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Super Workshop Sunday

February 2, 2015

Yesterday on social media, I read a great post by Derek Olson about why he wasn’t going to be watching any major sporting events later in the day, but instead would be in the workshop making stuff and then talking about it on social media. I did not watch the big game last night, either. I gave my reason in a response to him; thought you might want to hear it, as well.

One time I was sitting down to watch the Super Bowl with some friends of mine when my cell phone rang. I excused myself, went into the kitchen, and proceeded to talk to a girl for almost the entire game.

When I finally sat back down, there were about five minutes left in the fourth quarter. My friend turned to me and said, “That better have been one special girl.”

She’s upstairs right now, taking a nap with our son. I haven’t watched a Super Bowl in 12 years. There are just more important things to do, I guess, like talk to the girl you’re going to marry. Or talk to your wife. Of course, when she’s napping…

I’m off to the shop. Enjoy your time in yours, Derek.

And off to the shop I went. I’m working out a sticking point in my latest project, so in the mean time I decided to spend some time cleaning up the rosewood handles on a few old tools I’ve picked up over the years. I found my first one at an estate sale about three years ago for a crazy cheap price and have kept my eyes out for them ever since. I’m up to four or five of them now. With loving care, some 0000 steel wool, and a bit of Kramer’s Antique Restorer, the rosewood now sparkles with swirls of character and the tools gleam with pride, ready to get back to work.

I’ll save pictures of them for my next post. Does anyone want to hazard a guess as to what kind of tools they are in the mean time? Surely the manufacturers of yesteryear must have vastly overestimated our supply of rosewood for it to be used on such a mundane tool…

I also spent some time working on an idea I’ve had rolling around in my head for quite a few years now. It involves bird’s eye maple and one of my favorite trees; the Missouri state tree, in fact – Cornus  Florida L., also known as the flowering dogwood.

While looking at a piece of bird’s eye maple one day, I had the notion that the figured eyes looked a lot like blooms on a flowering dogwood, as seen at a distance. I thought it might be interesting if I could somehow add branches to connect the flowers, maybe even bring the branches to the trunk of a tree. It would be a tremendous amount of work to do on a large scale, but… what about on a smaller scale? Like a little inlay panel on a box?

It stayed in my mind as an idea for a long time. But I finally put it down on wood. I pulled out my very inexpensive pyrography tool and started with a thin strip of figured maple I had left over from an old project…

Not bad for a first attempt...

Not bad for a first attempt…

I possibly need to look into a better pyrography tool. I also need to work on my branch shapes. More importantly, I need to emulate the branches of the dogwood a little better, especially the tertiary branches that connect to the flowers. Drawing branches without a subject is one of the tasks I remember struggling with in my Drawing II class in college, so it’s time to get out the notepad, get some appropriate pictures, and bone up on my branch drawing.

But the first attempt is promising! Next time I’ll tackle a slightly bigger area.

Something I quickly realized while doing this is that it will be necessary to find wood with a certain density of bird’s eye figure in order to get the technique to look right. I’ll have to ponder that, as well, as I scrape up a little money so I can head to one of the local lumber dealers who carries a nice amount of figured maple this next weekend.

It was time well-spent in the shop. I don’t think I missed a thing on TV.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. corgicoupe permalink
    February 2, 2015 7:24 pm


    For the second time I have not been allowed to log in via kilted… or worpress. I’m not sure what the problem is, but I wanted to respond to Bill’s comment:


    I had been using a Sargent copy of the Stanley combo plane, but decided to order the Veritas plow plane. It’s much easier to use.



  2. February 3, 2015 8:20 am

    I did watch some of the game…because my wife wanted to 🙂 But we talked during most of the game that I don’t remember much of it or any of the commercials. Of course she eventually switched over to Downton Abbey. Love the blog…though my woodworking skills only extend to helping my daughter build her pinewood derby car.


    • February 3, 2015 10:46 am

      Ah, so good to hear from you, Mr. O! I’ll be in your neck of the woods later this fall when Woodworking In America comes to KC. Maybe we can work out a meet-up then, yeah? Would love to see you and the wife and kids!

      Thanks for reading, btw! Nothing wrong with pinewood derby cars. I’ll have to introduce you to some of my KC woodworker friends… we’ll get the bug in you yet. 😉 Their guild shop is a-MAZE-balls, so you don’t even need a lot of tools!

      Miss you, brother.


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