November 29, 2012

Turnings: Curvilear Bowls

Having never turned a bowl or plate before, I decided to try a form of segmented bowl with splines intersecting in the bowl blank. Wait, what?!? 

Yep, that's kind of a them for how I work. Never done it before? Just sketch something up that thought in your head and go for it. It does help that I've got a decent eye for how stuff works and I work with CAD on a daily basis. Admittedly, the CAD really only helped me with dimensions. I had a decent idea what I was going for when it was still in my head. 

 I had some 8/4 stock laying around and started by cutting out roughly 6"x6" squares. The splines were all cut at a 45 degrees, one at a time. After each cut I glued a thin piece of opposing colored wood. Rinse. Repeat. 

blanks stacked, waiting to go out to the
garage for the next round of cuts 
two of the blanks after the last cut showing the other
splines already glued in

 For this to turn out perfectly, I should have ensured the inserted spline matched the kerf of the cut. Meh, I wasn't too concerned. Even on the ones that are off, you have to look for a bit to see it.

glue-ups were fun on the angled ones
it gets difficult after on the 3rd and
4th cuts to line everything back up
doesn't look like much now
the series of splines appear woven

 The fun came in turning to bowls. Depending on how the bowl curved from its rim to its bottom, the resulting visual spline will swim this way and that.

you can already see the curves appearing
on the bottom

A perfect spherical bowl would produce splines that would appear like the lines on a basketball. Curve a lip on the top of the bowl and you might get the splines to do an 'S' curve. Pretty cool.

 I was pretty pleased with the results on these and they were well received.

November 10, 2012

WIA 2012 Spotlight: Frank Klausz

Frank touching up his work
Frank Klausz came to WIA to spread his knowledge in dovetail joinery.  As an extremely talented and successful cabinet maker, he knows a thing or two about joinery.  His Hungarian accent and stern sense of humor makes for an enjoyable lesson.

If you're new to dovetailing you may not know of the age old argument of: which end is correct to cut first, the pins or the tail?  The truth is that it really doesn't matter.  No matter what way you go about it, the end result is the same, a mechanical joint, that, if done well, fits tightly and square. Frank's way is pins first, and he'll argue that it's the right way.  Why, Frank?

"Because that's how my grandfather taught me." He'd say.

He'll go on to show that transferring your cut to the adjoining piece is easier when you've got gravity assisting you to hold the pin board down onto the tail board as you trace what you've cut onto it.

This is the opposite of how I had been practicing my dovetail joinery, but I'm a good student and am never one to  not listen to a person in the know.  I've been posting a series of my practice joinery on twitter under #dovetaildaily and can safely say that pins first has produced tighter joints that are, indeed, easier to transfer lines.

The second pins first dovetail I had ever cut.
Thanks, Frank!

If you ever get a chance to hear Frank speak, do it.  He's a wealth of knowledge and very entertaining.  He is, by his own admission, too old to join the Modern Woodworker's Association, though.

Tom Iovino doing his best to recruit Frank into the MWA

Frank, Paul Schurch, and Chuck Bender discussing the finer points of veneer saws

November 6, 2012

Woodworking in America - Midwest Edition 2012

The MWA crew pose on Megan's 'Gloubo'

Well, WIA was a blast again.  It was a whirlwind of fun, games, and woodworking.  I'm still processing all that I was exposed to.  I need to go thorugh notes and photos and hopefully make sense of it all. Stay tuned . . .

February 12, 2012

Get Woodworking: Take the plunge!

This week has been brought a massive amount of advice to woodworkers thanks to Tom at  The thought is for woodworking bloggers to put up posts and videos to help those interested in woodworking get an idea of how to get started.  It's a great idea and we all have our own twist on the craft.  Check out Tom's blog to get links to a wealth of online woodworking knowledge put out by people just like you.  Hobbyists, crafty folk, DIYers and honeydoers.  

Here's my submission:

I don't exactly know how I got started in woodworking.  Can anyone state with certainty why they started a hobby?  Sure I watched Norm growing up, but my schools didn't have a shop class and I definitely didn't have any tools when I was younger.  I was a tinkerer and am the son of an all around handy guy, so I saw somewhat what could be done with minor repairs and the annual pinewood derby car project when I was in boy scouts.  Not exactly a ton of exposure or inspiration to start with.

As life went along, I got married, got a house, and the DIY project list started growing.  It's still going strong today.  My first little project was some movie and CD storage.  I thought about it, took a few measurements, and set out to the big box store.  Some MDF, paint, and a trim router to soften the corners with detail later, I returned home to have a go at it.  A few hours later I had 2 matching shelves hanging in a closet.  They're held together with butt joints and drywall screws.  

I'm not exactly proud of them, but they're a good example of where my hobby began,  and what can be done when you're just starting out.  This catapulted me onto a path of learning.  The history of woodworking fascinates me.  I dove into books and magazines and the internet to learn as much as I can.  I've since progressed in my skill set and knowledge.  My tool till has grown and every new project I do involves me learning something new or trying something out.

Hand cut mortises?

Yea, I've tried that.

Crosscutting with a handsaw?


My latest adventure is in hand resawing.

This is gonna take a while . . .

With all there is to learn and try, get out there and try it!  You can learn a ton just by trying something new, and fixing any mistakes you make will only enrich your journey.  I'm enjoying my trip so far, and can't wait to  learn more.  But I can't do that here.  Please excuse me, I've got tome sawdust to make . . .