Sunday, January 29, 2023

back on the wheel again.

When I gave up doing pottery in about 1976 to launch my career as a woodworker, I  felt that the clay was in my bones and in my hands to the degree that I could pick it up again.  It was to be "like riding a bike." Today, after 40 some years I tested my theory in the clay studio at ESSA. 

I was rusty. I had a few failures as one would expect, but I managed to "throw" a few bowls. The photo shows one. It will be interesting to see how they turn out after trimming and firing. It was fun. Centering the clay is a process of centering the mind as well, and when the mind wanders, the clay wanders also. I don't have the skill for this that I once had, but in my test of the theory of it, my bowls offer testimony of sorts.

I thank ESSA and my teacher Jessica for the opportunity.

Make, fix and create... assist others in learning lifewise.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

a box from a pallet

We received a wooden pallet holding 450 pounds of tile for a bathroom renovation, but then I was left wondering what to do with the pallet that all the tile had been loaded on. The answer of course was simple. Free Wood! Due to the crate being made originally from green lumber, the nails were clinched too tight in the wood to be easily removed, so with the exception of two boards that I was able to pry loose, I used a skill saw to cut the rest free. Having decided to make the box entirely with hand tools, I hand planed the wood and then cut the joints using a dozuki saw and chisel. Today I plan to add a base and lid.

I chose to leave the materials only partly planed to provide a more rustic result. For joints, I chose a simple hand-cut oversized finger joint. I may choose to strengthen the joints with authentic cut nails.

There's a reason that pallets can be gotten free. They are made from very low grade, very cheap wood, and they are often severely abused. So even as lumber prices climb, pallet lumber will remain cheap and free but for the amount of time you must spend making it ready for use. And then because the wood is low grade, the results of your labor may not match your hopes and dreams. That does not deter one from having fun with it.

Be on the lookout for pallets that are relatively clean and made of soft woods like pine that will be easier to plane and work with hand tools.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning lifewise.

Friday, January 27, 2023

revolutionary power

This article from the New York Times tells of the revolutionary power of crafting beautiful and useful things. The Revolutionary Power of a Skein of Yarn.

Make, fix and create... Assist others in learning lifewise.

Monday, January 23, 2023

New benches at ESSA

We completed two new woodshop benches in the machine room at ESSA with the addition of butcher block tops and bottom shelves made from the tops of old benches. The old benches were one's I'd built out of scrap materialback in the days when we were concerned about having enough money to finish the project. These will serve well for many years in the ESSA wood shop.

Make, fix and create...

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Giant Froebel Blocks

Play with Giant Froebel blocks at the Clear Spring School

Make, fix and create... Assist others in learning lifewise.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Hinge mortising jig...

Fine Woodworking has offered my article about mortising hinges on their website at this link.

Make, fix and create... 

Friday, January 13, 2023

new counter tops

At ESSA we're replacing old woodshop countertops with hardwood butcher block. The old ones were from scrap left over from construction, so this improvement has been long awaited.

In the background is a new wheeled base for a countertop that I've replaced completely from frame up.

Make, fix and create... Assist others in learning lifewise.