I like February 1st so much better than January 1st for several reasons…
Reason 1: I know this will make me sound like a bad person, but by this time, we’ve already seen a significant drop in the number of people crowding my gym from 4:30 to 6:30 PM. I attribute this lower attendance to those who have already blown their New Year’s Resolutions.
Reason 2: But I also like February 1st because it is that much closer to March 1st. And that means we are closer to April 1st. And by that time, the days are usually warm enough that I can get back out in my shop and COMFORTABLY do some more woodworking.
Because right now, it’s dang-diddly-cold out there! You don’t know how many times I’ve been tempted to stick my tongue on my tablesaw to see if it freezes to it. (Now that I think about it, the wax coating would probably prevent it – but my drill press might work…)
That said, I have just two weeks or so to try and get myself motivated enough to get out there and at least finish one of my two contest entries I’d like to participate in…
The prize for the local guild contest is one free seat at the Frank Klausz workshop. In my case, I’d get reimbursed the $125 I paid for my seat in December. I certainly have a better chance at winning that prize, simply because our guild contests always draw a large crowd of viewers, but rarely draw a number of participants over 10. Pretty good odds, if you ask me.
And I already have an idea for the project. The contest was initially called a “toy” contest, but I pushed for an expansion of the rules to include games and anything else you can play with. I suppose if one wanted to make a foosball table out of wood, it would qualify. Woodworking tools were explicitely thrown out, even though I get so much joy from it that I often feel like I’m playing.
I wanted to incorporate the contest entry with a present for my 9-year-old niece, Ashley. Ever since she was about five or six, we’ve played a board game that originated in Africa, called Mankala. It goes by several names, really, according to various regions of Africa, and the boards sometimes differ slightly, but the rules are generally the same. I’m sorry to say, however, that for the past two years, she has started beating me more and more. I’m afraid I’m starting to get a good idea of how my uncle Bob felt when I beat him at games at the age of five.
One technique I’ll need to figure out is using a box core bit to create shallow dish marks in the board. Is it as simple as using a circular template and dropping the bearing-guided bit into the template and going around the circle? Sounds like some test cuts are in order.
A quick look through my bits tells me… I don’t have a box core bit. Sounds like a great excuse to go to Woodcraft on Saturday for their 15% off Bag Sale (whatever you can fit in the bag is 15% off)! I love a good excuse to buy a new woodworking tool…
But I was trying to think of some ideas of what I could do to dress up the board. Actually, I haven’t even picked out a board yet. Not terribly worried about that, though. Once I finalize my dimensions and I know what size I need, I’ll start going through the stack(s) in the shop, looking for something that pleases me.
I thought this might be a great time to practice some inlay, even if it is just a simple band of blackwood or maple (depends on what I use for the board, doesn’t it?). Then again, why do I always think the best time to try some inlay is when I have two weeks before a project is due?
Maybe I just love the pressure…
-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com