Sunday, June 30, 2013
Every minute I spend working on the workbench restore project, the thought of how much easier it would be to just buy some old wood and build one from scratch, is running through my head.
The ultimate goal is to keep it as original as possible. Any modifications I do, have to at least "appear" to be included in it's original construction.
The drawer front has to be replaced. Period. It's beyond any restoring.
I spent a good part of Saturday morning, scraping off all the paint, tar, and god knows what else from the top. I also had to put a steel gusset underneath the top because it was sagging in the middle.
I put in 3 Dutchman joints on the top and shaped them to go with the contour of the top.
There's so much to do on this thing, that I had to employ 2 elf's (cousins) instead of the one elf that I actually own.
I did make a interesting discovery that helped me put a age on this piece.
Stuck to the back of the drawer box was a city of Chicago water bill from 1954.
How can I give up on something that withstood a 59 year ass whooping?
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
The current tenant is staying until her lease is up in like 7 months, and another space won't be available until October.
I have decided to wait, and you all know how I hate waiting.
The building and location are too perfect for me to be irrational. So, now I'm a vagabond builder, and production will be slow.
I'm crawling out of my skin because I NEED to build. I'm just not happy unless I have a project going on.
That was the "disappointed" part.
The offended part is that, as of late, my mother in law and ultimate critic has been blasting me in the nuts lately in a passive aggressive kind of way.
The main reason I'm on the hunt for a shop is because she doesn't want me working at the building.
First off, we live in a family commune which is really awesome and great for my son. I totally understand her not wanting me to work here because it's summer and it's loud, and people are enjoying the yard, etc.
I get it. I'm cool with it. BUT...I've been getting these comments about the materials I use.
I keep getting these under breath comments about "rotten wood" and things of that nature.
It offends me, because I want to say..."you've seen what I've turned that "rotten wood" into, and there is nothing "rotten" about what I've created".
Here's the deal....THAT is what I do. I turn shit into...something. I'm not blowing my own horn, but my gift lies in being able to see beyond what is presented at first glance.
I love to be doubted. Bet against me. I dare you to, I dare anyone to.
The last bashing I got was about that work bench I pulled out of the garbage.
I promise you all this....when I'm done working that table back to life, it will be stunning.
Anger is a fuel that can't be bought.
Sunday, June 23, 2013
I don't drive around scouring the alleys of Chicago, frolicking in people's trash cans, but some people do, and that, to me, is a bizarre hobby.
On Saturday we were having a "ghetto" camping excursion in the backyard for the kids, and when Laura's brother showed up, he notified me of a piece that he spotted in his alley.
I was hesitant at first, but with a new shop on the horizon, I had to take a chance.
Not too shitty of a find, I must say.
It's old, and not in the best shape, but I kind of like that.
With a little love, I think I can restore this to show room quality, except it won't see a show room.
It will be my shop table.
I also drove out to Plano Illinois and picked up a 6' steel welding table from a super cool old timer named Bob.
This was not only worth the $80 I paid for the table, but listening to the old guys stories for about a hour was pretty inspiring.
Bob has had several successful business's, and his true passion is restoring old cars.
He was working on a 54' Caddy when I showed up.
I think he was rebuilding the Carburetor when I showed up. While we were shooting the shit, his hands worked on this piece of machinery, and I don't think he looked down at what he was doing the entire time. His hands just moved to where they were supposed to go. It was pretty inspiring.
I'll most likely never see Bob again, but I'm grateful that I was able to pick up a little more then just a good deal on a old table.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
I'm movin' on up. Not to a deee lux apartment in the sky-I-I-I, but to my own shop.
I will find out Monday if I'll be able to get the space available July 1st. If not, then I may have to wait until August.
Whatever the outcome, I'm a proactive kind of guy, so I'm packing up and cleaning out the clutter.
I've had these stored for a couple years, and I'm selling them off in order to acquire some new equipment and to basically make room.
1. "lonely always finds it's way home"-$50
I think I was in a kind of "dark place" when I painted this. Max wasn't born yet and fall was rolling in. It's a little spooky because to us, it's almost a cross between Max and our dog Lennox.
2."Where's the "joy" in Joy Division"-$50
I wanted to go dark and creepy. I really wanted to change my style of painting. I was getting bored and frustrated with painting and art in general, and that was the outcome.
3."The Jesus project"-$50
I painted this when I was living in Arizona. I was on a "Jesus" kick. Not in a religious way, but more of a study into how a man in sandals could become so popular.
4."wake up you funky-monkey"-$25
I painted this after Max was born.
I wanted his room to have some art in it that wasn't from Target or The Land of Nod.
If anyone is interested email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
First come, first served.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Yesterday, Laura and myself, took Max to the park. It's not really a park, but a ghetto school with a playground that's inhabited by many of our future inmates.
Max is having a blast, showing off his climbing skills, and he see's this hoodlum that we've seen before.
This kid always wears a Batman towel. The kind that has the hood with the batman ear things, which is cool and all, I mean, I wore a ninja costume for like 2 years when I was about that kids age.
Well, Max goes running up to Batman with the intention of engaging him in some playground super hero fun, and the kid puffs up and yells "I'M NOT GONNA PLAY WIT CHOO".
I seriously thought I was gonna have to tackle Laura before she beat a 5 year old to death, but she actually mustered up some restraint.
Max was hurt. Crushed actually. And we as parents were forced to take our lumps as well.
We shortly exited the ghetto playground and on the way home we were talking about the incident with him.
"The kid wears a towel...to the park." Max: "yeah Da-Da, that's pretty silly."
The rest of the evening I couldn't help thinking about how I won't be able to protect my son from our world.
How the only thing I can do is give him the tools to face a cruel and barbaric world...on his own.
That's a really big mind fuck for a parent.
I know children are cruel, but it made me really think about our society.
It seems so simple, yet people just complicate things.
All you have to do is just be cool to other people. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise.
It's idealistic, I know, but wouldn't life just be a hell of a lot easier?
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
I also included photos of some of the details, like the red X screw covers, the welded steel back support, and the walnut dutchmans.
This is another one of those pieces that I hate sending off because it's a piece I could really use.
I could make another one, but that's no fun.
Of course there's a story to ride along with this piece, and of course it includes the mighty Max.
In order to do the floating shelves, I had to insert steel rods to support the weight. To do this, you have to drill the holes perfect and you have to drill them by hand, unless you have a monster drill press, in which case I...do...not.
I spent a lot of time on the mathematics of these holes and after I filled the holes with epoxy, I proceeded to "attempt" to slide the first shelf on to the rods.
The first shelf...easy breezy. The second shelf, well that's where panic and disaster ganged up on me because the shelf insertion came to a halt about a quarter of the way on to the steel rods.
As I proceed to curse, and whack the shelf with a 3lb. sledge, spewing epoxy everywhere, I see Max running into the house out of the corner of my eye. About 5 seconds later he kicks the screen door open with his little tool box in hand yelling "I'll help you Da-Da, I'LL HELP YOOOOU!"
I'm pretty sure that my heart got up and walked out of chest at that point, as this little boy saw his old man in trouble, and without a pause, came to help.
Now I'm pretty sure his red plastic hammer was not able to seat the shelf, but his act of unadulterated kindness did pull me out of my blind rage and calmed me to where I just tapped the slightly askew rod to plumb and proceeded to slip the shelf in place.
The funny thing is, that after he watched me slip the shelf on, and all was well, without a word he slipped away to go back to playing with ants. I stood there, lit a cigarette, and reveled in what it was like to be loved unconditionally.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
I am genuinely flattered and grateful for the compliments, but I'm really starting to wonder if when I actually "speak" to people, they assimilate me to that of a babbling monkey.
I say this because people that I speak to on a regular basis are like "I really like your blog and I'm very impressed with you writing".
I thought that I write how I speak, so I'm a little taken back when people seem shocked that I can articulate a thought via...the written word.
Regardless...I'm a sucker for a compliment, but there are 3 things you will NEVER hear me say.
1. "What the hell am I gonna do with all this money?"
2. "Having a dick this big really isn't all it's cracked up to be"
3. "Honey, I'm going to Starbucks to get a Mocha-asshole-frappe-something, and work on my novel"
Friday, June 7, 2013
I mean "finally" in a couple ways.
"Finally" the drill press has arrived and "finally" I can get to finishing the shelving unit.
It has been utter chaos in our home lately.
Laura started a new job. If it were me, I would have walked the minute the new job was secured based on her former employers business practices. Unlike me (which is the smartest thing one can be) she gave em' 2 weeks, and has been working both places.
Max is in a stage, that EVERY kid goes through, where they tell these make believe stories that go on for hours...literally hours.
I don't pray for much, but during these marathon story telling sessions I pray to any and every God, I ask God "please don't let me be a asshole to this delicate child".
THEN....our pitbull Lennox.
Let me tell you about Lennox real quick. He's like Brad Pitts character in "True Romance". You know, where he plays the stoner...
We discovered a little lump on his neck a couple weeks ago, and it's grown to about a golf ball size, so we did a family trip to the vet, and our gentle giant is going to need a surgery to have a tumor removed. I've discovered that I will do anything to keep this dog alive and healthy for 2 reasons.
1. I love him...
2. I can NOT imagine having to explain the passing of our dog (god forbid) to our son.
I wouldn't do it. I would make some shit up. I would tell him a astronaut took him to the moon, because dogs live forever on the moon, and when you wanna see him you just have to look up, or some other nutty story.
I don't have it in me to break down death and dying to a 3 year old.
So this weekend I will get lost for a couple of hours and finish this piece.
It's a good way to wrap up a hectic month, and with it's completion, where I move on to the next piece, I can also move on with my family and leave the chaos of the last month in the past.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Unfortunately the wait is holding up the completion of the shelving piece.
It's starting to drive me crazy. Just looking at it. Ready to go. 12 holes in some steel keeping it from being stood upright.
I don't use a lot of power tools in what I do. They have their place for sure, but I try my hardest to not rely on them.
The furniture is selling well, so I'm allocating my profits back into the craft.
I'm going to invest in some Japanese Mortising chisels and pull saws. I use a set of Two Cherries German chisel and I have a pull saw already, but for those two items which I use the most, a upgrade is in order.
It's a strange relationship...a man and his tools. There's a lesson to be learned from it as well.
If you treat your tools well, they'll return the favor. The same rule applies to the people in our lives.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Not so much.
I ended up using a bowl carvers adze that I picked up awhile back from a blacksmith who melted down like 8 hammers to make this one tool. I was always in awe of it, and never really put it to work, until now.
What I did with this tool is basically chip away at all the rotten wood, then smooth it out.
What that does is leave all these trenches and valleys in the wood. The effect is a very natural movement. It's something one would have to see and feel up close to really appreciate.
Keep in mind, this piece is being made from one beam. One. And some steel.
I had to hand saw the depth of the beam to make the shelves. Some of the wood was just too crappy to use, so I had to add a couple Dutchman joints where there was a split that could be problematic if left alone.
I don't use a jig for my dutchmans. Mallet and Chisel all by hand, and I have to report that I'm getting fast at these now. I used to have to meditate, burn sage, say a prayer, and a whole slew of ritualistic activities before I cut in a Dutchman, but now it's WHACK-WHACK and DONE.
So that's the progress on this piece thus far. Still quite a bit of sanding, then assembly, and on to 3 coats of poly.
I'm excited to get this thing in a upright position soon because everyone who's seen it so far looks at it slightly puzzled, but then again I think most of my stuff gets those looks at first.