Beware of Step 27

I just completed a new cribbage board, but this one was made much differently from the others. I scaled up the board, and added a base to transform it into a table.

Cribbage Table 1

I had some fun with the base. For the stretcher, I used the bandsaw to cut three slits of graduated lengths in one end of the stretcher to spread it.

Stretcher Spread

Then, I cut corresponding mortises in the legs and drove the joint together. Yes, it was tricky!

Stretcher Fitted

For the cribbage board top, I bored the 3/8″ holes freehand, using a plunge router. The bit grabbed in one hole, causing a large jagged, spiral hole as I tried to recover.

Step 27

After some deliberation, I decided to fill the hole with clear resin and rebore the hole.

Cribbage Table 6

If you’re in playing in the right-hand track, beware of step 27!

Cribbage Table 4

Find more photos and details of this cribbage table on the Beware of Step 27 product page.

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Overflow, Part XVIII

A number of months ago, a fellow brought me a boxful of old tools and said that he just wanted them to go to good homes where they would be appreciated. In the box were these three saw sets.

(A) Stanley Pistol Grip Saw Set

Despite the worn paint, this saw set works smoothly and has an anvil that can be adjusted from 4-10.

 (B) Swedish Saw Set

This made-in-Sweden saw set operates with a pliers-like movement. An adjustable stop slides up and down to regulate the amount of tooth that gets set.

(C) Taintor Saw Set

This saw set is a pistol-grip design. A rotating anvil allows the user to set it for different sizes of teeth. The handles do not open on their own; I suspect that the spring is simply missing.

If you would like one of these saw sets, please leave a comment below indicating which one you would like (or that you’d be happy with any) by July 11. I will then draw a winner at random. Even if you don’t get one of these items, remember that there is still much more I want to give away.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to my blog so you can be notified as soon as I post something new! Please tell your friends about my Overflow program.

Review the details of the Overflow program.

Three New Cribbage Boards

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from a fellow looking for a retirement gift for one of his employees. He had been looking at my site and had decided on Cribbage Board 11 because he liked the shape.

Cribbage Board 11

Cribbage Board 11 – SOLD!

That sale reduced my inventory to a single cribbage board (#12) and spurred me to make some more.

I made Cribbage Board 13 with three full tracks and a scoring field.

Cribbage Board 13

Cribbage Board 13

For Cribbage Board 14, I tried something new, and isolated the scoring field in a piece of black walnut that I joined onto the end for a different look.

Cribbage Board 14

Cribbage Board 14

The last board to come out of my shop is clean, simple, and I dare say, sexy. Cribbage Board 15 is a beauty, and one of my favourites.

Cribbage Board 15

Cribbage Board 15

PS: Cribbage Board 12 is still available, too.

Cribbage Board 12

Cribbage Board 12

Links:

The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty

I recently finished reading The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty by Sõetsu Yanagi and adapted by Bernard Leach. It explores the circumstances under which beautiful objects are created, and how industrialization has influenced handmade craft.

I began taking down quotations that were interesting and worthy of sharing, but soon found myself jotting down entire paragraphs. So, rather than rewrite the book, I will merely point you towards the chapters which I found most interesting.

  • The Beauty of Irregularity (page 117);
  • The Buddhist Idea of Beauty (page 127);
  • Hakeme (page 171);
  • The Way of Craftsmanship (page 197); and
  • The Responsibility of the Craftsman (page 216).

This book has been added to my list of Recommended Readings.

Overflow, Part XVII

Crown Try Square

This 4″ try square made by Crown Tools isn’t accurate, but it looks pretty (minus the marks on the blued steel blade). The rosewood and brass handle is in good condition. Overall, the square measures approximately 5 x 3-1/4″ and the stock is 9/16″ thick.

If you would like this square, please leave a comment below indicating your interest by the end of June. I will then draw a winner at random. Even if you don’t get this item, remember that there is still much more I want to give away.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to my blog so you can be notified as soon as I post something new! Please tell your friends about my Overflow program.

Review the details of the Overflow program.

The Revival of Overflow!

What is Overflow?

In 2011, I started my Overflow program to give away woodworking stuff I no longer used to followers of my blog. To date, I have given away 16 lots of items.

Well, I’m cleaning shop and reviving Overflow. You might be wise to subscribe to my blog, if you aren’t already receiving e-mail notifications (or visiting daily).

How Does Overflow Work?

  1. I will post a picture and brief description of the item or group of items up for grabs.There will be some wood, hand tools, power tools, accessories, random shop stuff, and books. Most items will be in good-to-excellent shape;
  2. Comment if you want it! I suggest you subscribe to this blog so you get notified when I post something. If you want the item(s), leave a comment on that particular blog post and let me know if you can pick it up or if you need it shipped. (I will ship anywhere on your dime once my PayPal account is happy.); then
  3. When the deadline to enter has passed, I will submit the names of those interested into a Random Chooser and let the program draw a winner. I will announce the winner in the comments section of the Overflow post on my blog and contact them to arrange a pick-up time or shipping details. If the first person chosen changes their mind, the Random Chooser will select another name.

Why am I doing this?

I’m giving stuff away because I would rather help some fellow woodworkers than try to sell it. This is less hassle and more rewarding. I enjoy interacting with my readers and helping others get further in their woodworking.

I also want to increase the number of readers of my blog. Besides having awesome giveaways of quality stuff, I do some pretty cool woodwork, wouldn’t you agree? Please subscribe to my blog using the widget at the bottom of any page or in the right-hand column of my main blog page. You’ll receive notice of what I’m putting up for grabs as well as when I publish a regular blog post.

The ultimate purpose of Overflow is to get this stuff out of my shop (and into yours), so please, tell your friends.

A Topless Table

Last week’s Picture Inspiration proved to be a real challenge. We, at #Woodchat, were looking at a picture of an SR71 stealth plane.

Most of us started by looking at the actual shape of the plane and trying to relate what we saw to lines suitable for a furniture design. When I found that didn’t work, I stopped looking at what I could see and started thinking about what I couldn’t see.

This table design was my artistic representation of what I envisioned turbulence to look like.

PI8 CW

I want to build this design!

Interestingly enough, while the design satisfied the requirement of #Woodchat’s Picture Inspiration, it also reflected on a comment that Brian Bain made on my recent post, What Defines Form:

What about a table without a top?

That seemed a little strange to me. After all, a table needs a top to be functional, right? Maybe not.

Next Picture of Inspiration

This week, the challenge is to come up with a design based on this picture. I think there will be a wide range of designs, as there always is. If you come up with something, send it to me by e-mail, or via Twitter.

Inspiration photo by Andrew Arndts

Inspiration photo by Andrew Arndts

Links:

The Designer at Work

I sit upright, eyes open, mouth a straight line.
For just a moment, I close my eyes while I retrieve a file from my memory.
My eyes open again and I look up ever so slightly
as I review the contents of the file.

Some say they can hear, or even see
the wheels inside my head turning.
But I don’t.
Any audible voices or noises are reduced to a murmur.

I wave my hands through the air
as if disassembling it with telekinetic powers.
My mind examines each part
and effortlessly adds tenons and subtracts mortises.

One by one,
I will the parts to reassemble themselves.
It’s complete, and I study its form.
I push and pull parts into proportions that please me.

Piece by piece, I disassemble, then reassemble it,
studying the relationship between each part,
searching for potential problems
and trying to understand how best to build it.

Apart, together. Apart, together. Apart, together.
I repeat this process tens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of times
over the course of days, weeks, months, years, maybe even decades
until I am ready to start building it.

What Defines Form?

There’s no part in [a motorcycle], no shape in [a motorcycle], that is not out of someone’s mind… a person who does machining or foundry work or forge work or welding sees “steel” as having no shape at all. Steel can be any shape you want if you are skilled enough, and any shape but the one you want if you are not.

- Robert M. Pirsig (from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)

One of the questions I am frequently asked is how I come up with original designs. Although I do study existing designs, when I want to create a design that I can call my own I start at the very beginning – with the purpose.

Take, for example, a table. If the purpose of a table is to support items at a convenient height, the requirements are to provide an adequate amount of support for the items, elevated to an appropriate height.

One of the most common forms has four legs, aprons, and a top – as seen here in my Table with a Twist.

Table with a Twist (42"x12.5"x30")

Table with a Twist by Chris Wong

Why are tables built this way? Do tables need to have four legs, four aprons and a table top? Of course not. This combination of parts is simply one solution that meets the requirements of a table.

There are other solutions, and once you open your mind to the idea that you are not limited to the usual, or even existing forms you can start designing any sort of table.

Here are a couple interesting table designs.

Brian VanVreede’s Cantilevered Coffee Table features a daring, curvaceous base.

BCCM Cantilevered Coffee Table

Cantilevered Coffee Table by Brian VanVreede

Sculpted Ash Table, which I built, is comprised of a sculpted table top half-lapped into an upright, which is bolted to an over-sized foot.

Sculpted Ash Table Front

Sculpted Ash Table by Chris Wong

Paul-Marcel St. Onge’s Tim Burton Table… well…

Tim Burton Table by Paul-Marcel St. Onge

Tim Burton Table by Paul-Marcel St. Onge

Find more interesting designs on my Pinterest board.

Found Treasure

While looking through my collection of photos, I found a picture of a box that I made many years ago. It was my idea of what a treasure chest looked like.

I have added this chest to my gallery under the year 2009.

Small Treasure Chest

Although relatively small (only 13″ long), it was made very sturdily and weighed a lot – even when empty. The box was constructed with 3/4″ red oak, dyed with a dark walnut aniline dye. I cold-forged the strap hinges and handles, and fastened them to the chest with pyramid head screws.

This chest inspired the large yew treasure chest I made the following year that was featured in the Taunton Press book, Blanket Chests by Peter S. Turner and Scott Gibson.

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