Tag Archives: making

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

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It has been far too long since I have contributed to my blog. I am a little ashamed to say that it has slipped from my conscious thought for several months now.

So then, I offer this little….ok, who am I fooling….this long winded update.

The kind folks at Highland Woodworking have inexplicably continued to accept and actually publish my daft ramblings. This is one reason why I have been remiss in my blogging duties. I have been submitting articles in my “Roubo bench Build With a Twist” series for the online magazine, as well as some various meandering musings for their blog. It has been a lot of fun working with an actual editor (now two editors) and I feel my writing is better for the effort.

I have done several “cameo appearances” at a few of the local shops here in town. These tend to be of limited duration and can either be really fun and rewarding, or dull and frustrating. Either way, they all help to keep the lights on, feed my tool addiction, and keep me off the streets. Even the less than positive gigs are educational and help me appreciate the work that I do in The Tiny Shop.

Speaking of The Tiny Shop, The Roubo has some fresh dings and dents now. I absolutely love the pair of benches I have in the shop. Even though they are both Nimitz class aircraft carrier size, they each have their own personality and each have their own quirks. Someday, mark my words, there will also be a Nicholson-English style bench in the shop too. However, that will need to wait until I have the actual shop space to accommodate a trio of full size work benches. Overkill? I think not.

I have been doing quite a bit of restoration and repair work from The Tiny Shop. While it is a means of keeping food in the belly, it is also a minor distraction from developing some prototypes that I continue to mull over. There are a couple of small tables, a set of small nesting tables, a chair design and also a rocker that I would like to prototype and move forward in their development. I just have not had the time or the material to get cracking on these yet. With warmer weather becoming more consistent though, I am hopeful that this spring and summer will see the return of my furniture designing and building in earnest.

On the more literary side of things, keep an eye out for an up coming series or articles I am working on. It is an interview with my former wood shop teacher and longtime friend, Don Rauh. Don has some things to say, and has always been one to “tell it like it is.” The series is shaping up to be quite interesting indeed.

So there you have it folks, just a little update on the Madcap Woodwright’s ongoing adventures. As always, I continue to work wood with joy and abandon because life is just too damn short.

OLD ‘ARN……IS THE BEST ‘ARN

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Hello, I’m The Madcap Woodwright, and I am an old ‘Arn – aholic.

Yet another year has passed and I am two days into my…..ahem….46th year here on this planet. As a gift to me for this auspicious occasion, the love of my life gave me the green light to drop a little coin on a birthday gift.

The Delta 768 10″ band saw was made between 1937 and 1943….I think….which makes this one of the more rare and very desirable machines in the vintage Delta line up.

Rare, because it was only made for those 5 or 6 years. Desirable because it is, for all intents and purposes, the exact same machine as it’s larger brother the vaunted 14″ delta band saw, but with smaller wheels top and bottom.

O.K. maybe not the exact same. But all the major components are interchangeable with the larger machine and it is bristling with all the heavy, thick cast iron that the larger capacity machine has, and then some.

Since the Delta 14″ band saw is ubiquitous, this means that most if not all of the parts that may fail on this little treasure, are easily replaceable. Nearly unheard of with a machine this old.

Add to it’s rarity and desirability that is is nice and compact which makes it a natural fit for The Tiny Shop.

Do not let it’s diminutive stature deceive you though, this machine is built … well … to last a lifetime or two. It’s just a beast for something so small in overall dimension.

I brought her home, gave her a bath, assembled her and plugged her in. As the saw ran, I began tweaking some adjustments here and there to take out some play in the blade and to see what I was dealing with as far as any needed rehab. As the machine scraped and squealed I was fearing that a total and complete strip and restoration was going to have to be done.

Imagine my joy when, the more she ran, the more smooth and quiet she became. Those old “sealed and lubricated for life” bearings were providing testimony to the craftsmanship and care with which these old tools were built before the advent of disposable tooling.

I let the saw run unloaded for a while and let her settle into a very smooth and content hum. Knowing that the blade that came with this was destined for replacement anyway, I went ahead and attempted a trial cut to see if the motor was going to have enough “umpfh” behind it, or if I were going to have to replace it. As it turns out, the thing made perfectly serviceable cuts, although at a diminished feed rate, in spite of the horribly dull condition of the blade.

Mind you, this is with the saw exactly as I got it. Un-tuned, all parts just as they came on it, and with a blade that could not cut warm butter on an August afternoon in the sun. This, not 20 minutes after having assembled the thing, rust, grunge and all.

Impressive.

Plans call for new wheel tires, thrust bearings, and some new fangled blades. A nominal outlay of dosh over and above the fire sale price that the love of my life and I paid for this.

After seeing that I was in pretty good shape here, I have decided to defer any hardcore restoration of this tool. (Disassembly, painting, parts replacement/upgrade)

The patina on her matches well with the Unisaw and the Jointer, and I can see no reason to get crazy with it’s rehab. Just whatever it takes to make it as accurate and useful as all the other tooling that I am finding a way to stuff into The tiny Shop.

Now, where should I put a lathe?

 

“He Who Hesitates……”

……procrastinates indefinitely.

 

It’s not that I am lazy, It’s more a case of having a lot of ideas and not knowing how to put order to them.

Since the first of the year I have been off to a good start with my level of productivity. I have discovered that I am quite adept at disgorging myself of various literary ideas now that I have cajoled an actual periodical to publish some of my ramblings. No shortage of copy for Highland Woodworking’s online magazine of blog.

Nor have I been lacking in the work to do in The Tiny Shop. Since the phonograph refinish, I have had a string of small furniture repairs and/or refinishes. Throw in another workbench build, and you are up to date with my current state of workshop projects.

Aside from a few model train display cases and the long promised step stool for my dear wife, I am starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.

Now what?

Well, that is where things are getting a little sticky. I really need to get some furniture built as prototypes and proof of concepts. I have been wanting to get some things built not only as a means of developing some design ideas, my take on some more traditional styles, but also as fodder for my photographer son to take some beauty shots of for a hypothetical website for The Tiny Shop.

Since I have yet to actually put pencil to paper in many months, I am relegated to my minds eye for developing ideas. This poses a bit of a problem, you see I tend to bounce from idea to idea and end up with a collection of fractured ideas bouncing around in my melon.

Best to choose one, and get on with it.

My intention is to build one of three ideas I have right now. The first is the glove table I had mentioned in a previous post. Next idea would be a blanket chest for my dear wife.

Last, and most fear inducing is the design and construction of a wall unit for our basement family room. Our house is on the verge of being too large for us, but with my 18 year old son having moved in with us this summer, the wall unit may be a good way of making the largely unused family room a little more warm and inviting for him during his stay with us, and an investment in our future use of the space once he moves on to his inevitable world domination tour sometime in the future.

Decisions, decisions.

yinyang

 

A MOMENT OF WEAKNESS….

The Roubo-apffel workbench is now complete. I once again could not resist a pic of it here since installing the leg vise replete with Benchcrafted “Criss-Cross/Retro.”

Highland Woodworking was where I chose to get the hardware for this vise. Excellent experience with them as usual….Not surprising…. And I’m not just saying that because they are publishing my rambling prose. The have always been a first class operation in my book.

Speaking of rambling prose, look for a couple of articles from me on both their blog

https://woodworkingtooltips.com
And their online magazine. I will link to the online magazine after they publish my article and send me the link……Whooooo hooooo!!!!

A Roubo is born.

I am putting this one picture up here because I just can’t resist.

However, I have committed to providing the actual “bench build” as a series of articles for Highland Woodworking for use in their online magazine. (Highlandwoodworking.com)

So, as each installment is to be published, I will be sure to leave word here so you, my dear readers, can enjoy the Chronicles of the Madcap Roubo Build.

In the meantime……Behold, the beauty of Roubo!!!

Makers Gonna Make

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With the onslaught of negativity and strife that my country, as well as many others, seems to be embroiled in, I felt the tug of the Muse to jot down some thoughts that might bring a little smile or even a wholesale perspective change to someone.

lately I have been keeping something of a low profile on social media. In these pages here, I have been pretty good about keeping my personal beliefs and feelings about politics, media, pop culture, and any of the other distractions that most of us, if we were to be honest with ourselves, indulge in out of the mix.

Make no mistake, I have some very profound beliefs about the above listed topics, but it all pales in comparison to my passion for being a woodwright. Further, as I have expanded out into the germinating world of the artisanal, I have developed a growing passion for the community that seems to be developing around “Making.”

Somewhere along the line the word Making and Maker evolved from simply being a conjugation of the verb make, into a movement.

Artisans and craftspeople are commonly being refered to as Makers. Fine, works for me.

In previous posts I discussed how generations younger than my own, have begun exploring the path less traveled. They have elected to take up woodworking or blacksmithing or glass blowing. They have explored artisanal distilling or brewing. They have taken to crafts baking or cooking. Anything but following the well-worn and traditional path of going to school. Taking on crushing debt to get the diploma and social network that higher education promises has taken a back seat to self-determination and self-education.

I am encouraged by this small, but passionate community. In small numbers I see people who are engaging their life with fearlessness. They may be doing so out of necessity, or out of an intuition that the normally followed path to career and family and “adulthood” has run its course. They may share in my observation that life is just too fucking short to be shackled to the seeming safety of the 9 to 5 to retirement means of living a life.

Granted, most of these folks are 20 years or more my junior. They do not have a mortgage, or kids, or other traditional obligations to provide for. It took a divorce, a remarriage, and a spouse who supports my need to make and to create for me to sit here and preach the gospel of “Madcap Woodworking.”

That is what makes these up-and-commers so amazing in my eyes. They just don’t care about the pressures that come with the traditional path. At a much earlier stage in the great game of life, they seem to grasp the wisdom of exploration and creativity at a gut level. They seem to understand that there is so, so, so much more to life than just the college you graduate from, the car you drive, the house you cover your head with or the amount of liquid capitol you have on hand at any one time. They improvise, they adapt, they share, they collaborate. They succeed.

In adopting such non-traditional approaches to life, they seem to be able to create a very satisfying life for themselves. Once the relative stability of this life takes root, they really start to expand out into their world creatively. They make things. Beautiful things.

It is a little humbling to allow myself to remain at this crossroad between fully committing to The Tiny Shop full-time, and continuing to dance around the edges of it as I continue to look for a safe, well-paying “day job.”

Balls, these folks have BIG BRASS BALLS.

One in particular that will remain nameless here, decided one day to take up photography.

“I want to do…this” said he. Then he picked up his camera, went to the mountains, and took pictures. Upon his return, he begins leveraging his social networking skills and posting these images online. Inside of 30 days, he begins to get inquires from outdoor goods manufacturers, ski resorts, and outdoor sports bloggers requesting information about his services. NOT just here in the U.S.A, but also in several countries in Europe as well. He just up and decided to go DO IT, and see what happens….no  biggie….BALLS.

More of this please. More of people saying to hell with status quo. More of people following their bliss…responsibly. More of a departure from the self-imposed enslavement of traditionally valued benchmarks of success. more of the redefining of what it looks like to be successful, happy, and content. Not in a self deluding or lazy way, but in a heart-felt, deep down in your gut, “these are the things that are important to me” way.

Bravo to the makers. Bravo to the craftsman young and old. Bravo to those who ignore what is considered the “right way’ to do things. Bravo to the explorers. You are all having a very empowering impact on me for sure, and I suspect and hope on the world around you as well….just….bravo.