Archive for the ‘handmade’ Category

Click-Stache Ballpoint Mustache Pen

Mustache-Lovers Unite!

Some of you may have noticed recently the popularity of mustache related items, from glasses, coffee mugs, straws, stickers, and the  like… all in the name of making it look like you have a mustache on your face.  Why, because mustaches are HIGH-Larious!  But not just regular mustaches.   They need to be large and fluffy, or long enough to be contorted and held into various shapes.  This is the Holy Grail of mustache awesomeness.

There is an almost cult like following with mustache lovers, and you either love mustache’s or don’t understand the crazy at all – a sign of any good niche.  Well, we are here to embrace your love of mustache’s and provide you with an extremely high quality ball point mustache pen that looks great and meets your mustache needs.   This is a HandmadeWoodGifts.com exclusive! You will not find a pen like this ANYWHERE!

We like to refer to this product as the “Click-Stache”.

The Click-Stache is a ballpoint click pen that features simple lines and details, high quality Rhodium plating, one-handed click action, and takes a standard parker style ball point refill. The body of the pen is made from a hardwood called Holly, and the mustache itself is made from dyed maple. The mustaches are laser cut, hand assembled, and hand turned on a lathe. No cheap plastic parts or stickers here!

While using your pen at work you can quickly hold it to your face using the mustache to disguise yourself from annoying coworkers and angry bosses. Or use it to add some mustache sophistication when the need arises. Don’t be left without one!

We are offering a per-order sale right now on Etsy – get it now before the price goes up! https://www.etsy.com/listing/110465330/click-stache-ballpoint-mustache-pen

-Derek

http://handmadewoodgifts.com

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Don’t stain my wood!

I was watching TV recently and two different shows reminded me of my greatest woodworking pet peeve.   But before I go into that detail, let me offer some back ground as to what my issue is and where it originates.   My love of woodworking really exploded when I was introduced to the world of exotic woods through a show called “Woodworks”.  The host of the show, David Marks, was always using woods that I had never heard of.  Each wood was uniquely beautiful and boasted colors and grain that I had never seen before.  From that point on I was sold, and decided to only offer things done in natural wood with a clear finish to protect it.  “Stain” is a dirty wood in my house, because stain is just that…. Dirt.  I don’t want you to rub dirt on the finely crafted work that I created, so why would you want me to?

It is probably one of the most common questions I get asked: “what color are you going to stain it.”  The question is asked as though staining is how wood is always finished.  So I make it my goal to educate people to not cover up their beautiful wood, but rather appreciate the variety that exists in nature.

Now, this leads my pet peeve.  I was watching a recent show of “Son’s of Guns” on the Discovery Channel were they were building an old fashioned looking gun called a “blunderbuss”.  As part of the build they were restoring an old walnut stock and they used a walnut stain to “bring out the natural beauty of the wood”.  Really?  You are going to take a piece of beautiful walnut wood and then use a “walnut” stain on it?   You are already at your end goal of a walnut colored stock by virtue of nature and dirt in the stain will actual hinder some of that beauty, not highlight it.  I can’t be too mad at them, they are gun people not woodworking people.

The other show was “The Vanilla Ice Project” on DIY network (yes, the 90’s rapper).  They are rebuilding a million dollar house and bring in 3 huge and beautiful African Mahogany planks and promptly gave them a “nice dark stain.”  Mahogany is one of my favorites to work with and has a beautiful color and grain pattern.  Mahogany will naturally darken over time, but rubbing dark dirt on it is no way to do this.  If their end goal was to have some dark wood, they could have slopped some stain on some cheaper Oak wood.  I have worked with design and styling people before, and to be honest, they aren’t known for their practicality.  They are just trying to make real life match their vision.  I can respect that, but I bet they could have achieved their vision with another species of wood had they known, maybe they should consult me next timeJ.

Even professionals can fall victim to this as well.  I remember early on in my woodworking “training” watching an episode of “The Old Yankee Workshop” were Norm made a “Mahogany poker table” and the last step involved “mahogany” stain.  That pained me greatly!  Although, I also don’t pump finish nails into my project either, everyone has their own style – it is just not one that I agree with.  Maybe when PBS offers me a show we can revisit that table and do it the right way.

So the moral of the story is, don’t stain my wood.  If you are looking for a Mahogany/Walnut/Cherry finish, then I’ll start with those woods.  Also, stain can’t alter the look of the wood grain, so you end up with a similar color, but not the natural hues and features that come from nature.  The natural wood will look better and stay looking better longer then some colored dirt rubbed into the surface.  If you want something that stain can’t match, use some exotic woods like Cocobolo, Zebrawood, or Wenge (just to name a few).  No stain will ever match these woods and while pricey, they are truly spectacular!

-Derek

http://handmadewoodgifts.com

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Custom Umbrella Stand

I just wanted to share with everyone my latest unique creation.  This came as a custom request from one of my repeat clients.  We designed it together going through several variations before we found one that worked.  Thanks goodness for CAD!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The end result was this Art Deco inspired stand made from Mahogany and Australian Lacewood.  While the piece itself may not appear overly complex, the challenge was in the compound angles on the sides.  Each of the sides needed to have the exact same tapered angles and needed to be the exact same length.  The edges of each piece needed to have an exact 45 degree miter cut down the entire length each edge.  I actually ended up making this twice because I was so unhappy with the results from the first time.  The joints were not tight and the angles made the whole top look more like a diamond then a square.  The second take was much better!  Check it out:

The bottom of the stand is constructed of a mahogany veneered piece of MDF which is more stable than solid wood.  A solid piece of wood would expand and contract with the varying moisture levels, and this could split the stand.  To further eliminate any effect of standing water from a wet umbrella resting on the wood, the top surface of the Mahogany veneer was coated with a thick clear 2-part epoxy.  The rest of the piece is finished with 4 coats of a gloss wipe on Poly.

I’m extremely happy with the end results, especially after seeing how a small amount of variation can have a huge impact on the overall fit.  This solid umbrella stand will be greeting its new owners in their entryway with a collection of umbrellas at the ready for many years to come.

If you have a need and just can not find a solution, or just want something that no one else can purchase at a regular store maybe a custom piece is right for you!  See some additional pictures below.

-Derek

http://handmadewoodgifts.com

http://www.etsy.com/shop/HandMadeWoodGifts

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Slight segway…

I’ve been pulling some ideas together for a blog posting on the reasons why people should purchase high quality handmade items, as well as situations on when it doesn’t make sense too.  This article on Yahoo today regarding things to NOT buy really highlights one of the thoughts that I had: http://shine.yahoo.com/event/financiallyfit/what-not-to-buy-at-ikea-2482669/

It touches on 2 points, the quality of “wood” furniture (point 2) and the joys of assembling said furniture (point 5). Take a read, hold on to that thought, and take a second before you make your purchase.

Thanks,
Derek

Checkmate – step 4 – it all comes together

This is it, we are in the home stretch now… After the holes are drilled then you just need to shape the bodies and tops.  This is where your initial sketch and the realities of the project meet, and sometimes don’t match.  You need to be aware of the inner diameters of the holes that you just drilled so that you don’t cut areas too thin and destroy all your hard work.  I couldn’t thin the body as much as my sketch showed because of this.

While you are shaping the mills refer to your sketch for reference, it is easy to lose your place while turning.  Looking at the drawing will remind of your ultimate end design.  Once you get the mills shaped how you like them, sand them to remove all the tool marks and smooth them out.

The top of the queen had to be cut with a hand saw off the lathe, that added a bit of complexity, but I’m happy with how that turned out.  On the head of the king I left the cross round so that whatever angle you look it the cross will look the same.  I actually ended up making 2 heads for the king and having the buyer pick the one that she liked the best… just another advantage of buying custom!

 

At this point I would apply a finish, but since these are going to be painted I need to skip that step so that the paint will stick to the wood.  After the sanding I move on to the installation of the mechanisms.  Each mill manufacture has their own instructions for this, so follow those.  If you have made it this far then you should be able to figure that out!

Now you’re done!  Pull off the top and load it with your salt or pepper corn, push the top back on and give it a twist!   This still has an adjustable knob on the bottom (most have it on the top) for adjusting between a fine or a coarse grind.

-Derek

http://handmadewoodgifts.com

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Checkmate – step 3

The third step in making a pepper mill sounds like a simple one… just drill the holes.   People drill holes all the time and it just takes a few seconds right?  These holes, however, take a little more care and attention.   These specific peppermill styles require 4 different drill sizes, they need each to be drilled to specific depths, and you want them to be dead centered.

In order to drill the holes I opt for a rig that involves a tool called a steady rest (see picture).  This allows me to support the far end of the pepper mill while drilling.   Some may consider this over kill, but I find that the additional support helps to keep the drill bit centered by eliminating wobble at the far end.  A shorter peppermill (4-6″ tall) is usually not a problem, but a taller one (they go as high as 24″!) will generate more wobble.  The steady rest also keeps things from becoming air borne if an accident should happen.  Once drilling begins, care needs to be taken so that the bit doesn’t over heat and burn the wood or wander off-center and drill crooked.  The only way to do this is with time – slow and steady wins the race here.  Drill slowly and clear out the wood chips as you go.

Soon you will be all done and you’ll be on to shaping the outside.  That is where all the fun is and it won’t be long now!

Thanks for following along!

-Derek

http://handmadewoodgifts.com

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See it before you get it

I have had dozen of requests for custom work for all sorts of things.  Many of these request have been initiated, sight unseen, without any real knowledge of what the final project will be.  Granted some of the items are simple in nature, and others are not very big or expensive projects, but some of them can be.  It is an honor that people put that much faith in my work based on other items that they have seen, but not everyone is that brave.

So say you are looking for a custom piece of furniture made for your exact needs and are investing hundreds (or thousands) of dollars into a high quality piece of work made from exotic woods.  Wouldn’t you like to have an idea of  what you can expect the end product to look like, especially if the item is different than any of the other previous works done by the craftsman (hopefully that craftsman is me…).

I have a solution for you!   Working closely with you I can generate a scale 3D model of what you are looking for so that you can have a better idea of what you will be receiving.   I can even apply wood color for the specific woods that you are looking to use to give you an even more representative image of the end product.  Now this certainly isn’t exact because wood can vary from piece to piece, but at least is in the ball park.  An additional advantage of going through this step is that we can see if something just doesn’t look right, maybe parts are out of proportion with the rest of the piece, or something is too small to really make a difference.  We can make that adjustment before any piece of wood is cut and produce a better product in the end.

I also like to do this for my benefit because it helps me think through the joinery for the project and determine the length of parts, especially when working with mortise and tenon joinery, it is easy to forget to add the length of the tenons to the overall length of the piece that needs to be cut.

Here is an example of a custom table that I built, starting with the 3D model and ending with the complete table:

On this project the cross was too detailed to fully capture it in the 3D, so a more basic cross of the approximate size was used as a place holder.  Also, you can see how the wood grain generated on the front of the table doesn’t match the grain of the actual piece.

This works even for less complex projects like this 5 picture frame that I make.  See the before and after in mahogany:

So fear not!  If you would like to commission me to build you a custom piece I will work with you from start to finish to make sure you get exactly what you are looking for.

-Derek

http://handmadewoodgifts.com

http://www.etsy.com/shop/HandMadeWoodGifts

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