Sunday, November 18, 2007

There is Work in Progress

I'm actually spending quite a bit of time in the shop, but since most of it is gift related I am posting over at Elf Business rather than here. As I've mentioned before if you aren't on my gift list feel free to take a peek, and if you are be forewarned that you may ruin a surprise by doing that.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

New Blog

I've added a third blog to my arsenal. I'll be using it to post progress on Christmas/Hanukah projects. If you aren't on my gift list and are curious about doings in the shop take a peek. If you are on my gift list you shouldn't go there, because you'll just ruin the surprise.

You can access the new blog here.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thursday Class

WoodAt class tonight I milled this pile of boards, and acquired several significant splinters (ouch!). I can't explain what the boards are going to become because that would ruin the surprise. tee hee.

Almost forgot. I also found out that the school is going to replace the equipment in the wood shop. The table saws will be replaced with SawStop table saws. The secret to the SawStop is a mechanism that detects when conductive material, like skin, comes into contact with the blade and immediately stops the blade and drops it below the table limiting the damage to the operator. There's a cool demonstration video on their web site. These are becoming a standard part of school woodshops partly because insurance companies are demanding it, and because it just makes sense. This is the saw that I'd like to add to my shop and I'm excited about the opportunity to get a chance to test drive it. My instructor wasn't clear on the time frame, so it may be awhile before I get my hands (not literally!) on the saw.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Elf Business Update

I spent sometime today working on this year's ornament. If you're on the list to get one (you know who you are) don't peek. Anyone else can see the update here.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

LJ Sketchup Challenge

Several months ago a challenge was posted on LumberJocks. The challenge was to acquire Google's sketchup software; find a building, bridge, etc as inspiration; and design a dining room table based on that inspiration.

Sketchup is 3D modeling software. With it you can virtually construct items. Even the free version has lots of capabilities. Those capabilities make it a challenge to learn. August and September were busy and I didn't find enough energy or time to learn the software before the challenge ended at the end of September.

I also had trouble deciding on an inspiration. What I was looking for was something that had some meaning for me, and which, when worked into a table, would work. Finally with about a week until the deadline I thought of an inspiration that would work.

My inspiration is/was the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts. This is the bridge referred to as the "rude bridge that arched the flood" in the Concord Hymn by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The bridge is part of the Minute Man National Historical Park. This area was the site of one of the battles that started the Revolutionary War.

With inspiration in mind I began my work in Sketchup on the table design. It took me quite a while to conquer the software. I missed the challenge deadline (to paraphrase Douglas Adams I liked the whoosing sound the deadline made as it went flying by). I considered giving up on the design, but decided to follow through despite having missed the challenge deadline (and the prizes being given).

So, now that this has turned into a much longer story than necessary, here are a couple of pictures of the bridge. I took these from my kayak on October 18th.

Old North Bridge

Old North Bridge
This is not the bridge that was there is 1775. It would be very surprising if it was given that it's a wooden bridge. I happened to pass under the bridge while a tour was passing overhead and learned that this bridge is wider and has a higher arch than the original but the construction is basically the same.

Here's my design for a dining room table based on the bridge. If I were to build it I would use oak for the light wood and walnut for the dark wood. Construction would be primarily mortise and tenon.

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Side view.

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End view.

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Top View. This is intended to look like the slats of the bridge surface.
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A look at the whole table.
Size is 42 inches wide by 68 inches long. The legs are 28 inches high.

I have since used Sketchup to work out the design for the advent calendar I'm working on, and for a small side table. More details on those to come later.