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February 2008

February 28, 2008

Nice leg!

P1010755 This is my first full table leg that I turned on my new Delta lathe!  Made from laminated bamboo plywood (available at www.silkroadtoronto.com - call and speak to Ian), it's heavy as heck but feels like silk.  The two-inch tenon on top fits into a bamboo mortise underneath the desktop.  More photos when I've made 3 more legs and got the whole thing put together at this weekend's Canadian Home Workshop Show.  I call my leg design a Pantaloon Leg because it's based on the bloomers we used to wear in Road to Avonlea.   P1010754

February 25, 2008

Wood Turning

Lathe Bloomer
Going with the slow

P1030502 I’m changing. Perhaps it’s the dawn of maturity. After many years of wanting to rush through everything, and I mean everything, I’ve started to realize that speed is overrated.

The faster you go, the less you notice, and you suddenly hit the realization that you may have missed sucking the marrow out of the bone of life (to use a disgusting medieval image of ill-mannered revelry). 

If you rush something, you don’t really experience it, and then you wonder why you can’t remember details about things you thought you cared about while you were doing them.

I’ll tell you why you can’t remember.  You weren’t really there at the time.  You were busy leaning into the future anticipating getting everything done.  And now that you’ve got so much done, how do you feel? (Pop quiz) 

Continue reading "Wood Turning" »

February 23, 2008

Breathtaking stencilled wood floor

This is an incredibly cool idea from ToolGirl Frances Bolton!

Dear Mag: 
I've been reading your column in the Ottawa Sun for some time now, and I enjoy your writing style very much.  It's not often I read something in the newspaper that makes my laugh - out of enjoyment, that is. 

This is the floor I installed in my garden home. In 2002, my fellow employees and I were all laid off when our plant was closed. I took the summer for myself, and entered a one-year commercial college course that fall.

That summer, I installed my 'severance floor', as I like to call it. 

Stencilled_plywood_floor I wanted a wood floor, but didn't want to pay for the cost of a traditional hardwood floor, and besides, I like to do things myself. I ripped up the (very old) wall-to-wall carpeting, and screwed and glued down 4' x 4' 1/2" thick sheets of baltic birch. The floor is about 16 by 20 feet. 

I did a light sanding, and applied a stain.  I then bought several copies of a stencil from a local craft store, taped them together, and applied the stencil using two colours, a burgundy to bring out the colour of the stain, and gold.

I used the small bottles of craft paint you can pick up in any craft or dollar store. I then applied four coats of a high-gloss polyurethane.  My father (he's now 87) just loves it - says it's the only floor of its kind - and he's right.  It's been five years now. They're some very slight cracking along two seams, and the floor shows the regular wear and tear of a household (including the time I dropped the garden shears, point down, of course), and I wish I had done a better job of applying the polyurethane, but all in all I am very pleased with the results. I get lots of positive comments about it, but the ones that count the most are my dad's.Stencilled_floor_cu

February 22, 2008

Turning on

P1030340_hi_resThe Canadian Home Workshop Show is almost here, and that means I have to finish the items I'm presenting at the show.  My main project is a curvy desk made out of bamboo plywood from SilkRoad Bamboo, and I'm making the desk legs out of laminated bamboo sheets.  I absolutely love my new Delta cast iron bed 36-inch lathe - you wouldn't believe how hypnotic wood-turning is.

By the way, I couldn't find any information online about turning bamboo on a lathe, so I'm winging it.  If you've tried it, please send me a quick 'hi' - I have some questions for you! Thanks - mag@toolgirl.com

February 21, 2008

February Eclipse


The moon rose at 6:00pm, excited about her 9:00pm date with the shadow of the earth.


They had fun, the shadow dancing with the moon.

February 19, 2008

Bird Cuneiform

P1010674Finches are beautiful calligraphers.

February 17, 2008

Puddles of blue

P1010660 P1010646


February 14, 2008

How to get the look of a stone fireplace in one weekend!

Mag ambushes a friend and does a complete makeover on her fireplace!  (This video features a sweeping cinematic score that Mag created with her GarageBand software!)

February 13, 2008

My first turning on my new Delta lathe

P1010666The staggering brilliance of the modern lathe!  For my very first solo woodturning project, I made the beginnings of a pine candlestick.  But I've got to try some harder woods because I'm getting set to work on laminated bamboo - I know, that's a bit weird, but I think it could look good.   Could.

February 12, 2008

My new Delta lathe is here!

The truck bearing my new lathe arrived and there was no way the driver was going to chance our driveway, which is currently a 450-foot trough of snow-filled glory.  So we 4-wheeled it down to the end of the driveway and Daniel helped the driver load the beastie into the back of our pick-up truck.  (It looks as though they'reP1010590 transferring a dead body, but it's just woodworking equipment.  Really.)


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Mag's Books

  • : We're All In This Together

    We're All In This Together
    Based on four years of interviews with Steve Smith, Mag's unconventional biography reveals the personal stories, sorrows and joys that continue to inspire the man behind the Red Green legacy.

  • : How Hard Can It Be?

    How Hard Can It Be?
    Mag's quirky and entertaining book of home improvement projects for beginners.

Nota Bene

  • It’s never too late to be who you might have been. - George Eliot (1819-1880)
  • Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought. - My fortune cookie