Wow, it’s been a while.

Life has a way of taking us off the path we set out onto and placing us directly on another. As many know the seasons are again changing and winter will soon be upon us. Forget winter, Christmas is right around the corner. It’s hard to believe another year is come and gone. Anyway, I’ve started back in the shop and will have a few small things on here soon such as strange coasters and such.

I have finished my fixtures for frame making so going forward I will be able to make small custom and standard size picture frames. I’ll be posting the first frame off later today.

I hope you all enjoyed a happy Thanksgiving.

God bless.

By Hound & Eye Book Review

There are times when I’ll sit in my office with a blank drawing sheet on my drafting application and stare aimlessly into space. I acquit it to writers block for a draftsman or the designer. Nothing comes. So I’ll argue with myself, luckily my office is insulated and the family upstairs is unable to hear my insanity I hope. I’ll tell myself that if only I had a drafting board I would be more creative. I work best with my hands. So, I find my make shift drafting board and said accomplices but still nothing comes. It was in one of these fits that I came across a book, that appeared as though it was just for me. That book was By Hound & Eye.

By Hound & Eye is authored by Geo. R. Walker and Jim Tolpin and was illustrated by Andrea Love. The book can be purchased directly from the Lost Art Press for $27.00 USD. By Hound & Eye is a how-to, designers guide for creating pleasing proportional creations. The authors are both avid woodworkers with years of design and construction experience and have another book By Hand & Eye.

By Hound & Eye is all about simplifying the design process of furniture using simple tools and sound techniques. The book breaks down the content into four discrete sections beginning with points and lines and ending with solids, I.E. furniture. From the back cover of the book, the reader is inclined to believe he or she will return from their journey with a better understanding of geometric construction techniques and a backpack of simple tools.

From the first page, I found myself enthralled in the book and was easily able to read through it in its entirety in a single weekend. I found the progression of topics from points and lines to planes, curves and finally solids to be easy to follow and well thought out. Each section of the book provided ample explanation of the topic and instruction on the use of the tools required. The authors also provided space in the book for the reader to practice his or her drawing techniques, such as lines to be bisected or smooth curves to be drawn at selected transition points.

The “journey” is narrated by two cartoon characters, the “journeyman” and his dry witted, sarcastic dog “Sydney.” The humor was a nice addition to the book and caused my wife to look curiously in my direction often as I burst out laughing at what appeared to be completely random moments. However, I also found that it was possible to get lost in the cartoon pictures and humor, and I’d have to reread a section again.

The book suggests “tossing” out that pesky tape measure to design instead with a small backpack of simple tools. While the idea sounds freeing, I found it most difficult to do. The idea they present is that by using whole number proportions your furniture will relate to itself rather than to some external object and therefore be more aesthetically pleasing. In addition to that, scaling a piece to fit any location would mean simply scaling your “module” and thus maintaining all internal proportions.

I agree with the authors that furniture designs, that are built using this method, are far more appealing. That being said, I’ve found the overall design process to be much more difficult. We live in a world where everything is measured and calculated. The mainstream CAD applications are simply not designed for this type of drafting, which means using this method for design will require paper and pencil.

All and all I have found the book fun to read, informative and a boost to my creative nature. I have read the book three times thus far, and I am working on my fourth iteration while writing this review. Why so many times? While the concepts alone are not complicated nor are they hard to apply, I’ve found that using them all together to design a piece of furniture with out the aid of a tape measure is far more difficult than I would have thought. Reviewing the book helps inspire me to continue and not simply go back to CAD, where I can erase a million times. I wold highly recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in designing beautiful inner proportional pieces or to the designer interested in how they used to design in the days gone by.

Links:

Lost Art Press (http://lostartpress.com)

Re-themed our site.

We’re working towards an idea that’s in our heads about how the site should look. We believe we’re getting closer to that goal each day! Today we re-themed the site adding the new slider and static home page. To view the blog roll click the blog menu item in the main navigation bar. We hope the look is pleasing.

Let us know what you think!

Finishing Up DVD Cabinet

Today, we should be putting the final touches on the DVD cabinet and getting it ready for its new home. We’ll rub down the last coat of oil that was applied Thursday evening with four-ought steel wool before applying a coat of SC Johnson Paste Wax. After the wax has dried and been buffed out we’ll use, brass inserts and fix the upper and lower cabinet pieces together. The brass inserts fit down though a 0.375″ drilled hole with a 0.500″ counter-bore 0.250″ deep. The insert accepts a 1/4″-20 UNC bolt. We’ll be using a 1/4″-20 X 1″ brass button head screw for this case.

Check back later this weekend for pictures of the completed project.

 

DVD Hutch Progress

We are nearing the completion of a DVD and VHS, yes that says VHS, cabinet constructed of Red Oak. The cabinet has been on our TODO list for some time now and looks as though it will make its grand exit from the shop within the week or so. The cabinet is constructed of two parts. A lower cabinet with three shelves for VHS tapes and a five shelve upper for DVDs and BluRay disks. The upper also contains a small drawer for those pesky remotes, cables, and other media land nick knacks.

Both the bottom and the top cases are dovetailed on the bottoms and set into dadoes at the top. The shelves on the lower are set into stop dadoes (the shelves don’t come through to the front of the case) while in the upper the shelves are set in through dadoes. The lower case also features a rounded bottom shelf and a rounded top breaking up the linear structure of the piece. The backs of the upper and lower are made of Baltic Birch 1/2″ plywood. We used plywood for the back of the cabinet because in theory it is never seen as the cabinet will live out its long and trusty life against one wall or another.

As with many of our other pieces this one is being finished with Tried and True Varnish Oil. You can see, in the pictures below, the upper has been finished and dried with one coat. The Lower was just oiled today which is why the colors don’t yet match. As the oil dries the colors will match more closely. In the week to follow we will be lightly sanding both the upper and lower and applying at least three more coats of oil before assembling the case.

    

Welcome

Welcome to the opening of our new site. We’d like to invite you to browse through our site and please leave your comments. We realize there is little content currently, but we’re just starting out! This site and the opportunity to build furniture for folks has been a dream of ours for a long time and we’re excited to debut our website. As new pieces get created content will be added to our portfolio as well as plans for select pieces. We intend on posting product reviews, tips and tricks, and other things we find helpful in our woodworking journey. Oh, and we’d be honored to have you follow along with us!