New Year

Well into the new year already and just finding time to add a few comments.  Did get my Christmas presents for my three girls finished in time.  They, my daughter and two daughter-in-laws, each got a scroll saw basket and a turned x-mas ornament.  Both projects were kinda new to me and didn’t turn out quite as well as I had hoped.  Fortunately they were only given as extras and were not the main gifts.  Anyway, I’m happy they got done in time.  Now I need to get started on those blanket chests!  I have actually started doing some figuring on how much wood I’ll need and what design changes I need to make from the first one.  Soon as the weather gets a little more stable I’ll be able to hook up the trailer and head down to Lancaster for materials.

Not much else going on in the shop right now, woodworking wise.  Have been spending time on adding some ceiling lighting and a few odds and ends.  Attended the Woodworking Show in Baltimore earlier in the month and picked up a few more gadgets and widgets that I don’t really need but seemed really cool at the time.  Sometime in the future, I’m sure the most frequent comment you’ll hear around here is “what was he ever planning to do with something like that.”  Hey, it’s a lot cheaper than golf, ohhhh, that’s right, I (try) do that too.

New Years Resolution #15 – Spend more time in the shop and updating the blog. (lots a luck with that!)

Oh yea, the baskets and ornaments:

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December Already

Wow,. only been a month since I started this blog and already getting my second post done!  At this rate I might even get the blanket chests for the wedding gifts this past Aug and Sept started next year.  Remember, good things take time.  The little bit of shop time I’ve been getting has been spent working on a few Christmas presents, so I can’t really post about recent projects. It’s going to take a lot of focus on my part, but I’m really hoping to have them finished by Christmas.  Since I had a comment on my About page referencing cigar box guitars, thought I’d add a few comments and pics.

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About two years ago Deb and I happened upon a Cigar Box Guitar Festival in York Pa. We were both in awe at the sounds coming out of a couple of guitar strings attached to a cigar box. Not only cigar boxes, but guitars made from old metal gallon cans, plastic jugs, even a hospital bed pan! While Deb was enjoying the afternoon, I’m thinking the whole time, I need to make one of these bad boys!!!
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My first attempt was a learning experience and required a few modifications to get it right. Overall it didn’t turn out too bad and sounds alright. Then as fate would have it, I came across a deal on a small amplifier and had to make a second one that I could plug in and really jam. My second guitar, the Ashton box, went a lot smoother with the lessons learned from my first attempt and actually sounds pretty awesome electrified. Now I’m ready, all I need to do now is actually learn how to play the darn things. They are a lot of fun to play around with even if you’re not an accomplished musician. Both guitars are pretty basic and played with a slide. I’m planning a third guitar that will be fretted and more suitable for playing like a traditional six string. But, I guess I really should finish the Christmas presents and maybe even get started on those blanket chests first.
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Getting Started

Finally getting around to adding a post! Thought I’d start simple and post a few pics of a recent pen turning project.  The top pen is from a piece of Gettysburg “Witness Tree” wood.  Meaning the tree was present at the time of the battle back in 1863.  This particular piece was located at Kuhn’s Brickyard on the north eastern side of town.  Although the engagement here was of short duration, the fighting was intense as Colonel Charles Coster’s Brigade provided rearguard support as Union Troops retreated to Cemetery Hill towards the end of the first day July 1.  Approx. 800 casualties were suffered during the brief encounter.
IMG_1469The bottom pen is a piece of original teak decking from the WWII battleship USS North Carolina.  The ship took part in every major offensive in the Pacific and was the most highly decorated American battleship of the War.

IMG_1473The display case is pretty unique too.  It’s wood from a chunk of barn beam that came from a nineteenth century barn down in Maryland.  I acquired the chunk from a gentleman I ran into at a gas station who had a few pieces in the back of his pick up truck. He indicated that a friend of his tore down an old barn for “reclaimed” lumber and gave him a few of the scrape pieces for firewood.  I’m not even sure what type of wood it is, possibly pine, but by the appearance of the tight pattern of the growth rings it does appear to be “old growth” timber.  Unfortunately I don’t have any other information on the barn or it’s location.

Well, I actually got this blog started.  Hopefully I’ll get in here on a somewhat regular basis.  Your comments, suggestions, critique, etc… always welcome.