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:

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

New Quotes from “Woodwork”

The magazine simply titled Woodwork is by far my favourite.  The latest issue, #118 – Winter 2012, is on magazine stands now and I strongly recommend that you look for it.  (It is also available in the American Woodworker Online Bookstore.)

Woodwork #118 - Winter 2012

Woodwork is a different magazine.  Instead of focusing on step-by-step projects, it showcases woodworkers and their work.  Read more of my thoughts on Woodwork HERE.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the annual issue and gleaned four excellent quotes from its pages.  You can find these and more on the page titled Quotes from Woodwork (Resources -> Quotables -> Quotes from Woodwork).

* * * * *

“My work is a reflection of what is going on in my life.  You take a pathway that leads to consequences, both good and bad.  Work will reflect that if you trust your intuition.” – Todd Hoyer

Todd Hoyer: Pathways and Choices by Terry Martin in Woodwork #118, p. 30, ¶6

* * * * *

“If a woodworker is going to break from traditional construction, it behooves him to understand it and think through the consequences of any novel approaches.” – Rob Porcaro

The Design Journey: How to Turn an Idea into a Finished Piece by Rob Porcaro in Woodwork #118, p. 36, ¶6

* * * * *

“Obstructions lead to creativity.” – Stephen Gleasner

Visions in Plywood: The Plyscapes of Stephen Gleasner by Patrick Downes in Woodwork #118, p. 48, ¶10

 * * * * *

“From the time he started his own workshop in the 1960s, Alan [Peters] worked long and hard to prove that one could still earn a living in the contemporary world by building useful, beautiful furniture with integrity, one piece at a time, and he prided himself on making furniture that was priced within reach of working people like himself.” – Peter Korn

Thinking With Things: Design as Discovery by Peter Korn in Woodwork #118, p. 63, ¶7

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!