Thursday, August 29, 2013


If you follow my work, you’ll have seen a lot of product lately that are NOT pens, kind of strange for a shop named “Hope and Grace PENS”…
But I’ve enjoyed “branching” out, trying my hand at new things. For me, woodworking on anything larger than a pen is pretty difficult. There are a couple poster frames hanging in my office so lopsided and skewed they’d make M.C. Escher proud.
Still, it’s fun. And that’s the whole point behind everything: to give me a hobby that isn’t extremely expensive and is almost impossible to get hung over doing. Making the wine bottle racks was very intriguing. What you have in your head doesn’t always work, so after more cutting and sanding you experiment until you have something that will balance without dropping your bottle of chardonnay on the floor. Took me several tries to figure out 45 degrees was the right angle (see the pun there?) for a balancing rack. I also enjoyed the strange looks I’d get breaking out a full bottle of wine at the wood shop while testing the racks.
The iPad stands are something I saw online. They’re basically a slab of wood with a dado angle cut into them. Of course I had to make them more interesting, adding stripes and designs. Who wants boring old plain? And I’ve made a variety of sizes and shapes to accommodate different electronic devices. Being a big Kindle man myself, I can tell you it’s nice to put your device up on a desk and read without having to hold it. I also made my first Kindle booksafe. This first draft is for me while I perfect my technique, but I proudly tote my copy of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory around wherever I go with my Kindle Paperwhite tucked neatly inside. I’ve got plans in the works for a reading kit using Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre to include a stand and stylus. [update: I DID finish that project and it sold to a happy client!]
There are even some candle holders in my inventory now. Doesn’t seem like something lots of people would jump on, but there’s a big market out there for all-natural “rustic” art, especially driftwood. And while it’s fragile and fairly difficult to work with, I do enjoy handling driftwood and seeing what comes out. The way the air station at Iwakuni is geographically laid out, there’s a spot along the seawall where all the driftwood collects. If I can just keep the MPs from shooting me, I’m going to climb down there and collect some of that someday, like a kid in a candy store.

I want to know! What have you “branched” out on? Is there something related to your work you find yourself diverting into?