A Promise Is a Promise: Where's My Update?!

Top two reasons it has taken so long to deliver: a yard sale and a stolen bike. But I don't want to talk about that.

The corner bookcase is great for creative display of toys, books, objects and art.
So there it is, the corner bookshelf, nestled in the chaos of Hip thrift. I do believe it will be more comfortable once it has been claimed by a new owner. Keep in mind, it won't look like this anywhere else; the concept is a blank slate.
The corner bookcase is light and sturdy and is easily disassembled for transport.
The open design makes it ideal for the creative display of toys, books, objects and art.

Meanwhile, I have been doing a bit of painting.
The brushwork here is inspired by the dappled light I experience when painting outdoors.
Dry brushwork on the side of a bookcase.

Four chairs have been painted to match the tree table. Three are shown. Photo credit: Amy Williams
Here are new chairs to go with the tree table. Three are pictured from the set of four.

On a warm March morning, I went to a secret location with the artist Penish Wrinkle and we snagged some wonderful graffitied* tool cabinet doors.
Found in Asheville's River Arts District, this tool cabinet door has been distressed by time and marked by graffiti.
*Graffitied is not a word yet! But I believe that one day it will be.
A repurposed door will serve as backing to refurbish the crooked, wobbly bookshelf.
This is the backside of the door, which is being repurposed as the backing for a crooked, wobbly bookcase that I picked up at an estate sale.
Shown at Hip Thrift, the wobbly bookcase is now solid as a rock and looking spiffy.
And now it is solid as a rock and no longer crooked. I wire brushed the loose paint and heavily glazed the entire door, front and back, so it is a safe piece despite its delinquent origins.

The bookcase for vinyl sold yesterday and two different parties are now very interested in the tree table. It feels great to be productive! Thanks to everyone for your support.
] j [


Corner Bookcase is here

The twelve slats from the futon frame are marked for layout and assembly.
After using the six odd boards from the reclaimed futon frame for my personal experiment, it's time to move on to the production piece.
The twelve members to the right are used to assemble the newly designed corner bookcase.

Each of the twelve remaining boards measures 51-3/8 x 2-1/2 x 3/4 (inches).
Four members compose the basic frame for each half of the corner bookcase.
Two similar panels are constructed as above, and interlocked below.
The two basic panels are blocked out together to rest for square and fit.
The back half of each shelf is then attached.
The detail shows how the panels interlock after the final two members are added to each panel.
This detail shows how the two pieces of the frame interlock.
The Corner Bookcase via the sawdust filter...
The connection is made with dowels so that the case can be split apart and transported.

The first bookcase, made from the six odd-sized members, illustrates the idea of giving objects plenty of space within the shelves.
If you give the objects enough space, as above, there will also be room to hang small art pieces within and around the two frames. I will move the Corner Bookcase into Hip Thrift tomorrow, so look for the update.

] j [


A Very Lightweight Bookcase: Rough Design

Against the near wall in my workshop are 18 boards reclaimed years ago in Brooklyn from a broken futon frame. It sure did take a long time for this bastard wood to tell me what it wanted to be: a complete departure from my previous pair of bookcases.
leaning against a wall of my workshop are 18 boards reclaimed from a broken futon frame. The nearest 6 boards were used to build a functional rough design.
Using only the four short and two long boards, I set myself to the task of making an experimental bookcase for my own use.

This model is low and long and close to the ground, well suited to my "Spartan living style" (as described by motorcycle fabricator Norm Plombe).
The rough design is finished and placed, without books.
The shelves are rather narrow and bouncy, and the bottom "shelf" is the floor itself. These factors make the prototype unsuitable for mainstream consumption, but perfect for my meager needs and open spaces.
Here, the finished rough design is shown filled with most of my book collection, down to less than 20% of its prior typical size . . .

Using the remaining twelve regular boards, the upcoming shelf will more than double the weight of my experiment. It will also measure twice as tall and nearly twice as long, gaining stability by wrapping completely around the corner. After framing it I will decide on the use of backing, which would bring another material element into play. I hope instead that my design can allow the bookcase to fit snugly against the wall.

] j [


A Tale of Two Woodpiles {and the Hip Horse}

I will start the tale with the Horse. Now that my role at Hip Thrift is becoming more tangible, I have been granted occasional use of a new used van for the hoarding of the woodpiles.
A dead tree is prepared for its next life as furniture and sculptures.
Last week, someone finally brought down the axe on an old rotting tree in their front yard. And I swept in to pick up the pieces. Pun intended; it's one of those days.
As layers of bark were peeled away to aid in seasoning the dead wood, a crystallized grub was found wedged between the layers.
This is a weird crystallized dead grub.
Another grub is very alive and chewing through the yummy soil-like portions as the dead wood slowly decays.
And this grub was quite alive. Which brings me to a burning question: how can I be sure that this beautifully eroded wood is ready to work once it has been seasoned? I thought of cutting it into small enough pieces and cooking out the critters in my home oven. I also thought of bartering with a local reclaim outfit to use their kiln in exchange for the lion's share of the wood. Has anyone tried to do this on their own? Please leave comments!
This ratty chair was also found on the scene of the crime. What sayeth this forked tongue?
The larger pieces have decayed to just the right state to produce interesting burls, so I am very eager to start seasoning it. I even wonder if some aggressive chainsaw slicing might be good enough for removing all of the little buggers . . .

Now the coolest part of this story is how I met the creator of the Bottitudes. It's her tree in her yard. I always get permission before scrapping, so when we got to talking Susan shared her creations. Look for these funky little raku-glazed bots soon at Hip Thrift.
Susan Lee created the Bottitudes, and this is the mothership.

My son is with me on Spring Break and the next story got him all excited. I have been scoping out construction jobs and scrap piles and finally corralled the boss on this one down on Waynesville Ave.
The foreman of this construction project has allowed CARPEntryDIEM sole scrapping rights on this job site. Hooray!
The foreman is more than happy to let me raid the scrap pile for the duration of construction.
Don't worry, this young man is learning the valuable ways of scrapping, and he is paid a living wage of root beer floats.
And my son is more than happy to get down to it and load some scrap! Call it shameless child labor if you'd like, but does get paid . . . in root beer floats . . .

Whether it be dead trees or seemingly useless piles of scrap, we are on the lookout for wood. I will be sure to put it to good use!
] j [


Prototype Revealed: Tiny Legs for Tiny Legs

My daughter has been asking for a step stool to reach the sink, and now I have finally gotten to it!
Here are five members from my old pile of 2x4 cutoffs, arranged as three legs attached to two planks.

The feet are attached with deep-sunk wood screws.
The pre-drilled holes on each side are given a healthy bubble of wood glue and six dowels are inserted 3" deep into one plank.

With a hammer, the two sides are tapped gently together. If much force needs to be applied, it is best to use another block of wood as a beater to avoid marring the edges of the finished piece.

In a few hours the two sides of the doweled step stool will be firmly fixed in place.
Full curing time depends on the wood glue used, but usually takes 24 - 48 hours. I like the results: a simple sturdy child's step stool or comfy adult bench. If I can work out some of the kinks, a prettified version should be on sale soon -you know where - Hip Thrift.

And in completely unrelated news, this mess blessed me in front of my house in the morning . . .
What madness can I contrive from a broken exercise bike? The future remains unknown, though I certainly had a good time disassembling it!