Been away, hope to be back

I lost my mom about a year and half ago, my dad before that, and while I sort of soldiered on doing many things I enjoyed prior to her passing, about a year ago I just stepped away from woodworking, blogging and basically all my old hobbies. But today I went to my local woodworking school’s open house and hope to be back blogging again, first with a report from the open house and then with either class reports or projects.

I ordered some plane making floats from LN, and a while ago got a big slab of beech from Matt Bickford (which had too many imperfections for his incredible planes, but which are great stock for work-a-day home made planes), so that might be a future project. I also spent a good deal of time watching the turning demonstrations.

Woodworking Resolutions, 2012

It’s 2012 and I’m sure most people have their New Year’s resolutions.  I’d like to put my woodworking ones down on ‘paper’ so that I can look back and see if I kept on track and accomplished some of my goals.  But first I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my work schedule has changed recently and so I have seen precious little time in the work shop.  To get a release out, I’ve been working closer to the hours of the home office, which is in California.  So a late start and a late finish.  I tended to do work in the evenings after work.

-build a Nicolson-style English bench.  My bench predicament has become untenable and really cuts down on the fun factor as I find some new fangled way to do something that ought to be fairly simple.

-build a treadle or spring pole lathe.  I am leaning towards a treadle lathe.  This might be a bit much for me this year, we’ll see.

-build a bathroom cabinet for my house.  I’ll have to research this one as I’d like to build something that might be somewhat ‘period correct’.  My house was built in 1850 and is a folk Greek Revival.  ‘Folk’ in that it has the forward facing gable, pediment, and low-pitched roof, but any other typical period embellishments–columns, pilasters, statues of Athena (kidding)–are not present, or were removed.  Well except for some remnant pilasters on either side of the door.  Also I decided to paint it with more ‘tropical’ colors, or at least closer to Victorian.  The front-door overhang seems to be Victorian as well, with the acorns and scroll work.  I’ll probably paint the cabinet white, but maybe add some window lights and possibly try to find a local glass blower to make the old style blown glass windows.  “I’ll take a plate glass, no I want leaded glass.  No, I want blown glass with the pontil mark…”.  You’ll get some OSB and like it!

-build at least one re-creation of a piece of fine furniture, maybe the joined stool when that book comes out.

-enter the TDPRI telecaster build contest again, though this time I’m thinking I’ll do as much hand-work as possible.  I might need to sneak in some bandsaw time, but everything else can be done with my assortment of hand tools.  Well and my soldering iron.

-remove all plastic-esque handles from my chisels and replace them with some nice, turned handles.  Or perhaps some octagonal handles so they don’t roll off the bench.  I’d consider using some of my red oak stash but those would probably turn into pretzel handles.  Maybe some ash from the bench build.

-turn some natural edged bowls.  My first attempt already started cracking.  It was looking pretty cool though.  Turned red oak isn’t as hideous as people think.

-improve my spindle turning, which I’ve been working on since my class.

-complete my Christmas gifts before Christmas this year (!).  And don’t glue the pen blank to the mandrel.

-tune up my wood bench planes so they work.  Some will need some mouth tightening, some need something else, I’m not sure what.  Glad I don’t have to do this for a living, I’d be starving.

-organize my shop (completing a few projects would help, like the tool chest)

-take a class or two from a world renowned teacher.  Or that Schwarz fellow.

-survive the Mayan apocalypse.  Maybe go down Dec 20th and kick Kulkulkan in the kulkulknutz.

What are your woodworking resolutions?

Welcome to Joecrafted

Hi, my name’s Joe and I’m a wood addict.  This is a brief introduction to my newest venture, a blog chronicling my adventures in woodworking.

By profession I am a software engineer.  So I am well versed in creating items from nothing but basic building blocks of 0s and 1s.  Playing guitar is a passion of mine and many of my woodworking projects involve creating guitars, but I also enjoy furniture building and hope to learn more about wood carving.

I’d like to thank Christopher Schwarz for his recent book “The Anarchist’s Toolchest” which prompted me to start this blog–partially as means to share my interest in woodworking, but also as a way to preserve it.  My home state of Connecticut is debating whether to cut state support of our technical high schools and transfer the funding burden to local communities.  These are the schools that still teach trades such as carpentry, plumbing, hairdressing, and auto mechanics.  I took shop in middle school, with large devices that could snap your finger in half (metal brakes), and sharp items that could cut your femoral artery in a nano-second, but children today don’t have that opportunity.  Taking shop class, not necessarily the snapping or cutting, though the shop teacher drummed the specter of such an injury into our heads, and so we gained a healthy respect for tools.  So far I have all of my digits intact.

I started my professional life not in software, but rather in archaeology, the study of humans via their material culture.  I’ve always been fascinated by the tools we wield and the things we make with those tools and somehow working with wood with hand tools connects me with that past.  I recall taking a Art and Anthropology class at the University of CT where we examined kerfed boxes from the Pacific Northwest.  I tried to wrap my head around how they made the four sides out of a single plank of wood.  Someday I’ll get to the skill level to make a similar box, with all the detailed carvings, though perhaps with my own ‘clan’ icons.

Joecrafted–the pursuit of handcrafted excellence by a dude named Joe.