Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Leaving for College

Well, it's 12:35AM and I'm waking up at 7AM or something to leave for Morrisville State College.

First things first:

If you found this through Etsy, Instagram, anything- Well, you've walked into a midnight rambling session that's been going for quite a while. If you would like to order anything during this transition that may take weeks or years, please feel free to email me at or send a message through instagram:

Now to pretty much say, I'm cleaning this blog up. I'd go on a rant about why- but part of that answer includes 'I should stop ranting into the void'. First thing to go- the fake, cheery inflection I've often put into these posts and replace it with more honesty. Either way could have the same result, only one path is easier and closer to the ol' saying, 'be true to yourself'.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Madonoko- Window Saw

So this is a miserable saw. I think I was trying to do some fancy four-facet tooth on it but failed miserably. Am I old enough yet to hate my teenage self? I'm legally an adult now, right? 

It skates across the work, doesn't cut at all. So I figured it's as good a candidate I can get for an attempt at a madonoko/window saw profile. Should I use 'madonoko', or just say window saw?

More pics showing how the teeth seem to all slant in different directions. Strong independent teeth, don't need no unity. 

This is one part of the saw that's original, surprisingly, from when I first got it. I later found out that the little area there is super-hard steel, the file tends to skate off it rather than dig in and, ya know, file off material. 

First I jointed the teeth until they were even, pretty much half their previous height. 

Broke off the teeth with a needlenose pliers, going with the pattern of 5 teeth, break a tooth, then 20 teeth left near the handle. You can see where I accidentally broke off an adjacent tooth, causing a big gap in the middle. 

The long slow filing of the gap. 


This is the goal. Uniform teeth, one rip tooth, four crosscut, a window twice as deep as the teeth height, with a rounded bottom, slightly diagonal.

There is probably a hundred other details to be observed in this photo, but I am both too inexperienced and also tired at the moment to pick up on them all and list them. 

Window depth seems to be near matching. Slight differences appear. 

Turning the misshapen rectangles back into proper crosscut teeth. The first half are done in this pic, I think. 

And here's where we are. The first window I tried using the mill file to remove material from the window, which was a bad, bad idea. It's too big and too sharp, one stroke went too deep and almost filed off the rip tooth.

The rest of the windows look good except for the one where two teeth snapped off...

Hey, it'll look good with beer goggles on, right?

First cut is done inside as I finished at 10PM and it's way, way too cold outside. Brought in some fresh eastern white cedar that got taken out by the storm. Using my stool/cajon drum as a sawhorse. Hope it doesn't mind.

And man, does this thing cut! From the slowest, most frustrating saw to work with to one of my fastest saws. The handle feels dry and a bit small, it's split down the middle, but it works great. I'll have to try it on some dry hardwood next!

And nicely wrapped with another ryoba I was sharpening the rip teeth of. Not much to talk about there, just a slight touch up. 

In other news, joined the local makerspace. Can't wait to learn how to use these. 

Biggest 3D printer I've ever seen!

I'll have to make a toolbox, there's a really nice wood-shop but it's recommended not to leave your precious hand-tools there. I'll also see what storage space I'll have at Morrisville, I think the woodworking professor said there's lockers. Maybe a disposable dozuki, maybe a ryoba, some chisels, hammer, and my kanna...I should get another one. Yes, that's the perfect excuse. Kanna are nice and light weight, perfect for travelling with. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Weather or Not, I'll Sharpen the Saws

 Weird weather continues to wind it's way into where I live.

Now, it's back up to sixty after dipping back down to the tens, the wind has knocked lightpoles in parking lots down onto cars, and ripped pine trees out by the roots...

Looks like I'll have to get the chainsaw de-winterized  earlier than I planned

I'm getting back into Japanese saw sharpening. I've taken a break in the last year from this, and many things besides, such as last year's spring track. 

But you can only see where you were after walking away..

. Getting out of the echo chamber I found myself in lets me gain a new perspective on woodworking, Japanese tools, and myself. 

One big improvement is getting on migraine medicine which is making life a whole lot more manageable.  Also dropped right about fifty pounds. 

A perspective I gained in my walk-away is, I need to respect tools. And I'll explain what I think that means: The people I respect the most I am the most honest with, we laugh, joke around, have honest conversations with. We can push and shove each other, talk smack about one another, because we know we have mutual respect with one another. 

That is not how I respected my tools.

When I previously 'respected' my tools, I put them on a pedestal. I was too afraid to accidentally damage one of them, so I didn't do anything but tap meekly on my kanna blade.

I have three saws out of frame in that picture: my big resawer, and two ryobas about 240mm. One of which is that failed experiment in chubby teeth.

 I think I'm going to try making some medium rip tooth and crosscut-  I have a lot of rough rips, and rough crosscuts, and extra fine crosscuts, but none in the middle of the way.

Maybe if I feel really brave I'll try a madonoko! 

In other news...Last weekend, I went to the Rochester Makerspace's open house with my godfather, and ended up loving it. Big, co-op warehouse workshop with woodshop and machine shop? $40 membership for the whole family?
And it's heated! No more blue fingers trying to get something done!

Friday, March 3, 2017

DIY Torification- Stabilizing Spalted Maple

This howling weather means lots of naps inside!

So if you've been following me on Instagram, (, you'll know I've been carving items for the kitchen from green/fresher wood. This is partly to provide cheap, impulse buys at potential markets, but it is also a great way to learn more about wood grain and knife skills.

I also use a lot of spalted maple I harvest myself. This platter was roughed out three years ago and has been drying since, but I found this little grub in it: 
Phone throwing me some shade when trying to get a clear photo of it T_T

Here's a clear photo of the worm holes

The grub appeared to be dead, and I tore it out; then filled the holes with superglue along with any other potential holes and cracks. 

Now, let's make sure this board doesn't have anything else hiding in it: 
I tore through my fresh wood supplies looking for any evidence of grubs, couldn't find any, so I decided to leave them out to freeze overnight. The next morning, I lit a small fire, placing the pieces around it:

High heat should kill off any elements of decay that may have survived the frost. I covered the coals and let it bake overnight.

Inside, I drew a quick sketch of the next project, while taking the nebulizer. 

Also this month, got this nice design sketched out and cut it out on the scroll saw. This pattern is free to any takers! 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Abstract Owl, Pt. 2

 One of the best features of New York State is just how many parks we have. This was at Black Creek ski and horse trails, only a short drive (ten minutes or so), or a medium bike ride away. It's pretty big, mostly new growth, with plenty of evidence of past life:

I've been slowing down with bad asthma the past month, but a course of pridnisone has me back on my feet and running again. So here's what's new with the owl box: 

Copper pulls for the drawers were hammered out of old copper pipe, shaped, 'nailed' in, then attached with superglue. 

I polished them using a dremel, so they're nice and shiny- I think the red glow compliments the wood nicely, but I wonder how the greenery of age will affect the piece? 

A back panel was fitted into the top using lap joints. One of these days I should make or gain some planes, but I think that'll wait until after the roaming days of college and job-hunting are over. You can do a lot with a marking gauge to set the limits, running it deep into the wood, then carefully sawing and chiseling out the waste: 

Why did it take me so long to start doing this? Painter's tape really helps prevent messy glue-ups. 

First time using carving chisel, and I need a lot of improvement. 

And here it is so far. Just needs some finish shaping and sanding, and I think the beak looks a little fat- overall I think it's shaping up to the weirdo, abstract, Northwest native kinda vision I had, with the bare impression of wings enclosing the drawers. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Abstract Owl Cabinet and a Lightbox

One of the things I'm trying to do is figure out how to get better pictures without buying a camera, cause I do not have the funds for that. 

So I built a quick lightbox following this tutorial:

I didn't curve the posterboard, I didn't have a piece that bendable or big enough. It still seems to work well, now to get something to provide more light for pictures. Using natural light seems to work the best: 

This picture was taken using my chopping log for the table, and a white display board as the backdrop; I opened up the doors to the shed, and let the natural light do it's magic.

Thing is, natural light isn't convenient or accessible in winter, especially when I am not home from 6am till 4 or 5:30 pm weekdays.

Onto the 'Abstract Owl' Cabinet:

I had the image of a cabinet, a small tabletop cabinet, with the features of a guardian owl protecting the contents. I sketched it out: 

I then drew the shape onto the wood, coming up with  dimensions for the sides that would leave enough wood to safely carve. I cut out the center piece of wood, and then cut the wood for the nose out of that block. 

I cut a small mortise for the nose to go into, and attached a pin to the nose block. This, combined with glue, will hopefully give a secure connection. 

I carved the shape of the nose, and attached it to the main block. 

After that was done, and the main part of the head sculpted, I cut half laps into the sides and fitted a bottom. 

So, what's my rational here? I let the sides be part of the block in order to have maximum strength, along with preserving the grain of the piece. The bottom was made from a separate piece of wood in order to have a strong bottom, and not simply weak end grain. 

I made a bench hook for pull-saws months ago, maybe November?

It's pretty much the reverse of a regular bench hook, and it works great for sawing with a dozuki, planing  end grain, and for sawing with a ryoba (not in the dozuki slot, of course) 

I find using the dozuki slot produces probably my best cuts. This is right off the saw. Makes me wonder if the finish surface is more reliant on the accuracy and stability of the cutting than the actual TPI. 

The crest of the owl was made by refining a template out of pine, then transferring that to a piece from the center block: 

The mahogany piece was then sawn in half, producing two mirror image crest-pieces.

What follows is some of my roughest joinery; I really need to get better at planning things out, yet I find something addicting in working spontaneously. Life does not tell you what will happen; you can only prepare yourself by being like water, ready to flow over any obstacles. 

                 I probably have the most pretentious of excuses, don't I? Yelling them into the void.

So the crest was simply drawn onto the curved surface and then I carved out the mortise, following the curves. I eyeballed the center and the positions of the crest, and the depth of the mortise as well. There was some gaps, and lots of trial-and-error in the fitting, but I guess it means I'm improving when the crest-pieces clicked nicely into place and match each other's depth.

Like the nose, I left on extra material to carve and sand into shape at a later point. I'm still thinking over what to do for the eyes, or whether I should even add eyes or simply let the wood flow in abstract minimilism.

As a final sentence, while the drawers seemed fitting in the drawing, I think I might add two more dividers and have the drawers be small ones for rings and earrings or whatever else. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Years!

So, the sun has set on 2016. 

We made it, man. 2016 is pretty much summed up by Carey's performance. 

There was some good things, though, let's not forget: 

-Tiger population growing for first time in a century
-(USA Specific) Lowest Unemployment
-(Opinion) Hamilton
-(Opinion) Cubs Won. That's just weird.
-Castro died 
-Thawing Cuban-US relations
-Giant Panda no longer endangered
-Ice Bucket challenge led to researchers finding a gene that causes ALS, meaning we're closer to a cure
-In addition to the above, more progress has been made in gene therapy as a whole. 

I'm sure there's others...Just we remember the bad things more vividly, and 2016 had a lot of sad events.

So, here's to a New Year, for all of us. 

And hopefully the sun can shine on all of us.