Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Millin', millin', millin'...

Some days milling lumber to size can be a real pain. Literally.

I take all this heavy wood and run it through my planer. And across my jointer. And through my table saw. Multiple times... It's pretty much back breaking work. And the faster I do it the sooner I get to enjoy that lovely glass of beer after all the machines are turned off for the day.

And then some days I'm working with a new wood and the new smells it creates in the shop remind me why I don't work in a cube anymore.

The North Carolina cypress I'm working today has a decidedly sour smell to it. Something funky happening in my shop today!

I admire the colors and patterns of the grain as I unlock those little secrets in each piece.

That makes it all worthwhile.

Soon what had been a pile of rough cypress that someone else would have bought to line their mushroom warehouse down the road becomes beautiful pieces of what will soon be a fine piece of furniture gracing someone's home.

All the cypress is milled and I carefully sticker it on a cart so it stays nice and straight.

Tomorrow I'll pull it out and start playing with the patterns in the grain as I arrange it for assembly.

Now on to selecting the top...

Last year one of my neighbors pulled into my driveway and asked if I wanted some Black Walnut from a tree he had had cut down and sent off to the sawmill. It had been laying around his place drying for a long time, but he needed to get rid of it.

So I went over to check it out what he had. Big beautiful boards with all their sapwood still attached. And the kicker? It was all air-dryed! Walnut's one of these funny woods that looses much of it's personality when it gets dryed in a kiln.

I mean it's still beautiful, but just more muted.

This wood on the other hand is going to jump up and say, "LOOK at me!"

I think I got me a top going now...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Starting out in the raw...

I'm working on a new "commission."

I've agreed to donate a piece to the upcoming Boys & Girls Club auction.

So I'm thinking about what would be neat to build. And more importantly what do I have the materials already on hand for! Over in the corner of the shop I spied the pile of North Carolina cypress that's been acclimating for a while.


Now what to create... At first I was thinking towards the outside. Maybe a nice bench for the patio. But what my heart really wanted to build something more in the fine furniture category.

Cypress isn't commonly thought of as fine furniture wood. Sure it is often found as the secondary wood (interior parts such as drawer boxes) in areas where it grows. But you don't often see it as the dominate wood in a showcase piece. Looking around some more I found a great piece of black walnut to use as the top. Lines started to form in my head as I kept looking at the pieces of cypress. I think I'm starting to get somewhere...

Now I just need to start milling the cypress and getting this piece done.

The auction's next Thursday!

Better takeout the sawdust too...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Peace of the Snow...

Here it is January 21st and we're finally getting our first snow of the season...
It was so lovely to walk around the yard at 5:30 am and to hear nothing. Just the peaceful quiet that's only created by that blanket of fresh fallen snow. Even the birds were still ensconced in their nests. The only other creature stirring was the NYTimes delivery guy!

I'm sure soon the rest of the world will awake and admire the pristine snow and quietly stand there in awe...

Oops. There goes the snowplow... Life goes on.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


So I'm reading Christopher Schwarz's book The Anarchist's Tool Chest and I come across this...

"Anarchism is not a cult, nor a party, nor an organization. Neither is it a new idea, nor a reform movement, nor a system of philosophy. It is not even a menace to the social order, nor yet a plotting for the destruction of kings and rulers. Indeed, the social order has often been in danger either from false alarms or from its own weight since the fabric first arose.

"Cults are common enough in these days: - they sprout and fade like the flowers of spring. Parties and organizations rise and fall with almost rhythmic regularity, running their course and becoming transformed with time like all things beneath the sun. Movements arise as occasion demands, and expire when their work is done. New ideas are rare enough, and seldom retain their novel character on close scrutiny. A philosophy is a scheme of life, an explanation of the universe, a concrete intellectual system.

"Anarchism is none of these things. It teaches not violence, nor does it inoculate insurrection. Neither is it an incipient revolution. None the less it has its place in the life of our times. Modern Anarchism, in a word, is primarily a tendency - moral, social, and intellectual. As a tendency it questions the supremacy of the State, the infallibility of Statute laws, and the divine right of all Authority, spiritual or temporal. It is, in truth, a product of Authority, the progeny of the State, a direct consequence of the inadequacy of law and government to fulfill their assumed functions. In short, the Anarchist tendency is a necessity of progress, a protest against usurpation, privilege, and justice."

Pretty prophetic.

These are not Chris' words written in 2011. He was quoting the introduction to the 1906 biography of Josiah Warren!

I'll keep thinking...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

Ok... How about Happy January 10th! And welcome to my spiffy new blog! :- D

While technically this is all about woodworking and all the creative things I do. There will be frequent side trips. Life and work are one giant web for me...

So sit down at your computer and enjoy living vicariously through my posts as I teach you about the exciting differences in sandpaper (it truly is exciting stuff!) - tell you wonderful stories about my father - bore you to death with pictures and stories of my travels to dull places like Istanbul and Milton, DE, and what ever other things come out from between my ears!

Welcome and I DO love hearing your perspectives on mine...