I was given the opportunity by the Fifth Masonic District of Ohio to craft a replica of the Grand Master's Pin to be used as a "Traveling" Trophy for the 2022 Masonic Inspection season. To the uninitiated, Masonic Lodges need to demonstrate proficiency for conducting their lodge as well as exemplifying degree work. This usually happens in the first half of the year and is what we refer to as Inspection Season. During this time, it is a popular competition to see how many lodge members can get together to travel to another lodge and observe their degree work. The lodge with the most "traveling" brothers would get this plaque to hang in their lodge. A fellow brother in the 5th district has always been tasked with making a different one every year based on that Grand Master's Pin. That brother sadly passed away last year so I offered to continue the tradition. Our new Grand Master of Masons in Ohio has set his slogan as "Reflect on Freemasonry". I crafted two of these, one for its intended purpose, and one as a gift. I decided to use a 4-degree slant cut on my Delta scrollsaw to give a relief set for the lettering and laser-etched the main centerpiece logo. The finish is enamel paint on the letters and outer ring, with a light cherry stain on the center with semi-gloss polyurethane. One is a piece of aspen, the other a birch plywood. Both are roughly 12 inches in diameter. Altogether, about 12 hours of construction time.
Here is a quick woodworking project for a brother in our lodge. He received his MM degree at a special outdoor ceremony and we wanted a frame that would reflect the three degrees. The wood is simple aspen which was routed for the profile and then run through the Laser CNC to imprint the masonic artwork. A quick finish with stain and polyurethane to complete the look.
The results of resurfacing Jens 15-year-old potting bench. It was cheap, to begin with, and just succumbed to the northwest Ohio weather despite being restained and sealed every other year. Now that lumber prices have started to normalize, I took some time this week to resurface it with fresh 11/16 cedar planking.
This is a Masonic plaque I crafted for a lodge brother of mine. He has been delivering the E.A. lecture for 50 years now and has demonstrated an amazing devotion to the fraternity. The E.A. lecture averages about 20 minutes of delivery from memory and is no small task for any mason to undertake. The plaque base is Aspen with leaser etched embellishments and a light coat of semi-gloss polyurethane. The twenty-four-inch gauge is oak and also has laser-etched embellishments for the 24 inches. The common gavel is Brazilian oak and has a masonic lodge coin embedded in the head. The pins are rotatable so the working tools can be removed and handled.
A friend asked for a small woodworking project, a broken column (it's a Masonic thing) which I thought I would take a crack at. This means I needed to learn how to do fluting on a spindle. The first challenge is that my LA200 lathe does not have an indexing lock. Thanks to the folks at Alisam Engineering for crafting a very well-engineered aluminum indexing plate and pin lock which fit my lathe beautifully. The next challenge was building a router jig or finding a ready-made one. Amazon and Penn State Industries to the rescue. I found a cool attachment with a trim router for less than $100 that seemed to rate pretty highly. I got everything in this week and took it for a test spin this afternoon. The wood is a very old chunk of oak I had pulled from a burn pile, so not the best quality, but I am happy with the end result, and my lathe got an upgrade. The last image is the final version and is purpleheart with a high gloss polyurethane coat.
This is a small keepsake box for Jen for a simple anniversary gift. The visual equation on top is an inside joke we have shared for almost 30 years now relating to optics and our first year in Physics class at the University of Toledo. The wood is a Brazilian Walnut, exceptionally colorful and dense (just like me sometimes), and it contains some rough fire opals which is apparently a traditional 24-year gift. Not some of my finer work, but it came together in less than an hour.
I am finally finished with this project. It seriously has been haunting me for two years now. A lodge brother of mine had a beautiful chess set given to him, but the case was absolute garbage. The original case was some undeterminable, yet distinctly cheap lumber that was warped and lined with styrofoam. I used a bunch of reclaimed lumber, mostly some red oak stair treads that will get a new life along with new brass fasteners and felt lining. The pieces were too attractive not to have some form of display when not in use. I am set to give it back to him on Tuesday, he should be pleasantly surprised.
This week's project is a storage box for a Masonic wax seal Jen got me for Christmas one year. The warmer was a separate piece, and I wanted a simple box to store it all in. The material is mixed Aspen and mahogany. The past master emblem was done on my CNC router, fittings are brass, and finished with three coats of semi-gloss polyurethane.
Not too bad for a first run at the HamClock amateur radio project. I have some finishing work I need to fix on the frame, and a 90 degree OTG USB cable would work better, but, the Pi Zero seems to handle the display just fine. I definitely need to get in and fix the display resolution on the X windows side, it's just a little shy on the vertical pixels.