Friday, September 30, 2016

An Evangelistic Gestation.

This past Sunday I was once again joined a couple friends to demonstrate the traditional woodworking skills of turning logs into stuff at The Castlerock Museum of Arms and Armor in Alma WI. This is the third time we've done this "Forest to Furniture" event, this time they let us make a mess inside due to uncooperative weather. Of course I'd happily work in the driving rain to stand in the company of Tom Latane ( and Paul Nyborg (

The best thing about doing these shows is most of the audience doesn't know the first thing about woodworking. I don't like it because it's easier, (in fact the questions can be more complex) I like it because it spreads the word outside the already converted. Many woodworking demonstrations happen for woodworkers. These can be good things, new techniques and new tricks can be learned.

Showing hand tool woodworking to the uninitiated is a lot like performing a magic show. The awe at the effect sharp steel and the concept of a log turning into something useable is palpable. It seems like something that we've left behind as a society and when it's rediscovered, . .  well it's a hell of a lot of fun to be the catalyst for that. 

Ratione et Passionis

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

. . . And Another Step. The Big Move.

Is it true that absence makes the heart grow fonder?

A quick recap of my past month and a half. Packing up the house. Packing up the shop. Packing my In-laws home. Moving all the above into a new (new to us) home across town amidst banking red tape and bureaucracy bullshit. Last minute closing date modifications. A week and a half of homelessness. Regular work schedule. The start of the school year for my daughters. Doing a museum lecture on medieval blunt force weapons. Doing a few days of spoon carving demos four hours north. Combining two households of "Things" into one cohesive household. A million donation trips to the Salvation Army.

There's more but you probably wouldn't believe it. Please don't ask about the banking bastards. I could write a Tolstoy length dissertation. Never the less. Things are finally finding a new version of normalcy and I'm able to peel off some time to continue writing here instead of just throwing pictures up on Instagram. I just hope I haven't gotten too far out of the habit.

We were talking about packing up and moving a shop. One of the biggest concerns in moving is the biggest piece of shop furniture you probably own. Your workbench.

In my case I had a behemoth to wrangle. 12 foot long, four inch thick top with 10"X 8" legs. Probably pushing the weight of a compact car. Thank goodness I had no stairs to overcome or this beast probably would have been a donation to the new owner of the old shop.

The top rests on the legs located in place by 1 1/2" maple dowels. It was not glued or mechanically connected but expansion and contraction have resulted in a fit it would probably take a tractor to pull apart. Still, being who I am I reinforced the connection with two angle brackets per leg.

It seemed to me that putting the major weight (read: the bench top) closest to the ground wold be good, make things less tippy. I picked up a couple rolling mover's dollies and screwed them to the benchtop.

Then I bribed a good friend into helping me flip the tortoise on it's back.

From there we pushed it out the garage door and onto the Uhaul. There was one problem to solve at the ramp. I was using the biggest truck Uhaul offered and when I have had this in the past I've had a decent length ramp, this one must have been a replacement because it was short and steep. I used one of my homemade wheel dollies to get us started on the ramp and up we went.

Amazing that no photo exists of us actually going up the ramp, but there is some of us loading the second bench, The measly 8 footer.

After the benches were on it was just a matter of loading everything else.

and then unloading it of course. . .

and then setting up the new shop of course. . .

and then getting back to making things of course . . .

Ratione et Passionis