Seventeen-year bookshelves

The wood for these bookshelves is from a remodelling project in the first house owned. I thought it would be cool (read: sentimentally meaningful) to use this material in my new house. I’d seen this great coffee table and thought the whole design form would work throughout my living room.



It’s a minimal, modern form with rough and recovered materials. (I’m sure there is a larger metaphor there somewhere.) Well, I decided to start with a small hallway table, but once I had it all cut and staged and really wasn’t all that happy with how it turned out. I thought maybe I could put a tall vase on it with a dried arrangement, but it just wasn’t what I wanted. Fortunately, the length of these pieces was just right for some bookshelves. I love how these came out! Also had fun figuring out how to hang them with no visible hardware. (The thing actually pulled itself out of the wall the first time I put it up and put anything significant on it.)

One of the things I dig about my house is that you can see how it has been polished and improved from the original little house it was 80 years ago. There are definitely things that I will be doing to bring back some of that original character, but I want, also, to have a thoroughly modern home. We’ll see what that all means, but today it meant materials that I’ve moved with me for 17 years and 4 homes are finally part of something again.

Christmas gifts

Silver earrings for Rose

Copper bracelet for Aunt Elizabeth

I actually managed to find a few hours to work in my shop over the last few weeks… I’m happy with the results.

Nerdy Derby Racer

So, the Milwaukee Makerspace and BarcampMilwaukee7 are doing a Nerdy Derby, and there are going to be some sweet entries, including a Belly Tanker form Frankie, sandbox from Pete, and a terrifying, radio-controlled, ducted fan monstrosity from Mike.

Having switched my subscription on the MMS list to digest mode, I hadn’t been following what was apparently an extensive discussion of the idea of doing a derby. Thankfully, Mike, Frankie, and Pete looped me in! I was making arrangements to stop in at Frankie’s studio to get the next bit of help with my injection molder, and Frankie offered to have us in for a Nerdy Derby build day. How could I pass that up?

I spent some time thinking about what I wanted to do, and settled on a steel wire frame with leather panels “skinning” the car. I figured it would be fun, and I liked the idea of steel and leather. Plus, I could do it with only the tools I have myself. I came up with some ideas and pulled together a sketch of how it might work (I’ll have to post it later, I left my notebook at work).

Frankie offered to model the car in Rhino, and after an hour or so of work we had a model of how the car might look.

Derby Car rendering

Well, since we’d gone through the work of building the 3D model, why not cut it our of the Tormach? We cut the model into 3 pieces (a base, the body, and the canopy, and Frankie got everything setup to cut. THis was my first time seeing something got from idea on paper to an actual, metal and poly-carb thing in a few hours, and it was awesome! here are the results:

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Aluminum blank
Frankie setting up the CNC
Roughing pass
All roughed in
Half way through the finishing pass
All done milling
We cut a little deeper than intended; Still came out sweet.
Base plate in position, as well as rough canopy
Another angle


I still have work to do on it (skate bearings for the wheels?) and some obvious cleanup, but it pretty cool as it is! The aluminum will take a shine like nobody’s business, and I’m thinking I may light the canopy.



My boy

This picture is from a while ago, but I came across it today. I dig this kid… the big weirdo.

My boy

It’s been really fun working with him on his science fair project. One of the highlights was the day came down to the shop and worked on building the reflector for the light.


He particularly liked using the pop riveter. That, and hammering the folded over edges… and using the drill… and wearing the goggles…