Monday, May 21, 2018

A Couple of Projects Out of the Way.

This past weekend, I used what free time I had to finish up a couple of projects I'd had on the back burner. One, a red oak slab end table that I pulled out of a recent firewood gathering trip and the second, a wood burned logo wall art piece that I did for our work photo and video studio. Pretty happy with how they both turned out.

The red oak table, I started by chiseling the bark of and sanding it. Then I coated it in Danish oil, which it drank readily due to the open pores of the tree type. I should've varnished it. The solids in the varnish probably would've sealed it much better. The hairpin legs, I pulled them from a cheap table I found in an antique shop. I spray painted them black before install and then I applied some finishing wax to the table, itself. The wax fogged badly when it dried and I couldn't buff it out enough to my liking, so I hit it with a heat gun and the wood absorbed it. The finish is nice, now.

Making an end table from a 5”x18” chunk of red oak.

Finished red oak slab end table

The logo wall art/decor, that I made from a 24" disc of wood that has sat in my garage for over a decade. I had plans to make a chalkboard out of it, but never got around to it. Last week, I decided to use it for our new office space, instead. I measured the piece, built a line art version of our logo icon to size in Adobe Illustrator, printed it tiled on 11x17 paper, taped it together and then cut it out with an x-acto knife for a stencil. Afterwards, I traced the design onto the wood in pencil and used a wood burning tool to burn in the artwork.

Work photo/video studio wall decor.

Work photo/video studio wall decor.

Work photo/video studio wall decor.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Musical Distractions

I haven't completely forgotten about boats, boat stuff and boating, in general, but I have been heavily distracted at times, since starting this blog several years ago. Music, of which I am miserable at playing, but great at appreciating, has been my latest in a long line of shiny things to catch my attention.

Ukulele

Less than a year ago, my daughter bought me an ukulele with money she earned in a garage sale, it was her Fathers Day present to me. I've worn the frets clean of their silver paint and I'm starting to whittle my way through the plastic fretboard with every chord I take a poke at. I love the plinky-plunky plastic sound of the little soprano instrument and it means a lot that she chose it for me.

That gift started the ball rolling on the cigar box builds I've done in the past six months - a couple of three stringed slide guitars, a tenor tambourine banjolele and a tenor cigar box uke. Currently, I'm working on a second cigar box uke for a coworker's father-in-law.

Cigar Box Guitars 001 and 002

The vintage tambourine banjolele build is done!

Completed cigar box ukulele

Which brings me to this, a 1970s Harmony banjo that I was given by the coworker mentioned above. I'll be restoring it in the near future and hope to learn to play something on it to be of interest around a campfire.

1970s Harmony Banjo 5-String

Also, I still hope to build this, a fretless tackhead banjo from a vintage teak bowl that I found. I'm also planning to build a fretless mountain banjo and maybe an even earlier minstrel style instrument, at some point.

Making full-size banjo plans

Something else that I've dusted off, my 1960s Sears Silvertone parlor guitar. When I took guitar lessons 16 years ago, I had this little cheap guitar and a really nice and expensive Gibson acoustic. As I lost interest, I sold the Gibson and kept this, it had much better tone and waaay more character.

1960s Sears Silvertone Guitar

Yesterday, my daughter gave me a second musical gift. She invited me to play backup at her school talent show. She sang a simplified version of Surfer Girl by The Beach Boys while I accompanied her on my CBU. The mic quit working on us while we were performing, so we decided to record it again before bed time, last night.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Lazy Cold and Windy Cabin Camping

A couple of weekends back, my buddy Brian D. and I headed down to his friends' cabin, close to Table Rock Lake. It was cold and damp, which chased us away from a weekend of kayak fishing and more into one of just BSing under a covered porch and eating a lot.

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Friday, we left work mid-day, threw stuff in the truck and headed south. Got to the cabin before the real weather set in. Later, it rained like mad and we were treated to a loud and bright lightning show much of the evening. Eventually, it tapered off enough that the owls came out to shout at each other.

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

We had a pretty darn good meal Saturday night, Steaks à la Brian with black bean corn salsa and potatoes. I made Moscow Mules - a simple but nice mix of vodka, ginger beer, Angostura bitters and fresh limes. Enamelware camp mugs have a similar heat transference to the traditional copper mugs they are usually made in, but won't set you back as far in trendiness and price.

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Saturday, up and eating again. I made breakfast with poached eggs, English muffins and Arkansas bacon from local butcher shop, Hörrmann Meat Co.

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Then it was down to the lake to fight the wind and waves, trying our hand at fishing. Brian landed the only fish of the day - a nice little bass. I had a bluegill or sun perch shake itself off and that was the closest I came. I did manage a quick sketch of Brian down by the water.

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Saturday night, more food! Hörrmann beer, pepper and onion brats! Easily the best brats you can buy, locally. More chill'n at the cabin that night. Brian made a fire and tucked in behind a tarp windbreak. Not much else to report.

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Sunday, up for coffee, then packing up in a dusting of snow coming down around the place. Hit up a greasy spoon type place down by the lake on the way back north. Always stop at a place with a giant rooster out front.

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Cabin Camping - April 2018

Edit: 5-7-2018

I forgot to mention, around the property and the lakeshore, we saw or heard armadillos, possums, owls, goldfinches, bluebirds, osprey, purple martens, kingfishers, mallard ducks, nuthatches and skunks.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Work Cubed

Cube view

Our video department at work moved into new digs, yesterday. We moved our studio up from the seventh floor to the eighth and our offices from the east side of the building to the west. I went from a personal office to being housed with the other two video guys. Seeing that I'm easily distracted, I built myself some walls from scrap wood and a pound of 2" finishing nails.

Building a Cubicle

Building a Cubicle

I made the cube in three easy-to-move chunks that wood screw together to make a single L-shaped piece. It's rough, but saved us a good bit of change in not having to buy some drab grey pieces from an office supplier.

Building a Cubicle

Cubicle installed

Monday, March 19, 2018

Cigar Box Ukulele

Completed cigar box ukulele

Over the weekend, I finished up the cigar box ukulele build. It's a tenor size uke, with a wood burned hibiscus pattern face, hammered tambourine jingle for the tailpiece, poplar neck, toothpick frets and it is fashioned from a Padron cigar box. It sounds and looks great and aside from having to adjust the hight of the action a hair, I'm quite happy with it.

Wood burning a hibiscus pattern on the cigar box ukulele

Completed cigar box ukulele

How it sounds.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Weekend in Sawdust

A little over a week ago, I tweaked my left ankle pretty badly on a 6.8 mile night hike at Hercules Glades Wilderness. So, my plans to wander the hills of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, painting weird and wonderful architecture in the old part of town were scrapped and I decided not to stray too far from home. I did, however, make a bit of sawdust.

First up, I promised an Episcopal Church acquaintance that I'd do another art piece for charity auction. She's involved with Habitat for Humanity and I did a piece for her last year (the first pic below.)

Missouri recycled pallet artwork/decor.

This year, I decided to step it up, slightly. Still largely a reclaimed pallet project, but I added a thin sheet of nicely veneered plywood to the cutout.

Missouri state silhouette, charity donation piece.

Before

Next up! The big-ass red oak stump! I'm turning this sucker into a table for my daughter's clubhouse that I'm in the middle of building. I attacked it with a chisel, drawknife and palm sander. I still need to varnish it and maybe add small locking casters to the bottom. The chunk of fire wood is incredibly heavy.

Making a big ol’ red oak mess today... and a stool/table.

Stump table in the making.

Thirdly! My cigar box ukulele project is coming along nicely, as well. This is the fourth musical instrument project. It features the same neck and headstock shape as the tambourine banjolele, but I was given a chunk of bone that I've used for the nut. I am currently sketching a hibiscus pattern on the face in order to wood burn before I fix the neck permanently.

Cigar box ukulele neck is shaped, now for frets and tuner placement.

Cigar box ukulele coming along nicely.

And just for good measure, here are my plans for the next musical instrument project. It's a simple cross between a gourd minstrel banjo and an Appalachian mountain banjo, using a vintage teak bowl for the pot and I recently bought a walnut plank for the fretboard. I'll likely make the neck from poplar. Other bits like the nut and bridge will be bone or antler if I can get ahold of some and I'll be using goat or calfskin for the tacked on head.

Making full-size banjo plans