Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Housekeeping Continues

It has been over 2 months since my last post. 2010 has been declared the year of the studio. So I've set aside all new furniture designs until I get the shop sorted out. Still patiently working my way through the diabolical district permit process for a small shop addition for metalwork, and a covered outdoor working area/carport. In the meantime, I stripped the shop, built insulated walls & finished the insulation/vapour barrier on the ceiling. She's holding the heat now, just in time for the mild weather. Ripped out a whole bunch of stuff, whatever wasn't crucial, like a big utility bench. The extra space allowed for much needed lumber/in-progress racks/sharpening station/dust collector home.

Slowly getting on top of the chaos that broke loose & putting tools & machines in their place. Loving the bunkhaus laboratory's new warm, white walls, as any self respecting studio should have. Looking forward to getting the metalwork department into it's own space, then I can run ducting for the dust collection, put in a window etc.

A few words about sharpening & the sharpening station i threw together. I've been using this precision ground granite slab for flattening my sharpening stones, & decided to use it as a bench top for honing too. Some people don't flatten their stones too often, but I prefer to keep my stones flat, it eliminates possible confusion, like when you start getting a weird camber on a plane iron & can't figure out why. It's also less of a chore when you stay on top of it. Also really like this 10" slow speed electric wet grinder, works well. I had been persevering with a cool hand grinder, but I couldn't fix the annoying run-out on the arbor, so made the switch.

Here's a link about all sorts of cool local species, going harvesting with Dan has introduced me to a lot of these:

Also a good clip, old school style:

I'm sure there's not too many people left in the world that can whittle a pair of shoes from a log. I'm also sure there's not too many people who can appreciate what it takes to set up & maintain a shop. Which brings me to a good book I read recently - 'Shop Class as Soulcraft' by Mathew Crawford, which questions the educational imperative of turning everyone into a cubicle/knowledge worker, and the resulting almost complete loss of craftsmanship in our society/economy. He also takes a close look at the merits of manual work, a great read from a pshycologist turned mechanic.
and in a world where we celebrate mama pacha day once a year, but continue to buy furniture that doesn't last long, a few wise words from a designer buddy of mine (a most entertaining blog with all sorts of goodies):

Food for thought...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Speed Stripe Shutters

I enjoy the routine of rolling out of bed & swinging open the shutters to greet the morning & make my Pacific Northwest rain forecast (showers/light/torrential). They have a nice door-swing weight to them, mainly because the western maple frames are 1 3/4" thick with the goal of handling door dimensions as an exercise. The hinges that I knocked up run surprisingly well. I put a Tupla finger slot in the door frame instead of a pull for opening & closing; clean, comfortable, simple. I might make latches at some point. I hit the Western Maple frames with 1000 grit after hand planing & then beeswax; super silky, beautiful wood.
I'm really digging these things, although they don't feature any complex/extraordinary woodworking. I think it's because this is what customising the loft is all about. Reading about designer Eero Aarnio recently '...furthering the notion that home life and design are fully integrated into a sort of laboratory for living.' I like the experimental nature of these things. I'll continue exploring in the bunkhaus laboratory.