. I don't mind mahogany, but it does tend to burn very easily which means a lot of sanding.

Deck Makeover at the Hermitage

We spent a lovely long holiday weekend with Brian & Deb. Jen and Deb worked on their knitting and Brian and I worked on the backyard deck. The goal was to add a two tier plant stand without consuming deck space and also add a potting bench. We got a late start on Sunday once the rain stopped (about 2:00pm) and finished around 8:00pm. It's been a while since I've done any heavy building, and my legs are reminding me of that today. A link to my personal photo album is behind the image.

well, that was....horrible

Shortly before we left for Ireland, I noticed a water stain on the ceiling of my office. Though tiny, it was still there. The mark was dry, so I let it go until we got back. I promptly forgot about while in Ireland and for a while when we returned. The other day I noticed it again You see, I rarely go in my home office except to play on my Windows PC and it was noticeably larger. The location would point to a certain part of the bathroom remodel we executed last year. The specific part, where we pulled the toilet to put in a new floor. Dreading the task of pulling the toilet, I contemplated selling the house as is for a moment. I came to my senses and went out to the hardware store for needed components. Th new floor raised the level of the toilet about 3/4 inch and I had to use a thinker wax ring to compensate. I guessed the ring had split or was unseated somehow.

Woodshop is open for business again...

Since I haven't posted much outside of the Ireland recaps...

Today I had a chance to do some work out in the garage. It's been a long winter and I've really been looking forward to firing up the power tools again. Today's project was raised garden beds for Jen. She has recently been reading a gardening by the square foot book and wanted a few raised beds to start off. I picked up some 1 x 6 cedar boards this week, enough to make two 2 ft x 4ft raised beds. Construction was pretty simple, using 45 deg miter cuts on the corner and galvanized counter-sunk screws to assemble. I used a piece of 1 x 2 cedar strip to make a lattice to separate the bed into visible 1ft square sections. The lattice is designed to be removed, having rabbet joints at the end to let it sink into the box a bit, and dadoe joints to join the cross sections. I also got a chance to finally use my new router jig (what amounts to a spirograph) Jen got me for Christmas. Here are the results:

Ireland Recap Day 9: Muckross Abbey, Torq Waterfalls, Kenmare

We awoke to our last full day in Ireland on Thursday. Not wanting to stray too far across the country, we decided to drive the N71 between Killarney and Kenmare to see the many ruins and natural sites along the way. We drove this route a couple of days before, but were on a time table to start the Ring of Kerry after Kenmare, so we skipped many places along the way. We were chatting with the woman at the hotel reception desk trying to pinpoint were the Torq Waterfalls were.