Box Elder

This batch of wood comes from a friend of mine, who had a tree die a few years back.  Upon cutting it up for disposal, he saw it had neat colors, and asked if I would like any.  Yes please!

Box Elder is in the maple family, but is an oddity in having compound leaves; so instead of one leaf per stem, it has between 3 and 7.  The wood is very soft (Janka 720), and lightweight – I see now why so many places “harden” or try and stabilize the wood before sale.  Streaks of pink or red is common in the heartwood; this stems from the tree’s natural defense to injury.  Stems… get it?

A Mammoth Undertaking

Well, maybe not THAT huge.  Working on some small ornaments to fit our museum setting.  Up first we have a mammoth!  I’m using bocote to mimic rough, woolly hair, fine-grained mahogany for ruddy face and legs, and light birch for the tusk.  Expect to see the completed pieces soon!

Dance Collaboration

Stay tuned – I will be working on a collaboration piece with a dance choreographer.  This is, again, outside my normal comfort zone – so we’ll see how it goes!  I’ve got plenty of time to finish the project (February) – now we just need to see what the inspiration is…

Challenge: accepted!

Sometimes you just need to go out of your comfort zone.  I’ve been working with intarsia, but do enjoy pyrography as well.  A few years back I ended up personalizing our mattock’s for work – mine with 10cm windows containing a dragon (that way I always had a measuring tool on hand), Jeff’s with a bunch of Star Wars emblems, and John’s with a twisted mosasaur skeleton, wrapping around the handle (probably my favorite of the 3).


Anyways – I received a request for custom tap handles.  Ok, I’m intrigued… Part intarsia, part pyrography.  Woo!  I get to break out my wood-burning tools again.  Once they’re completed, don’t worry – they’ll be posted here and on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram as well.  The suspense!

Back in business!

Huzzah!  My scrollsaw (now dubbed Johnny Five) is still alive!  Just got it back and hooked up.  Of course, managed to clean up the corner it sits in while it was out, so for at least a day it was dust-free.  Got the rest of my owl feet cut and glued – so now it’s sanding time.

Poor Craftsman sander is still stuck in a corner until I find the time to tack on a new belt guide.  Ah well.

Sander III + Saw

When it rains it pours!  So my second sander (I should really name these things) is working well.  Set my Craftsman sander aside for repairs.  Over the weekend, my saw decided it needed a break.  No!  Amidst other things, I watched a few hours worth of YouTube videos with one Bob Brokaw (who really knows his stuff) on how to disassemble (no disassemble!) a DeWalt 788 Type 2 scroll saw.

Basic machine, not a lot of fancy parts – but I do not have some of the needed tools for the investigation.  I’ll pay for time – so brought it in to ACME to see what they can do.  Brought the sander in at the same time.  Repair guy seemed positive about fixing the saw, but told me they don’t have parts for Craftsman – that’s a Sears thing.  Ok.  All it needs is a new sanding guide put in – can’t be that bad.  I’ll bring it to Sears.

At Sears, they told me it would cost $50 to just look at it, and then another $50-100 for the repair, which adds up to more than the sander is worth!  Urghurgurg!  So, because the piece I need to replace is actually WELDED in place, and I’d have to swap out an entire working piece, I’ll be bolting on a home-remedy instead.  Ah well.

So what does this all mean?  It means I’m stuck drafting patterns until I get my saw back.  No sawdust.  Drat.


The Wood Wyrm sign almost done!


Woods used are too many to list right now, but include olivewood, burls, ebony, kingwood & camatillo, pink ivory – all kinds of happy woods that I’ve squirreled away.

After many sketches, edits, and tossed out doodles… after hoarding dozens of oh-so-pretty burls and boards… scrounging around for reclaimed ivory… dusting off the abalone… the sign is almost done!  Sneak peek with nearly everything in place.  Still have an ammonite to inlay (hole at top right).  This just makes me happy.  The black-and-white version was pretty to look at, but I’m in love with all the colors and textures on the wood version.  Happy sigh.