Designing My Shop Stool

Register today to participate in the Shop Stool Build-Off. You must register to win a prize!

I find that making a list of criteria sometimes helps me work out a design. Here is my list of criteria I have for my stool:

  • it should be light enough and easy to grasp that I can easily pick it up with one hand;
  • it should be stable enough that it doesn’t topple easily. This can be achieved by having a wide footprint, a low centre of gravity, or a combination of the two;
  • I like to rotate on my stool to reach things beside me. A flat, convex or slightly concave wooden seat would work fine. Alternatively, it could be sculpted for a single sitting orientation and mounted on a pivot;
  • the height should be suitable for working at my bench;
  • a foot rest would be nice to have;
  • it should be durable and adequately sturdy to avoid racking;
  • it should look nicer than my existing one;
  • the design should be simple enough to be built in a single day; and
  • it should be stable and not rock. This is most easily achieved with three legs, but can also be done with (self) levelling feet.

Some goals that you may have for your stool, but I don’t require, might be to:

  • incorporate height adjustment;
  • avoid using screws;
  • include a sculpted seat;
  • incorporate a bent lamination or steam bent parts;
  • have it match your workbench;
  • incorporate metal, acrylic, or upholstery;
  • be low enough to fit under your workbench; or
  • use up those boards of cherry that you’ve been saving.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll share some of my stool designs (I may end up building three stools during the Shop Stool Build-Off!). Also, check out my Pinterest board for more inspiration.

PS: A registered participant of the Shop Stool Build-Off, Jeremy, wrote a post on his own blog about why he’s excited about the build. He also wrote a more technical post on designing a stool. Below, I have included links to his two articles.


Qualities of Creative Leaders

Being a self-employed artist definitely has its benefits but it’s not for everybody.  David Ogilvy, the “Father of Advertising”, came up with this list of what he thinks makes a good creative leader.

Qualities of Creative Leaders

  1. High standards of personal ethics.
  2. Big people, without pettiness.
  3. Guts under pressure, resilience in defeat.
  4. Brilliant brains — not safe plodders.
  5. A capacity for hard work and midnight oil.
  6. Charisma — charm and persuasiveness.
  7. A streak of unorthodoxy — creative innovators.
  8. The courage to make tough decisions.
  9. Inspiring enthusiasts — with trust and gusto.
  10. A sense of humor.

From Brain Pickings via Swiss Miss.

Warning: This is a Disclaimer!

There are so many ridiculous disclaimers out there that I decided to write some (since I’m now selling furniture).  These are just for fun:

Section 1078.1 (General Safety Rules):

  1. This furniture is not a toy and is not intended for use by children (or immature adults);
  2. Use only accessories approved by Flair Woodworks.  Use of other accessories may void warranty or cause fire;
  3. Consuming alcohol while in the presence of furniture may cause birth defects; and
  4. Consult with your doctor, lawyer, Indian chief, butcher, baker, and candlestick maker before using furniture.

Section 1078.24.2 (What not to do):

  1. Do not expose furniture to direct sunlight or it may fade, darken, get warm or even hot;
  2. Do not place heavy items on your furniture;
  3. Do not use furniture for anything other than the intended use; and
  4. Do not place items within  2.84 inches (72.136 mm) of the edges of a table or they may fall, resulting in damage or injury.

Section 1078.24.3 (More of what not to do):

  1. Do not lock unruly children in cabinets as damage to the interior surfaces of the cabinet may occur;
  2. Do not set furniture on your foot.  Injury may occur.  (Also, do not set your foot on furniture when maker is present as injury may occur.);
  3. Do not attempt to disassemble or repair your furniture.  It may contain small parts which may become a choking hazard;
  4. Do not attempt to swallow any part of your furniture.  It may be a choking hazard;
  5. Avoid crouching or crawling below your furniture as you may bump your head when you try to stand;
  6. Do not walk within 19.625″ (498.475mm) of furniture unless wearing CSA-approved (Canadian Standards Association) footwear or you may strike your toe, resulting in serious injury; and
  7. Do not stick your fingers or other body parts into crevices.

Section 1078.24.4 (Still more of what not to do):

  1. Do not dispose of furniture in a fire as it may burn, causing injury or death;
  2. Do not handle peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, eggs, milk products, strawberries or other allergens when using furniture or a severe allergic reaction may occur, causing hospitalization or even death.  (Wasps, bears and crocodiles should also be avoided.); and
  3. Do not use while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Section 1078.5 (What to do):

  1. Always wash your hands before and after using furniture;
  2. When applying weight to furnIture, always apply it slowly and evenly to reduce the risk of catastrophic failure;
  3. Always empty pockets before sitting.  Also remove anything with metal parts that may cause damage including wrist watches, jewelry, jackets, belts, and jeans; and
  4. Always wear eye protection.

Can you think of any more?  List them in the comments section.

Some Fun Stats to Celebrate 100,000 Visits

Yesterday, the 100,000th person viewed my site since I transferred it to WordPress one year, nine months ago.  To celebrate, I thought I’d share with you some Top 11 Stats.

Top 11 Referring Blogs:

  1. Half Inch Shy;
  2. Tom’s Workbench;
  3. Woodworking Hobbyist’s Workshop;
  4. The Joiner’s Apprentice;
  5. The Wood Whisperer;
  6. WoodshopDemos;
  7. The Art of Woodshop Design;
  8. Wood Is Art;
  9. Oldwolf Workshop Studio;
  10. She Works Wood; and
  11. The Taylor Garage.

Top 11 Countries Visiting:

  1. United States;
  2. Canada;
  3. United Kingdom;
  4. Australia;
  5. France;
  6. Netherlands;
  7. Germany;
  8. Italy;
  9. New Zealand;
  10. Poland; and
  11. South Africa.

Top 11 Unusual Search Keywords Used to Find This Site:

  1. festool pencil (The Slippery Slope of Festool);
  2. retrofit table saw break (Why Not A SawStop);
  3. whats your groove feel (Getting in the Groove);
  4. rock cribbage board (Apple Cribbage Boards);
  5. sayings about wood carving dr. suess (How to Listen to the Wood – Carving, Day 1);
  6. chris wong the moody woodworker from canada (Paul-Marcel’s Review of the Laguna Italian-Made LT-18 Bandsaw);
  7. how to make ghost clock (Wendell Castle – Ghost Clock);
  8. butt particle board (Working with Melamine Particle Board);
  9. diet patch (Maple Trestle Table, Session 12 – Fitting the Mother of all Mortise & Tenon Joints);
  10. squirting (Get Your Creative Juices… Uh… Squirting); and
  11. bourbon cream bot (Maple Trestle Table, Session 11 – Straight Lines on Wonky Surfaces).

Top 11 Spam Comments:

  1. Good day very nice site!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Wonderful ..;
  2. Patio;
  3. send food;
  4. Terrific paintings!;
  5. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you!;
  6. Hi my family member! I want to say that this post is amazing, nice written and come with almost all vital infos. I’d like to look more posts like this .;
  7. From “Mildew”, Good day! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok.;
  8. thanks ur parents for having you;
  9. Hmmm. Try going to a Goodwill store or garage sales in an area of town where strippers hang out?;
  10. That’s an interesting point of view, but I much prefer sitting in my adirondack chair.; and
  11. I bet your a big fat guy. Im a professional trainer and I know what im talking about.

Thanks for reading!  Please consider subscribing if you haven’t already.  (To subscribe, use the widget at the bottom of any page.)

Getting in the Groove

This is a follow-up post to my recent article, In The Groove, as suggested by Nick Roulleau.

When I’m in the groove, things go smoothly and nothing can frustrate me.  When I’m not in the groove, I feel tired.  I feel unmotivated.  I feel like going back to bed.  That’s how I feel right now.

Here are some strategies that I employ to try to get myself back in the groove:

  • Turn on some music.  When I’m frustrated, I like to play loud rock or metal like Fear Factory or Hail The Villain (until I blew up the speakers of my stereo).  It doesn’t usually get me in the groove, but it gets me doing something.  Sometimes chill music like Anna Gilbert or Colin James helps me relax and start enjoying what I’m doing (even if it isn’t enjoyable);
  • Work on something that excites me.  Some tasks, especially repetitive, monotonous ones, are difficult to get motivated to start.  So instead, I work on something else that interests for a half hour before switching to the less interesting task; and
  • Do something.  Anything.  Putting tools away and sweeping up shavings require little thought or focus yet are productive.  No matter how minor or inconsequential the task, doing SOMETHING will help me gain momentum.

These are three strategies that work for me.  Now, if I was in the groove when I wrote this, I might have a longer list.  Since I’m not, this is what I have to share with you.  And that brings me to one last strategy which just occurred to me:

  • Get someone else involved.  Having someone else around, either in person or virtually, can stimulate your mind, motivate you to start, and inspire you to excel.

I’d love to hear if you have any other ideas of how to get in the groove.  Share them in the comments section.

In The Groove

As many of you know, I am a partner in Time Warp Tool Works.  Yes, I make awesome woodworking tools. Yes, I use woodworking tools to make crazy sculptural dining tables.  Yes, I make the wonderful food that brings happy people to the table.  Yes, I also wash the dirty dishes.  And yes, ladies, I’m single.

This past week, I was making moulding planes because our supply of yellow birch had acclimatized in my workshop and there are orders waiting to be filled.  (Relationship Study has not been sold yet.  Hint, hint!)

The first day, I was having trouble focusing.  I was not in the groove.  I was waffling over decisions and getting frustrated by the nuances of my tools.

 When I am not in the groove:
  1. I am disorganized and have to halt progress to find other parts or tools;
  2. I am constantly bumping into, knocking over, or damaging things;
  3. Not a single one of my dozen tape measures or two dozen pencils can be found;
  4. I cut pieces too short, cut them backwards, or cut the wrong ones;
  5. Glue-ups don’t fully close no matter how many clamps I apply;
  6. Every minor hiccup irritates me; and
  7. I am frustrated, impatient and overly aggressive.

But then I settled down and began making progress.

When I am in the groove:

  1. Every move is fluid, decisive and deliberate – almost like a dance – and the results are just as they should be;
  2. I know exactly what to do and how to do it;
  3. No matter how messy the shop may be, I know exactly where everything is;
  4. I remain focused on the current task, but also know the next step;
  5. Glue squeeze-out is an even row of small beads along the joint;
  6. Problems are challenges to which I already have solutions; and
  7. I am calm, relaxed and confident.

Today, I worked 14 hours straight, stopping only for a quick sandwich and probably a washroom break.

I made great progress.  My glue-ups were smooth and efficient with only a moderate amount of excess squeeze-out.  Parts were fitting together perfectly and nothing was getting to me – not even my dished workbench top or the two separate incidents when I ran the blades of two of my finely-tuned bench planes into metal.  (Note to self – build a new bench and install wooden bench dogs, you fool!)

In a follow-up article, I discuss strategies to get in the groove.

10 Reasons to Empty Your Dust Collector

I have a single-bag dust collector which is situated in a small room adjacent to my machine shop to isolate the noise.  However, it’s also out of sight so I sometimes forget to check the bag.  Here are some reasons not to forget emptying it:
  1. It is hard to handle a full bag, especially if it contains more fine dust and fewer shavings;
  2. A full bag can be heavy and is more likely to tear;
  3. If the bag is allowed to fill and the dust collector continues to be used, dust accumulates in the upper filter;
  4. If dust is allowed to accumulate in the upper filter, it often needs to be dug out and makes a bigger mess;
  5. A full dust collector, especially with dust in the upper filter has less airflow;
  6. Low airflow may not be enough to keep ductwork and hoses clear;
  7. A dust collector with restricted airflow is less effective at extracting dust;
  8. Dust not collected at the source ends up on the floor or in the air;
  9. Un-captured dust is tracked around the shop (or house), breathed in, and settles on every horizontal surface; and
  10. Cleaning the shop and emptying an overfilled dust collector takes several hours and makes you look like this.