Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Splinter

There's this graduate design student down in North Carolina who's building a car entirely out of wood for a graduate project. Not just 'a car' though, a mid-engine supercar. His name is Joe Harmon and I have found myself obsessing over his project. At my work there's a handful of websites that I frequently use as time wasters, and is near the top of the list. The fact that he's building the entire car out of wood aside, his website, blog, and flicker pages are incredible, and definitely worth a browse. Check it out.

Just a few details that I find fascinating:
  1. The body panels are made from woven strips of cherry. They built an old school loom to weave the strips of 1/8th inch cherry veneer that they cut with a homemade veneer slicer.
  2. The leaf springs are made from laminated osage orange.
  3. The engine is a twin-supercharged Cadillac Northstar, and to reduce heat in the engine compartment they flipped the heads over so the intakes are on the sides of the engine and the exhaust is routed out the top.
I'm not certain what the state of the car is right now, except that they don't seem to be working on it at the moment. I have seen pictures of it at shows and what not, so I know that it is at least assembled, but I don't think they actually have it running.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Will This Work?

Calling all people smarter than me...

This weekend I should be able to start working on the doors and drawer panels for my cabinets. I'm building bridal jointed frames with a flat panel. I want to use plywood for the panel, because I can match the grain of all the panels and don't have to resaw a ton of wood. Rather than cutting a groove and capturing the panel however, I'm wondering if I can rabbett the panel into the frame. See crappy sketch below.

I actually only want to do this on the drawer fronts, the doors will have a glass panel. The reason I want to do this is two-fold. First, it's quick. The frames can be rabbetted after they're glued up which also simplifies the glue up. Two, it makes the back of the assembled frame and panel flush, which makes it easier to screw it to the drawer box. It won't look as nice from behind as a frame and captured panel for sure, but once the frames are screwed to the drawer boxes the back side of the panel won't even be seen.

Here's what I don't know though: can I glue a plywood panel into the solid frame, or will it eventually bust out from wood movement? Essentially this is the exact same process that we've all done to assemble a back panel into a solid cabinet, so I think it would work, but I don't think I've ever seen it done this way.

What's everyone think??

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pete's Digs

I just got back last night from a week in New York. The guy who was the other resident at the Inside Passage while I was there, Pete Heilman, owns a large co-op shop in Brooklyn and last September I had a chance to check it out while I was out for Pete & Maura's wedding. Unfortunately though I was only out there for a few days, so when a seat sale came up last January I snapped up some cheap tickets and spent this past week hanging out, sight seeing, eating, etc.

Pete is in the very enviable position of living in a city where there is a built-in clientele for custom woodworking. New York City, particularly Manhattan, seems somewhat insulated from the economic trouble of the rest of the United States. Pete owns a 5000 square foot shop in an 'up and coming' area of Brooklyn, where he rents out space to other woodworkers as well cranks out various custom commissions with his own business, Heilman Design.

The morning I was there the guys were just loading a completed project in a van. Everyone was busy working on something so I just wandered around snapping pics.

Pete has been working for months on a cabinet to house medical journals. He's been picking away at it between other work. It looks to be near completion.

Pete recently moved his personal area upstairs - to be closer to the ping pong table maybe? While the bulk of the machine work goes on in the machine room downstairs, he moved a mini-max five-in-one upstairs as well. It's a nice little machine, and eliminates the need for him to run up and down the stairs for incidental machine work.

The machine room downstairs has all the usual stuff plus a 12" jointer, 10" cabinet saw, and two big sliding tablesaws.

The big daddy Northfield jointer got a complete re-haul when it showed up at the shop, and purrs like a kitten now. Pete said that blade changes are a real source of frustration though. I like the ship-wheel depth adjustment.

The front of the building is currently getting a sharp new facade made of Sapele and glass.