As we head into this holiday season, the new December 2012 print issue of Woodworker’s Journal offers four unique projects tailored for filling your gift list or for trimming the tree, along with much more.
Here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll find in the issue.
One of the things I love about my wife Amy is that she shares my appreciation for beauty in what some might see as macabre. But it can lead to strange souvenirs that present opportunities for unusual projects. And here’s a good example for you. A couple of months ago, Amy took our daughters on a vacation trip to New York. While there, they visited the store Obscura Antiques and Oddities in Manhattan. If you’ve ever watched the show “Oddities” on the Science Channel, that name should immediately ring a bell. The proprietors buy and sell just about anything and everything that’s, well, odd. It’s an amusing and often hilarious program that’s become a family favorite.
She came home with this bat specimen from Obscura encased in a block of resin. And her request of me was this: “Please build a frame for it so I can hang it on the wall.”
Now there’s a project you don’t get every day! So, I got on it straight away. The frame has bridle joints on the corners and is made of cherry. It actually doesn’t hang on the wall; she sets it on a deep windowsill in her office so sunlight shines through it. Makes a pretty good shadow.
It seems an eerie and fitting project for October — and one to offer up to the following theme: “Strange Projects We Have Made.”
I’m sure I’m not the only woodworker who builds something weird from time to time. Do you have a project or two from your past that you’d chalk up to “strange” in some sense of that word? It doesn’t have to be Halloween appropriate, just funky somehow. Why not tell other readers about it here by leaving a comment below?
Let’s see what sort of oddities we’ve conjured up from wood. As far as I’m concerned, “off the beaten track” is a refreshing path to follow now and then, don’t you think? If it’s possible to improve on a plastic-dipped bat, I tried to do it justice here! Amy thinks so, anyway.
I hope you’ll fill us in on your “oddity” project! And spill the details of its “backstory,” too.
A couple of weeks ago, in Woodworker’s Journal eZine Issue 310, Woodworker’s Journal editor in chief Rob Johnstone wrote in his introductory editorial about a friend who’d questioned him on the viability of cutting his own lumber for a project. Rob asked eZine readers if any of them had ever chopped a tree down, turned it into lumber and built a project. Many of them had — including Herb Brodie, who shares his story here.
Last winter I was visiting a friend in Mississippi near Vicksburg. The farm at which I was staying is located on a road that leads directly to that city’s famous battlefield. In fact, the Confederate army marched down that very road to get to the fight. While I was talking to my host about the battle of Vicksburg and the national park that is located at the battlefield, he mentioned a tree. Apparently, this tree had the unlucky fate of being located directly between significant numbers of soldiers of the two opposing armies. When the bullets started to fly, and then continued flying for a long, long time — the tree was one of the early casualties of the battle. According to my host, so many bullets hit the tree that it eventually fell over from the weight of the lead embedded in its wood fibers.
Not so long ago, I was reminded of that story as I built a table that would be featured in the print magazine. (Woodworker’s Journal, October, 2012 … Walnut Game Table) As I was preparing the stock for the table, I noticed a couple of voids in the wood. Thinking it was insect damage, I continued to plane the stock to thickness. Then I noticed that the bug holes were shiny.
Turning off the machine, I took a close look and found that the wood was full of bullet holes … and bullets. There were too many slugs to be found in these chunks of wood to be a random shot … my guess is that someone had hung a target up on a black walnut tree. (Unless, perhaps, it was in some less well-known battle!) Now, I’ve found bullets in boards before. It is not too uncommon and, if you surface a lot of wood, you’ll run into some sooner or later. But I have never before found so many bullets in such a small stash of wood. It was an odd but enjoyable event in my shop … and one that I thought you might get a kick out of.
We all know that old adage about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. But it’s a notion that’s always struck me as a hollow compliment at best. In my experience, it’s much, much harder to create than it is to duplicate.
I was reminded of this just two weeks ago while attending IWF — a biannual woodworking trade show and one of the largest in the country. Here’s a textbook example from that trip of how quickly certain companies will jump onto the bandwagon of a good idea.
Practicality is a good way to sum up the theme of our projects in our new September/October 2012 issue, which is available on newsstands September 4th. If you’re looking for a sensible, yet challenging piece of furniture to build for your home this fall, this issue has you covered.
Here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll find in the issue.
One international extravaganza may have ended earlier this month, but the International Woodworking Fair is going strong in Atlanta. And you know, of course, who brings you the gold medal quality woodworking news: the Woodworker’s Journal team is on the ground, sending dispatches on new tools, industry news and more.
You can watch the tools in action on our blog specially dedicated to the IWF show. We’re now in our fourth year of blogging from the floor of the year’s big tool event, with videos for your tool-viewing pleasure. Find all of our coverage of IWF at the Woodworker’s Journal IWF 2012 Blog here.
We’ve previously brought you other news of pending table saw legislation; in recent news, a Chicago jury decided earlier this month in favor of table saw manufacturer Ryobi Tools, against a plaintiff who claimed he was injured by a defective saw.
The plaintiff, Brandon Stollings, a carpenter who purchased a Ryobi BTS 20R1 a few days before the accident, claimed in the suit that the saw was defective because it did not include a SawStop sensing device or a European style riving knife. Additional lawsuits have been filed across the country with similar allegations, including a 2010 case decided in Boston in which the jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff, awarding over $1 million in damages.
When most people hear about San Diego Comic-Con, their thoughts immediately go to the halcyon days of buying Superman and Spider-Man’s latest adventures for a quarter at the corner store. And while there’s still a piece of that history alive on the floor of the San Diego Convention Center, Comic-Con has expanded far past that.
From Hollywood features to the latest games and gadgets to, yes, woodworking, there’s a little bit of something for everyone at this yearly event. It has become an all encompassing event for hobbyists of all interests and backgrounds, and the company Geek Chic is taking the forefront at bringing quality woodworking to the geek audience.
This spring I moved into a new shop, and I’m finally getting around to doing the finish carpentry to wrap up the interior work. I decided to save some money and run the base molding, door and window trim myself. Every now and again, I really like this sort of trim work, and the contractor’s budget is long since spent.
To keep things moving forward on a Saturday afternoon, I decided to purchase my window and door trim from the local home center. It’s simply off-the-shelf 1x radiata pine — nice, clean and straight material that I could pretty much sand, cut and install. Now I wouldn’t think of pine as a home center species that would come from great distances — especially another hemisphere for gosh sakes — but this batch sure did. The SKU tag says it’s from, of all places, New Zealand.