Ruminations, Philosophy, and Workshop Antics.......... #13: Lumberjocks Mentored Projects

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 03-01-2010 04:01 AM 1239 reads 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: The Panel Trolley Antic................gonna lighten my load......... Part 13 of Ruminations, Philosophy, and Workshop Antics.......... series Part 14: What's the oldest thing in your shop you bought new............? »

My Super Sled is the demo item for this discussion:

This continues to be a technically interesting thing to build. Of course, I started out with a simple design more like Neil’s, but everyone has urged me to add all the gizmos…........and every gizmo prolongs the build. So LJ’s has slowed me down, but I will end up with a more versatile device.

I don’t know if LJ’s is gonna be a help or a hindrance in whatever the final product is like…......but I am sure LJ’s are gonna have an opinion about everything about it…...(-:

Seriously, this would not have worked out well without LJ’s.

Of course, John W. Nixon of Eagle Lake Woodworking is the inspiration for the super sled concept. And many of the features come from him.

But LJ’s, all along the way, have not only given advice on what I should consider to put on the sled, but also advice about the do’s and don’ts of construction. Multiple suggestions on materials, finish, size, weight, guards, etc. Not to mention the fact that I am copying things outright from Scott Bryan, MickeyD, and ohmygosh, even Neil….....(-:

I would say this is the first project I have done where I have presented the design (in Sketchup in this case) and then modified it according to suggestions from LJ’s at every step, as I actually started to construct it.

It makes the project longer, but since this is really a tool, not a piece of furniture, it makes sense to get a lot of help and opinions. Especially since I am a beginning woodworking hobbyist, but for those who don’t know me, a fairly experienced DIYer.

The first sled I ever saw for real, is the sled I am making.

So I thought there ought to be a name or description for this kind of approach, as distinguished from a number of projects where I just describe what I am doing as I progress to completion. This is different. I presented the concept before I started the sled. I even had a Skype – GoToMeeting session with DaveR about the Sketchup stuff, WOW…...what a learning process revolving around the people at LJ’s.

So I thought about this awhile. It is really a mentored project. It is mentored by LJ’s. So I am going to call it an LJ Mentored Project

So when I do this again, and it is inevitable, attributes of such a project will include:


(the following would be in various blog items)

1) Present plan before construction, whatever the plan format is.
2) Discuss purpose, materials, scope, etc.
3) Present the project at intervals during construction for comment and review.
4) Discuss results with special attention to problems, successes, innovation, and utility of the product.
5) State what I would do different if I were to do it again.

OK, for those of you rolling your eyeballs, this is a project where you ask advice before you start, during the construction, and then review the results for other people who might want to do the same thing…......pretty simple. The more description the better…....the more pictures the better…...everybody likes pictures….LJ’s would rather read comic books, and being an LJ, so would I…....get the drift?....(-:

So thanks to you that keep watching this never ending project, and special thanks to those who have mentored me…...this is sure a lot of fun…..........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

11 comments so far

View lew's profile


12061 posts in 3755 days

#1 posted 03-01-2010 04:12 AM


Who among us couldn’t use some input when we are designing something we’ve only read about or had a quick glimpse of in a picture or video?

I know I have learned a great deal from watching you develop and build this sled. I appreciate your willingness to share your learning experiences with the rest of us.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4174 posts in 3164 days

#2 posted 03-01-2010 04:24 AM

Thanks again Lew. LJ’s is a great format for presenting, but an even better format for learning. I will report on how things work out. It’s all in the way things work…............

Thanks Lew,


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3821 days

#3 posted 03-01-2010 04:45 AM

Jim, I greatly admire your approach on constructing this sled. It is one thing to simply post a completed project but it is entirely different to open up the construction process for critique and modify it on the fly. This certainly creates a much more complicated build that is a testament to your talent and abilities.

Your approach to this project is certainly an inspiration to me personally and will certainly help improve my next project.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4174 posts in 3164 days

#4 posted 03-01-2010 05:09 AM


Thanks again Scott.

I finally realized that I had done this in a somewhat unusual and formal fashion. Wanted to dissect it, and then give it a structure and a name. Makes it easier to decide how you are going to do the next project. Some projects don’t need much input.

But this project is a tool, really quite complex, involves precision and consideration for maintenance and scope of use.

You know, I had your sled as an image on one of my screens as I designed this. This is an modification of your design.

Thanks again for the mentoring Scott…..............


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Troy's profile


186 posts in 3063 days

#5 posted 03-01-2010 07:39 AM

Almost ready to drive down to Anchorage to see this thing in person ;)

-- Troy Bouffard || Master Sergeant, US Army (Retired) ||

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4174 posts in 3164 days

#6 posted 03-01-2010 05:31 PM

When I get the outfeed table/TS cabinet done….....then it might be worth it….......(-:

I just keep on plugging along. This week will not be as productive, I am on call this coming weekend.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3173 days

#7 posted 03-01-2010 06:44 PM

I printed out a screen shot. I’m pretty humbled to have my name even mentioned in the context of this Maloof/Krenov sled :-)

When I worked in e-commerce, my heart was with the IT group, though my body and soul were stuck elsewhere.

Eventually, the head of Software Quality Assurance … well … married my woodworker brother (he’s a recovering LJ, and the product rep for MagSwitch). The two met at my wedding to SWMBO :-)

Dorothea and I would talk all the time, at work.

“WHY,” she would ask, “don’t those OTHER workgroups talk to Quality Assurance at the FRONT end of their IT projects??? WE’re the ones that have to make sure it works. WE’re the ones who can tell them what pitfalls to watch out for, and how to avoid them!!”

And she was sooo right.

Quality … should be designed in, NOT tested out.

Well done, Mr. Bertelson. My Dorothea (and her woodworking Hubby) would be proud :-)

-- -- Neil

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3173 days

#8 posted 03-01-2010 06:46 PM

“This week will not be as productive, I am on call this coming weekend.”

Totally irrelevant, but … in your biz … are there, and do you track, Leading Indicators?

I’m thinking … condom sales, alcohol sales, chick flicks, blizzards, Oil Rebates, tax refunds, etc., etc.?

It seems like you should be able to do some multiple regression analysis, and find out what correlates most closely with … ahem … births, and then plan your shop time, your call time, and your Here Today, Gone To Maui time … accordingly?

I need more … or dramatically LESS … coffee :-)

-- -- Neil

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3115 days

#9 posted 03-01-2010 10:59 PM

Hej Jim

I don’t know if LJ’s is gonna be a help or a hindrance in whatever the final product is like……...but I am sure LJ’s are gonna have an opinion about everything about it……(-:

yes we can bee a help if we want to
yes we make every hindrace we can every time
yes we have opinions about every thing :-)

it has been such a pleasure to see and read your blog´s speciel those on the sled
your trainning from your daily work realy come trugh when you approch new projects
and even now in this blog you do it
you realy get me trying to learn to do it the same way when I´m going to build my projects
I have put it on my favorit so I can print it out to be hanging on the wall in my shop
so maybee a decade from now I will have it in my backbone if I live that long :-))
and from me I can only say it´s fun to learn again
well you know what I mean
have a plesent day over there


View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4174 posts in 3164 days

#10 posted 03-02-2010 06:18 AM

Neil…......comment 1
I am humbled…...............



..........check out the next blog item….......

This is going to get wild…..............!!!!

Neil…......comment 2
Been tracking that stuff for years, diligently, spreadsheets…......

Dismal failures. One year it is spring, next year fall, next year winter, with no correlation to anything…..

........human companionship is a rising and falling curve…....perhaps….....nahhhhh is all about chaos, and that is the story of my life, not going to study it….....................(-:

Don’t read my next blog item….......wait a few days, until you have some time off…......or perhaps when you are driving might be a good time, but don’t print it out, that would distract you from the road…........the next blog item will make the situation worse….......

Maybe you shouldn’t read it at all…...........(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3334 days

#11 posted 03-02-2010 10:23 PM

We are waiting in anticipation.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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