Ok, sorry. I know that bad joke has been used a thousand times, but sometimes you just gotta love something so gloriously ridiculous.
So lately I’ve been increasingly more interested in tool making and these babies are my latest effort. They are a pair of 20 degree skew detail chisels intended for cleaning up dovetails. The blades are O1 tool steal that I ground to shape and heat treated myself. The handles were hand shaped out of some wonderful tiger maple. However, I think a turned handle would also be nice and much faster. This has got me thinking about acquiring a lathe, hah!
It’s a very exciting time in life right now. Our first daughter is due any day now and our life is about to re-center around a very special little girl. In my family, a lot of time gets spent in the kitchen and I think one of great hallmarks of family is gathering around the kitchen table for meals. Up to this point we’ve had a hand me down kitchen table that is an oak monstrosity from the 80’s that we painted to make it a little more contemporary. When we built our house a couple years ago we realized that this 48″ round table really didn’t fit the space well. A longer, rectangular configuration that could possibly seat 6-8 would be much better since we really don’t have a dining room. I’ve also been sitting on a stash of walnut that came from a fallen tree on my grandfather’s farm in 1957 that I think would be the perfect application for this table.
I wanted to go with a trestle style design to again compliment the slightly narrow space and keep an open feel so I came up with the above design and sketched it up in Pro/E. I spent this past weekend rough milling the heavy stock for the trestle ends and made a few templates and full size mock up of one of the sides just to solidify the design. I think the design will still be somewhat fluid as they always are with my stuff.
Coincidentally, my sister is also expecting a couple months after us and while talking to my father a couple of weeks ago, he mentioned that my grandfather, who is 86 years old and has never flown, wants to get on a plane and fly from Arizona to Tennessee this fall to see his two new great grandchildren. I’m hoping to show him my two latest creations, my daughter and our new family table built from his lumber 50 years later.
I’ve been spending some time lately over at Chris Schwarz’s Popular Woodworking Blog and was inspired by a couple things I saw. Much of Chris’s content is centered around the Roubo workbench and in particular the dovetailed tennon that attaches the top to the base. This was the first thing that caught my interest. I knew I wanted to try to incorporate this joint in one of my projects. The other posts that attracted me were the ones dedicated to Megan Fitzpatrick’s LVL workbench. Coincidentally, I had a large piece of a 12 inch LVL beam left over from the construction of our house. I came up with this small hall bench to incorporate the two themes.
I think the edge grain laminations look really cool, but I veneered some walnut on the face surfaces to cover up the ugly pine cathedrals. The LVL was surprisingly easy to work with the saws, jointer, and planer, but cleaning the mortises for the Roubo joint was murder on my chisels. I had to re-hone twice just to finish. Overall the design was rather simple, but I think it turned out well and I got the urge to try this joint out of my system!
The last several weeks I have been working on getting ready for my first local art show which is coming up next weekend. This is an annual event where local artists display and sell there work. I made it a personal goal to be part of this show this year and worked really hard to get here. I’m a little nervous about opening myself up to the public scrutiny, but also about having to stand there all day and interact with people since I’m a bit of a social leper. What can I say, I’m an engineer.
In order to get ready, I had to do some minor touch ups on some completed pieces and print out some write ups about each piece and a price list, so that’s what I’ve been doing most of the day today. A couple weeks ago I spent a few hours and made these two business card holders out of some scrap walnut and spalted maple.
I also decided to make a couple pedestals to elevate my dining chair and end table pieces. These were pretty quick, just MDF and some paint!
So I think I’m as ready as I can be at this point. Hopefully I’ll sell something and have a little more tool money.