Writers block, wooden block, blockhead.


A friend of mine and I were talking yesterday about a dilemma that I have encountered myself over the years. I sometimes have ideas that require more skill and equipment than I have or have access to. CNC-type stuff usually. (There WILL be a CNC in my life in the next cpl of years).
Other times, like my friend, I know have some skill and equipment which could create something to sink my teeth into, but no topic. IOW... lack of ideas. He's in that spot now, where he wants to build something, he just has to...but can't seem to start a project. I suggested to kick his ass for him, to see if that would help, but he's not that keen on that idea.
So I offered to take his dilemma to the oracle of all that is sacred in woodworking creativity and request a possible helpful hint to help him break his builder's block.
PS. I suggested he'd help me laminate some restaurant booths, but he told me to piss up a tree. <G>
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Whenever I get stuck for something to build, I head to the shop and build things for the shop. Was bored a few weeks ago so built a new crosscut sled and then a miter sled. Plus a few other jigs and fixtures that I sometimes have need for but never the inclination to build while I'm in the middle of a project that might require them. Then there's the inevitable tool tuning and maintenance. Tell him to build the perfect cabinet makers workbench he's always wanted.
My 2 cents
Gary in KC

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Send him t some of the sites that JOAT visits, where they have tons of plans.. he'll see something that he could design/build better and get fired up..
mac
Please remove splinters before emailing
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I always find my inspiration in the wood. Send him to Northwest Timber http://www.nwtimber.com/ and have him browse through the online store. Go to a local hardwood supplier or just order a bunch of 6/4 Cherry and have him go out and lay with it for a while when it shows up.
Story: I was ordering another boat load of #2 Common Pine to build some more quicky, cutsie, faux finished Pine casework pieces that sell so well at these "Fine Art" fairs in which I am participating http://www.sonomaproducts.com/Furniture/PF-CS-SC.htm . The sales guy tells me thatthey have mixed QS and Rift WO on special at $2 a bf (a good price for me). I have him throw in 100 feet to the order.
Next day, what shows up is this pile of 10', rough sawn (I mean really rough), black looking, stained old 4/4 boards that are at least 5/4, mostly 8" wide and flat as Nebraska. I want to get a look at just one piece clean but my Grizzly 3hp, 20" planer chokes on the stuff because the bed rollers are set for faced stock and I have to pull the fricken board through
Next night I setup my 7.5 hp planer/molder/sander/gang-ripper with the planing head and run about 30-40 feet through. It runs like butter. 70% of the pieces have some of the best figure I've seen with some flakes the size of silver dollars and exploding patters of 1/2" ribbons.
Yeah I have a show next weekend and should build some more Pine stuff but I probably have enough inventory since the last show was a flop.
I already have the tops glued up for 4 Mission nightstands from some of the nicest figure. They are still at 15/16 after planing and once I sand them out I should still have 7/8". No kids this weekend so I'll likely do 20+ hours in the shop and bang these out in time to get them finished for the show next week anyway. I have been succesful in selling some higher end stuff when I bring it and these pieces will be exact reproductions of a Stickley design (other than some different joinery which won't be generally noticable). Similar to this but with some nicer details on the backer and tapers on the bottom half of the legs, per the classic design.http://www.stickley.com/gallery/details.cfm?id 36&c6&cat1&cat2"4&view=complex
This will be my first attempt at half blind dovetails on a drawer box (8 of them, 3" deep) but reading through the Incra router fence stuff it seems pretty doable.
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We are at the bottom of Lake Huron, geographically speaking, 1 hr North of Detroit, but on the Kanuckistani side of the river. I have some excellent sources within one hour's drive. Maybe I'll drag him over to one of them. This is one of my favourites: http://www.forloversofwood.com /

[snipped for brevity]

What kind of machine are you talking about here? An affordable one? I know of some nice Italian and German jobbies..but I'm not re-mortgaging the house *S*
[snipped for brevity]

Yeah.. that's the ticket. That kinda stuff I love. In fact, your website's homepage has an end-table smack-dab in the middle of your main graphic which could be one of the ones I have built for people over the years. I mean identical. Cherry makes wonderful mission furniture.

I have done jig-style dovetails, years ago, with limited success. That was pre-adjustable width jigs. all the same size, too clinical looking. I want to go there again...and Morris keeps dangling that ShopBot in front of my nose..:-).. now THAT is the way to do dove-tails.
I retired in 2003 (you know the deal, freedom 55 and all that rot) and I swear, I can't help getting my arse busy making decent money. After restaurant booths, I'm making fricking planters for the same restaurant... planters, I tell you...fricking planters!!! Now some more solid surface coming up in Toronto... when will I relax???
I know... change my phone number. Buy a ShopBot and hide in a bunker somewhere for a year till I have that thing doing handstands for me and signing my checks. (That's 'cheques' to us Kanuckistanis)
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Snip .....

Rob, you can't go wrong with a ShopBot as a new learning curve! Matter of fact, you CAN have it sign your checks for you ... I've built a vacuum hold-down sub-table for mine to engrave machine labels and what not. I'm able to engrave text down to 14 point and have it completely legible, as well as integrate customer graphics. Best part is I use reverse-engraving stock, so the front remains (relatively) clean and clear ... the clear front laminate is much easier to keep clean in an industrial environment ... plus it does get people wondering "how he do dat?".
We've cut everything from an entire processing line of equipment from HDPE sheet, to the labels for panels, to custom fixtures to make work easier (such as a tipping workstand for 4' x 8' electrical cabinet that lets one person take a cabinet from vertical to horizontal without power equipment), to bending plates for copper bus bar.
You'll find you are limited only by what you can bolt down to the table (or in some cases, THROUGH the table).
It's not the only tool for a shop ... while it will do lots of things pretty well, it isn't, for example, the best choice to rip rectangular pieces (too slow and too big a kerf) ... but it sure does eliminate the tedium of cutting and shaping irregular pieces with absolutely wonderful repeatability. It's also neat to use to drill holes EXACTLY where you want on flat stock.
We made an intelligent decision to get our 'bot with the Porter Cable router as the spindle motor ... at the time that was what the budget allowed. We just replaced the brushes after two years of operation, and while the PC does the job, it's much noisier and slower than a 5 HP (REAL horsepower) 3-phase Colombo spindle motor. That is the next purchase for productivity and noise reduction.
Go for it!
Regards,
Rick
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[snipped for brevity]

Thanks for that reply, Rick. That's all I needed..more endorsements...:-)
That machine makes just too much sense. Drilling 32 mm set-ups would be the cat's pyjamas. Even in small numbers.
Right now, the one and only hold off is the fact that I simply have no room for one, but that will change in the next 18-24 months as I amalgamate some adjacent real estate. Sell one of the houses, build a nice, 'spoiled-brat' shop for myself. 3-phase included.
That Colombo spindle would be very desirable for me as I am all too familiar what it takes to cut 1/2" solid surface with a 3 1/4 HP PC production router. I can't remember the quantity of those I have totally worn-out over the years.... an easy dozen or so. (Even with bearing replacements and of course, regular brush replacements) Not 'really' a production tool for 'through-cuts' like cooktops and sinks in solid surface. Just saw that... YIKES!! NOT a cheap option, eh?
I got time yet...
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You think I'm in this alone? Good thing the 'bot is a business tool, and not my personal plaything (even though it DOES take up 1/2 of a 2-car garage).

And that's the beauty of it ... lay out a template once, and cut as often as you need. Morris has a GREAT material hold down system ... I'm more used to using whole sheets, so we simply drill 5 holes along each long edge and use carriage bolts and wing nuts to hold the material.

Room is good ... I've found loading material from the end, and leaving the 96" sides free to fasten things down. I've got a 1-1/2 HP dust collector with a trashcan cyclone precollector off to the side. It's tight, but it works. Built a rack under the steel framework (NOT connected to the frame) to hold material, so that space isn't fully lost.
Three-phase is good ... but you CAN make the Colombo run on single phase with the appropriate VFD.

If you've gone through several PC routers, you are well on your way to a Colombo. The Colombo also cuts MUCH faster, since it's an honest 5 HP, not this universal motor 3.5 HP stuff. I guess I'm fortunate to only have replaced brushes once ... bearings are in great shape (no runout) mostly because the 'bot doesn't overdo the feed.

We all say that ... and in the end wish we'd just done things earlier. The time is NOW! Come on in ... the water's fine (and deep).
I think the next software acquisition will be something to convert 3-D CAD files to true 3-D machine code, so I don't have to do depth layers (2.5-D?). This way, sculpting that arch top guitar will be much easier (grin).
One COOL thing you'd be able to do with a 'bot is engrave your logo on the top surface of your counter ... and fill with a contrasting color ... sand smooth and your logo is there for life. Or something else, if your logo isn't appropriate. Would make a neat inlay-looking solid-surface countertop that no one could compete with you on. Hmmmmm .... theme countertops ala disfunction junction (American Chopper). Yea, that's the ticket. Replace them with a new one whenever the owner's mood changes. That alone would pay for the 'bot in short order.
Regards,
Rick
Preflight Checklist
[ ] Jet Pack, MK IV
[ ] Roller Blades, well oiled
[ ] 6% smooth grade, well greased
[ ] aiming point downhill
[ ] tail wind 15 kts or greater
[ ] lit match
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[snipperectomy of informative reply]
My bot would most certainly be a business investment. I have had one on the brain since they were a couple of hundred grand for a small one. Rather than the justification from a mass-production standpoint, I have come to the conclusion that the true strength is complex one-off machining... at least in my line of work. One thing that would make the machine pay, is the use of 'scrap' solid surface materials. A sink cut-out makes a LOT of cabinet door knobs., drawer pulls and paper towel dispensers.. stuff like that. I have an endless source of decent size chunks of solid surface from my friends in the business. A tray for a pair of stainless dog-dishes with the dog's name on it will be a seller. House numbers. On and on. Fortunately I'm AutoCad trained so I have some feel for a PC based set-up. My CAD on my Mac exports DXF and I'm not the least bit intimidated by the software side. I'm pretty sure that the leaning curve will stop me dead in my tracks at times, but that makes it more challenging. After all, it's just a big plotter, right?
I'm also looking at Thermwood and Techno-Isel. Are you familiar with any of that equipment? Thermwood offers a great leasing program.
As a guide-line, I need to start looking into the auxiliary equipment as well. vacuum system, Dust collection, that sort of stuff.
And I think you're right...why wait?

[X ] Jet Pack, MK IV

[X ] lit match and a can of beans for propellant.
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On Fri, 16 Sep 2005 10:20:42 -0700, SonomaProducts.com wrote: (entire post snipped)
Ahhh ... I'm just a poor bloke and can't afford to buy that sort of stuff. It's beautiful and belongs in mansions and museums.
But I REALLY like the Duanesburg design AND I have a piece of birdseye maple sitting around. Any clues where I might find plans for that piece or one very similar?
I overheard my wife telling one of her friends the other day that she doesn't bug me to buy stuff for her because, if she waits just a little while, I'll come up the basement steps with something really nice for her.
With a woman like that in my life, I really like coming up those steps at the end of the day with 'a little something' in my hands for her.
Bill
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That'd beat into the wind in NC.
wrote:

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Have him take a look here for some inspiration. He's located in Ithaca, not far form me and does some beautiful work.
Bob S.

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This may help just a tad..........
http://www.flikkemawoodworks.com /
Bob S.
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Very Maloof-like. Nice looking stuff. Yowsa on the prices... although not way out of line, eh?
Damn... to have the time.
*whispers* (my buddy isn't that good with free-hand stuff.)
Thanks for the very nice link.
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Neither am I but wouldn't mind trying to make say a small stool/chair for a child that follows along these lines.
Practice makes perfect.....;-)
Bob S.
wrote:

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Sometimes, practice only makes mulch and firewood. ;-)
Patriarch
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wrote:

and makes me thankful that my thoughts aren't in balloons over my head like in a cartoon.. especially when the grand-crumbers are around!
mac
Please remove splinters before emailing
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On Fri, 16 Sep 2005 20:14:30 +0000, BobS wrote:

I think we've killed his server:
An error occurred while loading http://www.flikkemawoodworks.com /:
Timeout on server Connection was to www.flikkemawoodworks.com at port 80
Care to suggest another site? ;-)
Bill
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