My First Commission Was Also One of My Favourites

My first commission, in 2008, was a 12-foot long bubinga table which later became known as Flow.  It was a part of a backyard renovation in Arizona which was recently featured in a Phoenix Home & Garden article.

Phoenix Home & Garden, September 2013 issue

Phoenix Home & Garden, September 2013 issue

The extensive and elaborate project was led by 2012 Master of the Southwest Morgan Holt of EarthArt Landscape & Design, Inc. and recently, he commented:

My favorite thing by far is the Bubinga Table and the chance to work with and know Chris Wong. We both had fun designing and building the table.

In 2012, Morgan was named as a Master of the Southwest.

I visit him and his family whenever I’m in Phoenix.  Morgan likes taking me to his job sites and showing me what he’s doing.  Aside from appreciation of design, we also share a love of mountain biking and woodworking.

Links:

Furniture & Cabinetmaking #210 (October 2013)

September 2013 Furniture & Cabinetmaking

Cover of Furniture & Cabinetmaking #210, from http://www.woodworkersinstitute.com

My latest magazine article, Reading the Grain, was published in the October 2013 issue of United Kingdom’s Furniture & Cabinetmaking.  For this article, I teamed up with my friend, Charles Mak, (we first collaborated on an article published in the March 2012 issue of Australian Wood Review).

The article starts by explaining different ways to tell the direction of the grain and why it may affect how you work the wood.  Also covered are different tools, blades, techniques and setups to cope with end grain, difficult grain patterns and intersecting components.

According to the magazine’s website, the article is available for download from your Android device, iPhone or iPad via iTunes.  You can also order a hard copy from their site.

Links:

Done, Almost Done, and Hopefully Done Soon

Done:  Post for Popular Woodworking’s Contributor’s Blog

The post, The Telephone Game – Woodworking Version, published June 25 was my first  for Popular Woodworking.  I’ve really enjoyed watching the table evolve and I hope that we are able to sign up more participants.

One thing that I would like to emphasize to all participants is that you do not need to use a computer program – you just need to be able to communicate your ideas.  Each participant gets one week to modify last week’s design and, currently, the next available slot is in the second half of August.  If you would like to sign up, let me know in the comments section.

Almost Done:  Commissioned Elm Table Top

Earlier this month, I began work on an elm table top for a local couple moving into a new home.  They wanted a really unique, characterful top for a set of metal legs and came to me for help.  Last week I flattened the top and worked to fill the voids with clear epoxy resin.  I started finishing it earlier this week.

Elm Table Top

Hopefully Done Soon:  New Work for Port Moody’s Celebration of Wood Woodfair

Lately, all my time has gone towards the elm table top so I haven’t got very far with this task.

I hope to have a few new pieces for the show, which is coming up very quickly!  I have no idea what these new pieces will be, but there is a chance that a Tweet-Along will be involved.  (Click here to browse my past Tweet-Alongs.)

Poster Final

Done-O (as in, “Dunno”)

Last week, while searching my shop for some dark wood to use as dovetail keys in the elm table top, I found this piece of material in the corner of my shop.

Edge

It’s a 12 x 6 x 1 inch piece of material that weighs 4 pounds.  It is extremely dense, hard and abrasive to plane blades.  This is what the edge looks like, planed.  Any ideas what it is?

News About Woodworking Magazines

The December/January issue of Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement is now on newsstands.  If you’ve been following my blog for at least a year, one of the three pictures at the top of the cover should look familiar.

CWHI_DecJan_Cover

On the Contents page, we see that I have an article, Make a Wooden Bow on page 16.  Also, on page 28 is another of my articles, Shop Skills: Working Without Numbers.

CWHI_DecJan_Contents

This video preview shows some of the issue’s content in a different format.  (2:29).


In related news, Woodwork, my other favourite magazine, is now on newsstands.  Currently, only one issue is printed per year.  I highly recommend that you find yourself a copy.

Dale J. Osowski’s copy of Woodwork

This Just In…

A month-and-a-half ago, I was asked by the editors at Canadian Home Workshop to come up with some ideas for their annual gift idea issue.  I thought about it for a little while, about two weeks, before passing on my best idea – a little box I had dreamed up based on a wooden hinge I had made a few weeks prior.  Managing editor Jodi Avery MacLean loved it and asked me to make one for the gift issue.  However, because I had waited two weeks to get back to her, I now only had three days to finalize the design and make two boxes along with the necessary jigs to cut the finger joint and rout out the inside.  So I worked my tail off and managed to meet the deadline.  Then, over the next week, I put pen to paper to draft up an clear and concise article that I was happy with.

By now the November issue of Canadian Home Workshop has hit the newsstands, and lo and behold there it is on page 50.  Check it out!

Business Card Box

Published in May 2007 Issue of Canadian Home Workshop

Last summer, Jodi Avery MacLean, the Managing Editor of Canadian Home Workshop Magazine (CHW) contacted me asking if I was interested in building them a whirligig.  Truth be told, I was hoping that they’d ask me to build them a piece of furniture such as a side table or dresser, but I was excited nonetheless and promptly responded with a resounding “yes”.  I took a few days to get my grand idea together.  I was familiar with whirligigs though I had never built one.  I knew that there were two main types:  simple and complex mechanical.  Simple whirligigs typically consist of a body with two propellers on the sides for arms or legs.  Mechanical whirligigs use a propeller connected to a camshaft to control one or more characters and are much more elaborate and time consuming to construct.

Given that this is my first assignment for the magazine, I knew that I had to make a strong impression and immediately cast aside the idea of a simple whirligig.  I scan through the books in my local library revealed no shortage of ideas and plans for a mechanical whirligig.  However, trying to impress, I decided to design my own whirligig from scratch.  My grand idea was to have a scene from the wood shop:  one woodworker uses a jack plane to surface a board while the other chops a mortise in another board.  With the idea fresh in my mind, I drew up a quick sketch which I later turned into a 3D model using a CAD program called Rhinoceros 3D.  I sent a screenshot of my idea off to Jodi to be reviewed and turned my attention to working out the details.

The building went surprisingly well, although it took a bit of patience to get everything working smoothly.  The idea of having my project published, however, was more than enough of an incentive to keep working at it (If you want the details of how to build it, check out the magazine!).

Once the building was complete, the writing began.  I began by making detailed notes, documenting every step involved.  Then I took those notes and converted them into sentences and paragraphs – the first draft was complete!  Eight drafts later, I had an article which I was completely happy with.  I sent a copy off to Jodi at Canadian Home Workshop electrically and mailed the whirligig across the country from Port Moody, BC to Toronto, ON.  Upon receipt of my handcrafted work of art, the staff at Canadian Home Workshop were very impressed.  Mission accomplished!

About a month and a half ago, I started working together with Jodi Avery MacLean and Steve Maxwell (CHW’s technical editor) to edit the article and illustrations.  I compared Draft 9 with the final draft and only found a handful of changes the folks a CHW had made.  And each edit was minor – adding or changing a word here and there.  This meant that the nine drafts I had meticulously pored over for so many hours had been worth every minute, with the result being an article which I can call my own.  It was just a matter of time before the magazine with my article hit newsstands nationwide – and that time has arrived!

Get your copy today!