Last year I got some old, rusty hand planes at a swap meet we went to. I knew I wanted a longer hand plane for slab surfacing, which is why I got this one specifically. I wanted to use the parts off of it to put on a new longer body and make some better handles for it as well.
The first thing I did was take it apart and spray some paint remover on the parts that had paint and then wipe off as much as I could. It then ended up sitting in my shop for a little while after that until I could get back to it about a month or two later. When I did get back to working on it I started making the body. I used two pieces of mahogany with a thin piece of walnut in the center to tie in the walnut handles.
After the glue dried I started shaping the body, It took quite some time, but I was very happy with the outcome. I wanted kind of a surf board look to it and I wanted it long enough to be a good plane for surfacing slabs. I wanted to clean up the metal parts of the plane so I used the wire brush I have on my bench grinder. It really shined up the brass parts of the plane so I decided to go even further and use some polishing compound to bring it to a mirror finish. I ended up going back a second time to clean things up even more on the steel parts which made it look even better.
I then started on carving the mouth of the plane, this is where the blade will come out. To be able to mark everything to start carving, I adjusted the metal body exactly where I wanted it, drilled pilot holes for the screws, screwed it in place and then marked the area to carve. The carving took quite some time as well, but it was worth the effort.
After finishing the carving I put everything together using the old handles to see if it worked. After some adjusting I got the planer working nicely. I then started on the handles. I started turning the front handle/knob since I new that would be the easiest to do first. I started with one half of the block I used, but took a little too much off, so I used the other half instead and that one "turned" out great.
After that I started on the back handle/tote. I cut out a shape I liked on my band saw and did some of the heavy carving with my belt sander, but I did most of it with some rasps. After the heavy carving was done I went over it with some sand paper starting from about 120 grit to 1500 grit to really give it a shine. I did the same sanding process with the knob as well. The handle needed a hole through it for the bolt to attach to the brass nut, to keep the handle secure. I screwed the bolt in and used a hand drill and tried to eyeball it to see if my angle was right while I drilled through the center. I used a lager drill bit first for the nut to go into and then the rest of the way with a smaller bit for the bolt. It wasn't perfect but I got it to work after some trial and error. I then cleaned up the edges around the hole and finished everything off with an extra coat of mineral oil.
I was really happy with the outcome of this project and hope to be doing more of my own hand tools in the future. I hope this plane will benefit me with surfacing slabs and many other things as well.
So far this year I have been taking a break from my woodworking and taking the opportunity to work on and plan out this year's garden. I have already gotten some seeds started from last year's harvest and also some new heirloom seeds that I purchased online. I also found some new plants I have wanted to try growing for quite some time. All that said, with new plans for the garden and more plants I will be keeping up on, I will not have enough time to do as much wood working as I did last year. So, I will be taking turns doing a post on woodworking then one on gardening and I will also put a post up if I am going to be participating at an event.
Already this year I have expanded my garden beds and plan on doing some more. The reason we have raised garden beds, mounds and hugelkulturs is because our soil has too much clay and a high water table, which does not drain well. With all the things that we have done in the gardens and around the yard it has helped a lot, but, a raised bed of some sort is still the best options for us. Raised beds give you a good division between the planting soil and the walking path which you could cover with shavings, woodchips, sod or anything else you can think of. This also gives things a sharp and clean look as well as making it easier to push wheelbarrows of compost\dirt to any bed you hope to fill or top dress. Raised beds make it easy to transfer plants from bed to bed as well. Every year changing the location you plant things is not necessary but beneficial as different plants take and add nutrients to the soil; such as planting root crops in the bed that you might have had beans or tomatoes in the year prior. I always try to top dress all my beds in the fall or winter to add extra nutrients to the soil and it will make the beds better and better every year, along with all the compost tea I use as well. A new way of garden beds that I'm trying is hugel-beds. Just like it sounds, it's a hugelkultur garden bed. I get the sides of my bed up using some split logs, dig it out 6 to 12 inches, cover it with wood, add mulch of any sort (I use manure), then the dirt you took out and some compost on that. This should give you the same benefits as a normal hugelkultur and should also be mole proof if enough wood is added.
I have been making compost tea for many years now and have found it VERY beneficial to the garden. It not only adds minerals and microbes to the soil but also gives your plants an extra boost making them grow bigger and more nutritious. Compost tea is simple to make, you can use compost, manure, plants high in minerals such as comfrey and nettle, or anything else you think of. I like to use full size burlap bags and fill them half way with manure, put them in water and let them steep for about a week in a bucket or a barrel. You can use this directly on the soil or dilute it in water and use on your plants to strengthen them against insects and disease. Compost tea, depending on what you use, can have too much nitrogen in it which is why you should dilute it in water so it won't burn the plant's leaves. The water you use is important. If you use tap water the chlorine can kill the beneficial microbes that your plants need. If possible, use fresh water to make your compost tea. Spring water will work great and will bring in more minerals, but rain water will work just as well if that's all you have. You used to be able to let your tap water evaporate out the chlorine over night but they have new chlorine now that does not evaporate and there's also fluoride and other chemicals they add in as well.
Starting Plants Early
Artichokes, tomatoes, peppers, onions, leeks and many other types of plants have long maturity dates and need to be started early. This could mean starting them indoors, in a greenhouse, hoop house, cold frame, hot beds, or even under some garden fabric. I'm starting my seeds indoors even though I've built a greenhouse in my garden as we don't get that much sun in the fall to early spring. Along with that, I also have plants I put in there to over winter which I plan to get some seeds from later this year. Starting your plants indoors means you need to have grow lights and if necessary a heating pad for plants that require warm soil. You can start seeds in pots, trays and soil blocks. Good, rich soil helps the seeds get a healthy start. Making sure they get transplanted to bigger pots as needed helps plants grow faster as their root system is not bound and will allow them to gather all the necessary nutrients they need. When the plants aren't root bound they spread their roots faster and get a better start when you transplant them outside, unlike root-bound plants that you have to pull apart to open up the root system for them to grow. As the root-bound plants work to spread their roots, the plants that aren't root-bound will be thriving and growing making any extra work worth while.
Grow Your Plant From Seed
Growing starts that you buy from a nursery and being able to harvest a crop from them is wonderful and exciting. I find growing plants from seed is more satisfying, as you see the plant go from a sprout to something on your dinner plate or just a delicious snack as you walk through the garden. Although you may be growing those plants from the nursery, there's still something you're missing out on and you might take for granted the value of your own healthy seeds, as the price for them isn't getting any lower although the quality is. Along with that, every year you grow your own seed it becomes more adapted to your soils & climate. In turn, your plants will keep growing bigger and better in your garden each year. The best option for all organic heirloom gardeners is keeping your own seeds, as there are many benefits to doing so, such as not having to buy more every year. Another perk to growing plants from seed is that you are not limited to anything as long as you can grow them in your area. Even things you usually can't grow in your area can be put in a greenhouse or brought indoors. Every plant, big and small, brings joy to a gardener by being able have them in your meal, as a snack, or even just to admire their beauty. I hope to be able to grow all my plants from my own seed and to have a wider variety of plants to learn more from and experiment with all the wonderful flavors and colors they have to offer.
Custom orders have kept me busy all year and I have had great feedback on all of them. I have continued to learn a lot with each one and really enjoyed the challenge of making them.
Next year I would like to get into some furniture making and maybe some personal things for my workshop. Keeping a good supply of items on hand for local events would help with a potential online store as well.
Looking back at how I did things at the first event to now, just 8 months later, I see how God has grown me and how differently I do things. All the things that I have done have really given me confidence to tackle new things. As much as I would like to spend all my time making things in the workshop, I also like to do gardening along with some landscaping. I really missed doing a lot outside this year, although I tried to do things in my free time. I also enjoy taking photos and I would like to make frames for some of my work as well.
With all this in mind I need to be able to balance everything and also run a business to be sustainable into the future. I think offering all these things would be more than enough to do so and would allow me to do all the things I love at the same time.
I would like to thank all those who have supported me and my new business. I would love to hear how your items are serving you and hope to bring even more variety to the table soon.
As some of you know I have been working with a fine furniture store now for quite some time, taking their cut offs to bring you new products and further sharpen my skills in all areas of wood working. Just one year ago in November of 2016 I brought some of my creations to show the manager at the furniture shop. She was very pleased to see someone as young as me doing wood working and was very impressed with my work and said she would love to see some pictures of the things I made as I progress. She also gave me a few small pieces of wood to try including some Koa which I was very happy to have and was excited to see how it would look once finished. Since she gave me some wood I wanted to give her something as well, so, I decided to make her a pen. I made her a pen with the Koa she gave me along with one I made with some lace/leopard wood for the office lady there as well. I later emailed her with some more pictures of my work, she was very pleased to see what I had made and also said she loved the pen I made her and uses it every day. On my birthday in me and my dad went to the shop so I could look at some of the wood they had in the lobby there. Although they put the scraps out for free, they also had larger pieces of wood for sale available inside if anyone was interested. I ended up finding several pieces of wood I liked with some beautiful color in the grain along with other unique qualities. Later in October we stopped by again before taking some of my items to the knitting store for the first time. when we got there the manager had informed me that sadly they where closing there doors and it would probably be good to get any more wood if I needed any. After going inside and looking around I somehow managed to find some more wood. Getting all of the wood that I had I wanted to make something for the manager, although I had already made her a pen I wanted to make her something that was a little more special and would show the skills that I've learned. The office lady there told me that she collects model cars, so, I started thinking of things I could make. I decided on making her a wood picture of a car and framing it with a different piece of wood. I chose some curly Koa for the picture and some Walnut for the frame. For the picture I traced an image of a Ferrari on a piece of paper to wood burn through it onto the piece of wood. After I finished cutting and gluing everything together, I cut around the car so I could place it on my wood exactly where I wanted it to go. I then taped it flat on the wood and started wood burning over the picture I had traced. I ended up needing to go over the burning a second time because it didn't burn enough through the paper. I then signed my name on the back and oiled it with mineral oil, which really brought out the curls in the wood.
She loved the picture and was happy to have it, she was especially impressed by my miters and glue lines. This was a fun and new project and I very much enjoyed making it. Although they have closed their doors I still have plenty of wood to keep me busy. I am very grateful for all the wood that I have received from them and hope to use some of my own wood harvested from our homestead in the future.
I wanted to make something segmented and I had a few long triangle pieces of wood I had been keeping for a future project. There were two types of wood, cherry and walnut. I decided on making a segmented lamp. So, the first thing for me to do was to glue everything together with the triangles at opposing ends, making a square. The next thing for me to do was to cut the pieces every 1\2'', drill a hole in the center where the tips meet, put everything on a piece of hollow all-thread used for lamp making, then glue everything together offsetting each piece just slightly. This took quite some time but I was happy when it was glued up and drying on my lathe. I used my lathe as a clamp with the piece in between both live centers, this let me glue it perfectly straight with plenty of pressure. After the glue dried I put it in a chuck and turned it on my lathe, as you see in the photo above. I also left a little bit unfinished at the end so I could inset the piece into the base when I glued them together.
The next thing for me to do was to install the lamp parts. I sourced my parts at a couple of different local hardware stores to get what I needed to make the lamp the way I wanted it. Once I had everything glued and drying I started on the pull chain. I used curly walnut for the pull with the same wax finish I used on the lamp. I drilled a small hole through it while it was on the lathe and then a bigger hole half way through, so it would catch the smaller bell shaped pull on the end of the chain. After all of that we rushed to the fair so I could get it entered on time.
We went the first day of the fair so we could see the ribbons we had earned. I also entered some plants and photos and my sister entered some things as well. We were disappointed to see that not all the entries were finished being judged, this included my lamp, so we didn't learn the final outcome until the last day when we picked up our items. When we picked up our items I was exited to see that I had gotten "Best of Class" out of the Wood Working division and "Best of Show" out of all the Open Class Expressive Arts entries.
After bringing it home I did some touch-ups to the base and also replaced the pull with a new one before entering it into the state fair along with my drop spindle and bowl. Again, we went the first day of the fair to see what ribbons I had received. I was exited to see that I had a "First Place" ribbon on my lamp and drop spindle and a "Third Place" ribbon on my bowl. Although my lamp and spindle were the only ones in their class it was still nice to have taken home some blue ribbons. I was disappointed to have little to no feedback on the comment cards but I guess it just left them "speechless".
The lamp was a fun project and I am very happy to have received all of the ribbons for it. I would like to make a couple more in the future and would love to see how the spiral would look with different wood combinations. If you would like to see the lamp in person or some of my other creations, I now have select items in our local yarn store called "A Little Knitty"!
A big thanks to Jen, the shop owner, for supporting a young entrepreneur!
For more information you can check out her website at http://www.alittleknitty.com/.
Earlier this year at one of our events a woman seeing the quality and craftsmanship of my work, asked me if I could do a repair/replacement of a reed holder on her loom. I said I believe I could and would be up for the challenge. About a week later she contacted me with some pictures and told me what needed to be replaced, we also worked out a time to meet up so I could see it in person. After looking at it I could see what exactly needed to be done. Then we went over everything to make sure it would work properly and do everything she wanted it to when I was finished. It needed to be level with the eyes of the loom, spin freely, come in and out and also unscrew so she could put the reed in.
After doing some measuring and figuring out how I would do it, I got started on the holder itself, the legs would come later. The first thing was to cut a centered 1\2" notch half way into the wood I was using. I tried using a router table for this but it did not work as I had a bit that was just too small and it would catch if I tried going over the piece again to bring the hole to width. So I had to make new pieces and try again, this time I used the table saw with a dado blade. My dad helped me cut out the width and I cleaned up most of the saw marks with some sand paper. Finally after getting those done I cut all the pieces to size and notches on the ends so the side pieces would inset.
Now that I had the frame parts finished I needed to drill holes for the screws and the hanger bolts. I used hanger bolts and wing nuts so that she could unscrew and take the top off when ever she wanted. I clamped the pieces loosely together just enough to hold them, then I drilled the holes while the pieces were exactly where I needed them.
I then got started on making the swivel part of the reed holder. I drilled some holes on the side pieces big enough for a brass tube to fit in, which I will then insert a small piece of iron rod for it to spin freely. I did the same process for the legs.
After finishing the frame I then got on the legs. The loom has a inside diameter of just over 26'' long, the reed is 24'' long and the frame needed side pieces at least 3/4'' thick to accommodate for the hanger bolts and the legs need to be the same thickness as the side pieces, leaving me with 30 ''. So I needed to figure out a way to have the legs curve in to make it work. I decided the best way for me to do it would be to cut the legs on the band saw from one solid piece. I spent a lot of time just measuring and figuring out how everything would come together but when I finally finished the legs I was happy with the how they looked.
The last piece to do was the cross brace to keep it solid. I cut the piece to fit in-between the legs, along with some extra room to overlap them for a couple screws. I carved out the ends to fit smoothly up against the sides, along with some drilling for the screws and some more carving to blend everything in.
Now that the reed holder was done I needed to drill some holes and put brass tubes in the legs and the frame to to have the ability to use locking pins so she can take it in and out. To drill perfect holes in the frame I drilled a hole through a piece of scrap wood on my drill press, using the same drill bit I later used for the frame. I started my hole just a little bit on the frame, then put the drill bit through my scrap piece of wood and started drilling the hole with the piece flat against the surface, this gave me a perfectly straight hole. I also clamped another scrap piece on the other side to prevent any breakout. Now that everything was done I did some finish sanding and oiled it, I use mineral oil since it doesn't smell and no one's allergic to it.
The last several custom orders I have done have not been easy, but I'm glad I did them and I have learned a lot through the process. I have gained more confidence in my skills and feel more confident taking on bigger projects as I improve all the more.
I recently finished a twining loom for some friends of ours. It took me a while to get everything perfect and to fit correctly but once it was all done I knew it was well worth the effort. It was easier to get it done because I had made one for my mom last year. Even though hers wasn't perfect, it showed me what I needed to change to make this one work better.
The first thing was to cut the pieces to size. I delayed this project until I could get a table saw. I knew I would need it to more accurately cut my pieces. I saved for several months and my dad and I bought it together. My dad also gave me a safety class and he helped me cut the pieces on the table saw to width, then I cut them to length with a hand saw. After sanding, I measured and marked the holes for the bolts and nails. I had to consider the distances best suited for varying sizes of projects on the loom. This can make table runners, rugs, place mats, and much more. I also designed it to be collapsible and quite portable.
After drilling the holes I tried to do some routering. I had routered my mom's to make it look nicer so I figured I would do it on this one as well. I found the router took too much away from the sides and would make it more fragile, so I ended up having to make new pieces that I just rounded by hand.
I used carriage bolts for the loom, so I had to cut square holes with my hand carving tools for the bolts to go into and not twist when tightening the wing nuts.
I carefully hammered in all the nails and tried to get them as perfect and straight as possible.
I then started to work on the parts to hold the rod. I had to modify my design to strengthen the support so I designed pieces to hold the rod on either side. These pieces make it easier to change your twining size as they can be simply pulled out (similar to a dowel), then put back into another hole. Each piece was turned by hand from a solid piece of wood with the dowel on one side and a hole for the eye bolt on the other. Some of the holes had to be off-centered to line up with the off-centered sides correctly. The top and bottom pieces of wood were made with Walnut and the middle pieces were made with Cherry. This enables the twiner to better discern where each piece belongs. After turning the pieces and getting everything correct I put the eye bolts in, four of the six pieces I made I drilled the holes in while they were on the lathe, because they didn't need off centered holes as I had made centered holes with an added inch I had at both ends of the side pieces.
Finally after a lot of correcting and redoing I bent the rods at a 90 degree angle and put on the finishing touches.
My client (friend) was very happy to get the loom and the family was impressed by my workmanship and said it looked very professional. I even included my 'Maker's Mark' and she thought it was great! Over all, it was hard work & many hours to get everything perfect but I was happy with the outcome of this project and hope to get more things done soon.
I like doing things and learning a whole bunch, but I'm finding I have a challenge working on things for such a LONG time. I am thinking about how I can do smaller projects with more instant gratification in between to give my mind a break and help encourage me.
At one of our events this year, I saw a man I helped out with some sheep shearing in April. He and his wife also had a booth there and I thought I would say 'hi' and show him some of my work as I had briefly mentioned my woodworking when I helped him with the shearing. Commenting on the quality of all of the things I had made, he asked if I would be able/willing to try out some rosettes for his older 1920's home, as he could not found someone to do them for him. He said he would paint them so they didn't need to have a perfect surface or be a special wood. I told him I would be more than happy to try them out and will give him an update and a price point when I finish a few. The next day he brought a rosette to let me use to replicate them.
At first I wasn't quiet sure if I would use a rosette cutter or turn them on the lathe, but after further research and talking to a local antique home restorer, I learned that craftsmen during this time period often made their own custom rosette cutters. I decided the easiest and most cost effective way to do it would be to turn them on the lathe. I selected some quality cherry after also discussing potential chipping issues of different woods with the antique home restorer. After cutting a few pieces on the table saw, with the help of my Dad, we noticed that they looked crooked. So, we had to take some pieces off of the table saw and figure out how to correct it. After some minor adjustments we were getting all the pieces cut straight.
I had already been considering the best way to center and mount them so I started turning them on the lathe. My first rosette went great and I figured I'd only get better and faster as I progressed. I was wrong. I needed to contact him immediately because there was just a 1/8" difference in thickness between the original and the one I turned. I thought he may want to meet and see it for himself, but after describing the challenge in detail and sending him pictures, he was happy to have me continue; acknowledging that the painting could make up for that small variance.
Getting back on the lathe I found each piece of wood, although the same type, acted a little differently and getting all of them the same size proved challenging. I learned several lessons during this project.
When all the rosettes were finished I scheduled a meet up. After looking at them he was very impressed with my quality of workmanship and was excited to finally find someone who could do them. It was a great opportunity to learn something new and add to my skill set, which I'm happy to have always increasing, yet never full.
I recently received a custom order for some beads. A woman looking at my quality creations asked if I have ever or would be interested in trying to do some beads, as she was looking for some specific beads for lanyards she would be giving as awards. I told her I haven't, but would be more than happy to try out something new and add to my skills. After roughly figuring out the size with a quick sketch, I gave her my business information and asked her a few questions to get the correct size and amount she wanted.
After getting the measurements from her, I tried a few out and sent her some pictures of them and the price I was thinking. She said they looked beautiful but was wondering if I could make them a little bigger and do three pairs of curly woods and three pairs of normal. After finding some curly and burled wood pieces from my unique stock, cutting them to size, turning them to be perfect pairs and finishing with fine sand paper, I took pictures and sent them off for her approval. Once she saw them in person she was very excited to have them and was glad I was able to do them. Although it was a new challenge, I am thankful to have developed new skills and have another happy customer thanks to the gifts God has given me.
While we were at the Shepherd's Extravaganza our neighboring vendor, Robin purchased an antique spinning wheel. She was enamored with it's beauty and wanted a special orifice hook to complement the craftsmanship. Unfortunately, the designs I had would not fit into the very small orifice.
We discussed options and I was sure I could come up with a design that would work.
That night, I went back to my wood shop and found a piece I knew would color match really well. Dad and I stayed behind the next morning and I was able to later bring her a one-of-a-kind, hand turned, dark walnut orifice hook. The design will fit into the smallest orifice and it has a recessed portion for determining your Wraps Per Inch.
Who am I?
I am a 16 year old woodworker always sharpening my skills and bringing new projects to the table. I hope you enjoy reading about my custom creations, personal projects, and shop progress. Plus you can check out my gallery here.