A couple of weeks back, I had the opportunity to join my boss, Rob Johnstone, and George Vondriska — one of our frequent contributors — in Chicago at Craftsman Experience. Both Rob and I have been there before to give various demonstrations, and you may have caught some of that coverage late last year. This time around, though, our triumvirate efforts were focused on a very worthy cause as well as some fun woodworking. We were building a kit guitar to donate to Guitars For Vets. These folks provide guitars and lessons free of charge to veterans who are trying to cope with the after-effects of overseas combat.
I have to admit that I like art. A beautiful photograph, a lovely piece of sculpture, or a well-done painting – I have all of those in various places in my house. Of course, one of my paintings is of pointing dogs, another of an old train engine – they strike my fancy. As the saying goes, art – like beauty – is where you find it.
The reason I bring this up is that, a while ago, I found a really interesting looking piece of wood – it was cut from the outer aspect of a huge bubinga log. The tree was a monster, almost 400 years old, and for that reason, this piece – which contained bark and exposed sapwood – was able to be sawn flat. The shape of the bark remnants and the graphic nature of the exposed wood kept bringing me back to the piece … but I could think of no really good way to make use of it. Then it struck me: it looked like an abstract painting. So I bought the piece of wood, took it to my workshop, and got busy.
Call me crazy, but I just beat the beans out of a new tool, purchased with my own hard-earned allowance, just to prove a point: I think Rockler got the name of its new Bench Cookies™ totally wrong. They’re not cookies, guys. They’re hockey pucks in disguise.
But first, some back story…