Thursday, August 22, 2013

Table Talk part 14

Back to work for a little while today.  First and stopped to talk to the building boss.  Good news- they'll let us use their belt sander.  Bad news- it's currently broken.  But they believe it will be fixed in the next few days.  So I went on to finish the last thing I could do toward the process, making more of those triangle pieces.  Now we have 64 of these things, enough for 8 tables.  Once we get the narrow legs for the drop leaf table I can work on a design plan, which will likely require some other little pieces of wood.

I could have left at that point, but a violent rain storm passed through the area, rain so hard I could hear it over my saw.  So I decided to wait it out taking care of something I had been wanting to do anyway, reorganizing all the wood.  All the unused (so far) wood was put on one section of the room, while in another area (see below) I stacked all the tabletops with their respective frames.  After that I cleaned up and went home.  All the parts are made and/or purchased, leaving me just needing the sander before I can get back to work.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Table Talk part 13

It's table time again.  When I got to the building I talked to Brendan about making use of some of their equipment to help with the process.  He said he'd look into it.  After that I got to work.  One of the last things that I could still do was make the corner pieces, right triangle pieces of doug fir, about 7" on the hypotenuse.  The 90 degree angle goes into the table frame corner, and lag screws will hold the legs to the long side, and go through to the frame.  I made 32, one for each leg.  This is only about half of what I actually need (in my prototypes I had a second one to stabilize the leg against the frame), but Molly had wandered through with news that she believed the hardware was ready to be picked up.  So I cleaned up and found a confirmation voice mail from Molly with the pick up information.

I hopped in the car and followed routes 33, 35, and 36 up to the store.  They brought the box of deck post ties up to the service counter, and after picking up some dust masks (for all the sanding that will be the next step), I took off.  Rush hour traffic heading back toward Eatontown being what it is, I decided to take one of the long leafy avenues back through West Long Branch and Deal toward Asbury.  Dropped off the materials in the Studio and called it a day.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

One Way to Get Your Art Up on a Wall

I've taken time off from the table project for the past few days to deal with another ongoing project.  (until I get the table leg hardware, there is very little I can do)  About a month ago the Belmar Arts Council announced a new project, a mural to be painted on the face of the town's train station.  Considering my involvement with murals, naturally I was recruited to produce a design proposal.  Sweetening the deal is a cash prize for the winning design.  On the negative side, the building has a very odd proportion compared to traditional painting composition (8' tall by about 85' long, a 1:10 ratio), and the surface is mostly grooved wood panels, with some stucco, and the space includes several doors, windows, and signs that have to be left in place, unchanged.  The topic:  Belmar, of course.

I put in a bit of time thinking about this project, doing research (books, internet), taking photos, making sketches.  I had plenty of ideas of what might be part of it, but whenever I sat down to to try to put something together and looked at that surface, I would get discouraged.  With the deadline less than a week away, very few proposals had been turned in, and they continued to press me for something.  So the past few days I have put in a lot of hours, eventually working up a basic layout, then producing a colored (watercolor over pencil and ink lines) version of the full composition.  At a scale of a half inch of drawing equalling one foot of building, it was still almost 40" long.  If this was a woodcut project, I'd probably want to spend a few more weeks just working out the composition, and take a few passes at the color choices.  But it's not, and I had a deadline.  At least I got it to the point where I don't mind having my name on it, and if my design is chosen, I will be able to make adjustments before it starts going up on the wall.

I did take photos of my proposal in progress, but I think I'm going to hold off on posting them until after the committee makes their decision.  Win or lose, I'll put up my concept and discuss why I did what I did.  Meanwhile, tomorrow I go back to working on the tables.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Table Talk part 12

Put in a few more hours on this project today.  Since it had been easy to cut the two 30" legs I tried yesterday, I figured I should be able to get through the whole batch in one session.  And I did, leaving me with 32 identical table leg pieces.  There's one last thing I can do before getting the table leg hardware (sent Molly an e-mail this morning with the specifics of what has to be ordered), and that's cutting the corner pieces that the legs will be mounted to.  However, I'm giving myself the day off tomorrow, and I'll get back to the job on Monday.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Table Talk part 11

One of today's many tasks was to return to the Studio.  Part of that time was spent sketching, but I finished the day working on the table project.  I put together the last of the frames I had cut earlier in the week.  Unless some more tables get added later, I'm now done with the step.  Before leaving I grabbed the saw and decided to make sure that blade on the saw was large enough to cut through the whole 4" x 4" beam in one pass.  It was.  Just cut two legs as part of my test.  Next time I'll cut enough for the whole batch of tables and be done with that task as well.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Table Talk part 10

After taking a day off yesterday to deal with various errands, I was back hard at work this afternoon in our basement table factory.  No saw needed today, since I had cut dozens of frame pieces earlier in the week.  Today the main tools were various drills, a ratcheting screwdriver, and my right angle clamp.  Then it was just a matter of working through the piles, making the properly sized 4 sided frames.  Molly actually stopped by briefly to pick up something she needed and approved my labors so far.  She agreed that we will definitely have to rethink the drop leaf table proportions, but that will wait for another day.   After she left I continued working, leaving me with 6 completed frames today, 7 overall.  Still have one more frame to put together, then it's time to get the saw out again and start working on the legs.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer Vacation

Tonight was the last night of the most recent woodcut series in Belmar.  All four students were there on time, and they had me running from table to table to give advice and assistance.  Our two first time woodcutters were both ready to pull their first proofs of their first blocks tonight, which are shown above.  Even though the next round of classes isn't likely to begin until well into October, none of them are planning to take a vacation from cutting wood, so I gave out a bunch of new boards.  They all have their own tools now, so next time I see them, there will likely be new art to see.

Table Talk part 9

Went back to the Studio for a few hours in the afternoon to continue the table project.  Molly had let me know last night that the 3 tables that will be going up to the 2nd floor will now all be 4 foot square, so I cut 2"x 4" frames appropriate to that size.  I still have one more table to do, but the more I think about it the more I think we'll have to change the design.

After that I had more time available today, so I started moving on to the next step, assembling the four sided frames.  I dragged another table into the room to give me a larger work surface, gathered the necessary tools and hardware, and grabbed the first frame set along the wall.  My first table frame went pretty much as expected, and I imagine that subsequent frames will go faster now that I know the process.  One is done, and the rest will continue later in the week.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Supersize Critique

For the next couple of months Molly is renting a second studio in the basement for the purpose of this table building project.  Early on it will mostly be me doing the construction of frames and legs;  later she'll be working on table tops there.  The room itself is a bit larger than our regular space, and unlike our regular space, almost completely empty.  So it made sense to shift tonight's critique down the hall to this new space.  We moved the big tack board and had everyone carry a chair from one space to the other.  We had 10 artists present, including one first time visitor, all with art.  Above (clockwise from the upper right) we have Harriet's new woodblock and the small painting that it's based on, a pencil drawing from her friend Hannah, two proofs from Mary L's woodcut project started on her recent trip to Vermont, a painting from Shielagh, an ink sketch from Molly, and a construction in a light box from Christina.  A close up photo in the dark of that light box is shown below.

Above are two grid based pieces.  Grids from Vince are hardly unusual, though this simple black and white piece on the right is not typical of his recent output.  On the floor next to it are nine individual mixed media canvas panels from Mary G.  Doesn't have to be shown as a grid, but she happened to put it out that way tonight.  Below are some free form screen prints from Molly, and a couple of mixed media constructions from Lisa.

No new prints from me lately, so I brought in my Flying Pickle (substitute model for a pancake in a recent print, discussed in the group last week), and showed one of my table corner/leg model pieces, and my big pile of sawdust.  Don't know if I'll have any prints done for next month, but the tables will be a bit further along.

Table Talk part 8

Finally got the call during the day on Saturday from Molly stating that we were officially allowed to start using our second studio.  There wouldn't be time to really begin construction, but I figured I could maybe do some organizing.  However, when I got there I found the wood had been organized and stacked in the alcove at the back of the room, I assume by Molly.  Organized it's still a huge pile of wood.  One thing I thought worth doing doing an inventory, check it against my building diagrams.  The long beams matched the list I had given Molly, but there many more plywood panels than I had specified.  I figured many were the remnants after cutting the tabletops we needed, so I started measuring and cutting.  We're making a total of 15 tables, but we had 42 boards.  That's a lot of remnants.  I found matches for all but three tables, though we had some that were of similar but larger size than those three tables.  Need to be cut down or size was changed?  Another thing to ask Molly about.

Today I made plans to be in the Studio all day.  We had the monthly critique scheduled for the evening,  and I'd be working on the table leading up to that.  The first step, which I could do without having to talk things over with Molly, was to start cutting the 2"x4"s into pieces to make the table frames.  (on the last visit I had made a list of the lengths needed, based on the decision to keep the setback from the table edge at 3 inches all the way around)  I borrowed a couple of folding tables from other parts of the basement to help with this task, though I did the sawing itself on the more stable ground.

Spent about three hours on the project today, which used about half our 2" x 4" supply and resulted in frame parts for the majority of tables that I'll be building.  The above boards, cut to the proper sizes with mitered corners, will be used to make 5 of the tables.   Later in the evening Molly confirmed the new size for the 3 unaccounted for tabletops, so next time I cut frames for those, plus one small table I didn't get to today.  After that it will be time to assemble the pairs into 4 sided frames.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Table Talk part 7

Molly had called me early yesterday to ask a question or two before putting in the lumber order in Belmar.  The plan called for it to be delivered today, so around the middle of the day I called her to see when that would be expected, and she told me it was arriving right then, with Brendan from our building supervising the unloading of the truck into our new table building studio.

In the early afternoon I decided to take a ride up there and check out the wood supply.  I ran into Brendan outside the building on his way to an errand, and he and another artist who works there said a ton of wood had been delivered.  I figured they were exaggerating, but when I got a look at it, I decided that it may be more than a ton all together.  That plywood is 3/4" thick and we ordered thirteen 8' x 4' pieces, heavy stuff. (luckily Molly was able to arrange to have the lumber yard cut it to the size of the individual tabletops, saving us that task and making them lighter to move around the room)  Plus you can see dozens of 2" x 4"s and 4" x 4"s that I'll be turning into legs and frames.   Also included in the order are all the screws (three different sizes and styles), leaving us just one thing to get- the deck post ties, but there are a bunch of things I need to do before that step.

Molly still has to officially sign the contracts for this new room, but once that is done, I can begin my part of the table project.  That could be as soon as tomorrow.  I'll be ready.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Making Progress

Time for week 3 of the latest woodcut class series.  One of my regulars had informed me by e-mail that she had doubts of attending tonight due to illness, and that turned out to be the case.  My other three kept busy, so we had plenty of splinters to clean up at the end.  Last week my two new students found that the bench hooks I provided were very useful, and they were so impressed with the one Jill made for herself, that they took photos of it.  So I shouldn't have been surprised that Carolyn showed up tonight with the above object, built on a nice sturdy cutting board purchased at a local estate sale.  (we have an established tradition in my woodcut class of students successfully repurposing objects for printmaking processes)  Harriet didn't make one yet, but told me she had taken my advice for a quick substitute, clamping a board to a table to create an instant ledge to push against.

Carolyn, still not having tools of her own, managed to get pretty much everything in the top one done tonight.  At that point we decided were too near the end to proof it, so that will wait until next week.  Harriet, having tools, came in having made more progress, but had run into issues with some fine details, so she concentrated on that tonight.  I'm hoping she will also be ready by next week to take a first proof of the block.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Table Talk part 6

Over this past week I've been involved with more aspects of planning the table project, and today seems like a good day to catch everyone up.

Several days ago Molly sent me a list by e-mail of the tables and dimensions that are currently planned for the project.  As of now it's 15 tables in 7 locations, plus one site for which the table is still not specified.  Six tables are for restaurants and will likely make use of manufactured bases, so in the current plan I'll have nothing to do with making those.  Most of the rest are square or rectangular tables that will be constructed based on the assembly models I made a few weeks ago.  One exception is one location wants a drop leaf table- the base being a 2' square, but folding up and securing leaves on all four sides will create a 3' round table.  A little more complicated, but I worked out the geometry on paper a few days ago (see above) so it should be fine.  I got some follow up information from her by phone.

By the end of the week she wanted an estimate of the cost for materials and labor for the project.  For each site I calculated how many of each type of wood and/or hardware would be needed to make it, and an estimated rate and amount of labor per table that we had worked out.  She had a big meeting scheduled for mid day Friday with the organization that is providing the money for this, so I sent her my figures in an e-mail yesterday morning.

That meeting went well, because so far everything is approved.  Molly told me by phone today that she brought my most recent table leg model to the meeting and everyone was impressed.  It's hardly an example of professional carpentry, but I guess it shows I'm likely to be able to get my part done reasonably well.  This leaves me with some new paperwork to deal with in the next few days- putting together a shopping list of materials for Molly (precise numbers of each bit of hardware, lumber, etc) and providing more information to the arts organization so I can be officially put on the payroll.  I put together a rough draft of the shopping list tonight, and after I double check it, I'll e-mail it to Molly tomorrow.  Our construction space should be ready to go, so once she purchases everything and it all gets delivered, I can start my latest summer job.