Tuesday, January 22, 2013


how did you begin wood working?
when did that errant thought enter your otherwise (or not) unreceptive mind
and you sat down, overwhelmed by the thought of this new-found future unfolding before you
beginning in the exact moment you will now cherish forever

and you created monuments and mementos and diaries
to immortalize that moment and not let it go wasted
and even now you are reading this asking why you are not out in the shop
remembering why you started doing this to begin with

before that moment the thought had never occurred to me
gee...I'm going to start wood working
I had a circular saw and could cut lengths of borg store pine to make shelves stacked by cinder block
and I made plenty of other stuff
paintings and assemblages and sculptures and parade floats
and sand sculptures

then I met Arielle

and we needed furniture
furniture we could live with and use
and would have to look at for however long it lasted
and sure it was a little more expensive (still that borg store pine)
but I could make it to suit

and then I thought...
time for a shop
because with a table saw I could do this

and with that I could do this
and after that how bout a router
needs a table
and now a drill press, and a sander, and a band saw, and a...
hey wait, this all costs alot and I haven't really made anything with it yet

looking back I could have spent all that money on hand tools and this would have come out so much better

 luckily I didn't have to look far, I fell in love with tools, and the process and the fact that I had neigboors and there was a river running through my shop in the monsoon season
and it was DARK

and through this all I discovered joinery other than butt
and made something for comission
not that it didn't actually cost me money to make it

and then an abode that tingled my imagination happened our way

and the obsession was allowed to run amok

so this is pretty much where my blog begins
you may want to go back to the start and refresh yourself
some of it makes sense now
hopefully most of it doesn't
the pictures tell a story
and the story I write is not always perfect

Friday, January 11, 2013


A reader, Roger asked me this morning about my boring machine
this thing is a gnarly beauty and built like a tank
everything on it works perfectly, though it's obviously lived a long hard life
there are no maker marks
though a little research I figure it's Shaker made between 1850 and 1900
-edit- Roger tells me most likely post 1870, and likely only used by the Shakers -edit-

the clasp at the top appears to be part of a mechanism attached to the main casting, the long lower arm extends to the bottom of the spur and ends in a simple hinge, and a small spring is fixed in between


on the cross piece above is screwed a beefy brass plate as a catch

to be honest, I wish I could find a project to use it on, guess if I add a shed some day I'll just have to do it timber frame:)

the humdinger for me involved to wood shelf out front, was that to aid in clamping it down?
there are no marks whatsoever that look like it was touched by a clamp of any kind
then I found this: near the end of the page is a perfect example of the Shaker butt vice
man those guys were smart

there are actually bits for sale online, ranging from fancy new ones to refurbished and sharpened antiques to rusty old shed finds

Thursday, January 10, 2013


today, after an excruciating day at work I relaxed to a TED Talks
and a beer
Cynthia Lair, an organic food educator discussed her method of introducing people
to the process of cooking
as almost, a technique
to zen with the process
the idea of cooking to cook  at the moment
and I got to thinking that this was the whole reason I love to work wood
or sculpt in sand
or for that matter cook dinner

and there's a bigger thinking behind that
the whole reason I graduated to hand tools (and fell in love with sand sculpture)
was to get a closer relation
to the tools
the material
and the process

I would not have to don protective wear any more
I could plane a board at ten thirty at night if I wanted
though I still have to restrict mortise chopping to normal decent hours
and I could listen to Pandora without need for either external speakers or headphones

most of the time I forget to turn on the tunes
working has it's own rhythm
and it finds itself in the process
which is dictated by the tool
as described by the action
necessary to remove the material
to create the surface
the piece demands

by the way I hone my kitchen knives with each use too

Monday, January 7, 2013


It's strange how returning to your normal life can feel comforting
familiar scents, and sights
a new look at past pieces
I actually want to work on the fourth and final chair
the third is finally done, and being used

and some honest wood translates its future
warning me of failure
prompting me to rectify

 this key was then rippped with a flush cut saw
and a twin is born

the knowledge of the last three has left me forlorn
I know how much work there is
and all I really want to be doing is making joints
working the flats
and edges
instead there are only curves
and creases

Getting away from everything familiar
and embarking on a somewhat now familiar adventure

has brought with it a new found desire to make

I can finish the last chair in a few weeks, while the weather's cold
and the motion strenuous

in the meantime there are a few other matters to attend to

Australopithecus, anyone?

Can't show you any more of this one, you must please visit it in situ

Children's Museum of Cleveland, till April '13