Monday, October 27, 2008

Project with the Kids - Nesting Boxes

My two younger daughters, ages 7 and 4, are always interested in working with me in the shop. I thought it might be fun to make a couple of birdhouses with them. After looking around on the internet a little bit to learn what size and style to go with, I settled on a style called nesting boxes. From what I understand, a nesting box is design more for the actual birds needs rather than going with a traditional “house” type design that is typically made.
Click here for one of the websites I used in putting this project together.

Once I got my ideas all together, I started working on cutting the pieces needed to make a couple of nesting boxes. Having quite a bit of that baltic birch ply still available, that is what I used. I also figured the girls would want to paint the nesting boxes when they were done, so I wasn’t overly concerned on the longevity of the ply.

After I had all the pieces cut, I laid out and drilled the nail holes and the bird entrance. Considering that I got the wood for free and already had the nails, I really didn’t want to have to go out and by hinges for this project. I decided that it could be cool, and much more LumberJock like to have a French Cleat system to hold the house to the backing board. Then it was time to introduce the girls!

I had already walked myself through the assembly order, so it went fairly smoothly getting the girls to follow along. We attached the sides to the bottom and the houses side of the French Cleat. Then using the house as a guide, the girls attached the mating cleat to the backing board. The top was added next followed by the front.

The two bird nesting boxes I made with my daughters

A view of the French Cleat system used to access the nesting box for cleaning

The girls both seemed really happy with their houses. Now it’s time to paint and put them in the wild!

Here’s Violet holding her nesting box.

And Lila with her's.

Here are the two girls together.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dungeon Happenings

I know that based on the numbers of posts rolling through this blog lately you would be hard pressed to think anything was happening at all in my little dungeon of a workshop... and you'd actually be wrong!

I actually do have a few projects in the works!

~ I have a couple of pens that I need to get finished. They really should have been done a long time ago, but sadly they kept getting stuck on the backburner.

~ I have another set of Adirondack chairs to do. This set is going to be painted white. They are for one of the girls at work that has already purchased two others. She also wants a couple more foot rests to go with them. The foot rests aren't quite as far along as the chairs though...

~ I have another small table in the works also. Similar in size to the table I made for my daughter, this one is being made with some oak that once was a hand rail in a local college.

~ I also have that dresser from oh so long ago that I would like to make some progress on. In a way, I'm actually glad that project got halted. I've found a few ways to overcome some perceived obstacles in that project that I feel fairly confident in tackling now.

So if I can stay focused and busy, I might actually have some interesting posts coming up soon. It would be nice to end the year with a barrage of completed projects and postings!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Prototypes - Scallops

I have seen other penmakers use this scallop techinique and thought I would give it a try. To start out I wanted to get an idea of what size I need to use initially to know what to expect when the blank is turned down. So far I like how everything is looking. I want to try incorporating this and a couple other segmenting techniques I used to come up with something a little crazier than I’ve done previously.

I’ve got several long weekends coming up so hopefully I should have some time to play around in the shop.

Monday, September 29, 2008

PTA Sandwich Board

The other day my wife brought home the PTA's (Parent / Teacher Association) sandwich board and asked me if I could fix it up. This sorry excuse for a woodworking project consisted of two 36"x48" pieces of 1/2" ply connected via a couple of hinges and small chains.

I decided that if I'm going to work on this, I'm going to do it up right!

I built a new frame using some baltic birch plywood that I've had lying around. The top and bottom supports have rabbets cut into them to support the new removable 1/4" ply pieces that will hold the sandwich board content. I did re-use the hinges and chains from the original board.

The new board, while stable, is lighter and much more manageable than the original.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A New Door has been Discovered!

Apparently my daughters have been so nice to the fairies that moved in, the fairies have invited their friends to move in as well!

A new door has been discovered. And a note has been left at the first door that reads:“Thank you for the gift. You have been so nice to us, we have invited our friends to move in as well.”

Apparently the fairies in the new fairy door prefer a room with a view as this door is located a few steps up from the original.

It looks like this door is constructed of Jatoba with a Cherry frame and finished with Boiled Linseed Oil.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pine Adirondack - Natural

I finished the latest project by the requested due date.

It was a nice reminder of why I hate due dates! As I rolled into bed at 3:00am needing to be up at 7:30am to head out to the real job, I was wondering what I was thinking of by doing this!

I am glad that the new owner didn't want me to paint this set of chairs. I would have had to tell her no. There was no way I'd get those done in the short amount of time she was looking for.

but staying positive... I've got a little more cash that I can set aside for Christmas time!

Here's a shot of one of the new chairs:

I am really happy with how they came out. I've discovered a couple of ways to make cleaner and more repeatable cuts on a couple of the angled pieces. Time to get back to work...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Adirondacks Revisited

Three people at "the real job" have requested a set of Adirondack chairs. I'd also like a couple more for my own yard. To get everything ready,I've been working through a pile of rough pine my brother-in-law had given me. One set of chairs need to be done by Friday. Thankfully the person that wants these doesn't want me to finish/paint them. That is going to save me some time, and quite frankly if she had wanted them painted they would not be done in time. I do need to add little cup holder divets to the arms rests, but that shouldn't take to long.

This set of chairs is coming along well. I just finished putting the chair base together. Tomorrow night I'll work on getting the backs put together and attached them to the base.

One of the sets of chairs I made a while back had an unfortunate encounter with a puppy that liked to chew things. I'm going to make a replacement set of arms because it drives me crazy knowing that my chairs look ugly! I've seen them too, that dang dog did a heck of a job.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A Fairy Door

My two younger daughters are completely fascinated with fairies right now. All they seem to be talking about lately is fairies. My seven year old told me earlier today all about how she and her neighborhood friends built a little fairy house in the back yard under a bush.

Apparently the fairy didn’t want to sleep outside with the bugs and decided to set up a little condo in our hallway.

I have to admit that I do like the fairies selection of wood. It looks like the door is made of walnut and the frame is white oak. I also get the faintest smell of BLO as I walk through the hallway now!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bed Side Table

This past April, our oldest daughter wanted us to upgrade our cell phone plan to include unlimited texting. It's not the most exciting gift in my opinion, but if that's what she wants that's what she gets.

I'm always looking for the next project opportunity, so I decided that I would also work on a small bed side table for her as well. I kept the design quite simple and clean. I used lumber a friend had given me. My friend had recovered the lumber from the landfill after a local flooring company had dropped off their "scraps". These scraps of Brazilian Cherry (also known as Jatoba) are all two inch wide one inch thick and eight feet long! Plenty good enough to complete my project.
I had considered attaching the table aprons to the legs in the same method as the bistro table, but instead decided to try mortise and tennon joinery. I think my first attempt with mortise and tennon joints went pretty well, the table does feel pretty solid.

Another first time technique used in this table are the tapered legs. I'm very happy I decided to taper the legs as it really removed some of the visual weight the table had initially. I completed the table by sanding it down to 400 grit and applying BLO (Boiled Linseed Oil) and paste wax. Considering a fourteen year old would be in possession of the table, I wanted to have a finish that could easily be updated. So far it seems to be holding up pretty well.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Glimpse into the Future

I've started working on a new segmented pen. There isn't much to look at right now, but I can give you an idea of what it will look like.

Prior to finishing my last segmented pen, I cut several hundred segments with 22.5 degree angles to create a few more pens with eight segment layers. Having these pieces of Maple, Walnut and Jatoba, I thought it would be a nice way to get a good visual of what some different designs could be. Kind of like a rough sketch in 3-D.

I didn’t want to get into gluing anything and commit myself to a design I didn’t fully like, so I carefully stacked my segments and let gravity hold everything together for me. I figured this method would let me quickly see, physically, what I thought I was seeing in my head. It would also be much less time intensive than gluing a full blank together to flesh out the complete idea. Each design I have put together is the full size of a Jr. Gent II cap.

After stacking a design and taking a couple pictures from different angles I took apart what I had done and designed another. It was after I had six or eight of these designs that I thought I would put together a blog series to show how these segmented pens would look from design to completed pen.

A couple of the designs I’ve come up with include all three species that I had prepped. This design I'm working on now is one I’ve been thinking about for a while. With the light color of the Maple separating the Walnut and Jatoba diamond patterns; it reminds me of an argyle sock.

Currently I have the first of three glue-up phases completed.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Segmented Rollerball

One of the girls I work with asked me to make a pen for her that she could give to her husband for his birthday this weekend. The wood is jatoba and maple. The kit is a black titanium jr gent ii rollerball (from Craft Supplies USA). I used a CA/BLO finish. There are 200+ pieces used in this pen.

I’m pretty happy with how this pen came out. There are a few details I’d like to improve though…

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Segmented Cigar Pen

I finished this pen last night. It's the second one I'm donating to my daughter's school for a fundraiser. I'm pretty happy with how this style came out. I was a little afraid that it might be boring with only two different types of wood (jatoba and maple), but I think it does work.

The cigar style pen seems to work well for the segmentation as well. I'm a little disappointed it's being given away!

This pen has over 200 individual pieces used in the segmenting.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Segmented Fountain Pen

One of my wife’s friends asked me if I would make a pen for her to give to her husband for his birthday. I took the opportunity of “no restrictions” to work with the Jr Gent II kit from Craft Supplies USA. I really like the look of this kit (it’s the black titanium finish)

there are 234 +/- pieces of maple, walnut and jatoba used in this pen and I’ve been working on it for the past few days (after work, well into the night!)

I’m pretty happy with the results.
Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Bowl Practice

I turned a new bowl the other night. I'm looking to practice a little. I'd like to create a segmented bowl soon and thought it might be a good idea to practice on a solid piece first.

I used a piece of yellowheart (2"x6"x6") and sanded up to 600 grit sandpaper.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Segmented Double Knot

Here's the latest pen. This is a Sapele Cigar pen with a segmented celtic double knot made of Maple and Cherry.
There are 32 pieces in the segmented knot - 16 Maple and 16 Cherry. The picture below shows better detail of the knot, but the picture above best shows the true colors of the pen.

This pen is going to be donated to my daughter's school for an upcoming fundraiser.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Completed Segmented Twist

Here's the end result:

I'm hoping it grows on me, but right now... I really don't care for it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Segmented Twist Fountain Pen

ok, time to reveal the teaser from the other day.

What I've been working on is a new segmented pen. This pen incorporates 234 individual pieces. Correct that, it should incorporate 234 individual pieces.

When trying to complete the second half of the pen, bits went flying all through the workshop... I wasn't to pleased about it, but what can you do. it happens.

here's what I've got:

here's the pen with what's left of the cap:

and just a shot of the cap itself:
the woods are maple, jatoba and walnut.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Pushing for Tuesday

The next Woodturner's Group meeting is coming up on Tuesday. At our last meeting, one of the guys did a demonstration for us on how he constructed his segmented bowls. I'm working on a project that incorporates those methods and I'd like to be able to bring it with me on Tuesday.

I'm pretty sure I have all of the components I need, it's just the detail work in putting it all together. And yes, this is a big tease, as I'm not going to show you anything yet...