Build a New Sled in Time for Christmas!

With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s time to start making those gifts for friends and family.  I collect old plans for projects I never seem to get around to making but here’s a quickie that might be on the table soon.  Maybe you know some youngster that will need a sled this year.

finished sled

Or maybe it’s time to train the useless dog to help out around camp…

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There’s not much to it really but a good set of measurements is always welcome in a new project.  An old pallet and a couple long boards will just about do it.

And maybe, just maybe, one less plastic tub sled will end up in the landfill.  Here’s the link to the original article:

http://www.thewoodcrafter.net/proj/p44.php

Ana White and Some Truly Brilliant Ideas

Someone recently shared this house with me and I’ve seen her (Ana White’s) work popping up all over the Internet lately.  Ana White uses readily available materials to create some genius storage and living solutions for small homes.  These could easily be applied in many other situations in order to make the most of any space.  It rings well with me because it is all-purpose made to fit the space and needs of the occupant; not just an off-the-shelf one-size-fits-most approach.  Here is a tour of her recent work and I suggest visiting her website for a load of other great ideas, including many plans.

Ana White

The table versatility is particularly smart and functional.  This would be handy in an office or bedroom as well.  The video has a lot of good ideas for builders.

And finally, on her Brag Board, she has many other interesting projects to check out as well including a lot furniture ideas like this clever storage bed shown below.

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Rip Cuts and Table Saws

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From “Mountains and molehills; or, Recollections of a burnt journal” 1855, page 355.

Looking through old books online I’m constantly reminded of how easy we have it in the 21st Century.  I still remember seeing my grandfather and great-grandfather ripping the occasional board by hand.  Neither had a table saw and it was often too much trouble for a single cut to replace the blade in the circular saw.  I feel like I have rip-sawed miles of lumber in my life and many projects I have undertaken wouldn’t have occurred without the table saw.  As I have cut down on the large power tools I own I have a difficult time dismissing even the small table saw.

Roubo framesaw ripping thin planks from a log.

Roubo framesaw ripping thin planks from a log.

So, I’ve been putting off resawing a wide mahogany plank intended for an instrument back and, because of the width, it will need to be done by hand.  I have put it off for over a week now as I realize there is some dread about diving in.  It’s a skill that needs practice like any other and isn’t going to kill me.  Time to take a deep breath, clamp it down, and start cutting.

Live Well

“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.”
~Voltaire

Voltaire was on to something there.  Here is a very inspirational family making good in the wilds of Wisconsin.  I would love to see more as they sound like some truly genuine artisans and keep craftsmanship alive in this consumer era.

I want to continue being inspired by people like this with positive spirits and keeping an eye on the important things in life.  Feel free to submit links like this or comment if you have feeling about a handmade life.

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And don’t forget to check out their own web-page, photos, and blog by clicking the image below.

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Perpetual Beginner Mentality

Here’s a nearly perfect little essay from Greg Merritt about amateur woodworking that can be applied far beyond our chosen hobby. It’s a great way to start off the New Year on a positive note.

I particularly like this line: “To build furniture you need three basic skills.  You must know how to sharpen, layout accurately and then accurately cut the wood to layout.  That is it. Period.”

HILLBILLY DAIKU

The following is written for those of you, like myself, who are amature/hobbiest woodworkers. We just want to build things with wood and enjoy the process as well as the result.

In days gone by, when the apprentiship system was in full swing, a person knew where they stood in the hierarchy. You entered as an apprentice and worked your way up through the ranks. Crossing milestones allong the way that advanced you to the next level. Eventually working your way up until you were considered a master craftsman, or whatever similar rank, depending upon your chosen proffession. My assumption is, that as these individulas moved up in the system their attitude changed as well. Gaining both confidence and a sense of reponsibility to the profession.

That was then, this is now.

Something I have observed over the years is that amature woodworkers are almost always viewed as perpetual beginners…

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Joinery Journey

Joinery doesn’t have to be a mystery or an unknowable. Have a read of Mr. Merritt’s take on joinery. I’m looking forward to more!

HILLBILLY DAIKU

I love joinery.

There is something magical about fitting two or more pieces of wood together.

Before the advent of mechanical fasteners, joinery reigned supreme.  At that pre-industrial time is was the cheapest, fastest and strongest way of building with wood.  As nails, bolts and screws became less expensive they began to displace joinery for building with wood.  Mechanical fasteners required less skill and were faster. Thus the products produced became less expensive and the structural and aesthetic compromises were  accepted as “progress”.  Machines too brought an end to joinery’s reign.  Some joints that can be “easily” cut by hand are either impossible to cut with a machine or the setup is too costly.  So joinery was simplified or abandoned to accommodate mass production.

I have no intention of delving into a philosophical diatribe on the pros and cons of the industrial revolution.  My intent with the preceding was to…

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Making a frame saw

These are nearly the same type I make.  A frame saw is a useful and simple introduction to woodworking and tool-making.  If you are interested in woodworking, Paul Seller’s blog has a lot to offer.

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From Paul Seller’s:

If you have not yet made one of these you should. They are quick and simple to make and give you the European push and pull stroke saw in a single saw which is useful depending on where you want to…

Source: Making a frame saw