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Back to Benches and More

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Here are a couple of photos of a Very special bench I completed today! It’s a special commission for a really nice lady who’s been sitting on a coffee table to weave! This bench was made to her specific size needs – and she picked out the board for the top, I selected the rest. I had originally intended to do two benches from that top, but I must say that this one is quite wonderful. The top is an exceptional Claro Walnut – one end has sapwood featured in a crotch. There’s figure thoughout the board. The skirt is nice Bird’s Eye Maple and legs are from a plank of Zebrawood. The stretchers are made from copper – the second time I used this medium. It’s stunning with the entire bench combination of woods. It took several days to make this where it would have been just a few hours due to my shoulder issues. Cat and I did work in riding our bikes each of the past 4 days in this warming and neat weather. Today she wanted to ride to “The Owl” in San Antonio, NM for her Mother’s Day event, but unfortunately they were closed. She “settled” for “The Hat” (El Sombrero) in Socorro. Yesterday we rode to Belen for “Fat Sat’s” – another favorite place.

It feels so wonderful to gain more mobility with my left shoulder – even tiny gains each day are fantastic. I’ve been using it all it will permit within the Doc’s prescribed PT and limitations. Very many more benches to come next. I’ll work on the imposing backlog of special orders when I can. I’ll never fully catch up, but it’s fun trying! Last week I had a new Ingersol Rand air compressor delivered and installed. The people at Air Power in Albuquerque are genuinely neat folks. I also ordered a large quantity of fine woods from Bell Forest Products – mostly Bird’s Eye and Figured Maple from the UP of Michigan. Boone Bell is a fantastic source of knowledge about his woods and I trust him implicitly. If you work with wood, look him up – just Google the business name. Also, there are other orders in progress for special tools and equipment – I’m making improvements in my shop. One item that I’ll not continue is the knitting needle machine – it does ultra precise knitting needles, but I just never could really “connect” with the process. I do it well, but it’s not my thing. The machine will surely find a home someday.

I’ve ordered a new flatbed utility trailer. It is 7′ x 10′ with removable side rails, lowered tandem axles with brakes, and a drive-on fold-up ramp at the rear. It will carry our bikes perfectly and isn’t so imposing as the 7′ x 18′ tandem axle trailer we’ve had for awhile. That old trailer will find a home somewhere else soon as well.

I’m working on a very large run of benches starting tomorrow. I already have about 40 tops cut out. Now the most fun part – picking woods that will work well for skirts, legs, and stretchers (some will be copper) – then matching them all up! Jake at Albuquerque Exotic Woods has been so helpful in locating and providing very special woods and I really do appreciate him! My benches are perhaps the best source of fun in my wood shop. It’s particularly fun to watch people at shows “interview” each and every one to find the perfect fit, then the look on their face when they find “it”. While most go to weavers and spinners, many go to individuals who just want a nice seat or several for their homes. Several have purchased them just to look at because they’re that nice.

I’m so Blessed!

Jim

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