A friend at work is an avid bowler and challenged me to make something creative with a pair of cracked bowling balls he had. The only requirement he had was that one had to be cut in half so the core of the bowling ball could be displayed. This is what I came up with first:
Sorry for the poor quality photo. I cut the ball in half using an angle grinder, sawzall, a cold chisel and whatever else looked like it could possibly split the thing in two. I sanded the good side and it polished up nicely. The other side got pretty mangled up, but I was able to carve out a notch in it and make it into a stand to fit the good side. Not bad, but I figured I could do better.
The second ball I sent out to my father-in-law’s farm and he used his band saw on it and got a nice, smooth cut. I crafted a wooden stand for the pair and figured I would take it a step further and make it into a lamp. Here is what I came up with this time:
It turned out pretty good and I put an Edison bulb in it. I took a picture of it with the light illuminated, but it really blew out everything else in the photo. He was very happy with the result and has both stands displayed in his house. This was a bit of a challenge for me since I had no idea how to work with the resin that the bowling balls are made of. This project allowed me to flex my creative muscle and make something of my very own design. Now he tells me he has a piece of bowling lane he wants me to work on.
I was asked to make this garden trellis about a year ago and finally got the time to put it all together. Once I had it all laid out on the driveway it came together rather quickly. I was impressed that I was able to complete it in only a few hours when I had been putting it off for months. If I knew it would be so easy I would have done it right away. At least it is done now and I hope the recipient is happy with it. Her climbing rose should have plenty of room to spread out this summer.
I spent some time planing a few boards today. I was only able to haul a few in my Jeep, and that is for the best since it takes such a long time to smooth out these rough cut boards. This way I was able to get them all cleaned up before I put them on the rack until I am ready to use them.
I have been talking about making a dining table for several years and I think the kids might be old enough to not color on it or destroy the finish. They could prove me wrong. I went 1″ thick for the two widest boards and 3/4″ on the narrow one. The 1″ ones could make a nice top. They have pretty grain structure and not too much sap wood to cut around.
It is amazing how much sawdust this creates. I find that after a board or two I am knee deep in shavings.
It’s been a little while since I posted, I’ve been busy with work and getting my workshop time in when I can. The table is nearing completion. It seems like the more I do the faster the process is. I need to keep at it to keep my skills sharp and I think I will be a lot more productive. Here are some pictures of what it looks like so far. I am going to round the corners off, so the kids don’t hurt themselves when they are running around, then sand and finish and on to my next project.
Simple coffee table, but will definitely be used a lot.
Greene and Greene detail added to the bottoms of the legs.
I tried my first butterfly joints this week. They are supposed to strengthen the joint between the two boards as well as add a decorative element to the project. They weren’t as hard as I thought they would be to do. I can definitely tell the difference between the first one I did and third one. A little more practice and they should be no problem. I’ll just need a little wood filler to dress them up when I am all done.
Here is the first one. You can see where my hand slipped and I went outside of the lines. I also noted that in the future I need to leave the line and use a chisel to slowly work up to it at the end for a tight fit.
Here is the last one, I think the lines look a little crisper. A little more sanding and some filler and I should be all done. The goal in the future is to not need any filler at all… I’ll get there someday.
I have wanted to build a fixture to hang fry pans and other kitchen necessities from for a long time. Today I took a step in the right direction and got some pieces cut and fit to the space. I will have to do some more trimming and decide how I want to attach everything, but I’m sure after I mull it over a little I’ll get it all figured out. I will have to pull out the forge and make some custom hooks as well. I am looking forward to that experience.
Here is a closer shot of what I am going for. I would like to chamfer the ends of the sticks for a sleeker look. The hook I used was from a different project I forged long ago. I hope to do some shorter and maybe beefier looking hooks for this project. More updates later!
I saw plans for this chair in a woodworking magazine a few years ago and knew I had to give it a try. I got started last January and cut a lot of the pieces to size. Then I became intimidated by all the carving and the many angles involved in making this chair. My limited supply of walnut also made me nervous about making a mistake and having to buy more for a project I was pretty shaky on. I’m giving it another shot this year and began my cutout and carving for the back of it last week. The carving is all new to me and has been slow going so far. I’m going to take my time and do my best to get it right.
All the major work on the table is done now, I just need to put a finish on it and it will be ready to go. I am going to use polyurethane to show off the natural beauty of the wood. I’m glad this one is near completion and can look forward to a chair I started over a year ago. The cold winter weather has really kept me inside the last two weeks and I have not been tempted to go outside and bum around in the garage. My shop in the basement has seen a lot of activity. I even had time to clean up and reorganize- a monumental task for sure.
Today I glued up my table base and it looks like I can wrap up this project by the end of the week. I got in a good flow and was able to get a lot done in the span of a few hours this morning. The table top is glued up, I need to sand it yet and get it fit to the base. Then it is on to finishing and finding the perfect spot for it in the house. My beast of a band saw got quite a workout on this project. It is probably the most I have used it for a single project. It has been sitting in the corner of the shop as I made do for years with my little table top band saw. The belt broke on it a few months ago and I moved to the big band saw and what a difference that makes! So much more power and versatility. It may become my go-to tool for a lot of complicated cuts in the future.
This morning I worked on fitting the two sides of my table legs together. It took quite a bit of shaping and fine tuning to get the fit just right, but I am happy with the result now. Tomorrow the plan is to sand and glue them up. Then I can look to the center stretchers and the top. I also worked on creating a small steam box for more wood bending…we’ll see how that project works out.