Mikros Kosmos #3: Hey look, handtools...

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Blog entry by tyskkvinna posted 07-05-2010 05:33 AM 1969 reads 0 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: The biggest pieces, the littlest pieces. Part 3 of Mikros Kosmos series Part 4: Glue!! »

Amusing tiny back-story: I have received more than one piece of “hate mail” from persons who feel I do not do “real” woodworking because I do most of my work on CNC. Now, I don’t particularly care if anybody wants to call what I do “woodworking” or not – this is a fight I’ve fought for too many years, in many genres. (I embrace technology. A lot of artists feel this is killing art as a whole and as such, I should never be deemed an artist. Whatever.)

Anyway, more than one of these persons suggested to me that I wouldn’t know my way around a handsaw if it cut my foot off, or something. Apparently using modern tech means that we are clueless on other things. This is not true. What is true is that I only use hand tools when a power tool just won’t do. They can be extremely handy.

Probably one of my favourite items in my tool box. I like it because it is very heavy – I’ve tried some cheap plastic ones and they just feel flimsy. I do not fear that with this beast, my line will move when I apply pressure to mark it. It stays put. I love it.

what I’m doing here is marking lines for the wallpaper. A couple of the rooms have different wallpaper on the top and bottom, divided by a piece of moulding. I measured up 3.1” from the floor line, to get as close as I reasonably can to 38”. I couldn’t find my calipers, though I did look for them to use those and make it exactly 3.1”. ;) Of course I did…

I spent most of my day wallpapering everything. I didn’t get photos of that, for whatever reason. You’ll just have to see it when I do the next step. After I was done I was playing with some other pieces of paper I set aside. I had a plan!

The wood is from a previous kit, I think… it’s a U-shape stair rail sort of deal. As it happens, it fits perfectly between the piece of glass and cardboard. I decided it needs to become a frame.

That little saw is just my favourite saw ever. I love that I can easily angle it and when I get to cutting, it just zips along. Not sure what it says about me that I do my sawing in my bedroom though… (It’s the only space I really have for this right now, so.)

This is the pieces cut and taped together. One of the things I do like about working this small is blue tape works way better than clamps. There are three cross braces (one under the tape) and two edge pieces. I briefly considered framing all four edges with the wood, but the reason I chose this piece of glass was the unique markings on the edges. This keeps it stable – and the pattern under the glass – while still allowing the original purpose to peek through.

I know that I got a little glue-happy. It is a brand-new bottle of Titebond and it turns out, it’s a bit runnier than bottles that have been left open absentmindedly for months at a time. ;)

This is the other side of it. Do you know what the glass is? I like the pattern I used for under the glass. It’s ridiculously cheerful, busy and works in the scale quite well.

I need to figure out legs for it. I have more of both types of wee lumber that I used. And maybe, just maybe after tomorrow I’ll be able to make some. We’ll see. I have another tool project I’m working on. Sheila has been helping me out quite a bit – THANK YOU! – and if Sears decides to help me out, I’ll have something tomorrow. I like the idea of having my own ridiculously small sawmill. :D

So – anybody have ideas for legs? I’m all ears. I do not have the ability to turn things. (wish I did. Sooooooooooooooon?)

That’s the table top glass. :D

I like re-purposing things, especially for my dollhouse. I get a lot of odds and ends from work that are perfect for “something cool”. I have a rather large collection of various slide plates – several dozen – and they are all waiting. I have plans for every single pane, so they will see use for quite some time. You can also see in that picture I have some plastic samples.. actually have a lot of plastic samples.. which will become a large part of the decor, perhaps. I may keep most of them for the next house, that I build from scratch, because it is going to be much more modern.

We shall see.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

33 comments so far

View jm82435's profile


1285 posts in 3796 days

#1 posted 07-05-2010 06:02 AM

It is looking great, love the doors. don’t let the fun haters get you down.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View Drewskie's profile


53 posts in 3310 days

#2 posted 07-05-2010 06:07 AM

I think it is pretty cool that you work with a CNC. I guess the miss conception is that getting your head around all the techy know how is much more difficult than picking up a hand tool. It really makes me sad when people engage in pissing matches when they don’t know S.
Keep up the good work i enjoy checking out your latest thing your working on, I think your creativity is very inspiring.

-- I cut it three times and its still to short?

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3363 days

#3 posted 07-05-2010 06:22 AM

Creatitivity is creativity…no matter what tools or medium you use. The important thing is having artistic abilities and the desire to use it.

View FordMike's profile


155 posts in 3525 days

#4 posted 07-05-2010 06:23 AM

Most of the tech haters are just jealous. Every person needs to decide what path to take and what feels right to them, personally I like technology to take the drudgery out of repetition and ther are other things that are not possible with out tech. I still chip obsidian arrowheads to hunt with, but use computers to design my next bowl, go figure. Keep up the good work and ignore the haters, you don’t have time to stoop to their level. Sincerely FordMike

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 3056 days

#5 posted 07-05-2010 06:41 AM

Just do your own thing in whatever way makes you happy.

I agree with FordMike about finding a mix that works for you – try something different sometimes just because its different, or to learn a new tool or method. Wood is a pretty open medium and other than safe methods, or structural integrity, most of the rest boils down to matters of design and taste.

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View degoose's profile


7237 posts in 3409 days

#6 posted 07-05-2010 06:47 AM

Some purists say if you use any power tool you are not a woodworker.. but hey I think that any tool that makes life easier is what it is all about… Holding a router, having it held or having it held and moved by computer all takes skills albeit different skills. I would like a CNC as well as all my other toys… ah I mean tools.. LOL
Have fun with what you have and what you do… and if you can… re-use, recycle and re-create.

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View patron's profile


13611 posts in 3395 days

#7 posted 07-05-2010 06:58 AM

your house is coming along nicely , lis .
you will probably beat me at finishing them (LOL) !

those idiots would still be in caves ,
it they had refrigerators and TVs in them ,
artists have been using every media since time began ,
that’s where all the progress comes from !

i do hope you get some work space soon ,
and can really get something done .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View woodbutcher's profile


592 posts in 4220 days

#8 posted 07-05-2010 07:17 AM

Don’t worry about those who are casting stones. They are only hurting themselves and will spend an inordinate amount of time fortifying their glass houses! We should all be here for the same purpose-Our Love of working the wood in the manner we feel best suits our needs. I use both power and hand tools, my ability to learn will not be impeeded by some pre-concieved notion there is only one way to do it, based on someone elses error of judgement. No man and no government has the right to choose for me the way I will work my mind and my wood! Keep on keeping on!

Ken McGinnis

-- woodbutcher north carolina

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3169 days

#9 posted 07-05-2010 08:12 AM

Lis as far as using the latest tec. woodworkers and hobbyist has been those who hat
used it for ages before every body ells incl. the newest materials

so keep on knocking them down with new projects and let there comments fly over your head

I look forward to see this bedcamperproject progress ( as for one who had used the bed
for years I canĀ“t see why anyone shuold judge you)


View Huckleberry's profile


218 posts in 3907 days

#10 posted 07-05-2010 10:28 AM

I absolutely love a topic like this. If our fore-fathers had this technology just think of what they could have done. There are so many pieces that are copied from them now and new technology makes that possible.

-- I cut it twice and the damn thing is still too short!@#$%

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2976 days

#11 posted 07-05-2010 10:44 AM

Lis, Just enjoy yourself there working (even in your bedroom). You are more lucky than me, sometimes I have to think of others like neighbors, dogs, kids, etc.. not to disturbed them … they don’t uinderstand how a woodworker feels. If I have CNC, or any other machine, though not a priority, I will still use it for certain process. THERE ARE MACHINES LIMITATIONS AS WELL AS HUMAN LIMITATIONS … You cannot plane manually some wood that will TEAR OUT. On the other hand SANDING will TAKE MINUTES in a MACHINE while MEN will take it hours. ONE GOOD THING WITH MACHINE…. THEY DON’T EAT LIKE US.

Awaiting your finished project,

-- Bert

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2974 days

#12 posted 07-05-2010 11:21 AM

I love seeing this project come to life, Lis! Just keep your camera by your side and keep the pictures coming. You explain your processes very well and it is fascinating to see the doll house take shape. So much involved!

As for the hate mail people – I agree that they are probably jealous. Your creativity is what is important, no matter which way you want to display it. Your work is beautiful and innovative and I bet they couldn’t accomplish HALF of what you do if someone had a gun to their head. If they were busy creating and accomplishing themselves, they wouldn’t have time to criticize you. I have noticed in my life that the most accomplished people also seem to be the most supportive of others. The ‘critics’ are usually the ones who fall short themselves and spend their times being negative and picking about successful people around them. Maybe if they spent as much time worrying about themselves they wouldn’t have the time to criticize others. It just brings their own pitiful egos up in their eyes to bring others down. We all see how wrong they are. :)

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

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3619 days

#13 posted 07-05-2010 01:06 PM

Hey Lis, Very sorry to hear someone would send you (or anyone else) that type of message just because of the type of tool or project you choose.

Keep on your artistic journey…

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 4012 days

#14 posted 07-05-2010 01:38 PM

Geez…some people have way too much time on their hands. Weather you use a CNC or a chisel in your creative process, you still are creating. I guess those people that emailed you…they must have forged the cast iron pieces that their hand planes are made from….and if they want to cut a piece of wood, they must bash it apart with a rock, because using a saw that somebody else a factory no less…well, I couldn’t call that woodworking. Well, that’s it..I am throwing my Unisaw away, and from now on when I need a board cut i will bring it down to the river and ask a beaver to chew it to size for cant get any more organic than that.
It really amazes me that people have the time and energy to write you an email about something so ridiculously trivial and not even any of their business…I thought the Amish weren’t allowed to use electricity or have computers.. I guess I should get started on my email to Marc Spangnolo, and Norm Abrahms saying they aren’t really craftsmen because they use electricity…


View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 3450 days

#15 posted 07-05-2010 01:46 PM

My wife, Marge, sells and uses Knitting Machines and I use a CarveWright and a Legacy Ornamental Mill.
Both of us have been accused of “cheating” by using machines to produce our works of art.
We respond thusly, “Is it cheating to use a sewing machine? A car? A food processor? A microwave?”
Most of the time the people making the accusation see the point.
When the automobile first appeared in public there were all manner of outraged accusations, some of them just plain silly.
Electric light devices have had their detractors, some even today.
There will always be detractors.
I wonder what things they’re doing, whether with traditional ways or with modern ones?
Usually, those busy being productive have little time for finger pointing.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

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