My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #82: My "Other Shop" (Lots of pictures!)

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 08-24-2010 02:27 PM 4835 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 81: Implementing Some Good Advice Part 82 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 83: Do We Ever Have "Enough" Wood?? »

I knew it was going to be a great day yesterday. I could just tell from the beginning. Did you ever have days like that? After seeing that beautiful sky when the sun first came up, how could it NOT be a good day? Sometimes things are just like that.

After mapping out my day here and writing my blog and getting all the stuff I needed to do around here, I headed to the bank to see if I could get an appointment and find out some things with my USA banking situation. I only expected to book an appointment, but I needed to get out anyway and I like doing those things in person so in I went and I was thrilled that the banker had some time and wanted to talk to me right then and there. (A brilliant, witty girl who was also named ‘Sheila’ so I liked her already!) We talked for about an hour and mapped out a plan and I have another appointment for Thursday with her. It looks as if my bank here in Canada (which I found also recently has a new presence in the United States) may be able to help me with an account in the US. That would really be great if it works out and my worries of last week would be relieved. I am really happy that I took the bull by the horns and looked into my options right away, before forced into doing so. We discussed lots of options so it seems that one way or another things will work out. Once again, knowing what my options are is far better than worrying about what ‘may happen’ or sitting in the dark and fearing things. I left the bank feeling pretty good about things.

I then did some other errands and upon my return home, I had a message from my partner telling me he was getting out of work early and that I should call Bernie and see if we can go to the shop for the afternoon to plane and dress some of our wood that we have over there.

(For those of you who haven’t read from the beginning, Bernie is a dear friend of mine who lives in Digby, the town where I used to live that is about 40 minutes away from where I am now. Bernie and Ellen are my “Canadian Parents” who adopted me when I first met them. Bernie has a full shop and offered me the key to it soon after we met. He has done woodworking all of his life and has built many, many houses (his own house and cottage on the lake included) and also done every kind of woodworking from cabinetry to furniture making and all in between. He is retired now and he and Ellen spend most of the summer at their home on Hayne’s lake near Digby, but likes to look for an excuse to come and work in the shop in the summer. )

I called and he was happy to meet us at the shop in Digby. I thought it would be a good opportunity to show you all my “other shop” where I do the main, messy part of getting my wood ready for scroll sawing. I have many pictures, and have loaded them all up in my Picasa album. If you want to see them all, just click on the title and it will take you to the album itself. I will show a couple here though so you can see from here.

Bernie and Ellen – my Canadian parents:

From Bernie's Shop Aug 23 2010

I don’t know the item numbers of the tools, but I will show the main ones anyway. The Makita band saw:

From Bernie's Shop Aug 23 2010

Bernie’s General Table Saw:

From Bernie's Shop Aug 23 2010

The General Planer:

From Bernie's Shop Aug 23 2010

The guys did the first planing while I took pictures.

From Bernie's Shop Aug 23 2010

It was fun to see our ‘stash’ again from the last time we went to Halifax and purchased wood. We had some purple heart, bloodwood, incensio, hickory, oak, maple, jatoba, walnut and birch pieces. Since we got there in the afternoon, we decided we weren’t going to work on it all, but picked what we wanted right away.

It has been a while since I worked in the shop and as we planed each piece, I remembered how much I loved seeing the beauty of each piece become evident as we planed off the outer skin. The wood was so beautiful, each in its own way and my head started spinning thinking about all the wonderful projects these pieces would turn into.

Bernie likes to run the pieces on the table saw first, cutting a couple of inches into each side before putting them through his band saw. I know everyone has a different way of doing things, but this is his way and it is his shop so we follow his lead. For the most part this works fine, because he doesn’t usually work with the exotic wood that we bring there. I know his band saw blade is more geared for pine and oak and woods that are softer than what we have so this helps it go through that a bit easier.

The piece of bloodwood was a challenge on the table saw though. It really made a mess of the blade. Bernie said he will have it cleaned and sharpened and it will be fine, but I was concerned because it seemed it was working much too hard. I am sure that there are some better ways to do things, but as I said, we are guests at his shop and he has been doing this his way all of his life so we follow his lead. I know when I have my own full shop I will be asking more of how to better accomplish this. :)

He did remove and change the blade:

From Bernie's Shop Aug 23 2010

After we changed blades, everything finished up fine. We used the band saw to cut the pieces to 1/2” and under thicknesses that will be suitable for our scroll saw projects and we are learning to get the most mileage possible out of our wood. The final planing was really fun and again it was great to see all the beautiful grains and colors come to life. I can’t wait to see how the finished projects will look with these woods, and some of them I haven’t used on the scroll saw for quite some time, so it will be a lesson for me too as to which blades work best on the various hard woods and which finishes will enhance the beautiful colors the most. I know that when I use oil on these they will look stunning and I can’t wait to try something new with them.

It was an incredibly wonderful day. We worked in the shop until about 6pm, when we finished all the little Mustang could hold. Ellen then invited us to their camp for a quick bar-b-que. I have a picture of their cottage:

From Bernie's Shop Aug 23 2010

And a picture of the view of the lake they are on:

From Bernie's Shop Aug 23 2010

We stayed until about 8:30 and had a nice meal and visit. It was just long enough to see the beautiful sunset on the lake. So from start to finish it was a great day. I can’t help but be grateful for the good friends, family, job and life I have. As we unloaded the wood here at home and thought about how we are going to fit it into our stash of wood, I finally felt things catch up on me and I was really exhausted. Some of the larger and thinner pieces of wood were already beginning to twist, so Keith clamped them with these tiny baby dollar store type clamps facing each other so they would stay flat. It was so comical how they looked I wanted to show you all and took a picture of that.

From Bernie's Shop Aug 23 2010

That’s little “Pancakes” checking out the clamping on the hickory boards. I swear he was using the stripes on his tail to measure and make sure the clamps were evenly distributed! It is good the cats are such great helpers. I don’t know what I would do without them!

So there you have it. A peek into my ‘other shop’. Thank goodness for wonderful people like Bernie and Ellen who have taken me under their wings. I think most woodworkers are wonderful like that. There are so many of them that think nothing of helping others and I am so very happy to be in that group.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures! Have a wonderful day and make a lot of sawdust! :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

15 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


31082 posts in 2865 days

#1 posted 08-24-2010 02:56 PM

Lovely old shop and people too. I’ll bet the old couple have had a beautiful life together and lots of good memories. Looks like they are still going strong. And that cottage looks like a wonderful place to spend some time. Nice photos and thanks for posting – enjoyed it.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2918 days

#2 posted 08-24-2010 03:12 PM

They are lovely people and wonderful friends. I had the pleasure of attending their 50th anniversary about 4 years ago (I think!) and it is fun to see them ‘play’ with each other and tease each other. Ellen is funny. She hates dust and dirt and can’t understand why Bernie likes to spend so much time in that “dusty old place”. I know I boggle her mind that I have an interest in woodworking with me being a woman and all. In her day, women just didn’t do these men things. Yesterday she called the table saw a planer and I just had to smile!

I have so much respect for Bernie, and he has taught me a lot. I am flattered that he says I have taught him some things too. He is my mentor and one of my best friends. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3431 days

#3 posted 08-24-2010 03:14 PM

Great story! Love the old folks!
Also made me think of my one trip to Digby where the Digby scallops were to die for!!!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2918 days

#4 posted 08-24-2010 04:21 PM

We get scallops right off the boat. They are great just sauteed lightly in a little butter. One of the benefits of living near the coast. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4084 days

#5 posted 08-24-2010 04:39 PM

My day’s just beginning, and you’ve brightened it just by hearing your story!


View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3035 days

#6 posted 08-24-2010 05:14 PM

A change is as good as a rest. Nice to see you both enjoyed yourselves.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View mmh's profile


3676 posts in 3721 days

#7 posted 08-24-2010 05:20 PM

What a lovely couple and the wonderful experiences all of you are having on this earth. If only all of us could enjoy life and each other as dearly and fulfilling the world would have less pain and war. I love your detailed story tellilng and the photos are wonderful too. Thank you for taking the time to do such a great job.

I’m curious as to how you can scroll saw into hard woods such as bloodwood. I have not done any scroll work but I know the blade is very thin, so this must be a very tedious process.

The lake is absolutely beautiful. My husband loves to fish and he would surelyl make us buy a home up there, or a lot to camp out!

At first I thought the clamped lumber piece was a sculpture. I think your cat likes it too.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3302 days

#8 posted 08-24-2010 05:32 PM

man i sat here and sat here wondering where is the blog….where is the blog…you must have slept in or taken to long with breakfast..maybe you ate pancakes…”not the cat either”...well i dont know why you were late…but i was very happy to read the blog this morning and to see your mom and dad and the second shop…and to meet pancakes…what a beautiful kitty … bravo to you for a wonderful blog and somehow i will forgive you for being late…...”whatever the reason is”...LOL…:))

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2918 days

#9 posted 08-24-2010 05:36 PM

I really am glad you all liked seeing these. I never would have been able to keep doing what I was doing here in Canada if it weren’t for Bernie. The man is incredible. He had bypass surgery a couple of summers ago, but keeps on going. He is up at 7 and in the shop at 7:30 until 5pm every day he can be (He eats promptly at noon and then takes a half hour nap until 1pm.) He does this six days a week (he won’t work on Sunday) He works for the community and his church and has lived near Digby all of his life. I agree with you MMh. If we all lived like this, this would be a much better world.

As far as the bloodwood, we will all see how that works out. We have some 1/2” pieces and I guess you will all learn along with me as to how they cut. I know that bloodwood was one of the hardest woods on the scale. I also have some Jatoba that will be another interesting experience to work with. I worked with it several years ago, at an 1/8” thickness and I remember going through many blades. That was when I was just starting out though so I don’t know if it was me or the wood. I remember it looked beautiful, but was really slow going. Hopefully, I have learned a trick or two since then and can figure both of these out and share with you all. Then we can all sit here on LJ’s and look smart together! ;)

(You guys don’t know how hard it is to look across the room at those boards and not just grab one and start cutting -_ just to see!! I keep reciting to myself “Be mature, Sheila! Be mature!” I have some ideas for some beautiful things using it that will come in the near future though, so in due time we will all see how I fare with it. I promise to give details and take some step-by-step pictures.)

We did have one ‘mishap’ with a big piece of birch and the band saw. The end, it seemed didn’t pass through the joiner and when we went to split it, it kind of tilted and we had quite an uneven middle section. We lost a bit of it, but no people or tools were injured in the process so we figured we got off lucky with a lesson. Most of the piece was salvageable so it wasn’t too bad! Sometime the best teacher is experience!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View lumberdustjohn's profile


1263 posts in 3165 days

#10 posted 08-24-2010 05:45 PM

Lovely people and home!

-- Safety first because someone needs you.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3114 days

#11 posted 08-24-2010 11:42 PM

just to see those two smiling elder people is great and I already like them :-)
thank´s for sharing this fantastic tour/day with us Sheila

take care

View wallkicker's profile


107 posts in 3153 days

#12 posted 08-25-2010 01:29 AM

It was a nice blog writing . I enjoyed it . It reminds me of a couple I had known quite a while ago . The area looks like a beautiful place . Glad you have that connection !

View Rick's profile


9600 posts in 3031 days

#13 posted 08-25-2010 02:24 AM

Hi Sheila:

Great POSITIVE Blog! Did you have your LIST with you..LOL…. Digby is a Great Place, been there a few times. Fresh Scallops, lightly fried in a Garlic/Butter sauce….YUMMY!

Your Friends are an Absolute Treasure! Good to see that Bernie just might be a Tad Mischevious, now and then. VERY obvious they Love each other Dearly.

I had a look at your Picasa Photos. Picture Framing is something I like to do. Find Very Old Frames do something with them etc. BUT! Your Three Fretwork Frames are Gorgeous! So is the Platter and it was a good decision not to put something in the center.

Keep on with the GOOD STUFF Sheila.


-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2887 days

#14 posted 09-02-2010 10:44 AM

Hi Sheila.

Any time life starts to get to you, I want you to stop whatever you’re doing and come back and read this posting.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2918 days

#15 posted 09-02-2010 11:10 AM

You are so right, Big Tiny!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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