Photos of readers

April 29, 2020 • 2:30 pm

Reader Gary Radice of Corvallis, Oregon, has been busy fabricating. His narrative is indented:

Quarantine hasn’t changed my life that much. Since I retired 5 years ago I have spent 4-6 hours most days in my garage woodworking shop and I continue to do so. The shop has antique American machines made from the 1920’s to the 1970’s that I’ve restored. Two of the machines are quite rare with only two or three known to still exist, which is fun. The workbench I made from European beech from Germany and some local Oregon big leaf maple and Oregon white oak, milled by a friend nearby. The vise is an antique from the 1930’s.

My goal is to make all the furniture in my house. I’m about 60% there.

Here is a recent project. It is a Japanese style andon or lantern, made as a lamp. Designed by someone else but made by me in cherry with butternut panels for the Japanese mulberry paper panels. All interlocking joinery. No glue or metal fasteners. I’m a bit worried about Sky, our Siamese, tearing up the paper if she sees a bug inside but so far so good.


53 thoughts on “Photos of readers

      1. The design is by Chris Hall, a wonderful, inspiring craftsman. Sadly, he passed away three weeks ago. If you want to see real craftsmanship, his blog is Check out any of his build threads.

        He held an online tutorial in making the andon and I followed his instructions. It was a great for learning small and precise Asian-style joinery. For example, there are 56 tiny mortises for the slats, each one less than a quarter inch in any dimension. We keep the andon in our living room as an accent light. The symmetry and repetition and soft light in the evening is relaxing.

  1. Beautiful work, and what an inspiring woodworking shop, a museum in itself. Thank you for sharing, Gary.

  2. That is some shop and some cat. I see a drill press, a band saw and a wood lathe under the window. Not sure what some of those things are.

        1. Just left of the drill press maybe. Although I don’t think home made. Looks like it is on wheels.

          1. Just left of the bandsaw is the spindle sander. Yes, there is a router table that doubles as an extension wing for my table saw. The big fence something I cobbled together to add some dust collection for the router. It clamps to the table saw fence.

    1. I see a large, open wheel bandsaw in the back behind the flat-belt drill press(? mortiser?)

      I can’t tell the make of the scroll saw (to the left), but the overarm says cast iron. Delta, maybe? The top blade holder doesn’t look like a Walker-Turner, but the photo isn’t really high enough resolution to tell.

      The bandsaw to the right has the look of an older Delta 880, but is larger and has a different upper wheel bearing support.

      Ok. I’m several kinds of geek. Sorry.

  3. Beautiful work Gary. Looks like you have a nice shop and looks like it takes up about 90% of your garage! 🙂

    Mine is 10 feet X 10 feet (tall) X 20 feet, so I have to use every bit of the space and go vertical.

    I also have about 50 sq ft wrapped around on corner of the garage, for the big noise- and dust-makers (compressor, dust collection system (these tow mounted on the wall), thickness sander, table saw, big band saw, all on rolling bases).

  4. Last comment: Nice metal duct work for dust collection! That’s what I do as well.

    My dust collector has one short plastic tubing flex segment and at first I did not ground across it. One day, as ai was sanding, I noticed a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch lightning bolt jumping from the collector to some adjacent metal object about every 5 seconds. (It made quite a crack sound.) I immediately grounded everything together!

    1. Yes, dust collection! The most important tool in the wood shop is the dust collector. I put mine in the attic over the garage to save precious wall space. And make it quieter. I’m glad I did but man was it a pain to get it up there and then drop the ducting to the tools. Took several months of going up and down the ladder and crab walking and hands and knees stuff up there. I’m not a young man. Never again.

      1. The beauty of mounting mine to the wall is that it put the dust bin at a perfect working height for easy removal and emptying:

        You can see the compressor and thckness sander here as well. Having the compressor on the wall is really nice (out of the way: Our garage has 10-ft ceilings) in that working the drain cock on it is convenient: A hole in the support shelf right under the cock. (Bending over: I do my best to minimize it. I ain’t young either!)

        Just visible at left is the handle of the fence on my table saw.

  5. Some serious talent Gary. I love that lamp. I wouldn’t mind having access to a wood shop like you’ve put together.

  6. My grandfather and father always had a shop, it was just part of life. My brother inherited the last one.

  7. Exceptionally nice work.

    Joking, but Gary’s mention of making the workbench got me asking myself the chicken/egg so-called conundrum, or just plain infinite regress:
    Surely you needed a workbench to make that one, but then the earlier one needs to be made, so ….

    1. Ha! You are exactly right. My first bench was a screwed together picnic table with two pipe clamps on it. I used that to make a Scandinavian style bench that I used for 35 years. But it was too small and lightweight and I was always fighting it. When I retired my first project was the bench I really wanted. I don’t think I’ll want another but never say never.

      1. I’ve heard that when a devoted woodworker dies, they get an enormous, heavy duty, genuine tough, bench to work on for eternity. Never say never.

  8. Beautiful work! And such dedication to your craft! We have a few shoji screens in our house. So far our two cats haven’t messed with them, though our screens aren’t backlit like yours. They scratch the wood frames instead.

  9. Thanks, everyone for the generous comments.
    The vintage machines, in order of age, are:
    1922 Wysong and Miles Mortising Machine (makes square or rectangular holes). One of two in the country I know of.
    1926 Crescent 26″ bandsaw. (the black one)
    1948 Crescent 12″ jointer
    1950s 1/2″ Craftsman shaper
    1950s Parks 12″ planer
    1950s Boice Crane oscillating spindle sander
    1950s Fay and Egan 20″ bandsaw. One of three I know of and the only one in working order)
    1960s Powermatic drill press
    1960s Delta scroll saw
    1967 Rockwell Delta 12″ lathe
    1979 Delta Unisaw (the only machine I bought new)

    The garage is 22’x 24′ with a 7 x7 room off the back where I keep my hand tools and grinders. I’m currently working on a cabinet for my hand tools. It will also be made with interlocking joinery and no glue or screws. I started last fall and I expect to finish it next winter or spring.


    1. Thanks for listing the machinery. I am big on old tools as well.
      Last week, I finished building my first power hammer, which has been an on and off project for about a year.
      I started out building and fixing wooden boats, and was ethically opposed to power tools until I was in my 20s. I have shifted that view almost 180 degrees, as I realized that I just cannot be as productive with only hand tools. I covet your large band saw.

      The shoji work is very nice. I have done a little of that, but never to the point of making anything as nice as your lamp.

      I got to spend the whole day today in my shop with my oldest son. I am working on a ball mill, and he is hand forging a hori hori (Japanese gardening shovel/knife) to give to his grandmother.

      1. Ah, I have no metal working skills. Yet?
        I’m jealous. It is on my list because I’d like to make small bits of hardware for my furniture and for machine repair. I keep looking at small metal lathes and mills for a start but haven’t pulled the trigger yet. And I don’t seem to have any more space.
        Boat building (and musical instrument making) are way out beyond where I ever imagine my skills taking me.

        1. I am going to try to add an image, an act that makes me a bit nervous, as editing posts does not seem possible here.

          If there is in fact an image, it will show my son working in the shop with me today.
          The machinery from right to left is:
          The power hammer I just finished
          My forge, which I also made,which is shown heating the blade the boy is working on.
          My big lathe, which I did not build, but which I purchased as scrap and rebuilt.
          My 2×72 sander, which the boy wonder is working with, and which I designed and built as well.

          1. Your link was to the Imgur page rather than the image on that page. From Chrome, I right-clicked on the image within the Imgur page and chose “Copy Image Address” and then pasted into my WEIT comment.

          2. Well, that failed spectacularly. I will not try posting an image again, unless someone offers me some instruction on how to do it properly.

        1. I sometimes grind pigments or chemicals. I also use my little store-bought one for polishing, by substituting the balls for polishing media.
          I have been thinking about a serious ball mill for a while, and happened on just the right motor/gearbox assembly. The motor has been sitting on a shelf for months, but now is the time for finishing unfinished projects.
          So I am making a mill that is a lot more powerful than my old one, and fabulously spark and static resistant. It is also being made of materials that will not corrode when exposed to weather. I sometimes work with energetic materials (in a scrupulously legal manner), so the mill will occupy a spot in a field, far away from people or domestic animals.

          1. Thanks. Interesting. My (limited) experience of ball mills is with enormous ones in factories grinding minerals into slurries for incorporation into building materials.
            Stay safe with those energetic materials!

    2. All you need is a saw mill so you can make your own wood. Furniture wood is really getting expensive these days.

      1. Very true. Last year I bought about 25 maple 1x6x8 S4S and maybe 5 1x2x8 for a project and it was over $1,200. It was an eye opener to say the least.

  10. I’ve always wanted to make furniture. Now that I’m retired I intended to start. So I have bought a new Jet table saw and I have a few small table-top versions of other tools. So, while many people my age have been honing their skills for decades, I’m just peaking in the door. I have a lot to look forward to and a lot to learn.
    Thanks for the tour of your shop.

    1. Do it! It is so satisfying to make something useful with your own hands. One huge advantage of starting a craft these days is there is so much info and advice easily available online.
      I started woodworking when I was a postdoc in the early 80’s. I spent a few years pecking at it. Then got a tenure track job and gave up woodworking to invest in my career. Started up again about 5 years before retirement and then seriously after. I was never horrible but my skills improved a lot when I retired and could work at more or less full time, both mentally and physically. I can tell you it has been really gratifying to get better at something no matter when you start.
      Yesterday I made a simple cutting board for our kitchen. Just cut some cherry scraps to dimension, glued them up, planed them flat, rubbed on some beeswax/mineral oil. Done. Handed it to my wife. I made it, she liked it, and put it to work. Life is good.

      1. Nice to hear you’re doing well. Thanks for the encouragement. Indeed, life is good (or can be).


  11. Love the Japanese-style lantern, Gary. One of my brother’s hobbies is woodworking, and he made a stunning Kumiko lightbox in an intricate Mulberry leaf lattice pattern.

  12. True craftsmanship, an art that seems to be disappearing. Sad, but it’s inspiring to see someone like you still producing and using those antique tools to do so. I have a pretty nice shop, but not anywhere near what you have. Am I jealous? Hell yeah! But that’s ok, it’s an amiable jealousy. 🙂

    Thanks everyone for sending in your photos. It’s been a fun addition to WEIT.

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