Woodworking

Shhhhh.... It's a Secret

22 December, 2016 1 comment Leave a comment

This may not be rocket surgery but it was made for a rocket scientist!

I have to say that this is one of the coolest things that I have worked on to date. A friend of ours at East End market mentioned that her husband of 25+ years collects every ticket from every concert that he has ever been to. I mentioned that it may be a good candidate for a pen.

After sneaking out an original 1980's ticket stub to Triumph at The Summit (what is now Lakewood Church), here are the results.

pen made from concert ticket

Oriented for a left-handed user, this pen is fully functional and keeps the memory of the event close at hand (pun intended) instead of stored away in a shoe box in a closet.

Last time I saw Bryan I couldn't make eye contact with him because I just knew that I would say something that would give this secret away. I'm horrible with secrets.

This is going to make a great Christmas present for Bryan and I'm looking forward to hearing how he likes it.

pen made from a 1980s triumph ticket stub

Rainy weekend nixed our plans

04 December, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

What a wet weekend it was. Unfortunately the rain kept us from the Tamale Festival and our regular East End Street Market was cancelled because of the soggy conditions.

However, not all was lost. This gave me an opportunity to work on some new things that I've had in mind for a while. So I turned my attention to the shop and turned a couple of amazing fountain pens.

celtic fountain pen in white teak burl

They are both Celtic in design. The first one is turned with a white teak burl with amazing character.

celtic fountain pen in redwood lace

The second one is turned with Redwood lace, the part of the Redwood tree towards the root system where the grain runs in multiple directions.

Both look fabulous in the Rosewood display case. (No, I didn't make those but they still look great).

You will be able to see these coming up at later markets in December assuming the rain stops. Fortunately our next market is inside at the Braeburn Country Club.

From the shop this week...

28 October, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

It has been a very busy week. I have a feeling that it is the first of many busy weeks as we get closer to Christmas.

I have been working on a lot of custom orders and getting them all finished up. In addition, some of the new things you will see this weekend at our markets and shows are some new board designs like the ones below:

 

 

See our events page for where we will be and where you can take one of these home!

New Present Boards

28 October, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Need a unique cutting board for a Christmas gift that you don't have to wrap? Check these out. They already have ribbons on them!

inlayed ribbon cutting boardinlayed ribbon cutting boardinlayed ribbon walnut cutting board

 

Combining different color wood in a different grain direction results in this stunning visual effect. It is still food safe and intended for regular use. 

They will be making their debut this week at our regular East End Street Market as well as the Voodoo Night Market at 2700 Navigation Blvd in Houston, TX. 

See the events page for details.

Finally...

20 October, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

After quite a while of promises and false starts, I think I've finally got my straight razors figured out.

At the Katy Harvest Festival, I had a lot of people asking about straight razors. This is in addition to the many people who have asked all summer long at our regular markets. Well I finally got fed up of letting this project kick my butt and dropped everything the past couple of days to try to figure this out.

This is what came out of the shop so far this week and will be on display at our markets this weekend. 

damascus steel straight razor with bocote handle

These straight razors are damascus steel imported from Pakistan through a local contact. The first one has a handle made from bocote. Bocote is native to Mexico, Central and South America.

damascus steel straight razor with padauk handle

This one is a padauk handle. Padauk is native to western Africa and is terribly expensive in large quantities. It is very commonly used in decorative furniture and musical instruments due its orange/red color.

damascus steel straight razor with a white oak handle

This last one is made from white oak. I bought the white oak last year to use for a chest for my son for his birthday. Still haven't gotten the chest done, but love working with the wood. I think he has another birthday coming up soon!

These are the first of many straight razors we will be producing. Stay tuned or come visit to see what we have available.

Custom board for El Burro and the Bull

20 September, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

carving board for el burro and the bullHere is my latest project. This is a custom order from one of our earliest supporters. Made from walnut, this board measures 20×24. It is about 1 3/4 inches thick.

el burro and the bull laser engraved logoThe handle was the most difficult part. Because the board is so thick, there was no easy way to really cut it out. So I opted for the CNC machine to cut out one side of it, flip it, and then cut through. Of course I measured really well, but the two sides still didn’t line up exactly right, but was close. With some rasp and file work, I cleaned up the inside cut and then used a 3/4” roundover bit to trim out the edges.

This is for a restaurant in Houston called El Burro and the Bull. They are located in The Conservatory in downtown Houston. My absolute favorite meal that they serve is homemade macaroni and cheese topped with brisket and some pico. Paired with a Mexican Orange Soda and you’ve got a meal! It is so good I dreamed about it the first time I had it!

If you find yourself in downtown Houston, give them a shot before a baseball game.

If you need one of these, I can build one for you for under $300 depending on requirements.

Custom Crafted Pen Display

29 August, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

 

Cutting boards are boring

09 May, 2016 1 comment Leave a comment

I hear this a lot from woodworkers and woodworking forums. A lot of woodworkers want to create things with intricate curves and complex joinery. For me however, there is a great deal of elegance in simplicity.

Take for example, an order I received at a local market. Two young ladies came to visit and they wanted to get a cutting board for their sister who lives in Pennsylvania.  These two sisters come from a family of five girls (poor dad!) who grew up in upstate New York. The girls have moved all over the country, but still maintain regular contact.

These are the things that I think about when I build a board. Who is it for? Where did they come from? What will it be used for?

rough cherry lumberWhen I build a board, I start by selecting the best stock that I can find. Such as this 2" thick cherry that I got from a local supplier.

Its not much to look at yet, but the grain patterns can be identified as I begin to plan on how to glue this up for best visual appeal and durability.

planed cherry lumberThe next step is to clean up the lumber. A few trips through the planer and the joiner results in perfectly square stock.

cherry cutting board glue upThe next step is to cut the lumber to dimensions that can be glued and glue it up. No, its not very pretty yet. I use PVC pipe as a support for my glue ups. I also clamp the board flat using cleats to help insure there is minimal movement in addition to the joint clamps.

sanded cutting boardOnce the glue dries, the board takes a trip through the sander to ensure flatness. Many boards would be almost done at this point, but the order was for an end grain cutting board so we are only about 1/2 way through the process.

slicing a cutting board This next step may cause pain in some readers. Now that I have an almost completed cutting board, the next step is to cut it up! I use a sliding sled and a very simple block jig to ensure that all the slices are the same thickness.

slices ready for and end grain glue upThe result of this step is to get a bunch of slices of the board.

glued up end grain cutting boardEach of these pieces are now used to create the end-grain cutting board. These pieces are reoriented so that the edges of the original lumber are glued together and the ends of the lumber are exposed as a cutting surface. Again, I use a cleat to minimize any lateral movement and to maintain the flatness of the board. It still isn't very pretty, but you can begin to see some of the grain pattern.

end grain cutting board going through the sanderNow that the board is finally taking shape and the glue has dried, it takes another few dozen trips through the sander. I cannot tell you how much I depend on that sander! It is one of the most-used tools in the shop.

end grain cutting board being sandedOnce it has taken a few dozen trips through the sander, the grain pattern is starting to show.

sanded cutting boardEven though the board has been sanded, the sanding machine leaves marks. So the next step is to rout the edges and then sand the board. Then the board gets sanded and sanded. Once that is done, its time to sand again. I use a Festool sander to sand to 150 grit. It was expensive for a sander but worth every penny. Boards then get hand-sanded to 220 grit.

cutting board being engravedTo finish this board, it was ordered with an engraving of a rose on it. This is where I can take advantage of some of the newer technologies such as a laser engraver.

After the board is engraved, it is time for sanding the board again! This sanding removes any burn marks from the engraving and increases the contrast.

Finishing our boards is a simple process. Of course, the battery died in the camera so I only have the after pictures. I finish the boards starting with food-grade mineral oil. Mineral oil penetrates the fibers of the wood and absorbs into the board. Once the mineral oil has absorbed, we coat each board with our own "board butter" - a mix of all natural bee's wax and mineral oil.

finished end grain cutting board with rose engravingHere, you can see the finished board. The mineral oil and bee's wax bring out the natural color of the cherry. Combined with the contrast of the engraved rose, it is very striking.


Hopefully, this board will survive generations of use. Cutting boards are under-appreciated. A good cutting board is one of the non-electric kitchen appliances that is most often used. Ever-present in every kitchen a good cutting board will be a part of every dinner for years to come.

I don't know about you, but I don't think this is boring at all. I love creating cutting boards. Combining traditional craftsmanship with selective use of new technologies, a cutting board can be personalized for any use.

This cutting board is totally oblivious to the latest "app" and its usefulness will outlive the next generation of iPhone or whatever the next fad is. Oh, and it cost less too!

 

Steampunk special

16 March, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

steampunk timepiece penI’ve had a steampunk pen kit sitting around for the better part of a year. I’ve looked at it many times and was waiting for the right inspiration to do something with it. I started by painting the barrel with iron paint then covering it with a rust patina. This gives it an old iron pipe look. Each of the watch parts was placed by hand with tweezers and superglue.

I then took this assembly and fit it into an old scrap piece of walnut with the most perfectly ugly knot (again, been looking at it for a year waiting for the right project). This entire assembly was then cast in acrylic, trimmed and turned on the lathe.

acrylic shavings on latheTurning the blank made quite a mess! I had acrylic and wood shavings covering everything even me.


 

When asked "How much?" at the market, my response is $5000.00. I'm obviously not ready to sell it yet but if you want a closer look, it will be at the markets over the next few months.

 

Final push for Christmas

16 December, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

We have just over a week until Christmas and we are both working long days to make sure that we have enough inventory to cover all ya'll coming to visit us!

Last week I had a stack of cutting boards get ruined because high winds knocked a table over. That is a lesson learned. So I've been trying to make up for it with a lot of shop overtime and some new boards. I even have a new design that I will introduce at Thursday's market.

I've also been working on some new pens while Monica has been busy making bath bombs. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that it will be enough to satisfy all who need stocking stuffers.

I guess its time to unwrap the presents that I sat aside for family presents. Good thing that they won't be here until a week after Christmas. That may give me enough time to make more!

In case I haven't said it before, thank you to all who have stopped by our booth. Whether you bought something or not doesn't matter. Its been a real pleasure this year getting to meet you all.

Merry Christmas!

Charles...

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