May 2015

Spring is here. Summer, too.  Quite the month, with the usual flowers, crocuses, followed by scillia, trout lilies,  apples, crab apples, and finally the lilacs put on a tremendous dislplay.   A few warm days, and the yard and house were filled with the scent of lilacs.

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Our last frost was May 18, and after that I put out the geraniums, impatiens,  and the fuchsia.

IMG_1226May is also Haystack month.  The Maine Crafts Association sponsors a Workshop Weekend.  I took another blacksmithing workshop with Dereck Glaser.  Sculptural work this time.  I have a hard time coming up with designs that have no function, but Dereck walked us through a series of exercises which encouraged us to try a few new techniques.  My three pieces are still being polished and etched.  Images soon.  The Maine Woodworkers spent two days after the workshop, to get the wood studio ready for summer: sharpening, fixing, tuning, repairing and making a few new pieces for the office, store and dorms.

After a rough winter in which the snow on the roof slid down and tore the AC unit out of my window, followed by my insurance company which no longer tolerated my woodstove,  I had to make a decision.  I talked to Royal River Heat Pumps and had one installed in the shop.  It’s an amazing unit, that works like an AC in the summer, then reverses and pulls warmth out of the air in winter to act as a heater.  Efficient down to -13°F.  Both the shop and house units were installed in one day.  A great job.

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In my shop, I had a few more “Thank You” projects, and two really nice custom plaques.  Suddenly plaques are popular, and I have another one on order.  The big project however was a storage cabinet under my workbench.  It’s a piece that has been on the back burner for a few years, and finally came to fruition, thanks to FWW accepting it as an article.  The biggest challenge was the layout, figuring out what clamps, jigs, tools, and paraphernalia, would go into what drawers.  Once that was done, the actual building was a piece of cake: plywood carcass, cherry face and back, and soft maple drawers.  I used marine hardware to keep the entire front flush.  The result:  three wide drawers, three narrow ones and a 10″ door for sanders and drills.

shop-projectsThe workbench was originally designed with a storage cabinet in mind, a very low rail (with a pull out platform underneath), and a high rail just under the top.  Watch for the article in FWW this fall or winter.

C. H. Becksvoort © 2015

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