I have some friends, Jay and Jen Kroll, who are heading to Haiti, March 28-April 2, 2010, in order to help World Vision build a school. Last night, they had a gala and silent auction to help raise funds for the trip and school. I had originally hoped to have a piece made for the auction, but just became too busy and then came down with a cold on top of it all, so that I wasn’t able to do get anything made. I still would like to help out with this cause, so I have decided that 10% of any orders until March 19, 2010, from my Etsy shop or ArtFire studio will go towards the trip. This includes any custom commission pieces ordered! Also included are wooden handplanes like the one in my previous post. Please contact me for pricing.

If you would like to help out with the trip in any other way, please check out Jen’s blog for more information: Jen Kroll Photography. You can also follow Jen on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Jen_Kroll

Tiger Maple handplane

February 19, 2010

I decided to build my own wooden hand plane after seeing planes from Larry Marshall and Kari Hultman. Making a wooden plane is almost a craftsmans right of passage, like a Jedi building his own lightsaber. (Sorry, should have issued a nerd alert.) It is an extremely fulfilling project and can provide some great learning moments as well.

David Finck’s book, Making and Mastering Wood Planes, was invaluable in learning the ins and outs of the plane making process. He really breaks down the process step by step, with incredible detail. Honestly, its hard to make a mistake if you follow the process carefully.

I found a great piece of Tiger Maple to use for the body of the plane and already had some Bubinga which I used for the cross pin and wedge. I then bought a 2″ blade with a chip breaker from David Finck. I dimensioned all my pieces with a band saw, jointer, planer, Lie-Nielson #4, and a Stanley block plane.

After gluing up the plane and shaping the wedge, I let is sit for a day, then trued and squared all the surfaces. David recommends using the plane some before starting the shaping process to get an idea how it will handle. This allows you to shape it more comfortably.

I used my Boggs spokeshave from Lie-Nielsen, cabinet scrapers, rasps, and a block plane to final shape the plane after roughing it out on the bandsaw. I thoroughly enjoyed that process. Shaping wood absolutely fascinates me. Using sharp, quality tools makes that shaping time even more enjoyable.

It stayed at this point, without finish, for a couple weeks until I was able to get some Shellac. I used Shellac because it really makes the figured Maple pop. By the way, did you know that Shellac is basically bug poop? Fascinating, isn’t it? It was my first experience using it, and I found that it was relatively simple to apply. I used a premixed Shellac from Zinser so I didn’t have to make my own from flakes. Maybe next time I’ll be more ambitious. I’m extremely happy with how the plane looks with the finish applied!

I absolutely love using this plane. Wood planes just feel so much more natural than metal bodied planes to me. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my Lie-Nielsen #4 and still drool over a Marcou or a Saur & Steiner. There is just something special about a handmade tool that nothing else will compare to. Its a closer connection with the tool, which also translates into a closer connection with your work. I can’t wait to make another plane, probably a block plane, soon. I also look forward to making some profile planes in the near future as well.

Art Fire and Etsy

February 14, 2010

Over the course of the last couple weeks, I finally launched an Etsy shop and an Art Fire studio for Scott Meek Woodworks. I only have two items for sale currently at both locations: the Maple and Cherry tray and the Butternut/Walnut treasures box.

I hope to have a few more items for sale in the next couple of months, so be sure to keep watching the blog for those projects.

You can find the Etsy shop here: Scott Meek Woodworks – Etsy
and the ArtFire studio here: Scott Meek Woodworks – ArtFire

If you know someone looking for beautiful woodworking pieces made with passionate creativity, someone who would like something to bring beauty and peace to where they live, please be sure to send them that way.

I launched my Etsy shop yesterday, and one of the things I’ve noticed right off the bat is that I don’t have enough items for sale. I’m hoping to get at least one of the other box designs that I posted earlier done in the next few weeks. Even so, I want to offer some lower priced items as well. So today I started sketching some ideas for picture frames.

I’m especially excited about the frame that I just did the close detail for, with the copper strapping!

Which is your favorite that you would like to seem me complete? Would you, or someone you know, be interested in picture frames like this?

Shaped box concept

January 21, 2010

Concept 1

Concept 2

This is another box concept I’m currently working on. It will require a lot of shaping with rasps, spokeshaves, and planes, which I’m VERY excited about. I had a tough time trying to draw other proportional sketches of this box, so the above sketches really don’t show whats fully in my head.

I had an idea for the corner joints, a splined miter that would show up when the wood is shaped into the gentle curves. Since I couldn’t get it drawn, I just decided to do a test piece:

I am thrilled with how it turned out! Can’t wait to get started on this one. The wood in the test joint is Maple and the spline is Bubinga, as those are what I had in the shop. Not sure what the final box will be made of, but it will have to be something where the grain will be an integral part of the design.