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Archive for May, 2013

I found this video and thought I would share it. I hadn’t heard that phrase “shaped on all six sides.” but I like it. It embodies what I love about boat building: the balance between the careful fitting of cabinet making and the deeply sculptural aspects of working with complicated compound curves. The challenges of visualizing how pieces must be shaped to fit each new curve, and then gradually shaping those parts that become part of a greater whole is part of what has given me so much joy when I have created the boats I have built. Each piece of wood that goes into a boat has been held by a pair of hands that have carefully, even lovingly, crafted and it fit it into place. The whole truly does become more than the parts, as the parts themselves even start to flow into one another. This video hits all these themes and more in a really nice way. Enjoy!

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/63683408]
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After moving a year ago, it took a while to get my shop set up again, and one of the biggest problems I faced was that I did not have enough drawers or shelves in the new space for my shop. Not having the space to organize my tools meant that most of them were left in boxes where they were hard to find. Late last fall I started thinking about getting an old built in from The ReBuilding Center, when I took one last look at some old drawers I had laying around and was just about ready to donate. The drawers were from an old built in that some friends gave me after remodeling their house, they were deep and there were 7 of them. The fronts were a bit beat up but still brightly finished, and I decided it was time to finally put them to use.

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I broke out the old sketch I had made for a bench that would utilize them and during my winter break I got to work. The outside case was framed out of 2x4s I cut down to 3 inches in height, and which I half lapped all around. The runners and other interior parts are mostly pine. Almost all materials up to this point were scraps I had lying around. Everything is screwed together. For the back I used 1/4 inch plywood to add rigidity. The wheels are the 4″ heavy-duty Total-Lock casters from Rockler that lock both the swivel and rotation of the wheel. For the top I wanted hard wood and I didn’t want to spend very much. At The ReBuilding Center I found a bundle of oak flooring which had been salvaged from an old house. The tongue and groves were a little dirty from use, but with a bit of work I was able to clean them up, and I had ample material for the top for a very inexpensive price. The oak top is screwed down at the edges and to 3 intermediate stringers going from the front to the back. All holes were countersunk.

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With grad school, progress has been slow, and I still need to finish plugging all the holes and flattening the top. Despite not having it finished, tools are in the drawers and I have begun using it. There are few things as worth while in a shop as knowing where  to find the tools you need, and having them close at hand. Though I was worried that the wheels might not lock well enough to use the bench for sawing or planing, it seems quite steady with the weight of the tools in it.

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Naturally, I am already considering modifications. I may add a vice to the front left hand side. Though I left the sides partially open, I may close the sides completely with plywood and add racks for things like clamps. Perhaps some day. For now I am looking forward to being able to start working on projects again. All I need now is time to spare, but I have about 5 weeks left of student teaching, after which my time will open up and summer projects will begin. Perhaps even another boat.

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