Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hard Work and a Little Luck

     I've always liked drafting tables.  Owning one always seemed to say to me that the owner took drafting/drawing seriously.  They took it so seriously, in fact, that they had a special table for it.  I know now that you can (and should) draw wherever you find space and make time.  I still love the tables.
Combine that with an appreciation of old furniture and you'll understand why I was excited to find this table. 
     I have been helping with a project to turn an old school into a community center where I live and while looking through a narrow, low attic space, I caught a glimpse of this table hiding deep in the back.  The top had been removed and it had clearly been put there before some new walls went up. There was no way to get it out without taking it completely apart. 
     It was as if the table was saying "Hey, can you help me out? I'm kind of stuck back here."
     So I spent a couple hours in near darkness trying to finish taking it apart  before my flashlight went out.  I had to make multiple trips to get each piece out of the tight space.  I wasn't even sure if I had all the pieces.  As I loaded the car, it looked like a collection of dusty old wood and rusty metal bits. 
     With a little cleanup, some paint on the metal pieces, and a fresh couple coats of varnish it's ready for many more years of use.  The parts were all there, waiting for someone to care enough to put it all back together.  I did.
     It's already hard to imagine my shop without this piece.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wood? Well......

I had a chance to meet the editor of American Woodworking magazine last may and we spent some time talking about the role cnc machines of all sizes were playing in both business and consumer applications.  Many people have found that the smaller CNC machines have become an entry point into understanding what's capable. Further more, some of us have done some rather large projects with them.  While some of us will eventually transition to larger CNC machines if it's for business, it is likely that the CNC machine for the casual user is here to stay.  Whether it's woodworking, sign making, model making, art, candy making or a host of other things we haven't even considered using it for- the versatility and ability to express creativity makes them even more attractive as the prices become more affordable.
I was very pleased to find out that some of my work is shown in this month's issue of American Woodworker.  I hesitate to admit that the sign they show has very little wood in it...but I'm thrilled none the less. It's hard to believe how many firsts this year has held for me.  I have lots of things I want to accomplish, and things like this bring home to me that it's real and that my effort is making it happen.  I can't wait to see what 2012 holds. I have some plans...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Trying Something New

As a parent, I've spent plenty of time telling my daughter where she can and cannot draw...and the floor has definitely been on the "no" list.  Recently, however, I had a potential client ask if I could paint a logo on his garage floor.  It was an interesting question...the challenge being that it isn't hard to paint on the floor. The hard part is making it last and not get worn off easily through use.
As it turns out, a friend of mine (Mike Meyer of Meyer Signs) had to paint a large mural scene on one of the floors in a building in Chicago.  I contacted him and he turned me onto an epoxy coating designed for flooring.  I wanted to try it out without saying "yes" to the client.  I considered a number of things to paint, and decided that as I clear out my collection of toys/models/props from various sci-fi and other genres it would be fun to put those things that influence me on my shop floor.  I thought it would be fun to work backwards and start with the more recent...eventually covering the floor with all my old favorites as well.
I have been heavily influenced recently by "steampunk" and in particular by Greg Broadmore of the special effects company WETA. He has a product line known as "Dr. Grordbort's" which is a line of raygun props and other items.  I drew heavily upon that for my robot sign and enjoy looking at his new work.  So, my first painting on my shop floor is a tribute to Greg's character "Lord Cockswain"...he's just crash landed his ship and is ready to destroy any moon-men he finds.
I'll let you know how it holds up to my daily abuse...