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Video

Progress on the cutting board!

27 Feb

I may not have had time to film while I was dimensioning my stock for the cutting board, but I put together a video that goes over the photos and a small clip at the end explaining where I am headed next with the project.

Video

Back in the shop! Woot

19 Feb

Discussing the projects at hand- a cutting-board and a sword handle(?!)

The last months in photos

8 Jan
When we last left off I'd shared this scary photo of my work room. Thankfully it is a room transformed!

When we last left off I’d shared this scary photo of my work room. Thankfully it is a room transformed!

Step number one for my little work room was to reorganise the flow, I felt I was barricaded with the table in it's previous orientation, and this layout felt SO much better!

Step number one for my little work room was to reorganise the flow, I felt I was barricaded with the table in it’s previous orientation, and this layout felt SO much better!

The previous chaotic state of my work room I felt it was necessary to go out and find a LARGE storage unit for some leftover boxes, paints, and tools. I scored this second hand for $100

The previous chaotic state of my work room  had me looking for a LARGE storage unit for some leftover boxes, paints, and tools. I scored this wardrobe second hand for $100

In this room I am determined not to install anything permanently because I will most likely have to move my tools out  and re-purpose the room, so free standing furniture helped sort out my storage needs.

In this room I am determined not to install anything permanently because I will most likely have to move my tools out and re-purpose the room, so free standing furniture helped sort out my storage needs.

On the other side I have a scroll saw set up on top of a cabinet that I'd saved from a curb a while back.

On the other side I have a scroll saw set up on top of a cabinet that I’d saved from a curb a while back.

I decided to put most of my precious tools in this drawer. Out of sight but easy to access

I decided to put most of my precious tools in this drawer. Out of sight but easy to access

This table is serving as my bench, it has splayed legs witch helps a little but I may need to anchor it somehow because it travels when I plane boards. I may just try rubber cups under the feet.

This table is serving as my bench, it has splayed legs witch helps a little but I may need to anchor it somehow because it travels when I plane boards. I may just try rubber cups under the feet.

Here are the contents of that tool chest atop my bench. Note the hand embroidered super man swatch of cloth top right- somehow this makes it into my home tool area everytime. I made the thing in high school and darn it if it doesn't make me feel super.

Here are the contents of that tool chest atop my bench. Note the hand embroidered super man swatch of cloth top right- somehow this makes it into my home tool area everytime. I made the thing in high school and darn it if it doesn’t make me feel super.

I have this workmate to help clamp up workpieces. I had to spend a good couple of hours fixing one of the vise screws (perhaps I'll post the cludge)

I have this workmate to help clamp up workpieces. I had to spend a good couple of hours fixing one of the vise screws (perhaps I’ll post the kludge)

And most recently I decided to paint the walls because I couldn't stand the blue tinged white- hardly welcoming. And this is my home after all!

And most recently I decided to paint the walls because I couldn’t stand the blue tinged white- hardly welcoming. And this is my home after all!

This room actually faces a window directly opposite and I feel a bit odd opening the blinds, so I put up privacy film so that I could still enjoy the meagre daylight that this room receives.

This room actually faces a window directly opposite and I feel a bit odd opening the blinds, so I put up privacy film so that I could still enjoy the meagre daylight that this room receives.

Here is my little work room after painting the walls a buttery colour.

Here is my little work room after painting the walls a buttery colour. I’m glad I finally have a room to work in- and it sure took longer to organise that I thought!

But wait there's more! After/during sorting my room, a couple of projects presented themselves. The lack of room for a bedside table on one side of the bed led to building a shelf for the spot between the two sconces pictured above.

But wait there’s more! After/during sorting my room, a couple of projects presented themselves. The lack of room for a bedside table on one side of the bed led to building a shelf for the spot between the two sconces pictured above.

I found some small boards well suited to the job and roughly jointed the mating edges. I was going for a rustic look and so I wasn't concerned with planing the faces. I try to remember that before I became a woodworker I thought gaps in joints were more authentic looking, and tool marks added character- something that we are taught to avoid at all costs as woodworkers!

I found some small boards well suited to the job and roughly jointed the mating edges. I was going for a rustic look and so I wasn’t concerned with planing the faces. I try to remember that before I became a woodworker I thought gaps in joints were more authentic looking, and tool marks added character- something that we are taught to avoid at all costs as woodworkers!

Here's the shelf in place- finally a place to put a water glass!

Here’s the shelf in place- finally a place to put a water glass!

Project number two was to reinforce my wall cabinet's hinges. The particle board was failing, and the doors were in danger of falling off.

Project number two was to reinforce my bathroom wall cabinet’s hinges. The particle board was failing, and the doors were in danger of falling off.

I removed material so that I could glue in solid wood blocks.

I removed material so that I could glue in solid wood blocks.

Once the glue set up I put my hinges and doors back up and revelled in the result.

Once the glue set up I put my hinges and doors back up and revelled in the result.

Also- cat shelves! It's a thing! Who knew this would make cats happy. They also help the kitties climb other existing furniture in a room. I might just be a crazy cat lady now.

Also-  I installed two “cat shelves”! It’s a thing! Who knew this would make cats happy. They also help give a leg up to higher surfaces. I took pity on my cats when I found them cowering atop my bedroom dresser when my nephew and neice visited during the holidays.

That wraps up what I’ve been up to during the last month or more. I hope to get some REAL woodworking going now that my work room is ready. Happy new year and happy woodworking to all!

I’m moved in… a tale of four colds & crazy times

10 Nov

My goodness an entire season has gone by since my last post! It’s a good thing I’m not paid to do this! I just checked what my last post was and it was camper demolition day- I hope I can  work on that again before the winter! So look for the change of season in the next video  ha ha!

Long story short; since august I’ve had four colds (unless I’ve lost track!) because moving house (Sept 1st) really took it out of me. The last time I’d moved was six years before, and I sure hope I don’t have to move again any time soon. I’m the type that really likes to unpack ASAP and get most of my living space darn close to perfected before I can start to relax.  That said it still took the better part of seven weeks to get my home house-warming-party-ready. Putting up shelves, racks, rods, mirrors, pictures, and painting each room sure did take a lot of  time/sweat/money.  I admit that I even had to buy some flat packed furniture and assemble it. I wanted more than anything to build the items myself but knew that I certainly didn’t have the time/health/patience to build two bookshelves, a shoe rack bench, a pantry and a bathroom wall cabinet- all whilst living out of boxes. And I’m sure it would have taken me a while!  That said, I am a little bit scarred by the quality and assembling methods used in some of the items mentioned. I can’t even imagine how long each will take to completely fail. Disposable furniture really is depressing when you think about the waste- and know the difference from good quality furniture.

And while on the long story short tack- here it all is- in pictures!

Enjoy!

Packing  for the move was a drawn out process that lasted weeks. This room was at a downright functional stage at the time of this photo, it got to be a survival game by the end.

Packing for the move was a drawn out process that lasted weeks. This room was at a downright functional stage at the time of this photo, it got to be a survival game by the end.

 

Examples of the cabinet, rack and shelves I assembled and put up. The cabinet box I bought at a home reno store, but the doors, hinges and knobs I got from a habitat for humanity store.

Examples of the cabinet, rack and shelves I assembled and put up. The cabinet box I bought at a home reno store, but the doors, hinges and knobs I got from a habitat for humanity store.

This was the view from my backyard a couple of weeks ago when the leaves were at their peak. Now those trees are bare!

This was the view from my backyard a couple of weeks ago when the leaves were at their peak. Now those trees are bare!

Assembling the pantry drawers.

Assembling the pantry drawers. Don’t judge the dishes everywhere- I was probably on cold 2. This room has since been transformed also.

One of the attractive elements to my new place is the direct sunlight filtering in. The door that blocked out all of this beautiful light from the hallway just had to be replaced! The classifieds yielded this nice French door.

One of the attractive elements to my new place is the direct sunlight filtering in. The door that blocked out all of this beautiful light from the hallway just had to be replaced! The classifieds yielded this nice French door.

 

So I learnt how to install a door- and no I didn't get it on the first try. I bought the door with one glass pane missing, so at some point in the near future I will be replacing it to keep out cold drafts. The daylight in the hallway made a HUGE difference. Also note the racks that had to be assembled and/or put up.
So I learnt how to install a door- and no I didn’t get it on the first try. I bought the door with one glass pane missing, so at some point in the near future I will be replacing it to keep out cold drafts. The daylight in the hallway made a HUGE difference. Also note the racks that had to be assembled and/or put up.
Let there be light! You can't really tell because of the backlighting but these bookcases are red. I was impressed with the build quality compared to the pantry because the structural pieces were all made of plywood. All the same I'm not sure how long the finish and hardware will last.

Let there be light! You can’t really tell because of the back-lighting but these bookcases are red. I was impressed with the build quality compared to the pantry because the structural pieces were all made of plywood.

You can see that the daylight in the hallway did not go unnoticed. Also, good help is hard to find.

You can see that the daylight in the hallway did not go unnoticed. Also, good help is hard to find.

Okay so this was the state of my new tool room weeks ago, I admit that it's much better now, but still kind of a designated catch-all room as our closet space is somewhat limited. It's tight at 7' x 11' but I'll take what I can get. The table is now cleared and there are fewer boxes, but I really need to figure out some things in there and it seems to be the last priority. More photos to come of this space.

Okay so this was the state of my new tool room weeks ago, I admit that it’s much better now, but still kind of a designated catch-all room as our closet space is somewhat limited. It’s tight at 7′ x 11′ but I’ll take what I can get. The table is now cleared and there are fewer boxes, but I really need to figure out some things! More photos to come.

This concludes the long story short tale, and cold number four is almost over! Here’s hoping my immune system will get back to it’s old self! One cold per year sounds heavenly about now!

Happy woodworking

Demolition day caught on film… Blair Witch style.

4 Aug

You’re in for a bumpy ride folks. I took my camera along with me as I set to dismantling the rotting camper and my camera man skills leave a lot to be desired. So let’s just say if you found Blair Witch made you motion sick, then you might want to keep a little bag handy as you watch this.

I found a few things pretty funny about this video. Number one was a dog sighting early on- introductions were not made.  Number two was when I demonstrated my method for taking down the walls- the video was not sped up!  Number three happens at about 7:05 listen for it *plink* *thud*. And finally it’s kind of hilarious how by the last scene you can actually hear it in my voice how completely drained I was after a couple of hours of demolition spent in a toasty camper.

So as I mentioned in the last blog post, I’m about 70% done ridding the property of rotten wood. So you can just imagine how much was on the property before! A whole fence line was barricaded with rotting pallets of wood. I had to take as many down as  I could several weeks in a row. There were also several piles of branches from trimming trees over time, and a bit of fire wood too. Here are the pics.

This is probably the 8th time I've set a pile like this out on the curb.

This is probably the 8th time I’ve set a pile like this out on the curb.

These pallets were used to improvise a taller fence.

These pallets were used to improvise a taller fence. Since they’re sitting directly on the ground and have been around for years, they’re a rotten mess.

Behind is a small wrought iron fence that the dogs used to easily jump over in the winter. Now that's not a problem- but the ants are!

Behind is a small wrought iron fence that the dogs used to easily jump over in the winter. Now that’s not a problem- but the ants are!

Looks okay from the outside...

Starting from zero

Starting from zero

Demo time.

Demo time.

This camper wasn't commercially manufactured if you were wondering. It was built by my dad and his friends.

This camper wasn’t commercially manufactured if you were wondering. It was built by my dad and his friends.

I found that I only used my crowbars after my hammer. I couldn't seem to pry from the edges because they were often glued to the studs with construction adhesive.

I found that I only used my crowbars after my hammer. I couldn’t seem to pry from the edges because they were often glued to the studs with construction adhesive.

The wreckage will get curbed before I remove the roof and siding.

The wreckage will get curbed before I remove the roof and siding.

The future looks bright… and clear

1 Aug

So while the dust in my shop has had time to settle, I’ve been making progress in other areas.  As I may have mentioned, I was planning a move sometime soon- well those plans have solidified and  I now know when and where I’m moving to. While I originally had lofty dreams of a new home-shop I tuned into the reality that I wasn’t quite ready to buy a house yet! I also soon realised that most of the apartments that had a one car garage or an unfinished basement were also out of my price range or just located too far from where I wanted to live.

What I did get was an apartment with a small spare room that will be my shop away from my shop. I at least succeeded in swinging some kind of work space! Since it’s an apartment and noise will be a factor I will bring mostly hand tools and perhaps a scroll saw and drill press to this mini shop. Since I still have my real shop I can machine parts on weekends and then refine them at home. I think this will help prevent my projects from dragging on as long as they do. The move will happen in September. One short month away. I plan to post some pics of the room as it takes shape. But first will be a lot of packing, and paint swatches etc..

In other news I summoned all my courage and had Lasik surgery done last week. I was pretty terrified but everything went as planned and my eyes are presently healing up nicely. I can now see 20/20 without glasses through the miracle of science. I feel like a new person. I look forward to getting rid of my prescription safety glasses which btw did not protect my eyes from countless encounters with saw dust.  As a bonus for my woodworking, everything now appears much closer and larger than when I wore glasses- which I can only think will help when cutting to a line.

I visited my shop earlier today. The place fills me both with guilt and contentment. I feel guilty when I think of how seldom I visit it these days, and then there’s just a wave of contentment that fills me when I enter it and am surrounded by the tools of my craft. It’s like a drug. I can’t wait  to have that feeling in my own home- whenever I please. While I don’t plan on getting much woodworking done until I have my new apartment all set up (probably by October) I am working to maintain the grounds my shop lives on. You see there’s a carpenter ant problem in my shop, and while I became aware of it a year or so ago, I wasn’t able to rid the food source before winter fell. So once spring came around I set to ridding the property of rotting wood which is what these ants are drawn to.  Thankfully the garbage men don’t mind hauling this stuff away, so I’ve been curbing it in batches. I’m about 70% done now so I feel like there is an end in sight.  Unfortunately part of this removal operation will include dismantling a camper that is rotting away on the property. I started on that today by taking out countless screws from the siding. Tomorrow I plan to  take a crowbar to the interior . I’ll probably take the camera along as witness. Wish me luck!

Half life- woodworking interrupted

28 Jun

I just realised HOW much I wish I could share details of my work life in aerospace on this blog. It is so interesting- so unique, and a huge part of my woodworking life right now. Alas I’m bound by a contract not to share information online or otherwise. A picture speaks a thousands words- and no pictures from work can grace these posts. How I wish it wasn’t so. One time  after a big presentation in a hangar next to one of our planes, I dared to take a photo of the plane and two people rushed up to me saying I couldn’t disseminate the photo- but I could keep it. I deleted the photo- which was blurry anyway. I feel like a spy or something, I have a secret woodworking life.

When I first started in aerospace I kind of realised that since the materials are SO different from normal woodworking that I was really developing a whole new skill set and perhaps not honing the woodworking skill set I was hoping to. That has proven to be true for the most part. But in recent  days I’ve noticed a change in my overall work practices. So some of the skills are transferable. I’m quicker, have a different concept of precision, I’m more focused than ever, and I’m much better at tackling things I’ve never done before- I can adapt easily. I did something just yesterday that I’m certain I would have struggled to do a year ago- I would have hemmed an hawed over how to clamp my work pieces as I worked on them, I would have spent a lot of time designing my jig and I would have probably scraped a piece somewhere along the way. But no- I owned that jig. It was done well from conception to completion. I felt like a fine tuned machine. I think that’s what I like best about woodworking is that feeling of everything just kind of clicking into place when it could so easily go wrong at every turn. We conquer the chaos of information and variables before us.

Are all woodworkers in some way or another anal? I wonder. I think we are brave- and I’m not even talking about scary machines here- we have to lunge ahead with each next step knowing that the previous step turned out well but now we risk messing it all up. If I’ve learned anything it’s that good woodworkers will generally only make minor mistakes, and will always be able to find a solution. I think it’s better to try and fix mistakes than to start all over again- taking a perfectionist’s route will get you good results but less experience in problem solving.

Anyway I’ve gotten a bit off topic, but I really do wish that I could share more details about where I work and what I do- it pains me. What I can share is that I got yet another lateral promotion. My boss said I earned the spot and commended my work. I can honestly say I’m the happiest I’ve been at my job since starting in aerospace- I’ve built good relationships with the people in my section and I have the job I wanted all along.

That said I haven’t had much time to visit my shop and work on my personal projects. I’ve been unhappy with that situation, and so I’ve kind of only felt half fulfilled. I’m hoping to improve on that during my vacation time, and I’ll be packing up house over the next three- six months and moving somewhere new- with the intent of getting my shop space MUCH closer than a 30 min. drive away. I can’t wait to just pop into the shop at a moment’s notice. What a dream that will be!

 

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