I’ve been workin’ on the railroad…

I have at least been working on a train. In 2008 my soapbox team “Team Save Ferris” installed our first soapbox car in the Forney Museum of Transportation. Since then we put in our second car the Mach 5. Well, the Forney is a pretty cool place so some of us have done a little bit of volunteer work. I have to say that I haven’t done a whole lot there, but I got the bug the other day and headed down to the Forney to see what I could help them out with.

When I walked into the museum I talked to the Volunteer director and he went through a list of projects and asked me what I’d like to work on. Well, I figured I would work on whatever was most important to him so I left it up to him. Turns out I ended up working on a 104 year old train car. This train car is pretty beat up. The whole thing is wood (with the exception of the chassis and wheels) and all the wood is definitely in rough shape. If I had all the time and money in the world I’d say that pulling all the wood off, planing it and re installing only the good stuff would be the best plan, but for now they are replacing just the really bad parts. So I was provided with wood, a handheld jigsaw, some sandpaper, a hammer and a cordless drill. The initial project was to replace the outer boards around an oval shaped window.

I was able to replace the boards and get the shape pretty close on the window without butchering it to bad with the limited tools that were available. but I am going to go back and finish it up with a bit more sanding and some primer and paint.

I will take some better photographs when I get a little farther on the project. For now the iPhone pix will have to do!

Lakewood Cultural Center: Furniture show

About a month ago I received a call about a chair I made a year ago. The call was asking whether or not I would be interested in putting my chair in a furniture show. OF COURSE! I would love to was my response! So lets talk about the chair.

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I started this project for an “Intro to Woodworking” class at Metro. Chase Deforest was the professor for the class and she was encouraging people to make small tables for a final project. I was set on a chair. Not only that, but I like mixing media so I wanted to incorporate some aluminum with the project. So I started working on some sketches. The chair developed quickly with a large heavy footprint and a light open seating area. I choose Hard Maple, Aluminum and 1/2 inch clear acrylic for my materials list.

The construction went fairly smooth. Large exposed joints came together to form the legs and the arm rails. Hours in the machine shop passed by as I machined the standoffs and the acrylic…well, I ordered that.

When I designed the standoffs I did so with the intention of learning how to make them. Every part I design at this point I do in order to learn how to make it. When I approached John, a good friend of mine, about the project he said “no problem!” So he showed me the Radius tool that he has and how to use it. I machined all the pieces pretty quickly.

Machine shop, radius tool
Machine shop, radius tool

Construction went smoothly and the chair came together quickly. The standoffs turned out perfect!

Completed standoff
Completed standoff

After assembling the chair the next challenge was to actually sit on it. What happens if it breaks! It is a bit disconcerting to sit on a clear acrylic seat for the first time, but I sat down and was pleasently surprised. It worked! In fact it worked very well.

Completed chair
Completed chair

The chair is currently in the Lakewood Cultural center. A reception was held earlier this month to allow artists to talk to visitors about the pieces.

Lakewood cultural center
Lakewood cultural center

Now I am working on a few new projects, hopefully I will be able to make time to get them done too!