Monday, August 27, 2012

A Lighthearted Interview with Christopher Landy

Christopher Landy over at blog comes up with entertaining interviews from time to time.  He decided to pick on me last week, which was a lot of fun.  Here's the light-hearted interview transcript.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Angle Madness! - Veneering the 4-Way Bookmatch

In this episode, I work on the Maple burl panels that will adorn the tops of the drawer tiers.  Each is will be book-and-end matched more often called "4-way bookmatched".  However, as we discussed in the last episode, I'm placing the burl cloud to the outside edges of the panels, which adds an extra step in the second set of bookmatches of the "4-way".  You can see the burl cloud on these two panels.

We'll talk about testing for bubbles; I have one I found tonight on a burl panel; I'll roll a short video this weekend showing the repair.

The end of the video has a high-speed start-to-finish glue-up of the panel to act as a bit of a check-list for doing a panel glue-up in a vacuum press.  Easy to do, but I was surprised when I started annotating it just how many steps there are.

I was recruited to dog-sit for 3 weeks while my mom goes up to Canada to enjoy cool weather.  I thought maybe these two could be efficient "Pavlovian Veneer Tape Hydration Units"... I even had a dinner bell!  But they look a little useless in the shop. -sigh- just use the regular dispenser I guess...

...and because I know someone will ask :)  the tape on the pinky isn't because of a shop accident!  Went to stop a high clearing pass and it was a harder faster shot than I expected.  Right on the tip of the nail!  By the end of the game, the glove was a little messy.  I didn't work on the panels at all that week because odds are I would have 'stained' them just like all my keyboards now :-/  But... we won!  :)

By the way, High-Friction Guard Wrap from Lee Valley is absolutely fantastic for wrapping a dinged-up finger like this.  Sticks to itself, can be repeatedly removed and applied, breaths nicely, and doesn't slip.  Even if you don't plan on inadvertently stopping a puck with your finger nail, I'd highly recommend getting a roll both for its shop function of giving you better grip, but also as a top-shelf bandage wrap.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Joys of Video Editing

A side tangent from woodworking, but I know some of you do video work as well...

The last episode is among the first done end-to-end with new video editing software (Final Cut Pro X).  I used it a bit for the previous episode, but with considerably less editing than this one.  Learned a lot; the next video will be better with the lessons learned being applied up front.

Some things that caught me by surprise was that my "tool-cam" doesn't generate 30 fps like the specifications state... it generates a varying number of frames that average 30 fps on good days... which is odd given it has hardware encoding (ideas?)  It makes synchronizing the clips near impossible until I did a lot of pre-processing... the re-editing of the parts I did when scratching my head at all the synchronization issues!

Then the A/C comes in and now have to remember to change the louver setting before recording at it has a subtle effect on the focus.  Not something you can see when watching, but something I can see when scrubbing through the video, but it's there.

On the software side, my custom Motion-5 template for the trivial picture-in-picture effect was having all kinds of problems.  The first was that if I save the template without "build-out" markers then add them in after FCPX had opened the template, it won't see the markers; at least this is the symptom I had.  Second was a complete user error... I wasn't sure why the PIP window would get placed seemingly randomly.  My mistake was forgetting that crop/transform adjustments on the compound clip where I was applying the filter actually take effect after the template despite the order I did the edits.  I think my frustration with the other issues kept me from seeing this one.

Now that I have more confidence in using Motion 5 templates, I'll start adding in some nicer titles and effects to make things more interesting to watch or add better clarity to a (rambling) explanation.  Until this simple PIP effect could be solid, I had no intentions of getting fancy!

Then, just as I thought I was out of the water, I had the video rendered ready to go... I install the latest OSX Mountain Lion.  All I have left to do is upload the video; what could break?  Well, the upload did.  This video has been failing uploads all week.  Eventually figured out that Mountain Lion's new power management is significantly more aggressive than the previous OS (I don't recall my machine being asleep once on the previous OS).  As soon as the screen saver goes on, everything halts including that background render or background upload you started.  So, if you have this issue, change your machine's sleep setting to 'never' before starting either task.  This is a simplified description of the problem and resolution; likely both applications will get an update to resolve it.  It's a nuisance for me, but a nightmare for a friend who renders to many formats for a living.

On the positive side, memory management in Mountain Lion is much better; Lion leaked like a sieve if you used any large software (FCPX, iMovie, XCode).  Also once you learn FCPX and Motion-5, you can do nearly anything; FCPX gets used to edit motion pictures so it's that capable.  It's overkill for a family vacation video... for that, the $14 iMovie is a smokin' deal.

As for the toolcam, it works but I don't like how finicky it is for white balance and lighting; though I have all automatic modes turned off, it still has some light gain issues.  May look for a new real camera since this dual-camera mode seems to work well; it seems worth all the extra editing work so I'd like the video to be equally worth it!

Now comes the question: do I get a cheaper digital camcorder as the toolcam or do I upgrade the one I have thus turning it into the toolcam?  Whomever thought woodworking was a great way to liquidate excess cash hadn't yet started down the video path...

Okay, just felt like saying all that :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Angle Madness! - Veneering the Panels

This was a time-consuming episode to get together!  A lot going on!

In this episode, we'll veneer the panels for the drawer tiers.  I want to do the panels now so I can determine the size of the drawer webbing that will be between the panels in each tier.  And also, it is time consuming to go through 12 panels (cuz I'm making 2 units) so while I do some of the panels, I can be making progress on laying out the webbing.

This episode is longer than most because I try to go through everything.  If you've done some veneering, some parts will make excellent bathroom breaks.  But if you haven't, you'll get to see it all including some design decisions at the end for how to do the book-and-end match (4-way bookmatch) of the Maple burl.

A reference Paul Schürch often in the video as most everything I know of veneering and marquetry came from his DVDs and workshop.  Sure, there were other books, but they only confirmed what I learned.  Here, I reviewed the workshop I took with Paul Schürch; give that entry a look for details on his DVDs, which are fantastic.

Next up, preparing the drawer tiers for the panels, figuring out the drawer webbing, and... oh, yeah, there's a column in the back and some Nickel-plated rods!  hmm...  :)

Thanks for watching and thanks for the patience on these longer sections!