Shape & Form Demo Handout

I was asked to do a demonstration for the Front Range Woodturners in April 2017. I chose to try and share some of what I have learned so far about Shape & Form in Woodturning. Part of what I tried to do was give people the “vocabulary” to start understanding and critiquing form in their own work as well as others.

I felt the demo went well, and was pleased at how quickly people caught on during the “what is good and not-so-good” part of the demo. At the end, a number of the participants asked to to share my slide-show in a form that was downloadable. Here it is: Shape & Form Slideshow.

As you get into the “Starting to look at Form…” section, I ask you to keep my notes covered util you’ve formed your own ideas about why you like of dislike the piece. You don’t have to agree with my notes.

It’s a lifetime of my learning condensed into a 90-minute class. I ended up spending nearly forty hours putting together the slideshow. Most of it trying to organize and communicate some complex ideas in an easily digestible form. My everlasting thanks to my lovely bride, Alisa, for helping in the edit process.


We walk the Red Road, the way of harmony, balance, and peace one step at a time. With each smile, kind word, and honorable act we create our world. Like ripples in a pond, these things spread, and the whole world becomes better.

The other road is the same; with each cruel word, each untruth, and each dishonorable act we create that world. The choice is yours. Make it and change your world.

Rehearsing for next week’s concert…

Sitting here in an old Denver church rehearsing with a wonderful group of musicians. we are getting ready for the Gratitude Concert. I am honored to be surrounded by such talented folks. This year’s concert is exciting; all the music we are performing is new to this event. I can’t wait, and I hope to see my friends and relations there next Saturday, 30 November, at the Mercury Cafe!

It’s Saturday – I can rest, right?

It’s a lovely November Saturday. I can rest from a long week at work, right. Sigh.

I have three custom orders waiting to be worked on in the shop/studio. Our not very long ago used to be clean, ready to work in shop now looks kind of like a disaster area. Tools from the turning class Alisa taught, and the carving demo I did are just kind of dumped where they got home. Stuff from our art show in Philly a  couple weeks ago is there too. I could work without cleaning up but it will drive me nuts.

I also have to arrange and/or compose new music for the concert I’m doing with Pamela and friends in two weeks. And practice up a bit.

Then the other projects that need attention. Nothing urgent, but after a while just knowing they are still waiting takes on it’s own weight. Hell, I’m even feeling a little guilty about taking time to write a blog post.

Oh! I have Sunday too. Nevermind. Still won’t all get done, but I feel better.

Love to all, Brer Bear ;-D

Oh, and a spoon to carve. Item #492 on the ToDo list. >;->

Saturday morning before the start of Philadelphia Miniaturia…

Sitting in the hotel room while Alisa showers and collecting my thought for the day. For those who have not done art or trade shows, it’s hard work. Especially at the end of the day, having to smile and be cheerful when your feet, back, butt and more hurt. It’s a lot of fun too, we get to talk to our customers and find how they’ve been using the things they bought last year. We get to meet new people too.

But one of the most rewarding moments is watching a stranger walk past, glance at our table, stop dead in their tracks, turn, stare, and simply mouth the word “WOW!” It is one of the big reasons we do this.

Home Renovation Stories – flooring the hall and Tiger Balm

Some days I just have to break out the Tiger Balm. After two days of mostly being on my knees I am breaking down and smelling the menthol. Either that or take the day off. Nice thought, but we have guests coming in two weekends, and this is one of two projects in queue before then. Sigh.

Little did I know when we started re-flooring the house starting with the mail hallway that the prep work would be SO DANG TEDIOUS! It shouldn’t be a surprise; I’ve been working on houses for the past 30+ years. But I just spent two full days on my knees, pulling out carpet tack strip, the staples holding the old carpet pad down every two inches, and leveling out the floor; some things that work under carpet will NOT work under hardwood. Oh yeah, I should also mention that the carpet installers did not clean at all before laying down the carpet; there were 16-year-old muddy footprints all over. Guess what Alisa did while I was finishing up the step! Image

On the plus side, I fixed one of the things that has bugged me since we built the house. Where the hall leads into the living room, the framers left 3/8″ of the wall header sticking above the decking, and the step tilted down a little. That worked under the carpet, and I’m guessing only Alisa and I noticed it. But having spent the time to fix it, I now understand why the builder didn’t really want to.

Fixing the tilting step really wasn’t that bad The step board had crowned slightly, so was about 1/8″ out of level on the front 3″. Cut a strip of 1/8″ birch ply, glue it in place, the use a scrub plane and smooth plane to blend the taper in. The step was also about 1/*” below the floor on the other side of the framing mess, so a full-size piece of 1/8″ birch ply to fix that.

Then came the fun, getting rid of just shy of 3/8″ of 2×4 that stuck up thru the floor. After a lot of thought, I came up with using a router on a sled, kind of like you’d use to face a large tabletop or such. Had to work around the framing staples, and could not get closer to the wall than the router base (3″). Used a cheap framing chisel to work around the staples without nicking it (too much), pull the staples, and use a smooth plane and disc sander to finish it up. Now it’s as smooth as, well, whatever you think really smooth is like.


For those of you that are wincing about the smooth plane, I have one of those Rali replaceable blade smoothers, and a French Rabot block plane that uses utility knife blades. Oh, and Alisa will break down and move the fish tank when we get closer to getting the floor done.