Steaming Pile of Mulch

I know, I know, this is unrelated to woodworking and midcentury and modern and furniture and slat benches, but I just got so giddy this morning when a bigass truck pulled up to our house and unloaded a gigantonormous pile of steaming wood chips onto the chunk of empty land next to the driveway.

Now I have enough mulch to keep me busy mulching for the next few weeks.

I found it on craigslist -- I wish the post was still active so I could link it here, but when searching for "wood chips" under "free stuff" on LA's craigslist, it wasn't there anymore.

It's a tree/shrub removal company that's just looking for places to dump their truckloads at the end of removal jobs. A perfect situation for someone like me that needs to mulch a massive garden. And free! (But I did tip the driver.)

I don't think my wheelbarrow is gonna be big enough.


Two more benches out the door

I met a cool dude yesterday. He bought two of my benches. I think I'll give him a plug here:


Now that my tiny Nelson footstool is gone and my second piano bench is not paired with my piano anymore, I realize three things:

One. I can't put my feet up when on the couch watching TV.

Two. I have nowhere to sit if I want to play the piano.

Three. There aren't many pieces left for sale! So I gots to gets movin' on the groovin' and havta get workin' on the buildin' and for real now gettin' cuttin' on the toolin'.

Time. Must find more time. Too busy

This post sponsored by iTypeFaster Transcriptions.


Current Nelson Project: The Square Donut

My sister-in-law is an architect. While in architecture school a few years ago, she casually mentioned to me that google sketchup is something I should poke around with 'cause it's a cool little (free!) tool that I could use to plan our house remodel or experiment with furniture ideas.

Me being me, I ignored the suggestion. For a variety of reasons. I didn't have the time. I didn't feel like poking around with new software because there's a certain state of mind one must be in before devoting half a day to learning. I had an attachment to pencil and paper that's similar to the attachment I still have to books and newspapers and magazines -- I'm sure you've heard of such novelty items.

Of course, I discovered coffee/espresso after a vay-cay in France not long ago, and now that state of mind can be activated with a few pushes of the 'grind' button on my minigrinder and a quick stab at the 'on' button on my coffee dripping wondermachine.

Fast forward to six months ago when I listened to all the back episodes of Dave Noftz' podcast at modernwoodshop.com. He talked about computers and their place in woodworking, and mentioned sketchup. Here's that specific podcast: http://modernwoodshop.com/2008/02/02/episode-3-digital-woodworking/

So I said hmph. And then I said said maybe. And then I fired up the coffee maker. And then I devoted an evening to google's thingamabob. http://sketchup.google.com

And wow. Simple. Intuitive. Powerful. In 3D! No 3D glasses required. I giggled like a little girl when I first built up a virtual furniture piece and rotated it around and around and around and twisted it and turned it and zoomed it and coddled it and petted it and showed it off to my wife. Looky looky what I did! Yay!

What fascinated me the most was the idea of building up a piece and simultaneously keeping the individual sections of the piece intact, resulting in both a rendering of what the thing'll look like in the end AND renderings of each component. Like an instant exploded view. Throw in the tape measure tool and you can get dimensions of every nook and cranny.

So here's what I'm working on now. Just a simple little rendering with, naturally, a look at what it'll look like in the end AND two renderings of the key slat components.

It's square with a hole in it. A square donut. The leg structure is still undecided, but you get the idea. And more importantly, I get the idea. I can see exactly what's going on and can see exactly what the two slat pieces need to look like in order to fit into the four transverse teethed parts. Part of The Nelson Bench Project.

I mention frequently on posts, through email, on craigslist or on etsy, that a custom design can be created for you if you have some thoughts on how you want your furniture to proceed. And I further mention that I'll sketchup something for you for free. Well this is exactly the type of visualization you'll get.

Now if I can only figure out how to embed a 3D model instead of a jpeg within a post. That'd be cool. Then anyone can grab the square donut and twist it and turn it and zoom it and say Yay!

(Oh yeah, note to self: If sister-in-law suggests something in the future, act on it right quick.)


Nelson Bench on Dollhouse

Project Echo's post first mentioned the reasoning behind the military alphabet project listings and its roots within the show Dollhouse on Fox.

Here's an example of a six foot Nelson Bench from Friday's episode:



Nelson: Project Golf

We redecorated the house a few weeks ago. The tinyness of our house results in our having either a dining room or a living room, but not both. Since the dismantling of the dining room (and the dismantling of the dining table-- see Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) we've gone on a quest to make the room a true living room. And in the spirit of mid-century modern restyling, this living room is slowly but surely filling itself with pieces that fit the style.

Our 2nd bedroom used to function as a dedicated TV room, but to make the living room more of a living room, we decided to move the TV watching from out of the TV room and into the living room. The TV room is now a dedicated library.

And since the TV has moved to a wall mounting position in the living room, I had to relocate the associated equipment from the dedicated TV room closet to a more appropriate electronic gear cabinet. It's a hallway linen closet that was used for storage, but is now the electronic nerve center of the house.

And finally, the point of this post: In order to cover this electronic closet, it needed a door. What better type of door to make than a George Nelson style door.

Project Golf. The 7th project in The Nelson Bench Project. The Nelson Door.

Yup, it's not a bench. You can't sit on it. It can't be used as a coffee table. It's hinged. It was built in two sections so the top and bottom of the door can open independently. The wood used to make this project cost a grand total of $10. The spacing between the slats is considerably smaller than the slat spacing on the benches I've built so far-- mainly so you can't see into the closet.

The $10 worth of wood is from 11 pieces of 1x3 furring from Lowes at 85 cents apiece. I'm assuming they're pine ('cause it smells like pine wood when I cut 'em), but Lowes just calls them "whitewood." I don't know what whitewood is. If you're not familiar with furring, it's the least expensive stuff you can buy 'cause it's not meant for building things, but for temporary support for cabinet installation, or for building out surfaces to make them flush with other surfaces, or for supporting paneling and the like, or other activities that aren't furniture related. (Note that furring can be used as both a noun and a verb.) I picked out the straightest pieces I could find, cut 'em into 3/4 x 1 slats, and glued 'em up.

There's a coat of paint that's the same color as all the trim in our house which is a basic off-white shade called Bermuda Sand. The hinges were some simple square thingys I found in the bottom of my old tool box. I've probably had these hinges for 15 years, but never used them for anything. Thus, the first rule of random parts and hardware holds true: Keep Everything! You never know when you're gonna need it.

What's inside the closet? From top to bottom: AV receiver, TiVo, laser printer, flat panel monitor (with modem/router/switch/airport/UPS behind the monitor), an HTPC and an auxiliary PC connected to a KVM, and an inkjet printer. All of that gear controls the living room TV setup, the virtual DVD jukebox, and the whole house networking. The gear used to reside in the closet in the dedicated TV room and took up the entire closet space, but it has gotten much more simplified since its last reconfiguration and can thus fit inside this smaller linen closet space. Simplified = no more DishNetwork ('cause with over-the-air HD and Hulu, we don't need satellite anymore, and thus three satellite boxes are gone), no more DVD player (since all the DVDs have been ripped to the 4TB of storage in the HTPC), no more VCR ('cause what's a VCR? is that like an 8-track? or a cassette tape? or betamax?), no more auxiliary audio amplifier ('cause the single AV receiver is sufficient for all the audio in the house), and one less power strip ('cause of all of the above things that no longer need to be plugged in).


Width: 22"
Height: 7' 6"

Price: not for sale

Not for sale because it's attached to the house. But if you want a custom Nelson door, let me know and I'll work up a SketchUp drawing and give you an estimate.

Additionally, if you'd like guidance on how to build your own HTPC and rid yourself of unwieldy DVDs by stuffing them all into a massive multi-terabyte array, let me know and I'll give you lots of details on how my system works.

Email at craigwoodworks@gmail.com


Nelson: Project Foxtrot

I acquired a pair of homemade speaker stands from a dude I know. He didn't need 'em anymore 'cause he redecorated and his surround speakers didn't need a device to keep them elevated. So I gladly took them off his hands for disassembly and reuse/repurposing.

They were made of pine. The kind of pre-cut S4S (surfaced on four sides) that you pick up from Lowes or Home Depot. A dark walnut stain was applied to them, so I decided to keep the color intact during my reclamation project.

And here it is, another addition to the Reclamation Project and The George Nelson Bench Project:

The Spindled Bench!

While the speaker stands donated their lives for the creation of the top of this bench, the spindled legs were taken from an old pine table I built 12 years ago that wasn't being used. Oh wait! Remember the table top that was repurposed for The End Table? The legs for this bench were the legs that used to be attached to that table top in its previous life.

The spindles were spokeshaved (again). Read more about that in my previous post entitled Spokeshave.

I had a little trouble applying stain to the uncovered and newly cut surfaces so that the color matches with the speaker stand color. And a little more trouble with the stain adhering properly to the spindles. Note to self: more sanding! I don't know if you can see it in the pictures, but the dark walnut color is kinda blotchy and uneven. This is something I like to call character.

Dimensions are as follows:

Length: 47 3/4"
Width: 12 3/4"
Height: 14 1/4"

Price: $150 Sold!

Although this piece has sold (yippee!), one can be custom-crafted for you if this style of piece is what you're interested in. Any size or any wood species-- it's up to you. Email me with your ideas and I'll SketchItUp for you and give you a price estimate.


Cork: The Trivet

I love wine. Living in semi-close proximity to the Napa Valley (if a 6 hour drive can be considered semi-close proximity) and extremely close proximity to Santa Barbara (think Sideways), my wife and I are frequent wine country visitors and daily wine consumers.

Blame the French and the Italians, who we had to emulate during our trips to their respective countries. Wine is served with every meal, so long as its followed by a long and leisurely stroll to nowhere in particular. When in Rome...

Anyway, we've got a plethora of corks and a similar plethora of cork trivets. My first trivets were created about 12 years ago and they've served me well over the years. Now I've made more and want to share in the corkiness.

These are made with 100% real wine corks made from actual cork. As in, from a cork tree. Note that there are no plastic or artificially created cork products in these trivets since they tend to melt when exposed to high heat. It's a trivet after all and its purpose is to protect a surface from a hot pan! I've seen many a mangled plastic cork from my earlier attempts at cork trivet creations.

This is just a peek into the world of The Cork Project. I'm trying my hand at furniture/vase/lamp building out of corks, so stay tuned for those.

I know, it's not retro modern furniture per se, but we'll file it under accessories for modern living. Recycled. Reclaimed. Repurposed.

Two sizes available.
Price: $20 per pair for the smaller size
Price: $30 per pair for the larger size

To arrange purchase, send an email to craigwoodworks@gmail.com