Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cutting season has begun.

This is the second load of the fall. About 500 ft. Got a load 2 weeks ago that was about twice this size. Lots of 8/4 birdseye and flame birch. A little 6/4 and lots of 4/4. Some nice wide stuff too. I even saw some spalted in there. My son in law dropped this off last night about 8 pm. It will get stacked and stickered this morning. Lots of frost as you can see. It is 25 as I write this. This is the time they start cutting lots of maple and birch at the mills. No staining when it is cold like this. This will now air dry for at least a month or more. Probably more. I have several thousand feet waiting to go into the kiln.  I did get the quarter sawn curly maple out of the kiln. I will be sending those pictures out in my wood letter to my customers. I have only a little, but it turned out very nice. More is air drying as we speak. If you don't get my wood letter and want one, email me. Hope you are staying warm  and to all my east coast friends, God bless you. Hope you all get through the aftermath of the storm ok. I hear lots of stories about no help from fema and the other government groups. I hope that is not the case.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

New Hamilton Gauges

Just got the" beep beep "from the mail lady. Low and behold, she had the package I was waiting for. For a few months , Jeff Hamilton had been working on a matched set of marking gauges, panel gauge and his new type of marking gauge, all made from birdseye maple.

I sell Jeff the tiger maple that he uses on his gauges. We had talked over time about some of the lumber I have. I get some real different stuff in odd sizes once in a while. I had some ok birdseye in 5/4 that I sent along with his last wood order. He said he would make me a set when he had time. Now, if you know of his gauges and how nice they are, he does not have a lot of "extra " time. He is one busy guy with the gauge business and his other work. We have talked on and off over the months and we talked about dying wood and finishing. I asked him to dye these. I like color in my wood and white birdseye is not too appealing to me. Plus this birdseye was not all white to begin with. Below are a few shots. Sorry they are not the best, but I did find a great photographer to take shots of my furniture. But that is a story for another blog.

You can find Jeff's gauges here

Tell Jeff I sent you. He makes great tools and he is a really nice, honest guy. Can't ask for more. bob

Sunday, July 1, 2012

New things and a new saw

Its been a warm month of June. Have been working on some new things and some art show stuff. Got the chest back from Joan the painter. She did an absolutely wonderful job. I cannot say enough about the work she did on this piece. It is a show stopper and her workmanship and talent is evident on it.
The I have been working on a mirror frame for a client and thought it would make a nice show piece. It is a Stickley style mirror frame done in tiger maple. Nice shadow lines and a good size. My problem is, I never make just a few....I also have done a smaller , more vertical one. I'll get some pictures up at another time.
I do have one show at the end of July, Art at the Park in Appleton. Its a one day show, but last year is was 98 degrees and about 98% humidity. Kind of nasty. Then there is the 3 day show in Milwaukee at the Domes. That is in August. More to come on both of those. Lots of work to get done between now and then.

Got a new saw for the shop. 1800# of goodness. She is a Northfield sliding table, tablesaw. It takes a 14" to 18" blade. She is a beast, but something I have wanted for years. Northfield is an old family company still in business in Minnesota. New saws are still made. They are a great company to do business with. I have some work to get it working right , but it is not much. Hope to have it running soon. You can see my old 1941 unisaw to the left of the Northfield. She is going to a good home.

I didn't say much about lumber this time. I am still drying and selling. Be sure to let me know if you are searching for anything. By the way, the festool domino worked great on the mirrors.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Something new

Well, most of you know I am an old tool guy. Love big old machines and hand tools. Not one to get sucked into the newest, shiniest tool crap. I have watched a lot of Paul Marcel's stuff on his neat blog

He is really a nice guy. Honest to a fault. I like that in folks. I have heard all the talk about a domino and all the stuff you can do. Then , my buddy, Charles Neil got one. I wanted to see if he really liked it or if it was a bunch of hogwash. I waited for him to have a good chance to use it. He told me good things. Now Charles and I go way back and we both do the same thing, build custom furniture. I respect his opinion about tools. We tell each other horror stories about stuff we have bought over the years. Yes , we both have stuff sitting in corners or given away that turned out to be useless. Yep, slick marketing works.

Anyway, Charles really liked this domino . It really made me think. Plus I had some small tables to make where this might be useful. I did the best thing I could do. Talked it over with my wife. I count on her to bring me back to reality at times. I am a tool hog. Not as bad as I am about lumber, but real close. She looked at me and said, "I think you should get it". I trust her. So, I paid the money and got one. Now I do have the 6" sander from festool, so I know they do make top shelf stuff. But I am not sold on the 1400$ miter saw or some of the stuff they make. But I have to say, after trying this out, it is worth every penny. I have a lot to learn yet. I hate reading the manual, but I am doing it with this. Something about holding 900$ in your hand and not wanting to mess it up the first time you use.

I started with some basswood. I had no idea how this thing would pull like a biscuit cutter, or router. It cut like butter. I had the biggest cutter in it, a number 10. I am not into metric measurements. That will take me a bit. Wish they used imperial, but, I can learn. I read the book and read it again. After the basswood, I pulled out some black locust. I figure I might as well try the hardest stuff I have. If you don't know, black locust is a scrub tree that will cause sparks to come off your chainsaw as you cut it. Heavy and hard, it works great for exterior projects, if you can find it. The small tables I want to make will be done with black locust. Plus it glows under a black light. I know, another useless wood fact.

Anyway, I went at the black locust and tried it out on side grain, end grain and face grain. Cut smooth as could be. It floored me. I kept waiting for the tool to pull sideways. It did a little on the end grain, but not much. I will be using this a lot in the next few months. I know its not cheap. Neither was my sander. But, I have to say, this thing looks like a real winner. Special purpose, for sure. But it does what it is suppose to do and does it very well. Now I need to go watch more of Paul Marcel showing me how to use this thing. Can always learn more. Thanks for listening. I know this will not appeal to folks who use pallet wood for furniture. Then again, that's not me.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A few new things

I have a couple new things that will be going out this week. The solid flame birch desk is done with a light golden walnut dye as is the top and drawer on the other desk also. The birdseye maple small table can be used as a desk or a small dining table. It just has a clear finish on it. I really love the curl in the flame birch legs. Looking at them, they remind me of the old barber poles. The curl just wraps around the leg so nice. The tops on the 2 desks are 30" wide. Nice 3 board tops. The birdseye table was 27" wide. I usually try and build with the most I can get out of a set of boards. It much easier to do that then try and find enough to make what you think you need. The combination of the black and figured wood has always sold well. It looks very rich together. I use a black spray lacquer for that and then a couple clear coats over that. The pictures make the flame birch look red to me, but they are golden. Got a lot of things to do. Hope to put some more up soon.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spalted maple and some other goodies.

Got a new load of wood from the kiln today. I also had these boards heat treated. I don't think I want to build with wood that has a live fungus or bugs in it. So I have them cook these at 145 degrees for 48 hours to kill anything in them. This was some really nice spalted hard maple I got from a friend. Years ago we  sheeted his shop with this stuff. I t about cried. He kept saying it didn't make him sad. He had some left over and I finally talked him into selling it. It is 12 feet long and 4 to 7" wide. Nice clean stock.

I have been very busy in the shop. Did a small dining room table, some benches, a vanity in black ash and some smaller pieces. It has been a good week. Got some wood to ship out this coming week.Have to get some desks made and some more benches. I want to get one of the nice tiger maple slabs in and plane to get some pictures for a guy who wants a mantle. Got some wonderful nice slabs here, along with a bunch of new 8/4 stock. Had my buddy turn some legs in flame birch and birdseye. They came out wonderful. Email me if you are looking for leg stock or some great stock for small boxes.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A couple of new pieces

This is a mobile bar done in quarter sawn curly cherry for the case and curly cherry for the top . It turned out very nice. Everyone that saw it loved it as did the most important, the client. It was based on a picture they sent and was sized for their needs. It rolls on 4 industrial casters. The hinges are stainless steel. They did want handles put on the 2 doors but after seeing it without them, they liked it better. The scalloped curly cherry in the doors was made with a custom knife set on the molder. It is not a light piece at all. Weighs well over 200#. Its new home is on the east coast.

A new cradle for our new grandson. Just got this sprayed last night. I used a water base finish. Turned out well. My daughter and her husband will be getting this next Saturday. It was based off a 17th century american cradle I found online. My daughter didn't want a hood, so I changed up the headboard end. Pretty simple to make. I made it a tight fit for the mattress they bought. This is the color of their bed I made them for their wedding. It was made in tiger maple as well. The dye is the same as on the curly cherry bar up on top.

Friday, March 16, 2012

you just can't fool with mother nature.

This was a piece of 8/4 curly maple that lived up to its name. It was on the bottom side of as pile. Literally tons of weight of wood and concrete and it still twisted. You just can't prevent what nature will do if it wants to. I hope to cut this for leg stock. Its about all it is good for. Nice 10 foot long piece, looks like spaghetti Maybe it should go for a pine wood derby track.....

Unloading Day and finding hidden gems

Got the dry kiln unloaded yesterday. It was an all day job for myself. 6 trips back and forth. Found hiding places for everything, so that is good. This load was 99.9% hard and soft tiger maple. A little 8/4 birdseye is mixed in.

One of the things I always am on the search for is 8/4 and thicker stock in tiger maple or any figured wood. This load has that and more. Nice slabs of 8/4 and 12/4 tiger maple. Lots of natural edges. They will make some excellent slab top tables. I also have a lot of 4/4 hard curly maple in this load. The figure is incredible. Not a lot of wide stock, but just super tight curlt and nice white color. I need to find some guitar makers. This will make some wonderful stuff. I plan on sending out a newsletter this coming week. I will have some cool stuff for sale. If I don't have you on my email list and you want on, go to my web site, and click on the email link. I will be happy to add you on the list.

Tomorrow comes the new load from the mill. The weather has been very unusual here. 60's and 70's all week. This stuff needs to get on stickers and get air drying. I would hate to lose it to sticker stain. I guess there will be some super nice stuff coming .Flame birch, hard tiger maple and birdseye. Should make for a long day stacking and stickering. I will get some pictures and do another blog about that. Hope you all are enjoying the weather.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Time to surrender

You can stack and sticker and level. You air dry and pile weight on top. You band it and stack it on top of other piles.You do everything you can think ok to hold movement to a minimum.
Then you open the kiln doors and start unpiling wood. BOIGGG. Sounds like something Wiley E. Coyote would have happen.  You put 2500 feet in the kiln and put thousands of pounds of weight on it. But nature has a way of messing with your head. The pictures above are of a few pieces  of flame birch. They look like the yellow brick road in the wizard of Oz. I have one that is a half round. If I had one of those round top windows, I would not have to steam bend it.
This is some wonderful figured birch. But sometimes, whatever you do is not enough. I chopped these into shorter pieces. Then I chopped the shorter pieces into shorter shorter pieces. I ran a face over the jointer. I then moved some of the pieces to the scrap barrel. Sometimes you just need to know when its time to surrender.

I have a lot of new stock that will be going into the kiln in the next week or so. I will be taking some shots of stuff before then, I hope. Let me know if you are looking for anything.