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Inspiring others in your shop

A few days before Christmas, Carter and I put the last coat of finish on 40+ holiday gifts. We turned the handles for bottle openers, pizza cutters, and cheese planes. Next, we revised the plan for the Tile-Topped Keepsake Box, featured in the November 2006 issue of WOOD, and built over a dozen of them in our Greene and Greene style. Finally, we edge-joined most of our cut-off scrap stock to create a trio of cutting boards.

Holiday Gifts Galore!

Holiday Gifts Galore!

 Although building holiday gifts is a family tradition, one of the most enjoyable aspects was teaching Carter (age 13) more shop skills. For the turned handles, I would turn them to shape, and then Carter would take over with the sanding and finishing, allowing me to work on other gifts. I taught him to “push” the finish process by putting on a coat of finish, letting it sit for a few minutes, before turning the lathe on, and then using a clean cloth to heat and fast-cure the finish. This allowed him to put on and build up three coats of finish in less than 15 minutes. Then, I’d take the handle off the lathe, turn another one, and he’d repeat his sanding and finishing process. It was great to see him take such pride in his new-found skills. This summer, he’s excited about learning to use the lathe tools so he can turn his own gifts next year.

Carter working on a handle for a pizza cutter

Carter working on a handle for a pizza cutter

   The message here is not what we did, but to hopefully inspire you to involve others in your shop and projects. Creating things with our hands is an age-old desire. And, there is no age limit or necessary skill level for people wanting to learn to build. Make one of your New Year’s resolutions to teach someone a skill or two and help them create a project they’ll be proud of.   Marlen @ WOOD

5 Responses to “Inspiring others in your shop”

  1. It is great to work with others on Christmas project particularly our kids.

    It looks like you modified the proportions on the tile top boxes and eliminated the platform feet. When we made the second batch of these I eliminated the added feet.

    We also changed the top, as my wife does some Stained Glass work, these made a nice alternative to the tiles.

  2. Thanks for the comments and suggestions. We do wear safety goggles or the Trend Airshield when turning and sanding. However, in the image, Carter is applying Minwax Antique Oil at an extremely slow speed. We have a DC motor on this lathe, and we apply finish at the same speed as turning the headstock wheel by hand. I will make Carter wear his IPOD with the wires wrapped around on his backside in the future. Good tip. I’d prefer that he doesn’t use them at all in the shop, but if that’s what helps make it a more enjoyable experience for him, I’ll go along with it.

  3. where did you purchase the hardware for your projects thanks

  4. Great idea to bring family and friends together.

    I used “scrap” wood to create 16 bird houses for the local nature center and donated them for their determined use. The project eliminated extra material from larger projects and got me started on the “new year” clean up process that I conduct once a year.

  5. Hello!

    I am in the processing of making a kalimba(Thumb Piano)and I need to know what type of wood makes the best sound for an musical instrument?

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