Several years ago I worked with my good friend and camping partner Phil Brennion, professional woodturner from Chino Valley, Arizona, to write an article on his method for turning translucent ponderosa pine vessels. Phil, a true turning perfectionist and demonstrator, has this infectious ability to get you to try new turning techniques and finishes.
Over a lifetime we hear and see tens-of-thousands of great ideas. It is our ability to put to action even a minute fraction of these tidbits that shapes our lives and determines our growth and skills. I refer to this practice as the Nugget Theory. Whether it be a demonstration, an article, or how-to video, it is the presenter’s responsibility to showcase meaningful and educational material. But ultimately, it is each person’s ability to put to practice pieces of this information that determines the value of the shared ideas. Like a miner panning for a single nugget of gold, our ability to grow stems from what not what we absorb, but what we employ. As a father, writer, speaker, and demonstrator, I’ve always strived to not only educate and entertain, but to get the audience to put to practice the knowledge that is shared.
With four children, a son-in-law, foster children, and significant others, family dining at the Kemmet household is an ever-growing event. My wife doesn’t ask for much, but she was clear on one thing: at holiday family meals, no one was to eat at the countertop or at a card table. In other words, I was being asked to design a dining room table that seated six normally, but expanded to accommodate 12 for special occasions. My first reaction was to research the designer of furniture for the Titanic, but he apparently “went down with the ship”. While I’ve built several tables over the years, I’ve never designed one that would expand to over 11’ long.
I’m convinced that driving back roads provides some of the America’s best adventures. A trip last fall down Oregon’s coast confirmed all that I enjoy about departures from boring interstate highways: you will meet talented, genuine people and with a little luck, stumble upon some great woodworking, too.
A few years back I was able to pick up some 2½”-thick maple burl slabs from Josh Brower in western Iowa. With a few days of rainy spring weather, I finally found the perfect excuse to turn some shot-filled paperweights from this figured stock. The first step is to cut the body blanks to rough size on the bandsaw using a 3/8″ blade. Read more
Sometimes the best method to test a new product is to have the one it is replacing. Fortunately, I had the original Trend Airshield air-circulating face shield, below left, and have purchased the updated version, the Airshield Pro, below right, about six months ago.
Last month 19 men, including WOOD magazine’s publisher Mark Hagen, below, went on a week-long mission trip to Rancho Alto, Ecuador (just outside Quito). There, they took on construction projects including tiling floors, laying cinder block walls, re-roofing a “snack hut”, and building tables and shelves. Read more
Prior to the holidays my 13-year-old son Carter and I turned and finished over three-dozen handles for bottle openers, cheese planes, and pizza cutters. A sample of each is shown below.
Last fall I designed a Greene-and-Greene chessboard (below) that my son Carter (age 13) and I then built. Next, I posted in the Woodworking Software forum to see if anyone was interested in illustrating the project in SketchUp. Two parties responded, and they spent the next several months diligently working with me to create the illustrations. Read more
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.