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Check Out My Sexy Chest

December 10th, 2010 6 comments

Inspiration. We all want it. Getting it is the challenging part. I’ve checked with my local Walmart and they do not sell it (I’m sure if they did there would be an extended warranty option… never get the extended warranty!).

Since I’ve been woodworking I’ve found inspiration in using antique tools that more skilled hands than mine have worked. Beyond that, I have found myself attracted to and inspired by the furniture that those craftsman built. It’s as much for respect for craftsman of the past as well as admiration of their craftsmanship.

It would be ideal if amazing furniture of the past would grow legs and walk by my front yard so I could break out a lawn chair and beverage and just watch (I would of course also have a handful of singles just in case any piece really impressed me). Since I don’t believe our scientists are working on genetically modifying furniture to grow such appendages I’ve had to resort to other means by which to satisfy my desires. Enter the internet which, as we all already know, was created to satiate various human, base desires.

With websites such as Craigslist, amazing pieces of furniture can be found wandering around (amidst the herd of grazing crapola). I’ve seen so many pieces that begged for adoption but, alas, I do not have enough floor space left for such new additions. I have a tiny dog and he has nary the space to curl up and lick his butt (needless to say… nor do I have room to curl up and lick my butt). But earlier this week I could not let such trivial issues as space get in my way.

As my eyes gazed over the daily listings on my local Craigslist what pops up but some grainy pictures of an old wooden tool chest. Exactly the dual purpose treasure I’ve been seeking. You see, if my living room lacks anything, its tool storage and a coffee table. Done and done, with what my eyes were looking at (yes there are no more words in that sentence and that last word is a preposition… deal with it).

Interested I fired off an email. I have done a fair amount of Craigslisting (both buying and selling) and I know not to get too excited until I see something in person. I’ve seen listings with what appears to be fine furniture only to find out that it just wasn’t well crafted or “antiquey” at all. So I rarely expect my phaser to be set to stunned upon seeing a listing in person (agreed. No reason to have a Star Trek reference there… particularly a sad one like that). After talking with the seller and haggling a price I head over to check out the merch.

When I arrive in the late evening and look at the chest I’m first taken by the size (that’s what she… ohh forget it). I don’t know what my deal is but I always take dimensions and visualize them as something much smaller (maybe it’s just knowing that I’m highly skilled at cramming things in smaller places… no, I’m not going there). I wonder if I can even get this thing in my craptastic vehicle, a hot red Dodge Neon that generally brings my sexuality into question.

Again, I arrived in the evening and the seller had the chest sitting outside. It was very dark and only light enough to make out faint details. It weighed a ton, felt very solid, and radiated the proper vibe upon application of my tender touch. The deal was done. I could see my Neon quivering with what it knew was coming. The seller and I proceeded to jam, stuff, and wrench the chest into the cabin of the vehicle. And I was off with my booty stowed away after saying a prayer to not get pulled over for the numerous laws being broken such as not being able to use my rear view mirror or being able to turn without dislocating my shoulder.

This is where things gets cool (and the world said with one breath “finally”).

I hand truck and walk the behemoth into my home and start really inspecting it with that thing called light actually being shed upon it. The exterior has the aged and weathered black paint with primer showing throughout and of course, requisite paint drops on the top. I love that distressed look and immediately rule out any notions of refinishing it. I then open it… and wow, it’s pretty stunning.

The chest features five sliding trays that sit at one of three levels on the sides. Surprising, the trays slide fairly smoothly as is. When properly waxed I imagine I’ll be sliding them at random times for no purpose other than for tactile pleasure (honestly, I pretty much live for tactile pleasures so this should not be a surprise).

The hardware on the chest is quite nice. There’s a heavy duty, double bolt lock with, amazingly, the original skeleton key. I mean this lock is no joke… I’m pretty sure this is the kind of lock box that you could keep social security in safely (don’t get any ideas Al Gore. You cannot have this!). There’s double iron handles on each end and a couple decorative iron lifts for the lid.

As I said, I love the distressed look. But that was a few paragraphs ago… and a few block plane swipes ago. I just couldn’t contain myself between curiosity and my preference for the beauty and warmth of natural grain versus paint and stain (I’m pro-dye… anti-stain… again for grain clarity purposes). So I’m refinishing this bad boy.

In a future post I’ll share more about the construction and materials. And while I don’t like to tease (actually I like to tease as much as I like to lie), I have to say that I was surprised when I swiped that block plane to see a variety of species. Clearly we have some walnut (all the trays are solid walnut). Well, the carcass, base molding, upper molding and trim, and top appear to be all different species (I won’t be sure until my sexy chest is further stripped). Clearly this Frankenchest was intended to be painted.

Christmas in April

April 26th, 2010 10 comments

So I’ve noticed that you have been away for a while. I’m guessing you want new content or something? Just going through a “me” phase are we?

The wrist has healed up quite a bit and I’m back woodworking. I was finally able to present family members with their Christmas presents. Yes, I did contemplate holding on to them for this Christmas but my mother was the wiser, remembering my promise of a cutting board. Course I am also getting to merge in some birthdays so still some combo points for me there.

As you may notice these are the Wood Whisperer’s famous end-grain cutting boards which he provides most excellent instructions on how to make. While all three are made from Purpleheart and Rock Maple I did vary the pattern for each. The parallelogram design is my favorite by far and the biggest pain in the butt by far. Even with cauls and max clamping pressure the parallelogram sticks walked up on each other. I had to span every joint with it’s own clamp. It was worth it though as it yields a nice little 3D effect. If you look at it from a certain angle and with certain chemicals in your system you will see a little M.C. Escher effect.

This was the first time using my Rockler electric branding iron. Very pleased with the results. Definitely adds the personal touch. The instructions advise wearing a thick leather glove. I did not see the point since the handle doesn’t get hot. Interestingly though, when you turn the iron vertically to make your mark, the heat rises towards your hand as if some sort of sorcery is at play. Sometimes we just need to learn things the old-fashioned way.

Going forward, be warned, major changes are afoot in Wood Zealot land (no, I still have a penis… not that radical a change, but it’s still a biggie for me!). An upcoming post will share all the details…

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My woodworking bookcase

February 9th, 2009 6 comments
Bookcase

So much knowledge for such a little brain

Very shortly I’ll be sharing how I gather and organize information in the digital world especially as it relates to woodworking. In the meantime, after reading David Thiel’s recent post over at the Popular Woodworking blog where he shares his vast library, I thought I’d take a couple shots of my bookcase to share as well.

Each book has it merits of course and if I were to ever read them I could speak to that with some authority. As it stands, I’ve just scanned through most to see how they end. While most of these books were loaded with good information along the way, rarely did they come through will a killer ending or mind-blowing turn of events… not one “I see dead people” moment.

img_2846There is one book, however, that has served me far more than any other, and that book is “Illustrated Cabinetmaking” by Bill Hylton.  The book starts with very thorough coverage of joinery and goes on to show exploded diagrams of subassemblies followed by a wide variety of furniture applications, again all with exploded diagrams. These diagrams are extremely well done including useful annotations which clue you in on relevant details of the specific piece. Just perfect execution on making this material as easy to learn as possible.  This book will never gather dust in my home.

So without further ado, here’s my woodworking bookcase:

Pretty covers get the top

Pretty covers get the top

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Books on first shelf

The Moxon shelf

The Moxon shelf

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Yet another shelf with books whose titles you can't make out.

Last shelf of woodworking books

Last shelf of woodworking books

As you can see, I keep some antique hand tool, eye candy in the case as well. I can’t help but feel the sense of storied history of this craft and the amazing craftsman of the past when looking at such hand tools.  Take a closer look at the double sliding dovetail boxing on the Griffiths Norwich plow plane which sits atop the bookcase. Impressive craftsmanship, isn’t it.

Double Sliding Dovetails

Double Sliding Dovetails

Oops… Almost missed these three which weren’t in the bookcase as I’m currently reading them.

Apparantly to good to be sitting idle in a bookcase.

Apparently to good to be idly sitting on a bookshelf.

Note: This post is uncharacteristically low on the  disturbing-scale realtive to my other posts. Please see the “My favorite posts” links on the front page side-bar for a proper taste of the Woodzealot buffet. Be warned, while it is all-you-can-eat, pace yourself to advoid the inevitable nausea and feelings of regret that will quickly ensue.

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They Call them "Fruits" and "Vegetables"

November 3rd, 2008 2 comments

As a bachelor woodworker with a day-job, my diet generally consists of what you see in this pic of my freezer after food shopping:

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

I recently received some intel claiming that not all food naturally exists in cardboard boxes ready for microwaving. I was further told tales of things called “fruits” and “vegetables”. Long story short, you eat these “fruits” and “vegetables”and you magically become healthier… more energy, smarter, and a longer pen… err, wait I’m getting the claims of this better diet confused with other phallicies.

So, I figure what the heck my gullet has seen worse and decided to find a way to get these substances in to my body in a reasonable way. Hearing that the taste of this stuff is so off-putting I seek supository form. No dice. Googlin around reveals that blending this stuff up into goop form is a good way to sneak this junk into your system. Bingo!

After a run to the food store and acquiring these foods of mass nutrition I start sperimenting.

Day one test: banana, various frozen berries, and some orange sherbert.

Fruit Smoothie

Fruit Smoothie Before

Fruit Smoothie Blended

Fruit Smoothie Blended

Result: Does not taste completely horrible.

Day two test: banana, various frozen berries, spinach, and water.

Green Smoothie Pre-Blending

Green Smoothie PreBlending

"Green" smoothie blended

Blended "green" smoothie

Green smoothie PRIOR ingestion

"Green" smoothie PRIOR to ingestion

Result: Does taste completely horrible.

Some observations… my body seemed to reject this foreign material as observed by varying levels of cramping and increasing levels of methane output. Out of concern for our world I may have to suspend further experiments with these dangerous materials.

Boeshield T-9 Deal

September 8th, 2008 Comments off

One of… ummm, I mean, my only redeeming skill is shopping on the web and finding the occasional deal… keep a watch here for such gems…

Boeshield T-9: this is like hand cream for your metal tools… lubricates and protects metals at the same time… great for cast iron tables (followed up by paste wax) and hand planes… a must for anyone interested in restoring tools! Normally costs around $16 for a 12oz can. Get it for $6 here. I posted this deal to Sawmill Creek forum.

Categories: Deals, Uncategorized Tags:

Wood of the Day – Spalted Maple

February 20th, 2008 Comments off

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Here’s a block of spalted Maple. The spalting is the result of fungi invading the wood and taking up occupation. Or rather… the fungi are spreading democracy to the wood. The dark lines or “zone lines” are where different colonies of fungi are fighting for territory with one another. From what I understand, it all started over some holy grain that each side claims is theirs…. then of course fungi extremism developed and terrorism ensued. I’m still not sure which side was right, but I do know that fungi terrorism must be rooted out at all costs! (get it…. fungi terrorism… rooted out… wait, does fungi even have roots? crap, back to Wikipedia)

To answer your question… No, I really don’t know why I kept going with that analogy/metaphor long after it had served it’s purpose… yes, it was kind of interesting to see that highly sophisticated organisms such as ourselves behave similarly as fungi on the macroscopic level, but did I really need to take it as far I did… not really… It probably was not very fair to the fungi. My apologies to all the fungi out there…. especially the fungi-Americans.

You know I just noticed that the word analogy has anal in it… what’s up with that? Just another example of how you can go through your whole life and can miss the little meaningful details. I think I’m just noticing it because it phonetically sounds different from Anal. It has that ‘a’, with the two dots above it, sound… like in canal… hey there’s an anal in canal! For some reason that one seems more appropriate.

And to answer your latest question: No, I don’t do drugs… I do insomnia. Same net effect minus the fun part… and less track marks.

Please stop asking questions.

Categories: My Wood, Uncategorized Tags:

Where have you been?

January 28th, 2008 1 comment

Summiting Everest? Tagging some endangered turtle somewhere? Starting a cult? No, sadly none of these is correct. Or is it “are correct”? Or did you understand what I meant and I’m just wasting your time now asking you about usage? Whatever… I’m learning to work wood these days, not to use proper English or prevent dangling a participle when I have the urge to dangle it (Like I know what a participle is or how to dangle it).

So, Some of you may notice that a couple days have passed since my last post. I don’t know what to say other than art can not be forced. Such art is at the whim of the fickle muse. Hopefully she is back for a while and enraptured with such things as butt joints.

In all seriousness, I realized that I needed to do a couple things: Learn much more about woodworking and get my shop set up. Even as fond of myself as I am, I don’t believe that anyone would find it interesting reading my blog that illuminates the captivating details associated with reading books. I think I know my readers… they will be much more interested in tales of woodworking that illustrate my obvious incompetence as well as the occasional dismemberment. However, since I have been reading so many books and watching numerous DVDs I think I will create a section on the site where I’ll provide my thoughts for others to consider. So keep a keen eye out for that!

Ok, I’m spent. See you soon…. when is Halley’s comet due back?

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I'm getting wood.

May 2nd, 2007 1 comment

Yup, it’s finally happening. For the first time in my life I’m getting wood from eBay (though, to be fair, it has given me a semi several times in the past). Below are various pictures of my newly purchased lumber. All are Black Walnut which is a relatively easy species to work with and finishes well. Several pieces are “book-matched” which simply means that were cut in succession allowing for certain design patterning options such as creating mirror image type effects.

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Categories: My Wood, Uncategorized Tags:

Greetings Fellow Wood Zealots!

April 11th, 2007 9 comments

Welcome to Wood Zealot’s Workshop. On the way is content related to woodworking, featuring my various exploits in my woodworking shop.

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