Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WHEN IN DOUBT...MAKE A BENCH


This became a bench for a few different reasons.
 I was going to use it as a shelf for a funky table I'm working on, but if I cut off what I needed, there would be too much waste, and spalted maple isn't really available at Home Depot.
 Then I considered cutting and joining the two pieces to make a table top, but it would be a pretty useless size table.
 So when in doubt...make a bench.
Spalted Maple is on the softer side, so the climate was good for taking a crack at carving.
After I carved the "B", it was sort of camouflaged, so I needed to figure out a way to make it pop.
I wanted to keep it natural, so stain wasn't a option.
 That's when I came up with the stupid idea of torching it.
Guess what...fire and wood on the decaying side aren't a good combo for furniture, although they are perfect for camping.
 I'm not sure what I was thinking, but the second the flame touched it, wooosh! Bench on fire.
I've torched a lot of wood with very cool results, but putting a flame to wood this dry was not the smartest thing I've done.
 Once extinguished, I had to sand all the charred wood, and what was left was inside of the "B", which made it "pop".
 I painted the legs a really cool burgundy.
I could go on and on about this bench, but "Doc McStuffins" is over and King Max is demanding I feed him like right fuckin' now.
 Apparently they haven't taught him what "give me a minute" means in school yet.

Monday, August 26, 2013

THINKING ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS


I'm thinking about small, affordable, hand made things to make for the Holidays.
 These wall mount wine bottle vase's would be in the $35 range, and consist of all the stuff I have laying around, or cut offs from other pieces.
 It's kinda cool to have something that was part of something else.
I'm always open to ideas, so feel free to shoot me a email of something you think would be a good gift idea. If I use your idea, I'll make you one for free.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

BITCH SESSION


My little guy went to his first day of school.
 The initial shock and heartbreak is over for me and mom, but let me tell you...Monday...shit is gonna hit the fan.
 Let me paint the picture for you.
We chose a Catholic Montessori program for him.
Not a cheap endeavor, but when it comes to your kid, you want and do your best.
 Last week I got to visit the school. I met one of the teachers (who Max doesn't have) and she was kind and engaging, and had a real good vibe. Her classroom was set up in all these stations where kids can gravitate to whatever sparks their interests, and that's how they learn.
 I walked out of there that day feeling very proud and confident that we did really good for our boy.
Well, first day of school is a whole different can of worms.
 Max's teacher had the personality of a fucking funeral director, the classroom is empty, except for some tables and chairs and 4 books (2 of which Max can recite word for word), and there's 5 other kids in his class.
 Laura was raised in Pilsen with 3 brothers and a sister who beat the shit out of the four brothers and anyone else on the block who looked at any of them crooked. Needless to say, Laura comes from tough stock, and on Monday, I'm letting the pitbull off the leash.
 My question is this...why in the fuck is my son spending his first day of school in a room that resembles the day room of division 6 at Cook County jail? (that's a whole nother' story of WHY I know what the day room of division 6 at Cook County looks like)
 It's his FIRST DAY. We paid for this shit? Are you kidding me?
All I know is this...come Monday morning, If that room doesn't look like a clown car fucking exploded in that room, it's gonna be the verbal equivalent of 9/11.
I have to work Monday, and I won't be able to contain momma bear, so it's a good thing it's a Catholic school, because only God himself can help them.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

PUTTING IN WORK ON THE VAGINA

If you follow my blog at all, then you know you chuckled. If you're new, then go back a couple of posts to get up to speed on the vagina table.
 Anyway...I was able to put some work in on this piece today.
Of course I pick the hottest day of what was a lame ass summer, to grind and cut steel.
 I managed to get 2 out of 3 bases polished, and the middle base chopped up, so that the top cross bar doesn't interfere with the open center.
 I literally grinded until I had nothing left to grind with anymore.
The good thing about giving a piece some time, is that you get to keep a eye on how the wood is acting.
 Being in Chicago, we can get 3 seasons....in a week, and wood is temperature and humidity sensitive. You can have a great piece of wood, then in a weeks time it has split and done all kinds of crazy shit. This slab is holding strong. It's done all the fluctuating it's gonna do, and  THAT is critical.
 A little more grinding, shaping, and sanding, then we can move to finishing, and THEN....this vagina goes up for sale. (I can't help myself)

Monday, August 19, 2013

BEAUTIFUL DECAY

The title of this sounds like a bad speed metal band from Iceland.
 Collin from Salvage One gave me this piece of wood.
It was a cut off from a table he was making. I was thinking of using it for my "plan A" table, which has recently become my "plan...Q" table, but after coffee and cigarettes, I saw a different future for it.
 I had to do some research on it because it's a very strange piece of wood. It's "Spalted Maple".
You would think that one day you would be dragging your victim through the woods, and you would say "Your last moments will be spent tied to this beautiful Spalted Maple tree."
 You'd be lying to your victim, because there's no such thing as a "Spalted Maple" tree.
When wood is "spalted" it means it's in a state of decay. Interesting, eh?
 This  particular piece is in the very early stages of spalting, which is good because it's still stable.
It's stable, yet delicate. I'm not used to anything delicate. I'm used to pieces that I can beat the shit out of.
 Since the natural beauty of this wood is so unique, I've chosen to make a simple bench, which should be used as a table, because one shouldn't being rubbing their fat ass all over a beautiful slab of wood like this.
 But, if you buy it, it's yours. you can wear it as a hat if you want.
To keep it interesting, I carved in the Old English B logo, just because I've always wanted to do it, and I put a small walnut Dutchman in a split in the corner as opposed to just cutting off the end.
There's a whole ZEN vibe to this type of wood. A finding of beauty in everything, even death and decay.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

THE VAGINA DINING TABLE

Ya gotta admit...it kinda looks like a vagina.
 Collin over at Salvage One, went up to Michigan and brought back some of these slabs.
The other day, he sent me some pictures of the wood and said he wanted to do something crazy.
 I'm always down for something crazy, so I swung by today and picked them up.
I actually drove straight to Robertos shop and started cutting and joining.
 I'm a little intimidated by "good" wood, because I've mastered the art of making horrible wood look good. It's hard for me to find a start point because the wood is pretty to begin with.
 Luckily, in this situation, the wood has such a odd shape that the shape is my "ugly" starting point.
I'm going to square up the ends, manipulate some steel work bench bases that they have at S1, then sand it till it's as smooth as a....vagina?
 It's going to be a unique piece that I'm really excited about.
It hasn't even been in my possession for 5 hours, so I can't even imagine how funky it's gonna get over the next couple of weeks.

Monday, August 12, 2013

SOMETIMES DOING NOTHING IS SOMETHING

This weekend I did something that is very difficult for me...I did nothing.
 When I say I did "nothing" what I really mean is I didn't do work.
Actually I did drop off a piece to Salvage One on Friday with Max and shot the shit with Collin over there for a minute, but that's not really work either.
 Laura had a photo shoot on Friday and Saturday, so it's difficult for us to be simultaneously productive.
 After her shoot on Friday we had a little cook out and the kids played amongst themselves while the adults discussed how ridiculous religion was. Moments like that are rare and I think for once, all the adults were on the same page, and we all knew we were on the same page and everyone felt it and embraced it.
 Saturday, Laura did shoot number 2 so I took Max to see grandma.
Sometimes making the journey there is a pain in the ass and I leave feeling empty because I only hear about some chicken that was on sale, or how much water my sister got in her basement after a storm.
 But this time, me and my mom got to talk about some real life business while Max practiced his underwater skills in her pool, and this time I left feeling very satisfied
 After I got home, we looked through Laura's shoots, then went out for $60 worth of coal fire pizza.
Usually, I would throw a shit fit over dropping $60 on pizza, but, it was really good, the people there were nice, and the family left feeling very content. So...$60...well spent.
 Sunday, Laura had to go to work in the afternoon, but we managed to get Max some park time. After that he played with his cousins and I thought about the work I had in front of me. Thinking about it was as good as doing it after having a weekend of the most wonderful amount of...nothing.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

HAND CARVED AND HAIR PINNED

I won't sell it (yet), because it was specifically made to fit my butt.
 Not really, but that's what I keep telling myself.
I love it. It's surprisingly comfortable and feels like a piece of glass.
 Money is money. You make it, you spend it. This is worth more to me then turning it into a few bucks that I would most likely blow on some worthless shit.
 I'll never get rich making furniture because I truly do not care about selling furniture, or maybe I will get rich making furniture because of the fact that I don't care, who knows?
 The universe will have it's way with you either way.
My father in law was talking to me yesterday, mind you, this is a man creeping up on 80 years old. He was telling me about these tables he's been making because the custom cabinet business is really in the shitter, and when business was good, he never had time to do things he wanted to do. He spent his life making things for other people.
 But now he has time. 65 years later....and now he has time. That's some bullshit.
I, on the other hand will mostly make things I want to make. I don't want to be 80 and say I wish I did this 65 years ago.
 Money comes and goes, but years....years always stay behind you.

Monday, August 5, 2013

CHIPPIN' AWAY


The most dangerous thing about waking up ridiculously early is EBAY.
 Sunday morning I was looking at vintage shop stools on EBAY. I have no intention of purchasing anything, I just think they're pretty interesting. The design is cool, but the wear is what I'm interested in. I like to see how they've held up, and what kind of material is able to take decades of abuse.
 Well, I stumbled upon a cast iron, adjustable stool base from the 1940's. There was no seat, just the base, and I have a giant beam and a appetite for winning this item and giving it a new life.
 It will be a few days before I know if I'm the winner of this item, but I decided to carve out what will or would be a motorcycle-ish type of seat.
 They way I see it is I have nothing to lose but $30, and I can take my time and chip away at the seat when I'm bored, or I'm in between projects.
 It's also good practice. I'm already feeling more comfortable in knowing what a piece of wood will do if I take off a little here, a little there, curve it here, flatten it there...
 Maybe with all this carving business, my lifelong dream of being the weirdo who lives in a cabin in the mountains and carves bears with oversized genitals, is a little closer then I think.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

SLOW MOTION...SUCKS

It seems like this is taking forever...because it is.
 4am this morning and a third coat of finish is applied and I still have to make the legs.
Between jobs today, I'm going to pick up the steel, and hopefully get the steel for my plan A table.
 There was a lot of eyeball time on this bench, which is good. It's good because when you try something new, and the fear factor has been eliminated, your mind starts taking you to new places and you think about how you can incorporate your new endeavor into other aspects of your craft.
 Fear and fear of failure is like a cancer, and overcoming it is one of the greatest senses of accomplishment.
 No matter what your craft is, if you look back on all the things you didn't do because you were, well, basically afraid....imagine how far you'd be now.
 I wasn't really "afraid" to take a whack at carving, I just didn't know anything about it. Granted, this is pretty rudimentary in the aspect of carving wood, but you have to start some where, and my worse case scenario was that I ruin a piece of wood (like there's a wood shortage).
 I think that's why I don't have a lot of friends (by design). I have no one to impress or disappoint.
It's not really a tongue in cheek statement. Our entire formative years were spent seeking approval, and it's a brutal habit to break.
 The people I surround myself with could care less if I succeed or fail, they care because I always try.
People like that are few and far between, and maybe if people chose their company more carefully, the rat race would be less of a race and more of a collective.