The KID Museum of Bethesda, MD offers a range of Maker activities through outreach, studio time, open play/build and structured classes. It’s open for drop-in visits on weekends and reserved for workshops, school trips and scheduled events during weekdays. … Continue reading #Makerspace Tour: KID Museum in Bethesda, MD
Most of the time on this blog and @woodshopcowboy or WoodshopCowboy on Facebook, I showcase student-centered projects and articles. Sometimes I make projects for my own enjoyment and personal needs in my own personal makerspace/workshop. Here’s a peek behind the curtain. Continue reading Making a Makerspace: Shop Tour 2015
This is the third Tool Primer article on finishing your woodworking project. You can find Part One: Sanding here and Part Two: Penetrating Oils here.
In this article I will discuss the film finishes available for woodworking projects at most local big-box hardware stores. The first step is creating a clean, dust-free uniform surface by sanding all a parts to a high grit. I detailed my process in Part One. The finishing process is the difference between a good woodworking project and a heirloom piece of furniture. When I want to really knock a project out of the park, I focus much of my energy on choosing and creating a proper finish.
This is Part 3 in my Making a Makerspace series. If this interests you, catch parts one and two. A makerspace is a space for a group of interesting and creative people to make something. Makerspaces differ from traditional constructional spaces in schools such as woodshops, auto mechanics shops, tech labs, etc because making brings three ideas into the classroom: collaboration, communication and personal fabrication. Personal fabrication brings new, ever-cheaper technologies, such as 3D printing and desktop CNC machines, into the classroom for educational use. Collaboration focuses on group and community work, whether in the shop space, your local community … Continue reading Making a Makerspace: What Do We Make Here? Some Capabilities and Tools for Your Educational Makerspace
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
In the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s, a number of furniture makers, craftsman and artisans reacted against the massive mechanization and industrialization of (their) modern world to create a type of furniture called Arts & Crafts, Craftsman or Mission style furniture. Gustav Stickley in New York, the Roycroft community and others created furniture, which to my eyes, can’t be beat by anything that’s ready-to-assemble.
While I find my heart and soul called by Mr. Morris’s chair, other artisans were getting in on the action. With so much intellectual rebellion running about, some energy had to flow into pottery, right? I’m not a big pot fan (yep, that reads differently than it did in my head) but I do appreciate the art tiles. I just had to find a way to make one without using actual clay. I don’t have the sculpting skills, tools, a kiln or materials for such work.
So how did I do it? I used some of the latest and most innovative prototyping methods known to man.
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!
Last week, I showed everyone the biggest project sitting on my workbench. This week I completed the footboard just in time for Valentine’s Day. I celebrated its completion by buying my wife a dozen roses, and taking her on not one, but two, dates in one weekend. But I’m back in the doghouse, I mean, woodshop now. I hope you enjoyed the pictures. I designed the footboard with dovetailed (and splinted) carcass, rear panels from birch ply floating in dados, solid wood support beams on the ends. Finishing this guy was an adventure in and of itself. I discovered a rule about … Continue reading This Week in the Woodshop: Footboard, Pt. 2
On Jan. 19th, I had the chance to attend and participate in Houston’s first annual Mini-Maker Faire. I brought 8 students, 3 fellow teachers (or maybe Ms. J brought me), a woodworking bench, my traveling chest of hand tools and a whole lot of salvaged pine. Maker Faire brings together families and individuals to celebrate the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset and showcase all kinds of incredible projects. At Maker Faire, you’ll find arts and crafts, science and engineering, food and music, fire and water but what makes this event special is that all these interesting projects and smart, creative people belong … Continue reading Community Watch: Houston Mini-Maker Faire