26 December 2020

Incremental Progress Makes Me Smile

 I started woodworking 5 years ago.  Most of my learning has come from Paul Sellers and some from going to LieNielsen events once a year when the come to town.  I happily toil away in my workshop.  Most of the time, concerned/frustrated/angry of some imperfection in what I am trying to achieve.  Certainly, things are better now than they were 5 years ago when I started.  

Today I was finishing up a simple piece of pine.  It is angle on the long axis as well as one of the short edges.  This piece will be replacing the original locking piece on my Japanese tool chest.  The first lock either shrank when it dried or wasn't wide enough to begin with.  This pieces remedies this.  

There is nothing really complex about this.  What I noticed today however was that as I was applying the shellac, I didn't see brush strokes as I had in past projects.  I've gotten much better than say 2 years ago at applying finish.  When trying to get one edge to 90 degrees, it was initially giving my fits and then I just used some tricks I've learned along the way.  Suddenly it dawned on me, I've gotten better than I was 2 years ago.  I apply finish better, I can straighten a board more quickly.  I felt good for a few minutes to notice I have improved.  Life is good.

19 December 2020

Is it bigger than a breadbox?

My wife has been asking for a breadbox for the kitchen for a while.  Since I recently finished a half size dimension (1/8th volume if you do the math) Anarchist Tool Chest, I am looking for another project.  This seemed like the perfect project to start.  Below the initial sketch I prepared.  It is heavily influenced by the Wood Magazine Arts and Craft Nightstand (Nov 2004, issue 159) I built for my daughter not that long ago.  

I will need to refine the design a bit.  It should be interesting to see what the final product looks like.  My wife has given specs in terms of how the bread must be stored length and height wise so that provides some of the criteria.  I like have certain specs it needs to meet.  I'm hoping to make this out of cherry and maple and finish with shellac.  I think I have enough spare wood around so it won't require purchasing new wood.  Wish me luck.  I will share it when it's finished (probably 3 months from now given how slow I work).

12 December 2020

Delightful Little Hammer


Lie Nielsen used to come once a year to my area for a woodworking show.  I'd go and learn a lot of how to woodworking.  Next to Paul Sellers videos, this was the second source for learning how to woodwork.  Often there would be a few other vendors that would show up.  One of them is Kevin Drake from the Glen Drake Tool Company.  I always make it a point to buy something from him.  Kevin, in our interactions at this show, is how I learned to saw well.  I am very grateful for that.  About a year and a half ago, I attended a LN show and bought this little hammer.  I didn't really need another hammer as I am quite happy with the Thor hammer I use that Paul Sellers recommends but I bought it anyway to support the Glen Drake Tools.  I am a big fan of trying to be conscious of where I spend my dollars.  The Glen Drake Tool company is one business I like to support.

I like the way this hammer sits in my hand and how the weight is balanced directly in my hand.  The design also aligns nicely without having to look at the hammer.  It works really well for dovetails.  Lately I've been having some ergo issues due to working at home and my elbow has been bothering me (it's getting better).  Having the head closer to my hand reduces torque and reduces discomfort in my elbow right now.  Something to keep in mind if your elbow has been bothering you.

It's delightful to use.  In fact, all of the Glen Drake tools I've bought have been top notch.  Just to be clear, I've paid retail price for all of my tools from Glen Drake (and from all tool makers for that matter).

05 December 2020

I married well

 Recently, my wife and I celebrated a wedding anniversary.  She bought me this little ax for spoon carvings, etc.  Needless to say, I was very happy.  I indeed married well.

So why the ax?  When I go to my in-law's cabin, I'd like to relax by doing some sort of woodworking.  I thought it might be a good opportunity to do slightly different woodworking than I do at home.  As such, when I visit, I am going to carve spoons, bowls, and carve little figures.  The kit of tools and wood needed is small and I will enjoy it.

Of course, this has to wait till we are both vaccinated from Covid-19.  My in-laws are in a high risk group and I don't want to risk them getting sick.