February 1st means one month closer...

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Blog entry by Ethan Sincox posted 02-01-2007 11:41 PM 834 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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,

3 comments so far

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4297 days

#1 posted 02-02-2007 04:29 AM

I like Mancala, good game. I think I could use your idea to make a michigan rummy board too. My parents have a plastic set, basically a board with about a dozen “cups” in it around a central pot. I’ve been unable to find a set to buy, and have been planning to make one, was brainstorming a way I could put one together without a router. I’ll be getting one (or more) eventually… though I’ve been holding off, partly for the money, and partly because my grandfather has been downsizing his “toys” over the past several months and I’m sure the second I buy one, he’ll give me his. (not that I’m expecting it… that’s just the way the universe works.) Should I get the router attachment for the dremel in the meantime?....

your mention of the foos ball table reminded me of plans I have in a book somewhere to make a hockey-type game. Was going to make it for my nephew when he was “old enough” I might have missed the window… but now that he has a younger brother, perhaps I can make it for both of them!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4144 days

#2 posted 02-02-2007 05:55 AM

I have a 2 3/4 HP Bosch router with the fixed and plunge bases. I love it. If I can ever get around to adding a router table into my TS wing, I’ll be buying a third base for it, one designed to be an undermount base on a router table with the above table adjustment capabilities.

-- Ethan,

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4147 days

#3 posted 02-02-2007 08:01 AM

Quote Ethan: ”Because right now, it’s dang-diddly-cold out there!”

Based on your remarks and some others I’ve read, it seems a number of woodworkers hibernate in the winter and do their woodworking in the warmer months.

I can’t imagine a shop that wasn’t suitable for 12 month use. Ethan, you seem as passionate about woodworking as the rest of us – why don’t you heat and insulate your shop?

I know you are thinking, “It’s OK for him living in Oz – it never gets cold in Australia”. Well that’s not quite true. I’ve often told my Aussie friends that I didn’t know what cold was until I moved to Melbourne. Our winters may not show temperatures below freezing, but it gets very cold here when those south Antarctic winds blow up across the Souther Ocean. Cold combined with a damp wind is very uncomfortable. So I do ad a little heat a few days a year. But if it were colder, I’d take steps to improve the heating.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

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