Summer woodworking in vacation

As I write this post, I am still on vacation but last week, some visits were relating to woodworking in vacation.  

Niagara 

Our vacation was located in the beautiful location of Niagara in Ontario.  Yes there was the falls, but beyond the obvious, there was some other attractions that were worth while.  

Cherry Picking

We had the kids with us and having the occasion to fruit pick was a nice opportunity to show them what is was.  Peach season was not yet there, too early but was able to get some cherries along the way.  

Cherries off the branch backlit

These are sweet cherries that were picked from the trees in Niagara

Cherry Picking in Niagara

Cherry Picking in Niagara

Although it was towards the end of the season, the cherries were still pickable if this can be said.  They were still very nice to pick and with the sun glowing between the branches, this made for some great picture.  

I was able to see some cherry trees in there natural environment with there fruit hanging from the branches.  They were not very tall trees, i’d say in total about 7′ tall, maybe a but more but not much.  I live close by to other farms that picking strawberries and apples (in season) is easy but picking cherries was not a common activity that was easy access to us.  This was very interesting and worth doing again if we are in the area.

Local Distillery 

I am a growing fan of whisky and starting to know what I like and dislike.  Canadian whisky is a taste that I am cultivating and when looking for activities to do while in the Niagara region, visiting a local distillery was high on the todo list.  

We are not drinkers of wine so visiting a winery and the vines was not something that was too appealing to us.  

After doing some research, we found Dillon Distillery which was about 20 minutes from our hotel.  Visits are organised on a regular basis and are very well done by one of the distillers.  Included in the visit, was the ability to taste a subset of what they produce.  All there products are available in there store part of the distillery and are offered in local LCBO which carries there product.  

Dillons Distillery Barrel

Dillons Distillery Barrel

Dillons Distillery Writing

Dillons Distillery Writing

I Brought back there Rye Whiskey and tasted other products.  The visit and the tasting made the trip worth while.  The kids were also able to visit and were pretty curious.  Also noted the smell which was pretty distinct of a distillery.  I really recommend the visit if you are in the area.  

Lee Valley

One last note, Lee Valley opened a store in Niagara Falls not too long ago and as I needed some products from them, it was convenient to stop by and get what I needed in person. 

I’ve been to a few Lee Valley stores and I can say that the new look is very nice and finally, being able to touche there tools that they manufacture, i.e. the saws, plane chisels is very good.  There are work bench with wood and you can try the tool to the wood and the employees are there to help.  

This tool testing is finally a very good initiative to do as other manufacturer, i.e. one of there biggest competitors did exactly that so that users were exposed to there tools and not into glassed cabinets.  Kudos for that.  

Other tools were in demos where these tools are available through LeeValley which is also a very good selling point to offer the users to test drive.  

Year Recap 2016 – What a year !

Here we are, the morning of January 1st once again.  The fresh start to another year, just leaving another one in the past.  From a woodworking aspect of things, it’s been moving a lot from my part.  Here are a few points to the year recap.

Projects

The bed build

This one has been documented on the blog and has been a few experiences.  See the following posts bellow for the details on how it went :

http://wood.bonzaiblog.com/arts-and-craft-bed-build/

http://wood.bonzaiblog.com/arts-craft-bed-build-foot-board/

http://wood.bonzaiblog.com/clamps/

http://wood.bonzaiblog.com/arts-craft-bed-build-head-board-assembled/

http://wood.bonzaiblog.com/arts-craft-bed-build-final-install/

Dust Collector

The upgrade of the dust collector was also another experience that I enjoy made.  I believe that it is better then the old one from a collection stand point.  Still some upgrade or adjustment to be done.  Still need to settle the following :

  •  Bin level indicator : Been bitten too many times where the bin would fill and would over flow into the filter.  This one is under way and will be documented here
  • Bags to collect dust : Well this one is a challenge where I would like to better dispose of the dust/chips and not spend a whole lot while disposing on the per bag basis

Follow the different links for this project

http://wood.bonzaiblog.com/dust-collector-reconstruct/

http://wood.bonzaiblog.com/dust-collector-supporting-structure/

http://wood.bonzaiblog.com/dust-collector-running/

http://wood.bonzaiblog.com/dust-collector-post-upgrade/

http://wood.bonzaiblog.com/dust-collector-project-usage/

Cutting boards

Originally made from scraps from the bed build and doing some experimentation with resaw and some bent lamination, I made some cutting boards to pass some stock.  I was able to sell a few of the original and most of them went out as gifts.  But the offering to the public landed some opportunities that were very welcomed.  More to come on this one.

Tools

From a tool perspective, I made a bit of cleanup of tools that did not see enough use in the shop. The fact that I lost my job early 2016 permitted me to revisit certain tools that I had and assess there use in the shop.

Let’s be clear, these are excellent tools, but did not see enough use in my projects, although I had the best of intentions when I bought them.  I found users that could find better use them me.

Here are pictures of some of the tools that found some new homes

Side Rabbet Plane

Side Rabbet plan

Rip Panel Saw from Lie-Nielsen

Rip Panel Saw from Lie-Nielsen

Scrub plane from LeeValley

Scrub plane from LeeValley

Tenon Float from Lie Nielsen

Tenon Float from Lie Nielsen

Varitas Small Plow Plane

Veritas Small Plow Plane

So what about 2017

So what about this new year, just starting fresh….   Well, if 2017 is any indication of some of what I believe woodworking success, it should be a very good year.

Out of the project listed above, a whole lot went behind the experience bucket.  Granted I don’t do this all the time, it is not my main professional activity.  Otherwise, this portion would be 100 fold if not many more.

I believe that I proved to myself that I could do more and set aside more time to this hobby to be more serious.  I found a few techniques that would speed up some operation without buying some new tools.  New tools are good but make due with what you got is sometimes as good.

From a projects perspective, there are still some shops organisation along the way plus some overdue home projects that will see through the course of the year.  The more time in the shop will advance these projects.  Make the house benefit from the shop a little bit and increase what I can do.  You never know !

Postcast – Craftsman’s Road

craftsmansroad-banner

 

While on vacation, I did have a chance to connect to read Chris Schwarz Blog on Lost Art Press, talking about Craftsman’s Road podcast produced and hosted by Cory Mickelson.  This new podcast focuses on the business side of things of woodworking, how did the interviewed person featured on the podcast made it on the business side of things.

 

So far, he interviewed some well known woodworkers and some lesser known (known and unknown to me at least) on how they approach the business side from there point of view.

 

Please visit his web site and subscribe to his podcast via Itunes here

Woodworking Christmas gifts – and more

So first, being the first day of 2014, may I send my best wishes for this new year.  As we also just passed christmas, I sure some that for some of you, it brought some woodworking related gifts.

I my case, it did in various form, both from a personal and from good old santa.  So here it goes :

– Gift certificates

Always a winner in my case as we always need some more tools right ? Well, I will get a chance to add some from both Lee Valley and Lie Nielsen this year again.  Just not really decided yet, way to early in the year yet but I’m sure I’ll choose wisely.

If it’s any sign as the past few years, Lie Nielsen should come to the Montreal region somewhere around april with there hand tools event.  Been a regular for the past few years and might be for this year if they make it happen.  Visit them on there web site here.

As for Lee Valley, well I’m sure to get something there too.  I’ve already got a short list of items to get, which I’m pretty could get longer the more I get the chance to think about it.  Might also get a chance to go to Ottawa, which in my case would be the closest location to a store.  Visit them here.

 

– Books : For many years, I always seem to find good material into varying books.  This year was no different.

– Handsaw Essentials, By Chris Schwarz, Popular Woodworking

This title complements pretty week the Hand plane essentials book, from the same credentials.  This book takes the format of a collection of different articles from the author that he has written on Handsaws through the years, either through blog or magazine articles.  So far, I’ve gotten through about a third of the book and learned a bunch.  Really appreciate how Chris writes and recommend both books if you are interested in either Hand planes or Handsaws

– The Unplugged Woodshop: Hand-Crafted Projects for the Home & Workshop, by Tom Fidgen, Taunton Press

This is Tom’s second book, which I now own both of them.  Tom uses only hand tools, hence the unplugged woodshop, which offers a perspective on how to accomplish certain projects with only hand tools.  I really liked the first book and when I heard that he authored a second book, I had to grab a copy somehow.  I have not started to read the book yet, although I have skimmed though the content.  Should be a promising read.  You can read Tom’s material on his website.

 

– Illustrated Cabinetmaking: How to Design and Construct Furniture That Works, By Bill Hylton

I’ve seen this book pop up through different author’s recommended reads but never could get a close look at a copy to skim through the content.  Last summer, I did get a chance to see a copy at the Ottawa Lee Valley store and I could then see why some authors would  recommend getting a copy of the book.  I have copies of other book of M. Hylton’s book, mainly on routers, another subject he is famous for.  I have not passed much time yet with the book, but will surely be looking into it in the very near future.

 

– Hybrid Woodworking: Blending Power & Hand Tools for Quick, Quality Furniture, By Marc Spagnuolo

Also known as the Wood Whisperer, Marc has written his first book with Popular woodworking in 2013. On top of operating the site and his business, he is the co-host to Wood Talk Online, a podcast that has been running for a while, which I have not missed an episode.  The book, as the title says, blends power and hand tools, which falls in the current of hybrid woodworking.  A good mix of the best tool to make the job I believe, which although I have not started to read yet, Marc does a good job on explaining his approach to combine both type of tools.

So this is pretty much it for this christmas, stay tune, more to come.  The year is pretty young….