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.
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.
At the Shepherd's Extravaganza a customer, Jen, liked my shawl pins but I didn't have what she was looking for. She wanted a smaller, thinner pin with a smaller loop for her tighter knit shawl.
We looked around the booth for a bit, coming up with different variations in woods and discussing her needs. It was pretty busy and I asked her to swing back by and later I'd have a drawing for her to look at. When things slowed I was able to sketch a design for her approval.
When Jen came back through the 'J' Barn she was happy with my drawing, paid in advance (thank you!) and we kept in touch via text on my progress. Once it was completed we coordinated a meet up for delivery. She was very happy with her pin and asked for another business card to share with friends. I was glad to meet her needs exactly and hope to have more repeat business from happy customers!
A friend of ours wanted me to make her a niddy noddy. That is a tool used to wind yarn.
She wanted it to be a 2 yard yarn winder and she wanted to have it a nice, dark color so I chose walnut for strength and beauty.
To complete the project, I ended up making several trial niddy noddy pieces. The first one was a little too long and Mom was happy to have it, so things worked out perfectly. The second one, I did the handle a little too thin so I made another, thicker version to better match the arms. There were many days of trial and error, but I wanted to have it perfect. After all of that I finally finished it, it has a nice tight seal, can be taken apart for travel, and winds a full 2 yards.
She also wanted me to try to do something with an old evergreen burl they had on a tree stump. When I got it from her it looked like I could make at least a couple bowls from it... but, when I started to work on it a little there was lots of rot and termite damage. Ended up needing to soak it, and carefully cut out the best wood pieces, dry them slowly then work with what remained.
I ended up being able to make 2 shallow dishes and one pen. It was a fun project, I learned more, and it smelled so good turning it. Over all she and her husband really liked everything I made and they were very happy with the quality.
Who am I?
I am a 17 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.