April 29, 2011

Brass Brackets (Say that Five Times Fast)

The past couple days I've been working on the finish of my table. I also made brackets to attach the table top to the base. I started by taking brass stock and rough-cutting it to the desired size on the bandsaw. I squared the corners using a block placed 90 degrees to the disc-sander. I set-up a jig on the drill press to bore screw holes through both sides of the bracket and counter-sink the holes. Lastly, I filed the brackets for a clean surface. Voila! Brass brackets. Check back soon for pictures of the table.

April 22, 2011


It's abalone season. For those of you who aren't familiar with this delectable treat, it's an edible sea snail. A few of my classmates went out diving for the snails, and they came back with abalone to spare. We fried some up in butter with lemon juice, salt and pepper. The key is to pound the tough meat to tenderize it.

April 20, 2011

On the Importance of Friends

My good friend Molly visited me last week. She returned recently from New Zealand where she's been adventuring for the past 1/2 year or so, and then drove up the coast from Los Angeles for a visit. We spent the time walking along North Coast beaches, soaking in the pools at Orr Hot Springs, and chatting over meals we cooked. In other words, we didn't do anything special outside of enjoying one another's company. Seeing Molly reminded me how important it is to have close friends around. This is something I've missed over the last nine months.

I feel I've made a number of new friends who are near and dear to me, but it's not the same as having old friends around. Especially because we spend 8-10 hours a day together in the shop, which doesn't leave much energy or time for the purely social. That being said, I already know that I'll miss these new friends immensely once school comes to a close and we all move on to our futures. It's sad that human nature lends itself to missing what we don't have and taking for advantage the things we have while we have them. I'm working to better appreciate the present--what I have when I have it.

Molly brought me this poppy from Sebastopol. Funny enough I have these very poppies growing in my yard. Both are a reminder to truly be in the present. 

April 10, 2011

Life Flies By

I've been slow to post lately, but that doesn't mean that life has been slow. Quite the opposite. Lots has happened in the past few weeks.

Michael Burns, director of the program, turned 70, and we celebrated with a big party. Woodworkers from years past, as far back as 30 years ago, showed up to join the festivities. It was great to share our projects with alumni as they reminisced about their time at CR.

Michael is also retiring this year. He helped to create the fine woodworking program and has had a steady hand in it ever since. On Saturday he announced that the new director is Laura Mays (a woman!). She seems incredibly accomplished, professional, astute, and competent. Krenov's philosophy is evident in her work, but she isn't afraid to take a risk and push outside the box. I encourage you to check out her website

Only five weeks are left in the program, and as time draws to a close, reality is starting to creep back into my life. I've spent a lot of time contemplating where I want to be and what I want to be doing. I plan to continue woodworking in some capacity, but I have to get a job to pay off my mounds of student debt. I have two soft job offers in Los Angeles, but I'm not sure I want to go back to LA. That being said, that's where my friends are and I miss them dearly. I suppose at this point, I'm open to just about anything.

Finally, my table is starting to come together. I have the base roughed out, and the table top is assembled. Now I need to fit the joinery, do the final shaping, attach the base to the top, and do the finishing work. Lots to be done!

April 2, 2011

The Bondo Curve Saves the Day

My last post made mention of the problems I had getting a curve that I like for the ends of my table. Well, in the end I recut my bent lamination frame pieces to get a farer curve. To do so I rough cut matching male and female templates of the curve I wanted, and then squished bondo between the two to get a perfect match between the curves. I then routed the frame members and the table top, splined the two pieces, and glued them up. What you see below is the bondo template and the resulting table top.

I'm glad that I decided to fix what I had rather than start over. Sometimes there's value to a fresh start, especially when you feel completely bogged down (as I did), but sometimes using the material you started with and fixing the problem you got yourself into is more rewarding.

Now on to the base! You can see the legs and stretchers resting on my bench in the background as well as the beginnings of my finish samples.