‘Reclaimed’ wood wall

Its funny, but once you work with good lumber you really never want to go back. Well Recently I had the opportunity to do a build out in a church with the pallet wood walls.

Actually my father and I both went to build on it. Its weird. I’m used to working with a full cabinet table saw and a nice DeWalt chop saw. Well, for this we had neither. Instead we had a pile of “wood” and they wanted us to match widths and brad nail it to the furring strips they had loosely framed in.

That’s dumb. I made the executive call and we dug out a little DeWalt jobsite table saw. We ripped a ton of lumber and then started placing it in.

My father up placing some more furring strips

This was the back wall.

My Father with the wall that we built in like 4 or so hours.

The outer back wall. None of which was ripped and took the other group twice a long to make.

A wide shot of the whole area that we built out.


All in all it turned out nicely. I still dislike the use of pallet wood. We should have just used stained and ripped plywood sheets. It would have been faster and fit better. But, who cares. It was free and easy week long build in the evenings after work.

Peterson Pipe Cleaning and Restoring

A good friend of mine and co-worker got chatting with me the other day about smoking pipes. He’s considerable older than I am so he actually had a decent, old, and beautiful pipe from Peterson. He said he’d had it like 15-20 years.  He though he’d bring it in the next day and show me. I had just finished up a cherry pipe. He was clearly excited to see someone interested in pipes.

So he brings in this well loved Peterson. He doesn’t smoke it anymore and hasn’t in many years. He’s got children now and you have to think about setting that example. Anyway here’s the lovely pipe he brought in:

Its just like Peterson to have used such a beautiful tight grain briar. Seriously it was a beautiful estate pipe. But It needed some love. I find it hard to turn down something like this, especially with its condition being so good for a 20+ year old pipe.

So I went and did my thing.

I started with the bowl, I reamed it and knocked the char out getting the chamber back to original size. I then did an alcohol soaked salt bath. I used some Woodford reserve to give it a little bourbon flavor. This step really just cleans out the inside of the stem and airway/tenon, killing all the germs that might be there. Then I went over to my Beal Buffing system and worked the bowl back from raw wood to the high polished shine. I put a coat of Carnuba wax to seal and protect. I used a loose cotton wheel on my bench motor to polish the tarnish off of the silver tenon band. I then finished the vulcanite stem on the buffer as well, bring back the black high-polish finish from the dull and yellowing oxidation.

Its amazing how much you can revive a piece of history like this with 20 minutes of hand polishing and 2 hours of soaking in bourbon.

Beal ER-32 Collet Chuck

This is less of a build than a talk about a new tool that I bought. So lets get that straight out of the way. My father was awesome, again, for me and he called up his connections at the Beal Tool Co. just east of Columbus OH. I guess I haddn’t really done my homework, but the Beal Tool Co. actually manufactures a really quite nice collet chuck for several different lathes.

It turns out that they happen to make one in a 3/4-16 thread specifically for the Taig lathe.

So the crazy thing is that this single little tube of metal has completely changed my life as far as using my lathe goes.

Its an ER-32 collet chuck and it comes with 6 collets. Its really a great set to get started with some real rigidity in turning, and very little run out. For me, there the run out was +/- .0005 or there abouts. Which is WAY less than I used to have with 3 and 4 jaw chucks.

So as with anything though, I had to make it my own.

So, heres a custom collet holder that I whipped together out of some 3/4 walnut, a bit of 2×4 pine, and a small piece of lacewood.

I would have made the whole thing out of walnut, but I just don’t have enough. (who really does though?) The corners are faux pinned with brass. purely for looks, I still haven’t gotten the steampunk out of my system and can’t stop adding brass to walnut.

Here is the finished and filled piece. I ended up adding a 7/16ths and 1/8th collet to the set that came with the chuck.



Spoon Bits

I got inspired again to sit down and do another build video. I’m still trying to find a format that works the best for me for video.

I shoot video, or at least work with video every day for a living so It sort of takes a good deal of work to get me to make video outside of work.

This one was sort of a cool project, Its not something that really needed a video, nor was it something new or exciting. I just really liked the story telling aspect of it.

Steam Lamp

I recently was given an office at work. Super stoked to have an environment that I can call my own. It also allows me to bring in my own flavor of desk trinkets.

Well, with a window behind my back it makes seeing my computer a bit of a challenge. So I’ve been closing the blinds. My boss thought it was dark in my office then….

So. I built a new lamp.

lrm_export_20161103_215502I found some killer Edison style 40w bulbs at the antique mall for about 3.50 a piece new. Lovely spiral filament and amber glass. I went to the home improvement store and spent about 20 minutes “planning” the build.  From there, I went home with some T joints, a couple of nipples, and some keyless sockets. I mounted it all to some live edge walnut that I had laying around. and it became a bookend.

Here it is in place in my office



Really stoked out how well it came out, and how easy it was to put together.

New Cherry Pipe

I wanted to make a gift for a friend that recently gave me a really nice cigar. So What do I give him? Well, a pipe, obviously!


Ok, so I’ve been a bit lazy with this one day build. I only grabbed the finished shot. But I turned the stem by hand. broke an extra long drill bit in it. Chewed up my knuckles in the disk grinder too. But this is a cool pipe. Its my first out of a non-briar wood. Its Cherry. I had a nice slab of 8-quarter and gave it a go. Fruit trees are supposedly really great for pipes. We’ll see how this goes!

File Handles

Most recently I’ve been doing little tool improvements here and there. Early this week I spent and evening with a stick of Bacote and some of my files that didn’t have handles.

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These were hand turned on the mini-lathe and then heat fit onto the tangs of the files. Quick easy and beautiful little project.

Pipe Making

One of my early obsessions has been antique things and really steampunky looking things. Which I’ve found a deep love and appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into a hand made smoking pipe.

So I set out to figure out how to make my own!

So I tooled up. Its actually the reason I bought my lathe.


I originally was going to use it for acrylic stems only.

Then I got some briar wood, which is a dense beautiful burl/shrubbery that grows in Europe. Its not terribly expensive, but can add up quickly.

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Cut my rough shape on the band saw and then went to town with a hand file and some sand paper.

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Last step was to dye and polish the pipe up and finish the stem shape.



The pickaxe was shape was one that I didn’t have and had wanted for some time.

My second pipe was a lot more of a production piece.

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Once I had found the fight angle of attack I cut the shape like the first one.


Next was shaping and dying.

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Then to the buffing and polish point

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This is where the stem started to really get worked on.


And the finished pipe


That wasn’t the last step though. Next we built the display box

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Turned out to be a nice little gift set for a friend of mine. I’ve got several more in the “pipeline” to get going on!