Hi all and thank you for reading this blog!
You may have noticed that there hasn’t been much new content here for about a year-and-a-half. Incidentally, that is how old my baby daughter is. You can draw your own conclusions 🙂 Despite this hiatus, The Dremel Amateur keeps welcoming visitors like you: In the first half of this year, the site has received 2600 views per month on average – that’s almost 90 per day. Most visitors come from the USA, but many other locales are also represented – just today there were also readers from Portugal, UK, Canada, Australia, Italy, South Africa and Latvia. These stats speak to the persistent global interest in the topics covered here.
While I fully intend to return to woodworking and blogging some time in the future, it feels wrong to let the site go stale in the meantime. From this blog’s inception, I had hoped that one day it might turn into more of a community than a single-person venture, and perhaps that time is now. So, if you would like to contribute your own stories of amateur Dremel-ing, crafting, DIYing etc., if you have tips and tricks to share, if you’d like to show off some of your handiwork – you are very welcome to join in!
Read on for details. Continue reading
While recently, in my mind, the word “jigsaw” has become more closely associated with the power tool, it nevertheless continues to remind me of the saw’s namesake puzzles. Des is no stranger to these, and takes justified pride in being able to put together puzzles intended for kids 2-3 years her senior. In light of that, the puzzle I made for her posed little challenge, but was still warmly received. Continue reading
Lumberjocks.com is great for general inspiration, for getting new project ideas, and for discovering and learning new techniques. The highlight, most certainly, is the “Projects” area where users share pictures and descriptions of things they’ve built. These range from rings and pendants to entire kitchens and caskets, so definitely there’s something for everyone. Some of the posts have little more that a couple of photos, while a few contain detailed write-ups about materials, tools and techniques that can be invaluable.
The site also does a very good job of making someone with only a Dremel and a couple of handsaws feel hopelessly outclassed, and it can make an itch for e.g. a band saw darn near uncontrollable. You’ve been warned!
While browsing the interwebs for ideas and inspiration, I stumbled upon and was immediately captivated by Maori carvings. The smaller, simpler shapes, many of them clearly inspired by fishing hooks, were particularly interesting. They are very organic and natural, and somehow seem to both have and break symmetry at the same time. Their simplicity is deceptive – clearly, these were not based on a few haphazardly drawn lines, but carefully thought through or, rather, felt through. Continue reading
Here’s something that’s been in the works for a few days:
Oof, this was a long one! I originally uploaded my blueprint for this thing at the beginning of January, then reported some progress two weeks ago, after which it stayed idle. The second delay was mostly due to a shortage of raw materials – something that took longer to rectify than expected.
I am glad that I decided to build this box since it, more than any other thing I’ve made so far, really made me stop rushing forward with a “close enough is good enough” attitude. I wrote about that lesson in the post On the Importance of Precision – that title really sums it up. Continue reading
The Visual Tools Guide is an old but still very useful thread on the bit-tech.net forums. It consists of user-submitted pictures of various tools, ranging from the simplest manual implements to the complex motorized apparatuses. Among other things, it was there that I found out the English name of the fret saw, and discovered the existence of the corner clamp – a thing that looks mighty useful for putting together frames and boxes.
My projects, it seems, come in groups. I started out with the Dremel 4000 by making a wooden ring and then went on to make two more in quick succession. More recently, I got going with the Bento Box and shortly after used the same mitre joining technique to make a kitchen tray. Today, I followed up on that with a third mitred frame, this one to serve as Mari’s earring rack.
The idea for this came from browsing Pinterest: there, someone had bought a picture frame, strung two or three lines of wire across it, and used those to hang necklaces and earrings. The only thing that was different about my version was that the frame was not store-bought but made out of 3.5cm-wide wooden corners: exactly the same approach as I used for the frame of the Bento Box. The frame is roughly 25 × 35 cm, with 45° cuts joined up to make square corners. The last two times I made mitred cuts, I did so with my own flimsy and undersized mitre box. This time, things went infinitely faster and smoother thanks to the fact that I had spent €9 on a mitre box / saw set.
Here’s something else I thought might make for a useful category of posts – pages that I have found to contain practical and interesting info for an amateur Dremel-er / woodworker / handyman / etc. First up, for no other reason than I have found it most recently, is woodsmithtips.com. Put together by Woodsmith and ShopNotes magazines, this is a site with frequently published tips and tricks for those working with wood. The current pair of tips concern trimming wood plugs with a block plane and keeping one’s chisels sharp – neither is particularly useful for me at the moment, as I have neither a block plane nor a single chisel, but interesting to see nonetheless. It is possible to subscribe to receive future tips by email.
Note: When I was browsing the site a few days ago, I somehow managed to access the index of past tips, but now can’t figure out how I did it. If you find the way, please share!