Boxwood Hedges with Simple Planters

Two four-foot faux-foliage hedges with plywood "planters".

Signable 44” Nike Air Max

An arms-width keepsake painted to be written on with metallic markers.

Hand cut from quarter-inch Baltic birch plywood with crisp painted numbers and linework.

The linework was created with narrow vinyl masking tape. For the numbers, laser-cut numbers in tape and trimmed around the outside by hand.

400 Bottles of Beer Wall

Sixty-four square feet of rack with precision notches for hanging bottles by the neck.

My client wanted a rack to hold a wall of beer. A corporate logo would be painted on huge grid of bottles, which would then be dramatically and variably backlit. The rack therefore needed to have a very narrow profile and a largely open back. 

Continue reading “400 Bottles of Beer Wall”

Zigzag Rope Suspended Pendleton Blanket Frames

Sometimes projects change in arbitrary ways. This isn't one of those projects.

All projects evolve during the journey from concept to completion. Some transform so completely that the initial sketches are of something completely different from what (if anything) gets built. Sometimes things change in arbitrary ways. This isn't one of those projects: this project changed in a few simple ways that reflect the constraints of time and budget.

This is the drawing I made after the initial discussion.

The original idea was to to use grommets in the blanket and u-bolts in the frame. We also planned to make the zigzag rope go around all four sides of the suspended blanket.

But the needs of the event, budget, and lead time conspired to bring about the following changes:

  1. Site plans changed such that the frames would need to be hung from hooks at the top instead of having legs and being a freestanding piece. A straightforward change.
  2. Because the fabric would not arrive until quite late in the production period, the grommets were replaced with a row of loops and matching dowels. I expected this method to work more reliably given the unknown qualities of the material I would end up with. The loop-and-dowel plan would spread the load enough to keep the fabric panel straight even if were too thin or stretchy to take grommets properly. It also meant the loops along the sides could be omitted, saving hardware budget and simplifying construction.
  3. No supplier could deliver the number of U-bolts within the available lead time, so with options and time dwindling I substituted screw-in eyelets. 
A cardboard
This is the template I made to mark out the openings between the loops. Along the bottom are notches I used to line the template up with tick marks I marked along the edge.

Horse and Shoes in Steel

Clydesdales in ¼" Steel Plate, Rusted and Weathered.

I traced a pattern for 1/4" steel from the same client-provided file I used in the Engraved Plywood "Big Jake" Horse and Shoes. I outsourced the cutting to Portland Waterjet, whose work was beautiful and crisp. Sadly I never took a photo of the pristine parts, and by the time I removed the pieces from the good ol' under-bench time-dilating corrosion pot, they already had a nice crusty patina.

This one didn't look quite old enough, so I put it back in for another 25-year cycle.

Collapsible Fairy Forest Partitions

Three foldable partitions with locally-sourced organic tree branches and two hundred seventy feet of fairy wire.

SkeeBall Redux

Nine more balls for a tired carnival game.

This drawing shows the original design for the refreshed game. 

The plan was to repaint and fix a drab old rental skee-ball machine.

First, I disassembled the machine a bit to assess things. The heart of the machine were plastic targets with integrated ramps and optical sensors. Unfortunately, these were blow-molded and had become brittle and were damaged beyond repair.

I talked with the client and we decided to fabricate durable new targets and ramps and simplify the planned paint job to keep the overall project within budget.

Making new targets and ramps changed the project from one of refurbishment to one of game engineering and design. It took a couple tries to find the ratio of hole size to ball size to get the balls to “circle the drain” in a satisfying way, and I spent a while experimenting to learn the right shape for the ramp to lob the ball at the target without skittering across it.

The ramps are made from yin-yang-opposed slices of PVC pipe.

The finished machine looked snappy, if a little plain for a carnival machine. But it’s durable enough to last years and it played, counted, and sounded great. 

I ordered a few new wooden balls for each lane and rolled some games with the kids.

Daybed Swings

Simple, Sturdy, Daybed-Inspired Swings made for the Zipper

Here’s the drawing I worked up while discussing this project.

Chrome Bar

A chrome bar in the 50's style with checkerboard pattern and LED lights.

This bar was designed as four pieces: the top, left and right ends, and the center panel. Pictured above is a rendering from SketchUp I made to verify my figures for general proportions and the corner radius.

The center and end pieces attach to each other with latches, so one person can assemble this bar in about three minutes.

Octagonal Backyard Table

Ten feet wide. Eight sides. Four kid jumpseats. Two posts and a mini trellis.

Made (almost) entirely of 2″x8″ construction lumber.

1946 Chevy

Black primer, Corvette Fuel Injection, 65k miles.

Chassis and Drivetrain: 

  • 1996 Vortec-head roller cam 350 Chevy truck engine
  • Modified 1989 Corvette TPI Fuel Injection
  • Handmade wiring harness using factory sensors and OBD 1 controller.
  • Mustang II-based front suspension
  • Power steering, 4-wheel power disc brakes, front and rear sway bars
  • handbuild exhaust, fuel tank, frame members

Bodywork:

  • Chopped top including modified tilt-up windshield mechanism.
  • Suede and Flames

Interior:

  • Tilt steering with column shift
  • Bucket seats
  • A sweet pioneer tape deck.

I built this truck during my last years of high school and early college. An early version took second place in the Twin Falls Moonshine Run.