This Week in the Shop: New Tools, New Projects

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It’s been an interesting road this year in my various shops.  At work, I’ve added a number of hand tools, drill presses, 3D printers, robotics and electronics gear.  TX/RX Labs expanded in January into a new woodworking space, adding 6 woodworking benches, jointers, planers, table saws, etc.

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And in my own shop, I’ve upgraded and added to my capabilities and skills.  I bought two lathes, a full-sized 60’s era 10″ lathe and a small Carba-Tec pen lathe, along with the various tools, chucks and accessories that go with such a purchase.  I upgraded my sharpening gear with a set of waterstones and a grinder, purchased a cheap bench sander, and upgraded my bandsaw and drill press into full-sized versions.

Other than bragging, this means I can produce a variety of previously-impossible projects.

First – the bandsaw box.  This project uses only a bandsaw to cut and shape a box.  A quick image search brings up an incredible variety of box patterns.  I went for something with a story, not something with art.DSC_2607

I found these boxes inside a log from a tree felled in my parent’s backyard, in the house my brothers and I grew up in.  I’m now in my thirties and my youngest brother is closer to thirty than twenty-five.  We’ve grown up, moved out, moved back, gotten married, had kids, and brought our kids back.  This holiday season, we’ll be together for a few days and hours.  Then, like many families, we scatter to the wind.  A few years ago, I stuffed my suitcase with a log instead of presents.  This year, I made matching boxes for every person in my immediate family – mom, dad and four sons.

Next – plates, bowls and pens.  The lathe allows me the opportunity to make square things round and put together a number of cool projects.  I took a bowl-turning class at the local Woodcraft (this was before Matt N from TX/RX Labs started co-teaching woodworking classes with me) and got to work.  Some of my most recent results:

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Penn State Industries and Craft Supplies USA specialize in delivering small project kits (and the very expensive accessories necessary to build such kits) which can be turned and assembled by the woodworker at home.  I built 17 pens this holiday season.  They have been a big hit this year. I will put together a couple longer posts on pens in the future – I’m hoping to bring pen-making into the classroom.

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Make it safe & keep the rubberside down.