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A tool for my ideas….

“I sketch everyday”

This was the primary lasting impression I got from Neil Lamens’ interview with Wendell Castle. Whether you like his designs or not, it is obvious he spends a great deal of time refining his ideas. I definately take the time to draw out my projects, but I have to admit that I often take the first drawing I come up with. Lately, after watching this interview from Neil, I have been doing a lot of drawing and refusing to accept my first idea.

I really like this practice and I have taken to carrying around a little notebook with me everywhere. Whenever I have a free moment I flip it open and see what falls out of my head. In a way, I find it is like taking a little bit of my workshop everywhere I go. Unfortunately I can’t spend as much time in my woodworking clubhouse as I would like so this is a nice substitute. (There I go quoting Dave again)

So with my annual vacation to Maine fast approaching, I was packing up my notebook and some graph paper to take with me. As I picked up the graph pad a pencil slipped out onto the floor. Then it hit me: if I am going to spend more time sketching why not do it in style. I am a woodworker after all. So after about a blissful hour this is what I came up with:


I figure why bother constantly sharpening a normal pencil when I can sketch in style. Not only that, but the always sharp edge I get from a mechanical pencil will hopefully add some more accuracy to my half laps and dovetails.

This spalted maple came from a tree in our neighborhood that came down in a storm about 8 months ago. I took some chunks from the curb and sawed them into planks and from the leftover I made pen blanks. I am really excited about how beautiful this came out because I have a lot more and I think customers will really like this look.

Anyway, now I have to make sure my drawings come up to scratch with the writing utensil. I guess if I can’t think of a good design at least I have something pretty to look at. 🙂

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