Welcome to the January 2010 issue of the LumberJocks eMag:
From the Editor
January 2010 Issue #31
Here we are in a new decade! 2010. It seems like just yesterday that it was the 1990's. And it seems like just yesterday that we, at LumberJocks.com, were anticipating our 500th member.
It has been an exciting year, here at our LumberJocks' shop - as we've been inspired by amazing workmanship, educated through shared "oops" experiences, celebrated happy family times with our fellow woodworkers and grieved with others via our online community. We have welcomed over 8,000 new members and ooh'd over 13,000 new projects. We have also added "wood show appearances" to our list of ways to connect with other woodworkers! It has indeed been an exciting year.
Now, with 2010 already ticking away, we are on the doorstep to, well, who knows what! One thing I am sure of, based on our past history, is that no matter how "bigger and better" we get in the next year we will continue to maintain the friendly and supportive "work shop" for all our members!
On behalf of he LJ team, Happy New Year everyone!
P.S. I'd love to hear your comments about the contents of this issue of the eMag. You can post your comments here.
Oh, and for the record, on 01/01/10 we reached 15,000 members!!! )
LumberJocks' Winter Woodworking Awards 2010
This year we are focusing on just one category. The goal is to highlight the creativity of all of our members (regardless of skill level) through the use of materials that are available to all woodworkers.
- Yin Yang – the dark and the light. Where would one be without the other? Create a project that uses colour (dark and light wood, stains, etc.) to convey how contrasts work together to make the whole. When you post your project describe the Yin Yang effect that you created.
Did you see the prizes? A big thank you to Rockler who is not only donating enough sets of Bench Cookies to have 11 winners, but the grand prize of a $400 gift certificate!
We also have three prizes to give away to random winners, thanks to The Wood Whisperer! The prize? A 6-month TWW Guild Membership! Nice!
Reasons To Participate
- join the fun
- challenge yourself to try new skill, new idea, new design
- showcase your style and woodworking skills
- have something to look back on ("Look what I did" "Look how far I have come")
- add to the variety of creations that come from a single idea: "Yin Yang"
- be a role-model: "I can do this - you can do this"
- support the LumberJock event
- maybe win a prize -- whether it is first prize, tenth prize, or a "random winner"
The entry deadline is January 31, 2010 at 3 PM CDT
For more information on the Awards, visit Martin's blog here.
LumberJocks Connect & Other Events
- This past month, we were saddened by the news of the death of Djeansonne (from an automobile accident). Our thoughts go out to his loved ones and to his close friend and LumberJock, Jcoulam. Djeansome's name has been added to our "In Memoriam" page.
Checking The Calendar
- checking the calendar - nothing scheduled for January
Some Meet-Ups This Past Month
Who's In Your Area?
- Chicago Woodworking Show Meet-Up - Congrats to everyone who helped with this event. If we weren't famous before, these displays at the wood shows will definitely get us to that status! (And welcome to the new members who have joined because of this and previous events.)
- The "Ultimate LumberJock Challenge" began its rumblings at the end of 2009 and took its first official steps just hours into the new year, by organizing some designers for the big project. This is an exciting and big undertaking but I'm sure the LumberJocks are not only up to it but will create something amazing when all is said and done. Are you interested? Add your name to the list here.
- And if "beards" don't tickle your fancy, what about sporting a new wardrobe? Kolwdwrkr proposes this fun challenge -- and even has a prize or two for winners!
The Talk of The LumberJocks' Shop
The following are just some of our "hot topics" discussed at the LumberJocks' Shop over the past month:
LJ Shop Project: The Box
Building A Box
When I first joined LumberJocks.com all I wanted to do was to make a box -- just a box, any box. And 1063 days ago, as I type this, I did just that. Without any plans or skills, for that matter, I tackled the project and created my first box! It was very exciting then and is just as exciting today, as I re-read the description and the comments posted way back then.
|Today, I'm a little smarter and brave enough to follow plans!
Here, at our LJ Shop there are lots of tutorials on
box-building as well as tips and tricks to make that box-building inspirational and successful!
(FoxHound Logo, above, by Douglas Bordner)
As for projects by our peers, we have big boxes, small boxes (I am reminded of Don, one of our original members who just loves small wooden boxes), boxes with lids and boxes without lids. There are bandsaw boxes, scrollsaw boxes, handcarved boxes, painted boxes, personalized boxes, boxes with specific purposes, boxes for outdoors, boxes with secret compartments and boxes with secret openings, and the list goes on!
As for building them, check out these tutorials to inspire you and help you with the "how to's":
(More blogs tagged as "boxes" and as "box")
(More LJ Projects tagged as box and boxes)
|If these blogs haven't answered any questions you might have, check out the forum topics tagged as "box" and if that doesn't do it you can post your own forum question and let the experts help you out!
Interview With A LumberJock: Ellen
The following in an interview with Ellen Isaacman Cox. Ellen has been a member almost from the beginning of LumberJocks.com.
|1) when and how did you find LumberJocks.com? and how has the site changed since you joined?
Ellen: Lumberjocks.com recruited me to the site. Martin had seen some of my work on womeninwoodworing.com. I was a featured artist.
|I think I was probably the 5th woodworker to join and help Martin with lumberjocks.com. I think in principal the site has not changed but enhanced. I love the contests because it brings out the best in all of us. The gallery effect for projects is also awesome.
|2) When did you get started in woodworking and why?
Ellen: As a graphic designer in school, when I was a senior, we had a final project that we had to accomplish. One of these projects that I did was to create an illustration on the Gilded Age, and part of that, I sculpted an art deco detailed wood “matt” and inset a drawing of historical events into it. I love all media, and had wanted to do something in wood to complete my project. Loved to work with it.
3) which came first: furniture or sculptures?
Ellen: Art work came first, then boxes then furniture, then sculptures.
4) what inspires you / motivates you (in a broad sense) and where do you get the ideas for your individual sculptures?
Ellen: The assignment is what inspires me. For years, I have put a piece into a silent auction benefiting abused children. The same assignment is given to 100 artists. Each year it is amazing to see how these 100 artists complete the assignment. The woodworking in some of them absolutely inspires me to create something better every year.
(That's why I love the LumberJocks' Awards so much - it's not about the Award but about seeing how the participants interpret the challenge.)
5) what challenges have you encountered during your woodworking journey?
Ellen: Some real challenges have been how to fix errors.
6) what tips do you have for people interested in creating sculptures?
Ellen: Don’t be scared. A lot of times, I will buy some play dough and quickly make what I am thinking I want to make then take that out to the shop and start carving. If you screw up, incorporate that screw up into your design. A lot of times it works out into what I call a fortunate accident.
7) when is your favourite time to work?
Ellen: My only time to work usually on wood is the weekends. So I guess that is my favorite time.
8) what tool couldn't you live without and if you could add/change any one thing in your shop, what would it be?
|Ellen: I could not live without my angle grinder. It allows me to quickly sculpt out large masses of wood at a time. Even the strongest bubinga, quarter-sown oak or any other really tough wood. I would love to have a really strong workbench. Of course we have one, but it is wimpy. In between projects, we have plans to make it stronger/heavier and add some type of vise to hold my sculptures as I work on them.
|9) what is the best/favourite project that you ever created?
Ellen: Every last project I create. Currently my favorite project is the spatterdock leaf. I am also very proud of a king sized bed that we made.
|10) I'm not sure if you've ever mentioned this in your projects postings, but how long does a typical sculpture take to complete?
Ellen: A typical sculpture/sculpture box takes from 2.5 weeks to 4.5 weeks (most work happening on the weekend) The last few days/nights are used to add multiple coats of tung oil and waiting for it to dry.
11) who is your number one mentor
Ellen: A book called 400 boxes is one, a woodworker that I met in Dallas (don’t remember his name), but saw his awesome work. His goal is to make 100 chairs. Each one I saw was breathtaking! On some, he would glue together chunks of wood and start hacking on it with the angle grinder; the result was sculpted chairs that were amazing. I left there and immediately went to the hardware store and bought the angle grinder. He totally opened my mind.
12) tell us about your charity work (donated sculptures)
Ellen: I have a friend who is a super craftsman, and he introduced me to the charity for abused children. The event to me, is a competition for the best designers to create art to be silent auctioned that benefits the charity. The ultimate vote of best of class is what people are willing to pay for the work vs what other pieces sell for. I love this competition of art. Every year though, it gets harder to come up with a heart themed piece. The new charity I also support is a conservancy for a river here.
|The new silent auction benefits the artist as well as the Wolf River, proceeds are shared 50-50 with the artist. The theme for this is Wolf River inspired. All artists were taken for a canoe ride down the Wolf. The spatterdock leaf was my inspiration. Very beautiful design by nature and very inspiring. I may do more of them, as it came very naturally to me to carve that.
13) do you have a website?
Ellen: www.goodadvertising.com/woodwork and a lot of time, I send friends to my page at lumberjocks, since it is more up to date than my site.
14) any other tidbits, information, wisdom, etc you'd like to share
Ellen: Get out of your comfort zone. It is very stimulating to just start hacking at a pretty piece of wood, turning it into something stunning. The worst thing that can happen is it becomes handles for a drawer. Believe me, I have a lot of things that I thought would be really cool, that have turned out as trash. Start again. Keep it simple.
Where In The World is MsDebbieP?
It's always fun to take a peek into other LumberJocks' shops, but with over 14,000 members it is hard to visit all of them. (Workshop links are located on each member's home page.)
The "Shop Tours" will highlight one shop a month, giving us inspiration and ideas for our own shops. Last month we headed to Brazil to check out a LumberJocks' shop.
Today, we're off to Norway via the internet, to visit the shop of Stefang (Mike).
Stefang's shop, which used to be a carport and garage, is 220 square feet and is well stocked with tools he has been gathering since his hobby began in 1996.
Designed and completed by himself, he has created a workspace that fits his needs (other than his little pet peeve of not having a space to store cut-offs).
You can see that he put lots of thought into the layout of his shop, with his equipment located in a way to increase workflow. For example, the bandsaw and drill press are located right by the lathe so each of the steps to a project can be completed from one location.
Also, I thought this was a brilliant idea, he is able to use the drill press table as an outfeed table for his bandsaw! Brilliant, I tell you - brilliant!
Next to this multi-purpose ability, I think my favourite element in his shop is the storage unit for his power tools. With storage bins for the small components and side shelves for the power tools, everything is readily accessible and organized! Gotta love it.
|As for equipment, Stefang has: the bandsaw, drillpress and lathe, a massive array of clamps (but you can never have enough clamps), a disk sander, a fantastic storage cart for plywood and such, a router (and table), and a multi-purpose machine which has a a tablesaw, shaper, jointer, planer and mortising attachment.
The variety of equipment opens the door to building pretty much anything, but his passion lies in creating small items, which leads us to his latest and perhaps favourite tool - his new Excalibur scroll saw. With his love for making smaller items and his new acquision (the scroll saw) I'm sure we will be seeing more items like his bread basket.
One of the reasons I wanted to get a closer look at Stefang's shop wasn't just to have a peek at the his well-organized space, but because I find it intriguing to follow a woodworker's journey, from beginning a hobby to discovering what he/she enjoys doing. I am reminded of my interview with Robin Lee, of Lee Valley Tools, and his observations about woodworkers.
Mr. Lee says that he sees "entry-level woodworkers frequently building up their shops, increasing their selection of tools. Then, as they develop their own style, their favourite woods, techniques, and products, they find that the tool use becomes refined. For example, after years of collecting, a woodworker may have over 20 different chisels but actually only uses four of them. As their experience grows, they start to develop favourites."
Many of us, just as with Stefang, discover our favourite woodworking activities and, yes, have our favourite tools -- but oh what a blessing it is to have the other tools when we need them! Of course, some of us, aren't quite as organized as Stefang and it may take a while to find the tool or clean off the work space! Your shop is an inspiration, Mike, in more ways than one!
Thanks to Stefang for letting us have a tour of his shop!
Book Review / FREE DRAW
Fox Chapel Publishing has provided several books for review as well a copy of each for a free book draw for our LumberJocks' members. In the following review you will find out how to enter your name in the free draw.
(NOTE: to enter, you have to be a member and that is a quick, easy, and FREE process. A big thank you to
Fox Chapel Publishing for this opportunity!
Last Month’s Book Review: Wooden Puzzles
Free Draw: We had 62 LumberJocks enter their names for the free draw.
Congratulations Charles Maxwell. You will be receiving a free copy
This Month's Review: Carving the Human Face by Jeff Phares
Have you been inspired by the carvers' projects here at LumberJocks.com, such as the work by Jordan, Mikelknot, and Mark Decou
, to name a few? Is "carving a face" on your list of woodworking projects but you just don't know where to start? Here is a great place to begin --the resource book: "Carving The Human Face".
With over 250 steps, broken down into eight working sections, the author carefully guides you through the process of releasing the human face from a chunk of wood. Each step is clearly explained in the text as well as the accompanying photos. Photos include work in progress, planning sketches and sketches of the human anatomy to help understand and achieve lifelike features.
In addition to the detailed process for the featured carving, the reader is provided with examples of changes that can be made to the original design. Also included are photos of common mistakes made when carving a face as well as ways to fix the errors.
As I read through the book, it seemed to me that as much work went into capturing the step-by-step process as it did to do the actual carving! I was very impressed.
My Ratings of The Book
Layout and Appearance: Filled, front to back, with photos and directions! Thumbs Up!
Instructions: Clearly written and supported by the photos & drawings. Thumbs Up!
Project Selection: A beautiful rendition of a Native American. Beautiful - Thumbs Up!
Inspiration: Inspiring just to watch the process, let alone give it a try. Thumbs Up!
Overall: Thumbs Up!
Win A Free Copy
To enter your name in the random draw for a copy of this book, click here and answer the two easy questions. (Hint: the answer to the first question can be found at the book's link, posted above.)
Again, a big thank-you to Fox Chapel for the donations.
We are 15,006 woodworkers making 663,447 comments
on 25,250 projects, 11,682 blogs, 1,099 reviews and 12,802 forum topics.
- 15,000 Members - Jan 1, 2010
- 24,000 Projects - Dec 7, 2009
- 25,000 Projects - Dec 29, 2009
- 100,000 Page Views Per day (for the first time) - Dec 7, 2009
- January 2010: 15,006 woodworkers, 663,447 comments, 25,250 projects, 11,682 blogs, 1,099 reviews, 12,802 forum topics.
- January 2009: 6,858 woodworkers, 327,029 comments, 12,423 projects, 6,688 blogs, 548 reviews, 5,697 forum topics
- January 2008: 2,362 woodworkers, 113,146 comments, 4,190 projects, 1,789 forum topics, 2,867 blog entries.
Interview With Martin
Debbie: "Martin,what was your original expectations re: membership?"
Martin: "I really had no expectations in the beginning. Just wanted to get first tens maybe hundreds woodworkers interested in LJ and post their projects to keep it active. It sure is different now as with almost 15,000 members and rapidly growing LJ already belongs to the largest woodworking website on the Internet... seems like my original idea of sharing woodworking projects and knowledge is working ;) Now I'm learning the hard lessons of transforming the site architecture and internals to handle increasing number of page views but we will get through it."
* more activity means more advertising potential
* more advertising = site maintenance fees covered
* more advertising = more "perks" and services
How To Help
* word of mouth: talk about the site
* distribute press releases, flyers, etc as they are provided, for special events
* place a link to LJ.com on your personal websites/blogs
* use your LJ profile as part of your business website
* set up a LJ booth at a local wood show
* use the badges and widgets provided, on your sites
* let potential advertisers know about our advertising information
* make a personal donation to the site
* purchase items through the LJ Store
* and of course, don't forget to wear your LJ t-shirt or LJ Hat!
"Happy New Year"
Get your own LJ Coffee Mug for starting your new year and --
your day off right!
What better way to promote your business to 14,000 woodworkers than to advertise on the LumberJocks' site!
See our Advertising Page for more information!
We'd like to thank Rockler for their sponsorship over the next few months. (See Martin's blog here.)
Have An Event To Promote?
Request a quote and include the following information: Title, Date(s), Location, Description (1 paragraph), Link to page with more details.
Rockler sure did get the LJ Shop a buzzin' when they became a major sponsor for out site this winter! Check out the feedback to Martin's blog here.
More Shop Talk
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