Monday, January 30, 2023

Rustic made-from-a-pallet with hand tools box.

My rustic made-from-a-pallet with hand tools box is nearly complete but for just a bit more whittling on the hinges some sanding, and final assembly. I angled the lids to give a hint as to where your hands engage to open the box.

Make, fix and create... Don't forget to have fun with it.,

rough work

This morning I've continued working on the box made from a pallet. I've made rough wooden hinges, and  unlike the rest of the pallet, I've identified the wood as being a hardwood, excellent for crafting wooden hinges. Both the color of the wood, and the scent that comes from it as I saw and whittle suggest strongly that it's birch. 

In keeping with the character of the rest of the box, the hinges are rough work... not necessarily unsophisticated in the way they're made, but purposely left rough. 

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

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.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Hidden spline joints


This video featured in the FineWoodworking weekly newsletter can be found on the Fine Woodworking website through this link or on my youtube channel at youtube/MrDougStowe

Make, fix and create...

Monday, January 09, 2023

a prescription for what ails us.

Temple Grandin laid out a case for hands on learning in this article in the New York Times. If you've not read my book, The Wisdom of Our Hands: Crafting, A Life, I hope you will do so.

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

Sunday, January 08, 2023

a pleasant start

Lee Valley, one of my favorite woodworking suppliers, has a kit for getting started in whittling. The kit includes a Frost sloyd knife, protective carving gloves, two flex cut gouges, other miscellaneous supplies, and two roughed out carving blanks along with instructions. What a satisfying way to pass a few hours and to have something to show for it!

Make, fix and create. Assist others in learning likewise

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

practice boxes

These are practice bandsawn boxes made in preparing for a chapter in my new book about designing boxes. Design is serious work that, at best, captures a spirit of play and playfulness. Seriousness and play go hand in hand... especially as I attempt to write about design. The boxes are made from basswood and the lids have been dyed with black leather dye.

Today I start working on a larger version in walnut.

I've placed a couple calls to my local US representative in hopes of persuading him to elect a moderate as speaker of the house. He and other Republicans are unlikely to do so. But it would be good for a few Republicans to propose a less inflammatory conservative that even a few Democrats might support. But making boxes will be a much better use of my day than holding my breath.

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

Monday, January 02, 2023

Jögge Sundqvist


Jögge Sundqvist, author, teacher and master of sloyd sent me a booklet, "Surolle," of a poem about sloyd, and its relationship to life. Last summer when I taught a class at ESSA on making spoon carving knives, one of my students, Bob Farris was planning to take a class with Jögge at Marc Adams School. 

I asked if Bob would give one of my spoon knives to Jögge and he did. The booklet is Jögge's gift in return. I'll treasure it. The spoon knife that I sent will I hope find use. The world of sloyd is a small one. And it is my hope that it grows enormously.

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