Thursday, February 26, 2009

Four-Tier Birch Bowl

What is it about a big chunk of wood that is so interesting? It must have to do with some unconscious attraction to unadulterated nature. Maybe that's why we like working and living with wood--a natural material that reminds us that we're part of nature too. It's familiar in a deep sense.
Well, that's all I could come up with for why I like this Four-Tier Birch Bowl from Finnish wood artist Markku Kosonen. He's got a lot of interesting and beautiful things on his website, most quite different from this bowl. The only thing that have in common is that they're made of wood.

[Thanks Offset blog]

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Waste Not, Want Not

When I saw the old, gas barbecue grill that my neighbor had thrown away, it gave me an idea. The metal frame of the grill would make a perfect roll-around tool stand for my miter saw.
All I had to do was remove the tank and grill, paint the metal frame, and then build a couple of table supports.
The miter saw is mounted to a 3/4" plywood base that’s bolted to the frame. Two open-ended boxes serve as the table supports. (Just be sure they’re flush with the surface of the miter saw table.) I even added a pull-out bin to hold short cut-off pieces.
You can get more interesting woodworking e-tips like this each week from the editors of Woodsmith Magazine just for the asking. Go here and sign up. It's free.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Milk Cup from Japan

Here's a beautiful example of simplicity in design from Japan. It's called the Cara Milk Cup, one of a set that also includes an egg cup and a tea cup. They're designed by Rina Ono and hand-crafted by Hidetoshi Takahashi in Japan. From the Merchant No. 4 catalog:

This beautiful milk cup is designed for an individual serving at your coffee and tea setting, however, we think its great for many other things too (salad dressings, seasonings and more!). Cara is made from Japanese Linden wood with a food-safe polyurethane coating inside.

Many more photos of all the designs at Merchant No. 4 and the Cool Hunting blog.

[Thanks to Cool Hunting]

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cool Tool Rack

One of things I most appreciate about ShopNotes Magazine is that their shop benches, cabinets, and tool racks are as attractive and well-designed as any furniture project you may be building in the shop. This wall-mounted tool rack is no exception, another in a long line of ShopNotes fixtures I wish I had in my shop. (Actually, several of them are in my shop.)
It's considered a weekend project, and I suppose it is if you've got a shop full of tools and know how to use them. I expect I'd take a couple weekends to build it--why rush the fun? You can get a look at this and the other projects and techniques in the latest issue, ShopNotes No. 104 on the website. Check out the subscription offer while you're there, and get yourself a free preview issue.

Sports Car Steering Wheel

Over at WoodNet Forums, member TomFromStLouis posted in-process photos and how to for an unusual project he just finished:
A friend of mine bought a 1965 Austin-Healey 3000. Suddenly I began to think that here was a fellow I always appreciated, but perhaps not as much as I should have. When I commented that the after-market steering wheel did not match the figured walnut dash, he handed me the original wheel covered in cracked Bakelite.
Click on photo for larger view. Lots of photos and discussion here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Handy Chart from ShopNotes

ShopNotes Magazine, sister magazine to Woodsmith and especially appropriate for those who rarely leave their shops, has published a fraction-to-decimal Conversion Chart. It's a free pdf download from their website.
If this doesn't work for you, you can always get a shop calculator like the one in the photo.
While you're at, check out the latest issue of ShopNotes, No. 104. If you're really into woodworking, this is one issue you don't want to miss.

Bamboo Electronics +Rant

DBL Distributing has partnered with Micro Innovations to distribute eco-friendly computer accessories.
The good: As readers of this blog know, I'm a big fan of bamboo in many applications. It's a strong, beautiful wood that grows very fast. That's the eco-friendly part. I can't tell from this photo just how attractive the the computer accessories are. Looks like they put a really glossy finish on them--not my first choice in finishes for anything except the brightwork on wooden boats.

The bad: So why don't I just click on the link and go to the website for a closer look? Because they don't let you past the first page unless you first sign in. That's crap. I don't know whether I want to join your store, give you my email address, etc., BEFORE I've seen what you've got to sell. I suggest Micro Innovations get themselves another distributer. They'd have a much better chance of actually selling something.

[Thanks, I think, BoingBoingGadgets]

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

PlansNOW on Twitter

As many of you know, or have sort of figured out, this blog is not my day job. That is, among other things, operating, a website that offers woodworking project plans and technique articles for sale as pdf downloads.
PlansNOW is itself a pure web play, there is no bricks and mortar version. So I've always looked for ways to promote it online (print doesn't work too well anyhow). Promoting PlansNOW on Twitter seems a natural fit. Except there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of woodworking twitter on

Well, we shall see. I'll be posting links to new plans and free stuff on, as well as woodworking tips and of things of general interest to woodworkers. So if you tweet (as it were), please check it out at Twitter. Or look at the Twitter Updates at the right. Thanks.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wooden Earbuds -- Really

I wonder if it's just for looks? A company called Skull Candy is making earbuds that are made primarily of wood. Does the wood make the music sound better? sells the wooden earbuds. They say:
Carved real wood earbuds, with laser-cut aluminum accents - a serious (and eco-friendly) upgrade from you're your standard-issue white plastic buds. Rich, detailed, full-range sound from 8mm drivers, with comfortable rubber surrounds for a perfect fit.
Well, if the wood is improving the sound, it's hard to tell from that. But as I think about it, I guess I don't really care. They look terrific and that's good enough for me. Maybe not $100 good enough, but still, they do come in a laser etched wood box.

[Thanks to BoingBoingGadgets]

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Curly Maple

It one of those things in nature that looks totally fake and incredibly beautiful. Curly maple figure goes deep into the wood and takes your thoughts with it.
I especially enjoy looking at furniture built with curly maple, but the WoodNet Woodworking Forum has a thread of projects photos that includes many non-furniture projects, including this beautiful candle holder, built by WoodNet member Andyman.
Many more photos and comments here.