This week, we took to the skies with a two simple mobiles.
Mobiles are kinetic sculptures which rely on and play with the scientific concept of equilibrium and center of gravity. The pieces often spin and flutter with the breeze, presenting a constantly shifting face and focus to the observer. Some mobiles are motorized, such as the spinning toys hung over a baby’s crib.
Here are two very quick and easy ways to make spinning mobiles in your own home.
When a problem’s too big in my shop, I cut it down to size with a hand saw. Hand saws have several inherent advantages over power saws. They don’t run out of batteries, so makers can use them all day. The light weight means novice and smaller makers can comfortably use the tool reasonably safe. Hand saws can make delicate joinery and also rip through 3” slabs. No circular saw or table saw has that type of range.
Hand saws are not made equal. Each hand saw excels at certain tasks. In this tool primer, we will examine the Western & Japanese-style divide, learn to match the saw to the cut direction and classify saws by type and function.
Picture frames make fantastic skill building projects. You can practice joinery and create precision jigs. Frames reward practice and good finishes. They can be made from cheap materials and scraps – meaning they are easy on the pocketbook. All in all, the perfect project to start with.
With one exception. Miter joints – that is, two 45° angles meeting and forming an exact 90° corner….umm, that’s hard. Very hard. So how can you make a simple picture frame with simple joinery that looks great? Over the years, I’ve developed three semi-surefire picture frame designs that are simple to make and look great. Next time you want to frame that special moment, try the next three picture frames: The Salvaged Shutter, The Dead Simple Frame and the Schoolhouse Frame.
It has been a while since I’ve shared a completed project from my bench. I haven’t been particularly inactive, just an inactive blogger. Recently, I completed a queen-sized platform bed for my wife and I. I completed the footboard over last winter break, and this summer I took on the headboard.
The headboard and rails are put together with pocket hole joinery. The headboard, made out of solid birch and poplar, is way too heavy for the light rails. Instead of raising the height of the bed and creating thicker rails, I used a french cleat in my wall to hang the headboard. The bed is rock solid now. Finished with amber shellac and wax. Check out the Sketch-Up drawing for more info. Continue reading “This Week In the Shop: Queen-Sized Bed”
To end the year, my students have been making simple marking gauges. My students learned to create a mortise and use hand planes to fit a tenon in this particular project. Here’s how we did it. 1. Cut a 1″ or 3/4″ square oak strip into 8″ lengths. 2. Cut a 2″ length from a maple strip about 2″ wide, giving you a 2″ x 2″ square. 3. Use the oak strip to mark your mortise in the center of the maple square. We did this by marking two diagonals across the maple square and then eye-balling the center. Mark the square … Continue reading This Week in the Shop: A Simple Pin Marking Gauge
Of the three or so classes I’ve taught at TX/RX Labs and the twenty to thirty projects I’ve taught at work, the simple bench project remains my favorite. It is an intermediate level project which can be reached by absolute beginners, it’s cheap to build (approximately $15 w/ finish) and it lends itself to multiple machines (tablesaw, bandsaw, drill press) and hand tools. I present the latest and greatest class yet: Special thanks to Pratt for building extra supports for himself and everyone else, shout out to Sean for the intense questions, my teaching assistants, and everyone else in the … Continue reading Community Watch: Build a Bench Is Complete!
Are you in the Houston area? Ever wanted to get started woodworking? Maybe you just enjoy benches as much as I do? Join me for the Wood Workshop at TX/RX Labs on Sat. & Sun. May 25th & 26th (5/25 & 5/26) from 9am-5pm. The Finished Bench I will be walking you through how to build the simple bench project, start to finish. As TX/RX so elegantly put it: Build a simple bench using both hand tools and power tools. A perfect intro to woodworking, we will cover basic tool usage both hand and power along with learning the basics of … Continue reading Community Watch: Build a Bench this Memorial Day Weekend!