Barn Board and an Artist Bio

IMG_20160522_090946 (1)I was lucky to get a pick up truck load full of barn wood two weeks ago. I have not made anything yet but it is some really lovely stuff, with lots of character and history. Wood is constantly changing. It loses moisture and shrinks, it absorbs moisture and expands. One of the cool things about working with wood is  how it can be altered by its environment.  What is nice about this selection is there are several wide planks, 12″ 13″ and 14″ and there are several boards over 6′ long. Wood like that can be difficult to come by. There are sections that are unusable because they are too dry but a majority of the wood is usable. There are 3 short  4″x 4″ posts, one piece that is 1″ thick, and the rest of the wood is planed to 3/4″ or 1/2″ thick. I am excited about working with this new wood.

I also came across some nice pieces of pine last week. I am rip cutting one of the piecesIMG_20160604_203940 in to 2″ wide strips to use for a frame in a table that I am working on.  My table saw does not work so I am using the circular saw to make my cuts. I have gotten pretty good at making straight cuts but there is occasionally a board that is a little wider or narrower. When that happens I just clamp them together and use a hand plane until they are the same width.

IMG_20160603_192442I am working on my bio and artist statement for the Art’s Guild. I always struggle with those kind of projects. I live in Vermont and I work with wood sums it up for me, but I need more than that.  Honestly I have trouble self identifying as an artist. I am getting  more comfortable the longer I do this but it still feels weird. If I want to sell my work wholesale I need to get over that. So no more putting it off. I will finish  my artist statement this week.

Cabinets and Table Tops

IMG_20160419_192746It’s Spring! Time to get outside and shake off the winter.  Telephone poles  are plastered with tag sale signs and the outdoor flea markets are slowly returning. We were lucky this year it never got too cold and we had below average snowfall but I know I still had a bout of cabin fever and I am happy for the warmer weather. The table top/wall art I started from the futon is glued and ready to sand. Continue reading

Lousy Smarch Weather

IMG_20160119_184421-1January was a bit of a drag but February was a busy month and March is almost over.  F.A.W.M monopolized most of my February creative time but I worked in the shop too. I cut out some small snowflakes, peace signs, and stars.I tried to rearrange parts of my workshop, unfortunately with limited success. I had an ETSY special order for a wall hanging, well it would have to stand on an easel not a wall hanging, but you know what I mean. It was suppose to be Celtic inspired and use more natural wood and little to no painted scraps. I wanted to post pictures of the order but it was a birthday present for a person who follows my shop.IMG_20160119_184500 I did not want to risk posting about it and having the recipient see. I experimented with shapes on the special order and I think I am going to mix up my pattern execution and be less rigid in terms of shape structure.  I am making some progress sanding my shutters down to get the flaking latex paint off the oil paint. Once that is done I will put a clear coat on them prevent the rest of the paint from flaking. That should be the end of the prep work, I am very excited to move on to the construction phase of the shutter shelf project. That’s it for now, and if you can correctly guess the origin of the tittle of this post you get 10% off your next purchase in my etsy store!

Coffee Table Progress

WIN_20151108_183137 (2)I am almost finished with the coffee table top. I hope to glue it up Friday, and attach the top sometime this weekend. This mosaic is more colorful than others I have made. Most of my painted scrap wood is white, black, red and occasionally blue. I had some yellow and orange pieces that I have been WIN_20151108_183212saving for the right project, since the base I am using is yellow I thought this was the right table for the yellow and orange scraps. To attach the top I will have to reinforce and tighten the legs and add extra supports. It looks like yellow was not the original color, it may have been green. Before I add the top  I may do a little sanding and expose some of the green, giving it a distressed look. I think it wood look cool. What else am I up to?  I put another wall hanging on etsy. It’s made from pallet wood, cutting board cull and barn board. IMG_20151107_210440I painted another peace sign, the new one is orange and blue. I hope to put that up once the paint dries. I finished painting the airplane puzzle and frame. This one is a prototype, I painted the frame with enamel paint which would be unsafe for kids. If I decide to sell it I would sell it as a decorative item only. Most likely I will keep it to use as a template for other plane puzzles. When I make new puzzles I will leave them natural  and apply a food safe oil or paint using non toxic kid friendly paint.

small wall hanging

WIN_20151103_212922

1″ scrap wood mosaic

I am still working on the coffee table. It’s been a while since I have tackled a mosaic piece so large and i am growing impatient with the process.. The coffee table is approximately 36″x18″ which doesn’t seem that big until your staring at the vast  empty substrate that needs to be covered.  That’s a tad melodramatic, I am actually making a lot of progress, I am about halfway through the mosaic  now. If all goes according to plan, it should be finished in the next week. For my next project,  I had planned on making  of small wall hangings, and selling them as a pairs.  Most of my mosaics use 3/4″ wood for both the frame and the mosaic design.  I have some 1″ thick pieces that I thought would work as frames. I  don’t have a thickness planer so my first idea was to use the thicker wood,for the frame and use 3/4″  pieces for the mosaic,creating a shadow box. I dry fit some pieces to see what it would look like. It looked okay but there was something off about it..  I dug through  the wood pile looking for any 1″ thick scrap.  I found walnut, oak,,cherry, cedar, and,pine. I put together a quick pattern, and I have enough wood to make at least one more 1″ thick piece.

Making a coffee table

WIN_20151023_192442

Coffee Table Legs

IMG_20151020_174026

Blank Canvass

Last year at Norman’s Attic I bought a yellow coffee table apron/leg for $5.00 hoping to use it for a table. It’s rather large and I have been staring at it for over a year wondering what I to do with it. I thought about taking barn board, cutting it to length and making a very simple coffee table. I really wanted to make a mosaic for it but I did not have a piece of wood big enough to use as the base so I moved the yellow base around hoping for inspiration.  I found a piece of wood that will fit the span and I started work on the coffee table a few days ago. Continue reading

Harvest Festival

Norman's Attic August 2015

Normans attic August 2015

Tomorrow, September 26 I will be in Arlington,VT from 9 am to 5 pm for the St. James Episcopal Church 2015 harvest festival. Stop by, say hi and check out some of my work. I have a few puzzles, wall hangings and tables to sell. The weather is suppose to be great, it should be a fun day. The festival takes place on the church grounds and the arlington village green.

Wooden Wall Hanging

IMG_20150816_180831

wall hanging 1 formerly a table ,briefly a shelf

I have been working on several new projects this week. I am adding a mosaic top to a beat up broken cabinet. I am experimenting with using large 1″ in diameter dowels as table legs. I am also   designing and building smaller mosaic pieces that I plan to sell as wall hangings. I have an etsy store now and I need to have some items that are not too complicated or too expensive to ship. Making wall art seemed to be the the way to go. Continue reading

Guitar Table

IMG_20150906_181450The guitar table I made from plywood sold at Norman’s attic so I started another one today. Most of the wood I have is too narrow to make a guitar body. That’s why I used plywood for the first one. In order to get the right size board,  I would have to make it.I foūnd some pieces of shiplap, glued them together. To get a tight seal I screwed one of the pieces to the workbench applied glue to the edge and the tongue and lined the boards up. I clamped them together, when it was as tight as I wanted I screwed the other piece into the bench. After the glue dried I drew a guitar body on the wood. The last guitar table I made was shaped like Fender, this one is designed to look like a Gibson. In order to make the cutting easier I attached a block of wood to one side. This block served two purposes. 1, it protected the integrity of the glue seam. 2, It served as a handle to steer the wood through the scroll saw.  I could have used a jig saw but I used the scroll saw because I felt like I had more control using the scroll saw. I am in the process of sanding now the first pass I used 80 grit paper to smooth the rough edges and remove any left over marker from the drawing. I plan t use 3/4 inch dowels for legs. It should be finished in a few days. The shiplap for this project came from the walls of a barn converted into a gift shop.

If I knew I would need to remember trigonometry would I have started woodworking? (yes)

cutting an angle over 45 degree's on a miter saw is hard

cutting an angle over 45 degree’s on a miter saw is hard

2x4 table legs

The I’s have it!

It’s a good thing I make reclaimed wood tables, because I generated a ton of waste pieces attempting to make legs this week. Before even beginning my cuts I was forced to perform trigonometry and find the co sine in order to calculate the support brace angles. I had to go through so much effort because the dimensions are odd, the largest side is 3 times the size of the smallest side so it has a very steep slope.  After all the calculations and math I discovered I had to cut a 57 degree angle. Unfortunately my miter saw only cuts to 45 degrees and the blade adjuster needs to be replaced on my table saw. . . After taking too long to calculate the cuts I spent the better part of the morning experimenting with ways to actually make the cuts. I was about to just use a protractor to draw the angle and cut by hand in a miter box, but instead I turned to the internet. I did a search for cutting a 60 degree angle with a miter saw and was inundated with results. As luck would have it there were several suggestions and many inventive solutions. I found two ideas particularly helpful. One idea is to turn the piece you want to cut 90 degrees on your saw. Subtract the angle you want from 90 and set your saw to the difference. Since I wanted a 57 degree cut and 90-57= 33 I set the angle to 33. The first time I tried to do this with a scrap piece of 2×4. It was hard to make the cut straight with the 2×4 perpendicular to the fence and sticking out at me. I adjusted by rigging a clamping system that allowed me to keep the piece in place and make the cut. The second idea is to make a jig to use so that the saw stays square (90 degrees) and cuts the angles without actually adjusting the angle of the blade. I have not tried the jig method yet. I got better at making the cuts using the first method but I am still not great at it yet. So I think I will be rethinking the design of the table legs. Right now they look like a pair of capital I’s. And they may stay that way. Each leg is made of a reclaimed 2X4 and 2 10” pieces of rough cut pine 1x2”s. I painted each of them white to match the frame on table 11. They have a rustic look, I will do three coats of white, sanding in between each coat and a complete the legs with a  dusty lacquer finish. I normally apply the finish coat when the table is assembled to give it a uniform look, but I will lacquer the base and the top separately for this one.