Monday, December 29, 2014

Making Wooden Knight Chess Pieces

Several people have asked me how I made the Knight Chess Pieces for Steve Ramsey's Chess Set.  In case you missed it, Steve Ramsey of Woodworking for Mere Mortals made a chess board in his first series of videos in 2008.  He said his second project would be making the chess pieces, but it's been a long-running joke that he never made them.  So now, 6 years later, a group of us YouTube woodworkers conspired to make the chess pieces for him, and I was assigned to make the knights.

Click here to see the chess pieces at the end of Steve's Mere Minutes video.

Click here to see all of the chess pieces and who made them on Mike Fulton's site.


Typically, chess pieces are scaled to fit the size of the chess board.  Steve mentioned in his video that his chess board has 2" squares, so we scaled the pieces proportionately.  The base of each piece should fit within a square with a little breathing room.  The height of each piece graduates from the pawns (shortest) to the king (tallest), and the height should be proportionate to the square size.  There are charts online to help with this.  It took some coordination among us woodworkers to make sure each piece was the correct size in relation to the board and the other pieces, and we agreed to use walnut and maple for the pieces to match Steve's chess board.

 

When I was assigned to make the knights, I knew I couldn't turn them on the lathe like the other pieces.  So, I decided to use the same 3D cutting technique that I used on my Bandsaw Vase project.   I looked at lots of knights and found a basic horse shape I liked on The Chess Store.  Their chess pieces are really detailed and fancy though, so I had to draw up a much simpler two-sided pattern that would be easy to cut.  The knights ended up being approximately 1.5" square and 3.25" tall.  Click here for a PDF of this pattern.  If you are looking for a nice chess set, visit  The Chess Store.


The key to 3D cutting is attaching the template to the block so that the fold line is precisely on the corner of the block.  Cut the front view first, then tape the long curved cutoff pieces back in place with clear packing tape.  You may need to attach another copy of the side view template since some parts of it get cut away.  Cut the side profile then remove all of the cutoff pieces to reveal the knight.  Sand using a spindle sander, small files, and sand paper.  Cut out the optional shield from thin stock and glue it on.  I shaped the shield with a spindle sander to give it a raised crease in the middle.


This was a fun and challenging project and I was happy to be a part of the fine group of woodworkers who joined together to make Steve this chess piece set.  Thanks to Mike Fulton for herding us woodworking cats in the right direction.  Getting everyone to make their pieces at the right scale and ship them on time took lots of coordination.


We all were surprised to see that just before we completed the set, one of Steve's viewers sent him a chess piece set and beat us to the punch.  It is a beautiful set, so click here to see those in Steve's other Mere Minutes video.  Now Steve has TWO sets of chess pieces.  He may be off the hook for making the chess pieces, but now I think he's back on the hook for making a second chess board!!!  Ha Ha! :o)

Below is a list of everyone who participated in this project .  Please visit and follow them for more woodworking goodness!  Thanks guys for including me and thank you to Steve Ramsey for inspiring all of us!
To see the entire set of maple and walnut chess pieces, click this picture!




Monday, December 22, 2014

Palletroni Pizza - A Pallet Up-Cycle Project

Would you like a slice of Palletroni Pizza?  Following the appetizing success of my 2x4 Wooden Sub Sandwich, I decided to have some more fun and make a wooden pepperoni pizza.  Watch me make this delicious Italian delight below.


This project is for the Pallet Up-Cycle Challenge hosted by Sterling Davis, where you can make anything you want out of a pallet and enter to win prizes in a random drawing.  The deadline is December 24th, 2014 so hurry if you want to enter.


I used poplar slats that I salvaged from a pallet about a year ago.  I prefer to just cut the good parts off of a pallet and trash the rest.  It's quicker and easier, plus I avoid wrestling with nails and possibly splitting the wood I'm trying to save.


Pallets can be used for all sorts of practical and artistic projects, so get creative!  The next time you see a stack of pallets, maybe you'll think of a stack of Palletroni Pizzas instead!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Winners, Giveaways, Snow Scene, Ornaments, Pencil Holder, and Happy Holidays!

Congratulations to the winners of my MicroJig Giveaway!  Russell Roefer won the GRR-Rippers and John Ferguson won the GRR-Rip Blocks!  Thanks to all who entered and thank you to MicroJig for the awesome prizes.  Here is my latest Sidebar Conversation about the giveaway and follow-ups on my recent projects.


Russell and John were selected randomly via random.org from 1,963 entries and their names are displayed automatically in the widget below.  They have been contacted and confirmed, and their prizes will be shipped soon.  Thanks for making my first giveaway a lot of fun!

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Make a Holiday Snow Scene on a Lathe!

This project began as a practice exercise for learning how to use different woodturning tools on my lathe.  Since the holidays are here, I decided to design a Snow Scene that would make a nice decoration if all went well.  Watch my video of this project below.


The practice exercise went really well, except for one small catch on the left end of the work piece.  A small chunk of wood broke off, but I was still able to complete the project.  If you would like to try this practice exercise yourself, or you would just like to make this holiday decoration, click here to download my free PDF template.  Here are the basic instructions:
  1. You will need a 1.5"x1.5"x11" turning blank.  A little extra length would give you a little more breathing room.  You will also need a piece of wood about 7" long for the base.
  2. Mount the blank on the lathe between centers and turn it round.
  3. Use the Story Stick on the template to mark the transition points and draw the lines around the work piece.
  4. Tape the story stick to your tool rest or keep it nearby to use as a guide.
  5. Use your different woodturning tools to finish turning the tree, snowman, and lamp post.  I started with the thicker portions and worked my way down to the thinner areas for stability.
  6. Sand the pieces and cut them apart.  Clue the pieces onto the base and paint as desired.

This was a fun practice exercise and it appears that I may actually be getting pretty good at this woodturning thing after all!  With each project, I am gaining more confidence in my lathe skills and I'm learning which tool to use for different types of cuts.  I think I will design some more of these practice exercises real soon.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bandsaw Boxes Make Great Gifts!

Every year I find myself making some bandsaw boxes for Christmas gifts.  People really like receiving them, especially with a special surprise hidden in one of the drawers.  Below is a bandsaw box that I made recently while live on the air on The Summers Woodworking Show.


If you like this design, click here to download my free PDF template.  Below is the video recording of the show where I made the box and explained the process I go through while making these great gifts.


If you would like to see my other bandsaw box designs, visit my Project Plans page for pictures and more free templates.  There are other great gift projects there too.  Don't forget to put a little surprise in one of the drawers!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Win MicroJig Gear from The Carmichael Workshop!

UPDATE 12-13-2014!  The winners were selected at random via random.org and automatically displayed in the widget below!  Congratulations to Russell R. for winning the GRR-Rippers and to John F. for winning the GRR-Rip Blocks!  Both winners have been contacted and confirmed.  Thanks to all who entered and to MicroJig for the awesome prizes!

MicroJig is helping me celebrate my 100th video!  Use the widget below to enter for a chance to win a pair of MicroJig GRR-Rippers or a pair of MicroJig GRR-Rip Blocks!  Thanks to MicroJig for providing these two prizes!  Winners will be selected by random drawing and announced on December 13th, 2014.  (Due to region and giveaway restrictions, only residents of USA are eligible.  Must be 18 or older.)


Entry Form:

If you cannot see the giveaway widget, try clearing your cache, turning off pop-up blockers, turning off ad-blocking plugins, or try a different browser.  If you are on a mobile device, try using a desktop computer.

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Make a Coffee Mug Rack

It's Thanksgiving here in the USA and I'm thankful that my beautiful wife parks her car outside on the driveway so I can do woodworking on her side of the garage!  Watch the video below of the Coffee Mug Rack that I made for her to show my appreciation.  Happy Thanksgiving!


I purchased two 8-foot 1x12 pine boards from the home center for this project.  After it was completed, I had about 4 feet of 1x12 left over.  I assembled the Coffee Mug Rack using brad nails and wood glue.  Below are the basic steps to build this project.

Click here for a parts list and assembly diagram!

Step 1:  Cut two sections of 1x12 into smaller pieces so they are easier to work with.  One piece should be 23.75" and the other 26.5".


Step 2:  Cut four 1.25" wide strips from the 23.75" board for the vertical end pieces.  Cut eight 1.25" wide strips from the 26.5" board for the vertical middle pieces.


Step 3:  Cut twenty-five pieces that are 4.25" wide and 6" long for the shelves.  Cut two pieces that are 1" wide and 6" long for mounting cleats.


Step 4:  Sand all of the pieces prior to assembly.  Use 4.5" and 5.5" long spacer blocks to assemble the Coffee Mug Rack according to the picture.  Note that the height of the shelves alternates between these two sizes.  Attach mounting cleats underneath the top of the two tallest columns of shelves.


Step 5:  After the glue has dried, apply your choice of finish.  I used spray lacquer.  A spray finish would be the easiest to apply.


Step 6:  Mount the Coffee Mug Rack to two wall studs with screws or bolts.  The rack will be heavy when filled with mugs, so it is important that you mount it securely to wall studs.


Fill the rack with your favorite coffee mugs and enjoy a cup while you admire your work!


Monday, November 24, 2014

Shop Tour 2014!

Welcome to a tour of my woodworking shop!  My workshop is on my wife's side of our two-car garage.  My side of the garage has our gardening equipment plus my drum practice room.  When we bought our house, we could park both cars in the garage, but now they live outside on the driveway.  Enjoy the tour!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Make a Pencil Holder for Your Workbench!

If you are like me, you are always losing your pencils.  Here is a quick and easy Pencil Box that you can make for your workbench so that you can always find a pencil.


My pencil box is about the size of a 5" cube and it's made from a cedar fence board.  I started by cutting 45 degree bevels on both sides of the board.  Making these bevel cuts before cutting the board into the four side pieces saves time.


When cutting the four sides, I used my MicroJig Grr-Ripper as a spacer between the fence and the board to make accurate, repeatable cuts.  I pulled it away to make sure the workpiece did not get trapped, then I used it to drag the piece away from the spinning blade.


I made two passes on my table saw to cut a dado in each piece to accept a plywood bottom.  The depth of the dado is about half way into the piece. 


Before assembly, I sprayed the interior sides with lacquer being careful not to spray the glue surfaces.  I used electrical tape as a band clamp to hold the pencil holder together while the glue dried.  The electrical tape stretches and pulls the joints together tightly.


It is nice to have this Pencil Holder on my workbench so I can always find a pencil when I need one.  Now I just need to keep it filled with sharpened pencils!


Friday, November 14, 2014

Christmas Ornament

I created this fancy Christmas Ornament on my lathe for the 2014 Christmas Ornament Challenge hosted by Carl Jacobson and Alan Stratton.  I usually only turn pens, so this was definitely a new challenge for me.  Watch my video submission below.


I started by cutting 5 pieces each of red cedar and curly maple that were 2.25" wide by 4.5" long.  I glued them together, offsetting the ends by 3/4" to create a diagonal block.  To make it easier, I glued up two blocks of 5 pieces, then glued those together later.


Once the glue dried, I cut a 2"by 2" turning blank from the block on my bandsaw.  Since I would be mounting it on the lathe between centers, I cut two centered shallow grooves into the end of the blank to help the drive center get a better grip.


I used a roughing gouge to turn the blank until it was round.  Then I alternated between my roughing gouge, bowl gouge, and skew chisel to begin shaping the ornament.  As a general rule, I think things look more pleasing to the eye if they are in groups of three.  So, I turned three triangular shapes that get progressively smaller toward the tip.


On the top of the ornament, I turned three coves that mirror the three triangular shapes.  I also added a little bead at the top where I could drill a hole and tie a string for hanging.  I sanded the ornament smooth and turned both ends down to about 1/8" thick.  I stopped the lathe and cut the ornament away with a knife.


I think it turned out really good for being my first time turning a Christmas Ornament on the lathe.  Best of all, my wife loves it and she wants me to make some more!  Yippee, that means more shop time for me!  Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  

Click here to see all of the 2014 Christmas Ornament submissions!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Do you have any Wooden Yardsticks?

I found some wooden yardsticks in my father's shop.  I thought they were neat so I brought them home to clutter up my shop for a couple of years.  I recently took a closer look at them and realized these things are interesting pieces of history.


Companies used these yardsticks as promotional items with their logos and catchy slogans printed on them.  I still see stores like Lowe's, Home Depot, and Ace Hardware selling these today.  Their accuracy is somewhat debatable and I would only use them for rough measurements, but I like having these older ones on display.  There are even some yardstick collectors out there!


I have one from Weir's Furniture on Knox Street in Dallas, Texas that is actually 48" long.  Hmm, would you still call that a yardstick?  I have no idea how this yardstick from Dallas ended up in my father's shop.  I will have to share these pictures with the people at Weir's Furniture.  They still have a store on Knox Street and I think they might enjoy seeing this.


The smaller yardstick that is actually 36" long is from McCrory's, McLellan, Green and Save.  A quick google search reveals that this was a chain of five and dime stores based in York, Pennsylvania.  You can read more about that here,  Again, I have no idea how this yardstick ended up in my father's shop in Georgia.


Do you have any antique wooden yardsticks laying around your shop?  If so, I would love to see them.  Send me a picture on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.  Also, look up the company to see if they are still in business, because I bet they would love to see a piece of their history.

Don't be surprised if you find yourself scratching your head and wondering how these wooden yardsticks ended up in your shop too!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Have you seen The Maritime Woodworkers Weekend Shop Talk show?

This weekend I was honored to be the spotlight guest on the Maritime Woodworkers Weekend Shop Talk Show.  Each show is recorded and uploaded to YouTube, so in case you missed it, you can watch the recording of Saturday's show below.


If you are not familiar with the show, it is a woodworking show in the form of a Google Hangout that airs live on Saturdays at 7pm EST.  Check out the Maritime Woodworkers YouTube Channel and subscribe so you don't miss an episode.  If you are interested in joining or watching an upcoming live show, visit the Maritime Woodworkers Weekend Shop Talk Page ahead of time to find out how.


Thanks to the Maritime Woodworkers and everyone who joined the show to ask me some questions on Saturday.  I had a great time and enjoyed talking about using my father's tools, coming up with ideas for projects, and other topics I don't usually get to talk about in my videos.  I'm looking forward to joining the show again soon as a panelist and asking some questions of my own!

Friday, November 7, 2014

How long will a Wooden License Plate last?

It's been about 18 months since I made this Wooden License Plate.  Our van recently bit the dust after transporting Carmichaels over 200,000 miles for 15 years, so I removed the license plate before we said our goodbyes.  If you missed my original video on this project, watch it below to get caught up.


Let's take a look at how the license plate has weathered over the last year and a half.  I originally sprayed the license plate with a few coats of Deft spray lacquer as a test to see how it would hold up.  A few days after the video, I decided to paint the logo black and gold with Rustoleum spray paint to make it stand out more.  Overall, the wood held up well considering the harsh conditions it was under, but it doesn't look all that great anymore.


This plate has been exposed to sun, wind, rain, sleet, hail, and snow.  It's dirty and has turned gray where the lacquer has worn away.  I suspect this is the effect of UV rays.  Notice the spots where the lacquer remains and the wood color has not changed much.  The paint held up pretty well, except where it has come off on certain lines of the wood grain, which is interesting.  The back of the license plate is in much better shape because it was mostly protected from the harsh elements.


So how long will a wooden license plate last?  It looks like that depends on the protective finish.  I was considering sanding the license plate down to the bare wood and refinishing it with a different product that would provide better protection, such as spar varnish.  But, I've decided to leave it as is and hang it on the wall in the shop.  I kind of like the weathered look, plus it has a story to go along with it.

As a result of this project, I heard from people all over the world about which states and countries require official license plates on both the front and rear of vehicles.  It appears that the majority do these days.  My home state of Georgia still only requires an official plate on the rear.  I wonder if that may change in the near future.  That's ok, because these make great desk and wall decorations too!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Woodworking T-Shirts and More!

Did you know that many woodworkers who provide free content also sell merch?  See a list of stores below!  Consider ordering something from your favorite woodworkers to show your support!

Click here to visit The Carmichael Workshop Store!
I recently started up The Carmichael Workshop Store where you can order a t-shirt, coffee mug or other item to support my habit of providing free content.  I created some original designs that I think woodworkers will enjoy wearing, plus these designs will let others know you are proud to be a woodworker.  After all, t-shirts and coffee mugs are great conversation starters.


If nothing catches your eye in my store, that's ok, because below is a list other fellow woodworkers who sell merch too!  Just click the names below to visit their stores to see if they have something you can't live without, then impress your family and friends with your cool new woodworking gear!

And in case you didn't know, you can order from different Spreadshirt.com stores at the same time!  For example, if Spreadshirt offers free shipping on 2 or more items, you could add one item from Jay's store to your cart, then add one item from my store to your cart, then checkout!

Woodworker Store List
These are all of the woodworker merch stores I could find.  Please let me know if you have any additions.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I decided to make an indie horror flick this year for my Halloween woodworking project.  This tested both my acting and chainsaw skills.  I carved a pumpkin out of a white oak log using my Poulan chainsaw.  Watch my scary movie below to see how it turns out!


Chainsaw carving requires lots of skill, practice and attention to safety.  Chainsaw carvers use special saws, bars, chains, and even specific chain tensions to create their art.  I have over 20 years of experience using a chainsaw and I have attended a chainsaw carving class to learn about the craft.  DO NOT try this yourself without some form of chainsaw carving instruction and guidance.  


This wooden pumpkin was a great introduction to chainsaw carving because it uses only basic cuts that can be done using a standard chainsaw.  I sanded it with a random orbit sander and added the lines with a grinder.

I would like to carve a bear someday, but that will require lots more practice and investment in special equipment.  I hope you enjoy the video and I apologize for my horrific acting!  LOL

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Scrap Wood Sawdust Art - Scrap Bin Challenge 2014

I made this Scrap Wood Sawdust Art project to participate in the 2014 Scrap Bin Challenge.  Watch the video below to see how I made this project.  What can YOU make out of your scrap wood?



You may have seen sand art before where an artist layers different colors of sand in a bottle or vase.  Well, this is the same concept except I used sawdust instead of sand.

I selected 12 different colors of scrap wood from my scrap bin and cut them with my table saw to turn them into sawdust.  A pizza box top worked great as a temporary dust collector.

I poured each color of sawdust into a vase I bought at the dollar store.  I cleaned the saw and pizza box top before switching to a different color wood to avoid cross contamination.

Here are some simple tips if you would like to try this project:

  • Alternate between light and dark wood for good contrast between stripes.
  • After pouring the sawdust into the vase, you may need to brush it toward the sides with a stick or spoon to get the desired wavy effect.
  • Lightly compact the sawdust as you go to keep settling to a minimum later on.
  • Look for a container that has a lid or glue a lid onto the top to keep the sawdust in.
  • Fill the container to the top so the sawdust cannot shake and mix up.

This was a fun project that can be started and finished in about an hour.  It's a great activity for kids, as long as an adult makes the sawdust.  Best of all, you can use up that scrap wood that takes up valuable workshop space!


Below is a list of other woodworkers who are participating in the 2014 Scrap Bin Challenge.  Check out their scrap projects for more ideas.  Don't forget to subscribe to their YouTube channels for more great woodworking videos!  It's PRICELESS!

Click here to watch all of the videos in one convenient playlist!
(Don't forget to send me the link to YOUR video so I can add it too!)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Live Edge Coat Rack

Fall weather is here and it's time to dust off our coats and jackets.  It's also a good time to spruce up your home with a Live Edge Coat Rack.  Here is a video showing how I took some ordinary coat hooks from the hardware aisle and turned them into a beautiful and functional wall-mounted coat rack.


I have never done a live edge project before.  A live edge board still has the natural edge from the side of the tree.  Whenever I try something new, I like to try it on a small project before tackling something big.  I had a small red cedar board that was perfect for this project.


To make the ends of the board blend in with the live edge, I tilted my bandsaw table and cut a random curvy shape on each end.  The cuts are at the same bevel angle as the live edge.


This is a fun and simple woodworking project that anyone can build with just a drill and jig saw.  Too bad you can't see it with coats and hats all over it!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Invisible Birdhouse

I made this Invisible Birdhouse for the 2014 Summers Woodworking Birdhouse Contest.  It's made from reclaimed cedar fence boards with mirrors to make it appear invisible.  Watch the video below to see how it was made.


Birds can be frightened or intimidated by their own reflection, so I did not place any mirrors on the front entrance of the birdhouse.  The mirror on the bottom of the front side is angled downward for this reason as well.


The mirrors are attached with rubber cement and hot melt glue, and I sanded the mirror edges smooth so they will not cause harm to birds.  Time will tell if the bluebirds will actually use it or not.  Hopefully I can catch some of them on video real soon!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Screen Printing Hats and Caps

Screen Printing is FUN!  I've gotten pretty good at printing t-shirts, so I thought I would try printing my own hats.  Here is a video showing the 10-Step Process that I used to get some pretty decent results.



Shopping List!  If you would like to try screen printing, below is a list of the supplies that I used with links to where you can purchase them.


Money Saving Tip!  Hobby Lobby has a small selection of screen printing supplies in their stores.  If you have a store nearby, check their website for a 40% off one item coupon to save on ink, fabric, squeegees, and other supplies.


Instructions!  After watching my 10-Step Process video, read through the steps below for further details.
  1. Print out your logo and get a transparency made at the copy shop.  Avoid using extremely small text and thin lines in your logo if you can.  If you use fonts and artwork that look worn and rugged, like the Cheap Trick logo, then that helps to conceal misprints because they look messed up anyway. Make your entire logo solid black with no shades of gray or blends/gradients. For a hat logo, a good size is about 2.25” tall and up to 4” wide.  I printed 4 versions of my logo to make use of the entire sheet.  The copy shop will simply put a clear transparency sheet in the manual feed tray of a copier, then make a copy of your logo.
  2. Make a small wood frame for the logo.  Sides should be about ¼ to ½” thick so that your logo does not print too far up on the hat.  You could also use a small picture frame or artist canvas frame.  A 4x6" frame is a good size.
  3. Stretch sheer curtain fabric tightly over the frame and secure it with a staple gun.  You can get this material from a fabric store.  Trim the excess material and remove any stray threads that could get into the emulsion..
  4. Order some EX1 emulsion from screenprintingsupplies.com.  It comes with light sensitive diazo powder that you need to mix in thoroughly.  Spread a thin layer onto the screen and remove as much excess as you can.  Make your last squeegee pass on the inside of the screen.  Let it dry in a dark place flat side down.  A sealed box is good for keeping it in the dark.
  5. Place the dried screen flat side up about 18” under the 150 watt light.  Put your logo transparency on it backwards and use a clean piece of glass to hold it down.  Turn on the light and expose it for about 25 minutes.  Note:  This time could vary depending on how thin or think the emulsion is on the screen.  It make take you several tries to get a usable screen, but don't give up!
  6. Run water over the whole screen for a few minutes to weaken the emulsion in the logo area.  Carefully spray the emulsion out of the logo area.  Spray as little as possible so as not to damage the surrounding emulsion.  Hold the screen up to the light to make sure the logo area is clear of all emulsion and not blocked.
  7. Hold the screen up to a light and inspect for any stray pinholes.  Use a small brush to fill them with emulsion.  Place the screen under the light again until it is dry.  This additional exposure to the light will also help cure the remaining emulsion.
  8. Cover the frame with duct tape to make it easier to clean.  This also prevents ink from squeezing through the sides and corners and any overlooked pinholes.
  9. Make a platen that will hold the hats flat while you print them.  (Refer to the photo and dimensions provided at the end of this post.)
  10. This is the fun part.  Print your logo onto hats.  Order 5-panel hats that do not have a seam in the front for a smoother printing surface.  Fold out the lining strip that goes around the inside of the hat and slide the brim into the platen.  Work the hat so the front is flat on the platenThe hat needs to be as flat and tight as possible. You can use spray tack adhesive and spring clamps to help hold it in place.  Center the screen and make 2-3 passes.  Carefully lift the screen to see how you did.  After it dries, heat-set the ink with a blow dryer or a heat gun for a few minutes, but be careful not to burn it.  You can print multiple hats one after another, but when you are done printing, wash the ink out of your screen immediately!  Do not let the ink dry in your screen because it will ruin it.
Pro Tips!  Below are some great tips from professional screen printers who have seen my video and commented to help out us hobbyists.  I will update this section with more tips as I receive.  Thanks to the pros for taking the time to share their knowledge with us!
  • "You need "off-contact" for a cleaner print. This means a space between your printing substrate and your screen. Normally about 1/8th of an inch. You can achieve this by taping coins to the bottom of your screen." (Thanks Richie R!)
  • "You also want a really tight screen - you should be able to drop a coin on it and have it bounce. The tight screen will help shear the ink for sharper prints." (Thanks Richie R!)
  • "Tape dimes on the underside corners of your screens to lift it off the hat a little, that way the fabric snaps back up after the squeegee passes. Gives you a cleaner print." Thanks Rick M!
Platen Instructions!  I made my platen out of a 6" wide piece of 3/4" thick MDF.  The base is 6"x6".  The upright is 6"x5".  The platen support is 6"x2.5".  My platen is 6"x3.5", which is mainly based on the size of my screen.  Make sure the screws in the platen are near the sides away from the logo printing area.


Challenges!  Screen printing is an art and it takes practice.  Allow yourself to mess up a few screens and hats when you’re just getting started.  Keep practicing, try different techniques, and don't give up!

My Results!  In the video, you can see the first four hats I printed and they got progressively better.  It took me four tries to get one that looked pretty decent.   I need to get some more hats so I can keep practicing and tweaking my technique.  I will get one that looks perfect!  :o)  Oh, and you can also use these screens to print on shirts, bags, shorts, and other fabric items.  Flat stuff is a lot easier to print on.


That's a Wrap!  My screen printing method may not be the best method, but it will get your new hobby started on a limited budget.  Try printing some stuff for your family and friends, and if you enjoy it, maybe you would like to eventually invest in pro-level supplies and equipment and start your own screen printing business!  Good luck and most importantly HAVE FUN!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Woodworking In America 2014 Experience

On Saturday, September 13th, 2014, my alarm clock went off at 5am.  I knew it was going to be a long fun-filled day at the Woodworking In America conference in Winston-Salem, NC, so I jumped out of bed and got going.  It actually turned out to be one of the best days ever!

I was on the road by 6am with a full tank of gas and a drive-thru breakfast.  I drove four hours straight without stopping while watching the sun rise through the clouds.  I couldn't wait to get there.  It was easy to find the Benton Convention Center and parking was free!  (It's the little things.)


My main purpose for attending the conference was to meet fellow YouTube woodworking video creators.  So, instead of paying to attend classes, I purchased the $8 ticket to get into the Marketplace where all of my online woodworking buddies were hanging out.  I'm really glad WIA had this less expensive option for people like me who just want to meet people and browse.

Thanks to Sterling and Austin Davis for this great photo!



(I'm still trying to remember everybody.  Please remind me if I missed you.)

As soon as I walked in, I saw the one and only Steve Ramsey of Woodworking for Mere Mortals.  After meeting Steve, I started walking around the marketplace to look for more familiar faces.  It seemed like every time I turned a corner, I ran into another one of my YouTube woodworking friends.  Up until this moment, they were all pixel people on my computer screen and now they were real live 3D people!

Suddenly, that event became something bigger and better - the marketplace became a meeting place, a gathering place.  I got to meet many of my favorite woodworkers in person, plus I got to meet a lot of my subscribers and viewers.  I was surprised at how may people recognized me from my videos.  I even got to share a Mellow Mushroom pizza with Steve Ramsey and Izzy Swan!  How cool is that?!


The day flew by so quickly and I didn't see much of the marketplace, but I did stop by the Peachtree Woodworking Supply booth to talk to my peeps from the Atlanta store where our Gwinnett Woodworkers Association meets.  Fellow Gwinnett Woodworker Ron Brown was there and he always has awesome new woodturning stuff that makes me want to turn more than just pens.

After the conference, we all walked over to the District Rooftop Bar for Steve Ramsey's Mega Me-Mo Meet-Up!  I had a great time talking with Steve and my online woodworking friends, as well as spending quality time with my viewers.  I took lots of selfies!

This is Chris. He watches my videos and he is also a fellow Woodworker/Musician, so we had a lot to talk about.

Since I drove my car instead of flying, I was able to bring some of my favorite projects with me, like my wooden sandwich, tongue drum, and pocket hole lamp.  At the end of the night, I brought them up to the rooftop bar for people to check out.  I think they liked seeing my video projects in person.  I even got Laney Shaughnessy and Steve Ramsey to sign my Whac-A-Woodworker Whirligig!


As the bar was closing and people began walking back to their hotels, I was loading my projects back into my car and I realized that I'd just had a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one of the best days ever.  Most likely, the chances are slim that this group of woodworkers will be able to meet up again due to logistics, but I hope we can someday!  Maybe in the future Woodworking In America will include a session for YouTube woodworkers...That would be awesome!

Have you ever felt like you were doing what you were meant to do, at the right time, in the right place, and with the right people?  It's hard to explain, but that's what it felt like.  I'm already looking forward to the next meet up!