Author Archives: joel

Chef’s Knife

I made a small camp knife a few years ago, and have always wanted to try something bigger - like a kitchen knife. With all the free time I've had lately I decided to give it a shot. This knife is made from O1 tool steel, with a blade about 8 inches long. The handle is spalted hickory I milled from a tree that fell at our old house. The wooden sheath has rare earth magnets embedded inside, to hold the sheat on securely. The sheath is made from the same spalted hickory as the handle. After it's initial sharpening, it was sharp enough to shave the hair off of my forearm. Now we just need to wait and see how well it holds that edge.


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MHAL T-Shirts

This one is sort of an inside joke at work. At one point someone made a joke about putting it on a t-shirt, and I threatened to do it for real. Then suddenly I've been stuck working from home for months and decided, "why the hell not?", and actual made some real shirts. Once it's safe to go back into the office I plan to hand them out to everybody in the know.


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Wooden Clamps

I've been trying to come up with projects I can do with the materials I already have at home, and found some plans online for making wooden f-style clamps out of scraps. So I made this set of a dozen from scraps and offcuts from when I built my workbench - as a woodworker, you can never have too many clamps! These worked out well enough that I made another set of six that are longer - although I haven't taken any photos of those ones yet. I'm actually considering making yet one more set of six, at an even longer length, to round out the collection.


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Dinner Plates

When testing out some glaze combinations, I came across this combo - which I quite like. I made us an entire set of dinner plates using this glaze combination, to replace our old, cheap, storebought ones - which were getting pretty chipped and worn anyway.

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Neopixel Bubble Clock

Anybody who knows me and my hobbies knows I love to make interesting clocks - I feel like they are the perfect canvas to try out new things and get creative, as everyone fundamentally understands what a clock is supposed to do. Because the basic idea is constrained, it lets me be creative with the implementation without having to also explain what the thing actually *does*. So here's a new clock I built - it's Neopixel-based and run off of an Arduino. The outer ring is hours, and the inner ring is minutes (in 10 minute intervals). The center pixel is an AM/PM indicator. I used ping-ping balls for the diffusers - it turns out that they work great for Neopixels! They remind me of bubbles, which is why I call this my "bubble clock". The colors are really washed out in this photo, but I think that's just because the Neopixels are so bright. In person it is very vibrant and colorful.


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Bottlecap Display Board

Carter and I try new root beers every chance we get - especially on our road trips, when we might get a chance to try one from a local small 'brewery'. We've been saving the bottlecaps every time we try a new one (and the bottlecap isn't blank), and have just been storing them in a jar. I finally got around to building a display board for all of them. I made sure to build it oversized, so it has room for our collection to continue to grow.


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Glaze Load

I've had a lot of free time during the Coronavirus shutdown, and have made a bunch of pottery. Here's an example of a recent glaze load I pulled out of the kiln. My wife and daughter specifically requested that matching set of bowls, after they saw my first test of that glaze combo.


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Recipe Card Box

When I broke down the pallet the new lathe came on, the main load-bearing members of the pallet seemed to be made of better stuff than the rest of it. So I hung onto them, thinking maybe I could use them for something. When I recently wanted to build a recipe card box I tried salvaging that material, and it turned out to be some nice, clear maple. What's cool is that in some spots on the finished box you can see the staining that the nails left behind - those spots are mostly on the back, but I dig them. I also wrote out all of the recipes we've collected over the years and put them in there. Previously they were scattered across emails, browser bookmarks, text messages, handwritten notes, things clipped from magazines, etc. Now they are all in one place, and nice and organized.


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Bluetooth Tiki Mask

When he was a kid, somebody brought Sean this toy Tiki mask back from a vacation. It's been kicking around our house for years now. I finally figured out something to do with it. I stick some Neopixels in ping-pon balls behind the eyes, and the color can be controlled (over Bluetooth) from an app on my phone. I'd been looking for an excuse to play around with a Bluetooth receiver connected to an Arduino, and this turned out to be just the thing.

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Glaze Test Cups

I used to make little test tiles for testing pottery glazes, but often the way things looked on the test tile didn't end up really being very representative of how it would look on a real piece. So I've started making little shot glass-sized test cups for testing glazes. It's worked out much better. I recently built this rack for displaying them in the pottery studio, so I can look at them when I need inspiration while glazing things.


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