Monthly Archives: July 2017

Weekend Projects

Made a few tools for myself this weekend. On the left is a carver's mallet that I turned on the lathe from a piece of red oak firewood I had laying around. I forgot how much I love using the lathe! I'm going to have to make some more projects on that soon. Later that morning Carter came out to the shop and asked me to teach her how to turn a pen. I forgot to take a photo of it though - hopefully I'll take one soon and post it here. The second photo shows a pair of hand planes I made this weekend. The bigger one is a standard block plane made from cherry with a bubinga sole and a walnut wedge. The smaller one is a chamfer plane made from hard maple (center) and morado (cheeks). For that one, I even made the blade myself from some O1 tool steel. I still need to cut the wedge down a little shorter on that one - it's pretty tall right now. I've also got a long jack plane that I'm working on, but it's not finished quite yet.

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Root Beer Sampling

I don't drink, but I like the idea of craft beer. Recently I found out that there are lots of small bottlers that make root beer in the bottle, and I've been sampling all of the ones I can find locally. I think I've tried about twelve different types so far. My favorite to date is probably Bulldog (9th from the left). The weirdest one so far is the Bundaberg (the short, stout bottle - 2nd from the right) - it was really fruity. I found a cool place online called "The Root Beer Store" that stocks more than 100 varieties at reasonable prices - the only issue is the shipping is a killer. Glass bottles filled with liquid are just really expensive to ship. Which is too bad - but for now I'll just stick to what I can find around here.

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Secret Drawer Keepsake Box

I built this keepsake box recently as a proof-of-concept for an idea I saw online. The top is some burl veneer (I don't remember the species), the main body of the box is black walnut, and the skirt and legs are curly maple. Inside, if you look carefully you'll find a tiny hole. Poke something into that hole (like a paperclip) and one end of the skirt will pop out - revealing a secret drawer below the false bottom.

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Bedrock Gardens

A few weekends ago Lori, the kids and I met my sister and her kids at Bedrock Gardens, in Nottingham, NH. This place was really cool - I wish I had taken more pictures. It's basically a 20-acre garden in the middle of the woods, with all kinds of sculptures everywhere you look. They're only open two weekends a month - we'll have to get back there sometime and take more photos.


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Voice-Controlled Mood Lamp

This little project uses a Raspberry Pi and an 8x8 Neopixel grid from Adafruit. I've got some scripts running on it that let me control it via the Amazon Echo. We can say things like "switch the mood lamp to green", for example It's working, but I still need to come up with a way to keep the port served up permanently - right now I would need to log into it and restart the server any time we lose the power.

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Walnut Frame for Painting

We've got a friend who paints, and she gave us this painting recently. I made the frame for it out of a piece of walnut that hand a big knot in it, that I haven't been able to figure out what to do with. It worked perfectly for this project. This is now hanging in our bedroom.

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Bluetooth Speaker

After shopping for a bluetooth speaker lately and being somewhat shocked with the prices of anything better than a toy, I decided to try building my own. This one is made of oak and mahogany, and has a 4 inch full-range driver. I found an off-the-shelf little board (for around $20 or so) that handles all of the bluetooth details. It sounds great. The range is a little low, but that may have to do with having to receive through 3/4 of a inch of red oak. I can probably only get around 10 feet away and still have it work - but I can live with that. We put it on this shelf in our living room. It really looks pretty nice over there.

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Geometric Shelf

I built this shelf a few weeks ago, based on one I saw online while surfing for inspiration. I love how this design provides lots of little nooks and crannies, with varying elevations for displaying things. We've been slowly acquiring things to put on it as we come across them - we've still got room for more, but we're in no rush. All of the joints are reinforced with biscuits - which a couple of the joints really hard to get together. I actually broke one joint while trying to assemble it, but I was able to repair it and if you didn't know where to look for it you'd probably never see it.

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