Saturday, October 27, 2012

WIA'12-Pasadena: Day-0 Vendor Setup with Bridge City

This year again, I volunteered to be a customer demo guy for Bridge City Toolworks at Woodworking in America 2012 in Pasadena, California.  As a demo guy, I got my hotel stay taken care of along with several excellent dinners and social events (in as much as woodworker social events are excellent... this isn't Mardi Gras in Rio de Janeiro!)

We got there early Thursday morning only to end up hanging out with Lee Valley people for awhile since the convention center floor wasn't ready yet.  Great group of people; I was with Chris Wong who works with them.

This video is a collection of short clips taken throughout this first day setting up.  As a warning, my arm makes a terrible camera tripod especially with the coffee I needed to get there at the crack of 9am!  There was this bright thing in the sky...

The start shows some setup shots, some other vendors in progress of setting up, some impromptu overview of the new Bridge City precision fence system for the Jointmaker Pro, a quick tour of the toy box Bridge City brings to the show with numerous out-of-production tools, and some video of a social evening we had at a friend's shop.

At the social, Lee Marshall of Knew Concepts unpacked a made-to-order power saw he makes for the jewelry industry; if you do inlay with shell or bone, this will do so much better than a scroll saw for lack of blade oscillation.  You'll also see the next version of the titanium fretsaw (the "birdcage" saw).

Voilà, the video (haha, I nearly forgot to paste it in...)

More clips on the way... stay tuned!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

On the right path...

Chris Wong is still out here visiting from Vancouver and we decided to go visit Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin-West.  It was an unusual project for FLW since it was his home so he had nobody to answer to... or so he thought... Mrs Wright #3 had issues with using canvas instead of glass for windows in the high desert... he lost that one.

The camp was interesting in that FLW experimented to see what worked and what didn't.  You'd see two doors side by side with different hinge mechanisms.

But this post isn't about the house.  I didn't take a lot of photos since the interesting rooms didn't allow them and by then I was conditioned not to think of photos by the time we got to the two performance rooms (uhm, not the bedrooms... actual theaters and a hall).

What this post is about is the feeling that I'm on the right path.  You see, behind the bookstore (a new building made in the style of the house), is the workshop.  Oooh, the workshop.  That's where the apprentices of the on-site architecture school work on their graduate projects, make FLW replicas, and do restoration of the house.  So the workshop churns out some high-end work even if some of FLW's chairs in the main room were plywood chairs.

How am I on the right path?  Take a look at what's on my bench:

take a look what's at the entrance of their workshop:

Yeah, apparently the path to great things is marked out by a trail of rubber chickens!

The workshop isn't a part of the tour and guests aren't allowed.  A nice lady who works in the shop was on the way out when I asked if a pair of woodworkers could get a tour.  You gotta know there'd be an exception for woodworkers.

Pretty simple shop, but then they are replicating what FLW built in the high desert.  With that in mind, they are likely way over-tooled.  I have no problem with the idea of being over-tooled :)  As I type this, Chris is down in the shop building a cool project on time-lapse video... I swear every Bridge City tool I have it out!

The point where I shot the shop picture is at the end of the breezeway to get into the shop.  If you looked to the left, you'd see the interior yard is L-shaped.  To the left were many smaller rooms for other multi-disciplinary artisans like potters and a shop for ceramic work.  There was even a large kiln for firing ceramics although its use in June/July is optional... just wave the greenware in the sunlight...

Lots of tiny videos from WIA to edit.  They'll be coming out daily starting Thursday.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Day with Paul Schürch

I'm still in LA after WIA'12.  Today's plan was to go visit Paul Schürch at his studio in Santa Barbara for, oh, maybe a couple hours then chat over lunch.  I went with Chris Wong and Roger Savatteri, two pros I hang out with so I look like I know what I'm doing :)

We started out with a brief tour then started talking about what people are working on.  Paul and Roger are both very creative minds.  After a bit of discussion, it became clear that they both worked on a project bid against each other.  Being a fly on the wall to listen to the inside stories of the project was very interesting especially to hear two very creative designers exchange how they created what they did and exchange lessons learned.

After an excellent lunch together, back to the Schürch bat-cave for a look at his archive of finished projects.  I've seen most of them in books or on his site, but to see the spinning cabinet or game table up close was a treat along with answers to all the questions you could toss out.  There was even the veneered clothing on display alas without the lovely model.

Many of his works in progress were around the shop including one based on some pietra dure, which is marquetry using stone.  Imagine a stained glass panel made of stone... Some very interesting stuff coming out of Paul's shop this year.

We spent 8 hours together; what an amazing day!  I only expected to hang out for a couple hours.  Paul and Roger both may be in a bit of a dog-house... Good thing I brought some bottles of local Arizona wines to hand out as Get-Out-Of-Jail cards.  Hope it works :)

In other news, Roger decided to kindly give me his lathe, assuming I can get it in the car! No hard stops... Great timing so I can put it on the back patio as the weather is finally sub-100F. Hope I don't get a catch and launch a gouge into the neighbor's window...

I did take some video of Paul's completed projects as well as his shop.  I'll edit that this weekend after I get back home so you can peek at the work and description from the maker.  'Til then...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Join me at WIA'12-Pasadena

A quick post from the iPad, I'm in Pasadena doing demos for Bridge City Toolworks on the Jointmaker Pro. We're also doing demos of the HP6v2 mini multi plane, DJ-1 drilling jig, and Anglemaster Pro.  We assembled 5 Jointmaker stands today and outfitted them with the new unreleased precision fence.  Those of us doing the demos are all customers; we get a hotel stay and great food in exchange for our enthusiasm with the tools.

Wander by if you are at the show!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Review of the Festool Ti-15 Hybrid Impact Driver

I've had a Festool Ti-15 hybrid impact driver for about a month now; Festool USA kindly sent me one before the October 1st public launch for review purposes.  Thanks!

The Ti-15 is labeled a hybrid impact driver because it can also operate like a regular drill; for the tradesman, this can simplify life by giving you only one thing to carry for both functions and one set of batteries to keep track of.  And like most of today's hybrids, it's green :)

After editing this review, I realized it's a half hour.  Some parts talking about how an impact driver works might bore those of you who already know; have a sudoku ready.  But I've talked to people who don't know the benefits of 'impact' mode so it seemed relevant.  Besides, you guys should be used to my long reviews :)

I'll admit that when I first received the Ti-15, I didn't think it was the best fit considering I think of myself as more of a furniture maker than a reno/construction guy; the former use more wood-to-wood joints while the latter use more screws for good reason.  But having it around made me realize how many screws and nuts I drive for many non-furniture projects.  Having a hybrid tool with more power than my ultra-handy CXS is very handy around the shop and I've regrettably not been in my shop as much as usual.  Nice surprise.

The review ends with some demos mostly of the impact mode; we're all pretty familiar with a drill :)

Popcorn ready? (Sudoku, too?!) cue it up...

While you watch, I'm going to have a burrito with "hybrid" salsa... (green salsa) okay that was silly...