Friday, November 26, 2010

Start Woodworking - Dry Assembly - Part 9

Start woodworking by entering a build challenge. One such as the Saw Dust Chronicles Build Challenge and this is Part 9 of playing in a build challenge arena.

When you begin to woodwork, it can get confusing, but as part 9 shows, you do not need many tools to accomplish building a furniture object. We go through attaching our stones, yes to encourage a design option, I went with the stones, and dry assemble the entire base. Personally this approach I decided on has brought me back full circle to where I started woodworking with limted room and tools. Building this project for Rick Waters' Saw Dust Chronicles build challenge has really got me thinking about how woodworking is presented and how limted the internet presentation is.

Enjoy---- sit back and watch the design of our small table come to life.

Part 9 has really got the wheels spinning on another design based off this prototype.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Start Woodworking - Shaping Parts---Part 8

To start woodworking, we've hooked-up with the 2010 Saw Dust Chronicles Build Challenge. The challenge has prizes galore, so what better way to improve your woodworking skills while at the same time picking up a woodworking prize.

The Dewalt router kit has me inticed and my prize of choice but since Tommy MacDonald of the TV show Rough Cut Woodworking with Tommy Mac, has enabled the winner to show his work at the 2011 WoodExpo, thats the real prize. Heck Glen Guarino and Allan Breed are going to be actively disussing woodworking there. One's a traditional craftsman, the other a contemporary builder. Exposure to that combination is rare and worth the price of admissions.

In this episode, we finish up dimensioning parts. We'll take it further and shape our table base parts, going through the building of a fixture using shop scraps and toogle clamps. Touching on that elusive and important router kit, we'll address collets and router bit shank size and discussion why a half inch shank at times is better suited than a 1/4 inch shank router bit. Assembly is next so be ready with that affordable dowel jig, you'll be impressed with what we build with a limited tool box.

A simple workmate bench and a flat surface is all the bench we need.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Begin Woodworking - Milling Wood Parts - Part 7

So how do I look in my Zem Headphones by Sensgard. I can't hear you!!!

Actually we'll need hearing protection as we take to the table saw and I show you an approach to squaring lumber with our limited amount of tools available in the shop. Remember we are using (according to Part 1) Table saw, Sabre Saw, electric hand drill, chisels, dowel jig, block plane, workmate bench, sharpening equipment, router kit, and not much more. You don't need a shop full of tools to produce beautiful piece of furniture.

In Part 7 we dive into milling with the table saw, showing you just one of 3 approaches to milling with limited tools. After milling we go through the process of gluing up the top. Watch as we get a real good figured walnut surface for the top.

The Sawdust Chronicles Build Challenge is almost over and we have to be ready for the rest of the Sawdust competition. There's got to be a prize in this for me somewhere. Well I'm a judge and not eligible for an award. Oh well, the reward is seeing the craft grow. I can't wait to see who shows up to represent the Sawdust Challenge in Boston at the 2011 WoodExpo.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beginning Woodworking: Laying out Parts -- Part 6

Come on in woodworkers, there is a nice surprise for the entrants of the Sawdust Chronicles Build Challenge. Thanks to TV personality Tommy MacDonald of Rough Cut Woodworking with Tommy Mac somebody gets a nice opportunity.
In part 6 we build on our sketching skills to help visualize our parts layout. We emphasize the use of a work bench and create a simple, but necessary work surface. You'll learn to read a board and bring in and use the sabre saw. We'll stress safety from a different part of your shops work flow, and see how rethinking an approach is crucial to an objects design.
We end with our parts rough cut from our walnut stock ready for the table saw.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Beginning Woodworker Part 5 - Sketch and Drawing

Click to Play
Here we are at Part 5 of the Beginning Woodworker and competing in the Sawdust Chronicles Build Challenge.

We take to the Design process, stress the importance of sketching and discuss to bring; the manufacturing process and full scale drawing together.

The fact that most thinking should take place before machining is discussed.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Beginning Woodworking-Part 4 Sawdust Challenge 2010

Part 4 of the Beginning Woodworker takes us to the place where woodworking prizes can be won, the third Sawdust Chronicles Build Challenge. The start date is September 1st ending with a submission date of Oct 31, 2010. Sponsors of the challenge include Rockler, General Finishes, Kreg Tools, Dewalt, Popular Woodworking, Michael Dugan, a 1 year subscrition to British Woodworking magazine and much more. Its not to late to sign-up, cut off date is September 15th. This episode takes us into the constraints of the build challenge and makes you aware of 2 furniture designer's who's work we can draw inspiration from Gerrit Rietveld and Alan Peters. Take a look and come for a ride into a beginners look into an internet build challenge, created by Rick Waters of the Sawdust Chronicles.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

an odd Furniture Finishing reminder

Last week I read were Jennifer Convertibles had filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. When you've been around the industry, seeing a furniture company restructure is not uncommon. But Jennifer Convertibles hit a bit closer to home.

It was roughly 20 years ago when managing a custom shop, that I made a decision to change direction and sell the shop to Designers and Sales Reps by emphasing the finishing capabilities of the shop. When I saw that Jennifer Convertibles had financial issues, the "silver cloud finish" floated over head.

The "silver cloud" was one of the finishes created by Bob D. at a time when the shop needed a win. It was used on a Wall Unit, in the home of a head honcho at the time of Jennifer Convertibles.

Having just arrived in this shop and understanding how people hate change, a different direction was going to be hard for the floor to digest. This was compounded by bringing in the best cabinetmaker to this day I have even seen as foreman. Adding more to an already unsettled shop floor.

It didn't take long before Paul C. won over the floor as foreman. I knew he could do it. While in Grad School, Paul was Foreman at a Custom Shop where on my off-school days, he would have me cut to keep the benches working and assemble when needed. To this day I am greatful for how he handled me.

So now lets bring in Brenda K. Brenda was at the time just starting to get high profile "neighborhood" jobs. She wasn't just a decorator, she was an Interior Designer. Brenda took the job from a framed space to a finished room. Not unusual, but Brenda had exceptional vision, good room communication skills, poor furniture design skills. The only thing I could say was, "do I have the shop for you".

We worked through the design of a 15 to 18 foot, floor to ceiling wall unit, complete with wet bar, projection screen, doors sliding on construction pocket door hardware, pullout pier cabinet storage, wire chases, speakers, amps, glass, wall dimmed high-hats, the whole nine. The unit was magnificent all finished up in the shop's custom "Silver Cloud" finish.

The decision was to install this one with a team of 3 and as the cabinetmaker's, along with an electrician to wire the unit and plumber for the wet bar, we were the last to install. Mr. and Mrs. Jennifer Convertibles were expectantly on the anxious side. The install went without a hitch even with working on top of custom inaly carpeting and just as if it were yesterday, when tip time came and the moneyroll of a happy customer came my way, I remember calling Paul over and having Mr Jennifer Convertibles make Paul the focus of the shop's work. As happy cabinetmakers we all headed out when I got a holler to come back, wondering now what, I was greeted with a personal business card, a personal thank you, followed by "call me". 30 years and counting, that was the biggest tip I ever got.

Sorry to see the financial stress that Jennifer Convertibles is going through, but I preferr other memories of this company and its early management.

Monday, July 26, 2010

a Rough Cut--- Woodworking story

Thursday- July 22, 2010: I left the Island but the call came Tuesday evening.

I knew I was in trouble when I asked what I needed to wear and the answer was a tu-tu, one like Magilla’s.

I’m the lesser half of a caregiver team so a few of my responsibilities had to be addressed before I could take off. With that done, I was good to go. As I told David Pruett of the Folding Rule blog, you have to be very nibble when “the call comes”.

But what phone call and from where……….????

That next morning Wednesday July 21st, I cleared up my phone calls, e-mails, did a quick visit, jumped ahead to a glue-up that could stand for a while, and at 6:30 pm went flying out to purchase some nice T-shirts. I was told to get a few different colors. Knowing darker colors suits me best, that’s what I went for. A Furnitology-T was not in the mix.

While all this motion and thinking was going on, a photo essay came to mind so extra batteries were needed. Since I live on an island, I needed ferry reservations so I took care of that.

I was set to go.

As I tidied up to leave Thursday morning, the phone rang. It was one of the young guns of woodworking who I will always make time for Justin DiPalma. We’ve traveled a few times to Boston together and he’s on the WoodExpo planning group:

“Hey……what’s up!!! Typical Justin….. “Nothing”

After a few laughs, you coax out what he has cook’in. He’s all excited about having met a guy who has access to backroom area’s where furniture sits; waiting to be re-visited. As part of the approval process, he needed to present his work, which not surprising, was received well. Justin is self taught, very talented, and quietly going about finding his place in woodworking. He knows the importance of the inspirational access he’s worked to put himself in. Justin won’t say that, but you can hear the excitement in his voice.

Now between hearing about Justin and his backroom coup and being already excited about my adventure, I’m was ready to fly Peter Pan style to my destination.

I loaded up my van and headed to the ferry terminal. Oddly enough my ride had me thinking of Rick Water’s of the Saw Dust Chronicles, his Fall challenge is coming up and he had the honor of riding the rear wheel well on our trip to a SAFM meeting in Connecticut. Without a complaint I might add.

The van loads onto the ferry with the other commerce, funny that I was headed to Boston (oops) and I’m riding with an empty Downes and Reader truck who had just dropped off 8000 bd ft of white oak in Calverton, Long Island. Woodworking on an island is different than working wood on mainland USA. Moving materials is expensive and we have no selection of hardwood, so you learn to travel off Island to select your own hardwood or for economic reasons you move to veneer and get to be good friends with Mike, the UPS driver.

My ferry ride was thoughtful as I tossed around the idea of an essay on the navigational hazards
of woodworking on Long Island. But settled on a more generic woodworking topic that wonders where this current generation of woodworker is going. The laptop got a workout for a while but Thursday (July 22, 2010), the Northeast weather was a 10.5 so I leaned on the port rail
and took in a cool summer breeze as we fetched the waterfront entrance of New London, Connecticut.

I know now why I’m a bad blogger; with this photo, my photo essay ends. But my trip to New England isn’t even half over. After exiting the ferry and getting on I95, I was all business as I headed to Tommy MacDonald’s shop. Others can do it, but I find my focus is such that, taking another photo on this trip never entered my mind.

Sorry………but its verbiage from here.

The call I received late Tuesday evening was from Tommy MacDonald and he asked me to be on his next episode of Rough Cut Woodworking with Tommy Mac to be shot Friday morning July 23rd. The episode has to do with a desk Tommy has had his eye on for a while in the John Adams house and the veneer work involved.

So I was on my way………….wouldn’t you be too.

I’ve been at woodworking long enough that I only need to hear a furniture topic, put it into a time line and I’m golden. In this particular case I could have taken a bellflower back to Fra Giovanni and stringing to wall paper prints by Lucienne Day.

I reached Tommy’s shop after a slight mistake of thinking I was in Canton when really in Sharon, Mass, but as I learned from Justin on earlier trips, if you don’t stop moving, you’re never lost……….he was right again.

Eli greeted me at the door and it was like we saw each other just yesterday, Eli is another young gun who is quietly making his way with a twist. A cool twist I might add. His woodworking/furniture design story in 30 years should be a great one. It’s leaning toward that special side already. He’s the main thrust of the 2011 WoodExpo having played a more pivotal roll in 2010. He’s also plays a very important roll in Tommy’s TV production.

On entering the shop we had a bunch of laughs, but I’m aware I’m hindering preparation so I take off with my blue spiral note/sketch pad to Pete’s Place in Canton for a couple unsweetened ice tea’s and stir the noggin a bit for tomorrows (Friday-July23rd) shoot. I saw the veneer work was a V match and it reminded me of Giuseppe Maggiolini and since the episode would star the desk in the John Adams house, the Kings Desk of Louis XVI by Riesener came to mind, I was in Pete’s Place but really in my own furniture fun. I took notes so I had reminders.

I left Pete’s and went back to the shop hung out for just a while longer, then split to get some rest. Plus prepping was still underway and I didn’t want to interfere.

Friday morning came fast and before long, I was back in Tommy’s shop and was greeted with a huge smile from Al. Tommy and Al have a very special friendship and their banter is fun to be around. As the WGBH production crew began to show up, I remembered Laurie and Anne from last years WoodExpo, Dave Masher from way back in the T-Mac journey and met Dino the cameraman. That was the slowest the day would be……….OH I almost forgot, I went to make-up too.

From 8am to 7pm it was non-stop as Laurie would say…”ACTION”. Tommy is really disciplined about shooting each sequence of shots. I noticed Tommy and Laurie communicate in a unique fashion, much of it is in tonal expression. Dino is amazing at remembering the last shot, the hand positions and out from the back room where Anne watches and types dialog, will question terminology and remembers that a term used at 10am is the same term used at 5pm. Steve Brown from NBSS is the technical advisor and Laurie will check machine set-up and safety until it is exhausted and she is happy. In between all this production talk, Eli is either at stand still or 100 mph. Laurie is the producer of the show and reminds me of an Interior Designer. She has the ability to visualize the sequence of construction in her head and the savy to present it to the client or viewer in this case. It was powerful as I watched the show be shot. Laurie sets the pace, Tommy works to get it for her, Anne keeps Tommy on topic, Dino moves between close-up, wide and numerous angles and it works. You can feel the wavering emotions of the room.

Sorry there are no pictures, but I was working.

As for my job, I never got the chance to mention Fra Giovanni, but he didn’t fit. On returning to my motel Friday evening, I was exhausted. I feel asleep for about 2 hours, then couldn’t sleep as I rehashed what I said, what I should have said, questioned if my performance provided material, and did I do what was needed. During shooting, Tommy told me to relax, think of it as a podcast, but that’s easy to say and hard to do.

I left real early Saturday morning to catch the ferry back home. I didn’t get to see Tommy and Eli before I left, they had an 8am production meeting……they shoot again Monday July 26th.

As I think about my day in the life of Rough Cut Woodworking with Tommy Mac, I’m so glad I took the time to peel back the many layers of a very talented, big hearted guy. Tommy MacDonald had a vision very early on that only a small number of internet woodworkers understood. I’m very appreciative to witness it come to fruition. And now to be a part of its early history is a wonderful feeling.

Thanks for the book Eli and Thanks again Tommy!!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beginning Woodworking Part 3 - Finishing DVD Critique

Adding to the beginning woodworker series, here's part 3.

I critique a new finishing DVD produced by Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Have a listen and begin to think about finishing as a seperate skill. A skill ; needed to be a successful woodworker.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Begin Woodworking - Part 2 Sharpening

If you are going to begin woodworking, you'll need to have the ability to sharpen your tools. New chisels and planes do not come ready to use out of the box. Part 2 of Begin Woodworking, gets you started into sharpening. Water stones cut faster than oil, and between the diamond stone, and 2 Norton water stones I show you, sharpening is just an edge away. Jump in and if you have any questions contact me at Life is fun when you can make stuff, especially out of wood.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Get Started with Woodworking - Part 1

With the Fall Building Challenges just around the corner. The beginning woodworker should be taking advantage of the sponsors schwag. With minimal tools to get started and the right designs, getting involved in a wonderful craft is easy and more imposrtantly, rewarding. This is part 1 of an series that will introduce the new woodworker to getting started in the craft. 3/4" - Surfaced 2 Sides(S2S) material is all you need and the proper aproach to create the most aesthetically pleasing object out of your material. Come along for the ride and maybe you too will add woodworking to your personal resume.
Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Justin DiPalma: Growth of a Craftsman - 2010 WoodExpo -Boston, MA

David Pruett of the Folding Rule Blog, shot this interview with Justin DiPalma. Having met Justin three years ago during a road trip to Tommy MacDonald's shop, I recognized his approach to working wood as one that leads to superior growth. I decided at the time that I would follow Justin's work.

Since we first saw Justin at the 2008 Wheaton Arts and Craft Fair, he has returned to the Wheaton Show, exhibited in a local Gallery during the 2009 Thanksgiving to New Years Holiday season and now has produced a new piece for Tommy MacDonalds WoodExpo held at the New England Home Show.

You will also see the slant top desk Justin showed at the 2009 Wheaton Show.

Enjoy and see the growth in a Craftsman.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kaleo Kala at the Architectural Digest Home Show

Click to Play
Enjoy this video as Kaleo Kala takes you on a personal tour of his booth at the 2010 Architecturl Digest New York Home Show. Having followed Kaleo's woodworking through the internet as many of you have, I felt it a great opportunity to met Kaleo and give him the opportunity to show us his work in a professional environment.
Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Furnitology Stuff

In this episode we'll play a bit of catch-up, tying previous episodes together and what's coming up. We'll mention the new DVD from Major League Woodworking, woodworking places I've been the past few months, and where you can find me on the web to learn a differnet view of woodworking.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Why Woodwork

So George a very good friend of mine decided that during this holiday season, we would build a toy together for a charity organization. At the same time, I would be fulfilling a requirement for being a judge in the Saw Dust Chronicle 60 Day Challenge, arrange by Rick Waters.

The "Red Baron Flier" was the toy of choice. George who I don't see nearly enough is a very curious bloke. He dove right in with no complaints about the 13 hour first flite to building the fleet, and even insisted we start earlier then I wanted the next day. Together we got 90% completed in 2 days, attaching the tail section and finishing was my chore. In those 2 days of building, I had forgotten how much George and I laugh together, we are polar opposites that click. Seeing him get excited while machining a part and how proud he was of each assembly was just simply fun to watch.

George arranged for a Dec. 23rd delivery of our Fleet to the Pediatric Wing at Stony Brook University Medical Hospital. A difficult but at the same time, wonderful experience. That's all George. I love to laugh but I found myself hesitant at times.

Here's a picture of Grace and her Mom..........George asked why couldn't Grace aspire to be Amelia Earhart.

One reason Why we Woodwork!!!!

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