Monday, April 30, 2012

It IS easy being GREEN!

Ok people here we go….I am so tired of hearing about ‘going green’ what about simply sound practices?

Most shops buy cups to mix stain in….I save my soda cans, cut off the bottom and have a cup.  After I’m done using it, I send it to the recycling plant.  

Most shops buy bottles to properly store stains after mixing them.

 Did you know that soda bottles (the plastic ones) are resistant to acetone, lacquer, thinner and basically every other chemical used In the common wood shop?   I’ve known this for years and use them all to store these items.  This saves money for the shop and reuses (recycles) these ‘throw away’ products giving them a second life before I send them to the recycling plant.  I pay for them once and use them twice.

Lumber.  I have a ‘firewood pile’ in the shop.  It’s all the scraps from projects worked on.  I even draw from it all the time in the shop if I need a small piece for a moulding , test piece, peg or dowel etc, etc. Then, as a last use, when the pile gets too big I take it out camping with me and…firewood it is (cherry makes some fine tasting marshmallows btw).  I’m currently using the sawdust in the shop to store my olive tree slabs to dry them for my Master’s Project.  Said and done right now only about 3% of all lumber coming into the shop ends up in a landfill.   Judging from the 17 other woodshops outside my door, other shops seem to average about 10-15%.

Rags come from friends, neighbors and old work clothes.  I haven’t bought a rag in the entire history of my shop.

Glass/aluminum are used whenever and wherever I can.  10yrs ago I bought aluminum bottles for my water out camping (the kind you can see in every environmentally friendly hand today)….all my friends said I was crazy and bought lexan bottles.  Mine are all still in use and all of theirs are now in landfills.

GLASS! The miracle product!  It needs no recycling! Hey people…it’s a ROCK it started a ROCK and it’s still a ROCK and it will return to being a ROCK when humans are all dead and gone from this planet!  There is even an entire beach in northern California, known for its beauty, that’s totally made of glass shards due to a now defunct glass factory located nearby.  It’s all been rounded by the sea and re-deposited on the beach.  And study after study cannot find any detrimental effects to the environment…it’s a ROCK people!

Am I an eco nut?...not on your life.  However common sense and a general care of where and how I live goes a long way towards being green.

Friday, April 20, 2012

MY Shop

We often ponder the question, of “Who Am I?” versus “What Am I?”.  Some people do their job, because it’s what they do.  Some people do their job, because it’s who they are.  I guess the only difference is passion.  So let me tell you my story about Hal.  An old-timer, retired woodworker and friend. 

Hal owned his shop for 40 years.  The time came where he decided he was old enough and done enough and it was time to walk away.  To enjoy the sunset of his life and spend time with his wife.  So he made amends with all of his customers, sold off most of his equipment, cleaned out the rest and took it home to store it in the garage.  And then went back to turn in the keys on his leased space.  They did the walk through, everything was fine.  He gave the keys back and no longer had his shop.  He got in the car and started on his 40 mile drive to his new home.   He made it about 400 feet before he pulled over and broke down in tears.  He wasn’t sad, he wasn’t upset, and he wasn’t happy or overjoyed he was simply lost.  After 40 years he had no idea what to do, where to go, or who he was.  He’d lost his passion. 

So let’s jump forward a couple of years with old Hal.  He’s now a happy, energetic go-lucky type of guy.  He bought a new table saw, put it in his garage and now instead of 5 jobs a month, he does 5 jobs a year.  

Guess you can’t take the man out of the shop, because if you do you’ll break the shop that’s still in the man.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Musical Grade Fiddleback Maple for a Music Box

A board with this kind of figuring is a rare piece.  You can either pay a lot of money for it or search through piles of lumber and hope to get lucky.

I found this beautiful piece a while back . . and I keep it for special uses only.  But a project like that great Heart-Shaped Wedding Ring Music box is perfect to show this off.

Painfully, I had to cut into it.

A Woodworking Tip:  When you're working on a piece that you are going to turn as a whole, but that will be in two pieces again when done (as with a heart that will open in half), glue two blocks together with a piece of paper in-between.

This will let you turn them together so they match up, but will also let you separate them easier on that seam after they've been shaped on the lathe.  If you don't have paper/ cardboard in the middle, the glue will seep into each half and it will be difficult to separate them in a straight line down the middle.  This way you are mostly having to take away paper when you are separating them again.

Warning: When gluing together this way, if a tool grabs onto that seam it can tear it off of the lathe sending wooden blocks flying.  Turn cautiously with light cuts.

It's such a special project, even my glue bear is all dressed up!

You'll see I cut enough to make 4 of the heart portion of this box.  This allows me some room for difficulties in turning or hollowing the piece out.  Things happen and you don't want to have to start over.   So instead I'll bring each one up to the same level together and hope to have 4 when I'm done.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Two Writers

ok you shoe'd people out there,
I've had a question or two from some of yes I do have a partner.  She runs the business and I run the shop....
She also keeps my household and keeps me in line. I recommend getting one of your own if you haven't yet LOL.

At any rate yes she sometimes writes a blog or two here and you should pretty easily see the difference between out writing styles. Fact is though sometime I'm lazy and don't write often enough other times I SHOULD be writing about something and I just really don't want she steps up hopefully you'll like hers as much as mine (sometimes I pray you will all like them better so I can stop :P)

An Uplifting Project

I'm starting a very interesting custom job.  The project: a custom box to present a custom wedding ring!

What the groom wants is for it to be a way to keep the ring safe from prying eyes before the big day, and a way to show it to his bride for the first time during the ceremony.  And I'm going to do my best to share some of the steps along the way.

I'll start with a very simple sketch that I created for the bid.  I said it was simple.   The concept, however, is a little more complex. I will be creating a heart shaped box that will raise off of the very short cylinder base (kind of the shape of a hockey puck).  Once the heart reaches the top of it's journey it will open into two parts to reveal the inner post that will be holding the custom wedding ring.

Oh and did I mention he's decided he'd like it to raise up on it's own and play music?   And, remember, it's got to be used to hide the ring until the big day, so somehow it must be kept from just anyone being able to open it.

Stay tuned to see this sketch become a beautiful piece!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

No Fluff

Ok it has come to my attention that some people think I don’t post on my blog enough….  Well maybe that is true.  There are many things going on in the shop that I probably should post about.  But here’s the thing on that…I only post the things that I think are important and that I hope may not only be informative but that also can teach something.  While I –could- post 10-15X a day like I see some others do…here’s the reality of it …I believe it lessens what I post.  People simply stop looking or worse still block people who post too often…  Does it matter to you that I’ve made another trophy?(I make hundreds a year)  Do you care that my other ½ came into the shop today and that this is one of only about 3 days a year where I’m actually typing this from the shop instead of from home at night?

Point and lesson from today?...NO FLUFF!!!! I try not to post it…nor do I read it J


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