The Shop

A twelve-step program for compulsive tool buyers might help. But I have a thing about being away from my tools for meetings. Just taking the time to write this keeps me away from browsing the Lee Valley site, not to mention Rockler, Woodcraft, and Highland Woodworking.

Compact Tools

Lots of us have small shops either through design or necessity. In my case, I deliberately downsized as I shifted from doing larger maritime work like quarterboards and transoms and started focusing on ship and boat portraits. Whatever reason you have for smaller quarters, I encourage you to rethink the conventional wisdom that large is always best.

Sources

In January, I started what I thought to be a quick project for a portrait of the halibut Schooner Republic. There was not much online where I began, and even less available in terms of print sources. My collection at home also came up dry. I was able to complete the project in March but wished that I had better documentation.

Paper & Scissors

I found the wood sitting in the shorts at my favorite hardwood dealer. It was very dark, heavy, and dense. It was mahogany but so dark and heavy that I felt that it was a wayward piece of Dominican and not Honduran. It was just what I wanted. I was interested in, one with a distinctive font ( Barnhard Modern) and to give it both a center and ends that undulate. The result was pleasing. At shows, people run their hands over the banner as a sensual experience, precisely what I wanted.

B & E

For many years, my constant associate was a large gray cat with attitude issues. Clancy J. Bumps ( with an umlaut over the U) was a feral cat who claimed me while I was living in Ottawa, Ontario in 1969. Clancy entered my life by walking up to my friends and me one day. He looked us over, and choosing me proceeded to climb up my leg, my back, and onto my head. He thereby claimed me as his personal property.

Gentle

"Now let the tool do the work. The edge is sharp. All you have to do is guide it." That was me to a student at the WoodenBoat School years ago. More recently, sensei said to me, "Lou, the sword is sharp, let it do the cutting. All you have to do is guide it." …

Decline & Fall – Ships Carving

The gilt-edged age for the ship carver had to have been the 17th and 18th centuries. The figureheads were the least of it. There were gilded coats of arms, allegorical figures, swags, and elaborately carved moldings everywhere.

Pint XXV

I sealed Pint XXV shut last night, and that marked the close of another sapping season for the little sugarbush behind our house. Just a bit over three gallons of syrup, enough for family needs.This morning the dog, cat, and I went out to survey the slow opening of spring in our tiny woodland garden. …