Martin has loads of furniture making experience, but this deep pour resin technique was totally new for him…
The idea for the project came from Martin’s friends who spotted a sleek resin pour table they liked on Four Eyes Furniture. They asked him if he could make them one so he watched a couple videos and decided to give it a go.
First, he selected a gorgeous slab of kiln dried Monterey Cyprus.
Then he purchased a gallon of Black Epoxy Resin and checked in with the Ace Workshop Community about using Clean Fab for the pour.
Martin filled the gaps in two rounds; first the top and then the bottom. Each pour took several days to cure before he hand planed it to remove extra resin from the surface.
Martin’s tips and takeaways:
Resin costs $$$
It takes time, patience, and a little planning. Each pour takes several days to cure.
After the resin sets, planing the surface by hand is labor intensive. Be prepared to role up your sleeves.
Monterey Cyprus Wood dust is particularly irritating so well fitting PPE is a must
He’d do it again, but mostly because he has extra resin…
Every day we strive to create great experiences for everyone who walks through our doors- no matter where they are on their maker journey. Our inclusion-forward approach informs everything we do including how we design our spaces to welcome users across the skill spectrum. This is one of the many ways we take action to implement our mission in everything we do.
Relative to its small size, our shop houses an impressive collection of tools, workstations, and resources which presents unique challenges when it comes to usability and access for makers with diverse skill sets and experience levels. Finding sustainable solutions to address these challenges and create a great shop in which everyone can try new things, learn, grow, and share knowledge requires:
Approaching problems from an explicitly inclusion-forward perspective
Enthusiastically embracing change, innovation, and curiosity
Pro-actively experimenting with solutions
Seeking input, asking questions, and learning together as a community
Engaging in responsive problem solving as community needs evolve
While some of the recent changes are more noticeable like new table tops and work surfaces others are more subtle like adding a side stop to our spindle sander to prevent creep during use. Each adjustment and/or repair big or small was made intentionally in response to community needs, observed patterns of use/breakdown, and bolstered by input from users of all skill levels.
Optimizing Tool Use Space and Small Tool Storage
While our collective imagination is infinite, our space is limited… This reality was omnipresent during our recent project, the Great Tool Swap.
When it comes to using our shop we constantly negotiate overlapping “tool-use” spaces. In other words, where you stand to use tools like our table saw, drum sander, jointer, and planer blocks access to others and prevents concurrent use.
In order to maximize our tool-use space and maintain reasonable workflow we carefully examined how folks were using the shop, identified chokepoints, gathered feedback from the community, and ultimately decided to re-arrange our dust collection set-up and swap the locations of our drill press and bandsaw.
Beyond overlapping tool use spaces we also have limited storage for smaller tools and supplies like drill bits, saw blades, clamps, and gauges. Overly dense storage makes it hard for folks (especially beginners) to locate what they need and/or discover new tools. It’s also difficult to label dense storage effectively and for our community to keep it organized. By re-arranging vertical storage in the shop and finding new homes for small tools we were able to create a more user friendly visual system for tool storage.
Embracing Entropy as an Invitation for Change
Permanent systems are a myth. Just because something has “always” been one way, does not mean it needs to stay that way.
Sometimes systems work in theory but not in practice, become less functional over time because needs for change, or fail to fully resolve underlying issues. Instead of seeking permanent solutions, we look for sustainable ones. For example, when looking holistically at the shop we realized we were stuck in a cycle of reactive Air Quality Management resulting in unpredictable and frustrating shop closures.
We wanted to move toward a more sustainable, predictable, and proactive system so we installed a new manometer, a meter that measures air pressure differences, to measure the draw of shop ventilation. We also added a convenient QR code that allows shop users to easily update our air quality logs. This small change has improved our ability to track filter life and stay ahead of maintenance.
The Power of User Input
Expertise is valuable but it’s not the whole story when it comes to designing a shared workshop for the Ace Members we serve. Systems that might work for advanced users can discourage new users and/or put up barriers to access. Experienced users may notice issues that new users may not, but resolving those issues requires input and participation from beginners to be effective.
Relying on a narrow “expert is best” framework is also counter-productive to inclusive shop design because it can reproduce the systems of privilege and power that have limited who is normalized in technical spaces. Instead, we include the perspectives of new users as “expert” especially when it comes to navigating the workshop as a beginner.
For example, we learned specifically from new users that they were struggling to identify and find what they needed in the shop making starting out feel intimidating and overwhelming. To better welcome them we added more labels to our tools. We also created two Shop Basics and Tool Overview classes to better demystify shop etiquette and help new folks get oriented.
And the Beat Goes On
Our community is always changing and our spaces need to keep pace with those changes in order to best serve everyone. Through our inclusion-forward approach to design, we ensure that the changes we make are more effective for everyone who walks through our shop doors.
As usual it was way more work than anticipated, but I’m quite pleased with the final result. I had a to build a ridiculous number of jigs and templates for this thing. –Frank
After 4 months of hard work, Frank, a new member, and carpenter completed an absolutely show-stopping dining table in the workshop and posted images of the final piece on the Ace Community Discussion Board.
Prompted by the Ace Community, Frank also provided insight into his process and the many tools he used to design, sketch, render, and build his dream dynamic, curvy table.
I’ve only been woodworking earnest for about the past year. I dabbled with it in college as well but just a bit. Most of what I know has been from the school of YouTube or from talking with people around Ace, and being a mechanical engineer has helped with some aspects.–Frank
Check out some highlights from his build:
Frank built a “ridiculous” number of custom jigs for shaping the unique curves of his design. See how he takes his idea, renders it, builds it, and tests it below:
He also put together a super neat glue-up for the top of the table:
He even converted his living room into a stylish workshop and all that between his 10-month-old’s naps!
The project may have been “way more work” than Frank thought it would be but, wow! Hopefully, he’s sending out dinner invites soon!
We recently went on a field trip To Peroba Reclaimed out in Richmond. They specialize in reclaimed lumber and live edge slabs ethically harvested. The staff was lovely and helpful. And really patient with us digging through their off-cuts pile. We were on a mission to get affordable wood to use in Ace project-based workshops. Not only did we find affordable products but really pretty options we can feel good about spending community money on. We definitely recommend going out there when you are ready to level up your solid wood projects.
Victor Lane may live in Sacramento, but he is still an active member of the Ace community. At Ace, Victor did a lot of woodworking with joinery, and over the past few years, he’s eventually made his way to becoming an instructor. I’m Carter Jenkins, and I had the pleasure of speaking with Victor to find out more about him.
Victor’s relationship with Ace began in a similar way to a lot of other members: finding an affordable and welcoming maker space. In his search, he found plenty of alternatives, but they were mostly for-profit organizations with narrowly defined communities that did not have a diverse environment. “You go to a lot of ‘maker spaces and it’s white guys my age making robots or 3d printing…” as Victor put it. He found that Ace fostered a group of people that was full of people that you wouldn’t find in those other maker spaces. Ace also had different technologies that you wouldn’t find in other maker spaces, such as fabric arts. He appreciates the fact that these “non-traditional” making practices have dedicated homes at Ace.
Victor’s New Class at Ace
Victor is hosting an in-person woodworking class for a small group of people at the maker space. It’s a class he has hosted pre-lockdown, but luckily not a lot about the class had to change. Like before, he’s teaching how to make a basic cutting board out of a single piece of wood, teaching how to properly cut and finish the material. The main purpose of the class is not to walk away with a perfect cutting board but to rather learn how to use the tools properly. As Victor said, “If you are not scared of the power tool you are using, you probably shouldn’t be using it.” He believes that gaining a sense of respect is the most important thing that a maker should have for their tools. The class employs the use of the chop saw and table saw, which Victor hopes to make his students comfortable. For the most part, mask protocol isn’t affecting the class. Most of the time, the people in the class were wearing filtered dust masks, so modified masks are being used.
Talking with Victor was a blast, and the Ace community benefits greatly from having a guy like him in it. His charismatic personality and great communication skills make him an excellent teacher and should make for a great workshop experience.
Out of Ace’s list of members, Bob M is definitely one of the more unique people to walk through the workshop doors. Nowadays, Bob is most known for his custom-built guitars and basses, and the reason why this is goes back all the way to his high school days. I’m Carter Jenkins, and I had the chance to speak with Bob about what he does at Ace as well as a little more about how his life has led him to this point.
In high school, Bob originally aimed on becoming a violin craftsman. However, that path didn’t work out and Bob had to explore other areas. For 20 years, Bob held a job as a professional juggler while still exploring his passion for playing guitar. One day in 1989, he paid someone to do some repairs on a bass he had. The job was completely botched, leaving Bob thinking, “I could do so much better than that.” After a little mechanical ingenuity and some tinkering, Bob quickly discovered a new skill.
In the early 90s, Bob opened up a hand-crafted guitar shop to both satisfy his guitar fix and to have a career. Unfortunately, he soon shut down the operation. The money wasn’t the biggest problem, rather Bob “couldn’t stand the sales relationship that the job required.” Wrangling what you love into a money-producing machine isn’t a great feeling, and after only a few years of operation, Bob walked away.
More Recent Years
In between 1997 and 2017, Bob didn’t do a lot of making or tinkering. However, in 2017, he went to the Ace Building for a Fusion 360 CAD software meeting. During his visit, he took a guided tour around the facility where his attention was caught by the CNC machine and the woodshop. While Ace wasn’t the entire reason he got back into making, seeing the necessary tools that Ace offered with an affordable membership compared to other spaces Bob had looked at was a big part of it. Nowadays, Bob still makes custom guitars, no longer for the money but rather for the affection he has for the craft.
Advice for Other makers
Towards the end of our meeting, I asked Bob for any advice he had for makers looking to turn a passion into a business. Bob says that if you have a passion, don’t try to monetize it unless you know you can succeed. Take guitar building for instance. The market for that kind of thing is heavily over-saturated, with new builders investing all their money into a business that will last a few years before shutting down.
Bob got out of the business for a reason, now he spends his days doing what he loves, not doing work. If you have something you want to pursue, he recommends finding a group of people that have a similar interest to you and then finding opportunities to put your skills to work through there. A big enough community will be able to supply you with answers to your questions and will also help you grow as a person.
Mauricio Salmerón has been working on a project recently. What started as a joke request to a friend has now spanned into a multi-month project that is now nearing completion. I got a chance to speak with Mauricio over a weekend and he shed some light on what other workshop members saw as two large pieces of wood glued together.
Mauricio has been an off-and-on member of the Ace Makerspace for a few years now. He used to own a furniture-making shop called “The Furniture Space,” where he did woodworking to create all kinds of custom furniture such as tables and sideboards. After that, Mauricio found Ace to be the best place to continue honing his craft.
A while back, Mauricio was talking with June, a friend of his. The conversation eventually drifted to June’s need for a new bed. After discussing how June’s search hadn’t been successful, Mauricio jokingly offered to build her a bed frame. The two laughed, and the conversation moved on. However, a month or two later June took Mauricio up on his half-serious request.
Mauricio worked on the project on and off, but many months later it’s nearly complete. Throughout his build process, Mauricio used many workshop tools to complete the project. The table saw, chop saw, router, drill, and planer to name a few. He estimates “another 10 hours of work and headboard assembly” and the new frame will be ready to send to June. The entire assembly consists of 5 main parts that can be put together to complete the full platform-style bed. June, of course, will have to provide the mattress, but it seems that the bulk of the work has been completed.
Oak boards were surfaced through the joiner and planer, then dimensioned with the table saw
The boards were clamped together and glued to make the large sides of the bed, the tops to the sides with pocket screws
The three main pieces were completed by now, each with its own plywood support frame
The surfaced boards were put together with pocket screws and clamps to create the headboard
The last piece, the middle mattress support, was made with plywood, glue, and pocket screws
The three large oak pieces were attached with latches, the headboard had cleats and bolts to attach to the side pieces, and the middle mattress support piece
My 23 year old son told me he’d love a shoe rack in his new home that doubled as a side table for his sofa.He’d been unable to find anything to buy that fit the dimensions, so I decided to build him one.
There were a few specifics that needed to be accounted for — the dimensions of the space, the color of wood that would complement his room, and the fact that they hang coats against the wall that the rack/table would abut…
He loves mid-century modern furniture — so I found and modified a style online to be able to hold 5 pairs of shoes, be the right height for the sofa table, and allow for the coats to co-exist.
I recently made a different shoe rack with mitered corners on the plywood sides — and was pretty unhappy with the results.Solid wood is so much more forgiving for the occasional minor gap in the joint — because you can sand it down to make the flaw less visible.I found plywood, however, having such a thin veneer, too easy to oversand and ended up with areas where the veneer was gone and the underlying ply exposed.
But I knew a plain butt joint wouldn’t provide enough stability.I decided instead to do two things to strengthen the joints in the plywood pieces:I created a hidden spline joint, and I added a 2″ back strip to each shelf to support the entire structure.
That left all the plywood edges exposed, which I’d planned to cover with iron-on edge veneer.In my cabinet-making days (decades ago!) I’d regularly made plywood shelves with edge veneer without problem.But in this project, this is where the headaches got the worst!
I ironed the edge veneer on each board before assembling the piece.The edge tape is 7/8″ wide, so there’s a good amount to remove till it’s the proper width for the plywood.I sanded each piece down, only to discover that I’d inadvertently sanded through the plywood veneer in places.
Additionally, once I put the pieces together, additional sanding went through parts of the edge veneer AND the plywood veneer!I cannot even count how many re-dos I did of the edge veneer — which was far more challenging now that the piece was assembled and everything had to fit exactly.
I finished the piece in oil based varathane to warm up the color a bit. In the end it came out okay.Most of the flaws were in the back, which won’t show being against the sofa. (My son was pleased, most importantly)
I’ve thought about how I’d do it differently next time.I don’t know how easily I could find a thicker veneered plywood, but I’d swear the veneer was thicker in the old days…!
I’d definitely invest in an edge veneer trimmer to lessen the sanding I was doing.
And I’ll likely lean more towards using solid wood vs plywood in future projects!
30 minutes if it’s done with a woodworking glue like Titebond. Yes it’s often thought you have to leave it clamped up over night but in reality 30 minutes is enough. Though it is advised to wait 24 hours before stressing the joint.
After gluing up wood for guitars more than 30 years I have never had a glue joint fail. With a well prepped joint surface the glue line will always be stronger than the surrounding wood.
While it may take hours for big blobs of squeezed out glue to dry, the super thin layer in the glue joint dries much faster. If you can feel a skin on top of the big globs or see that a thin smear of glue has dried the glue in the joint is probably dried.
What is the clamping and drying time of Titebond Wood Glues?
“For most of our wood glues, we recommend clamping an unstressed joint for thirty minutes to an hour. Stressed joints need to be clamped for 24 hours. We recommend not stressing the new joint for at least 24 hours. For Titebond Polyurethane Glue, we recommend clamping for at least forty-five minutes. The glue is completely cured within 6 hours.”
It is common to leave glue ups over night. This isn’t necessary and it can sometimes make the space cluttered for others and take the clamps out of use from the community.
What I try to do is once I get my last clamp on I check the time, and then do all my clean up and packing and loading of my car. Or you take this opportunity to do your monthly “little thing”. It’s easy to fill a 1/2 hour and then I can remove the clamps and put them back for someone else to use before I leave. It also makes anything I have to leave at Ace smaller and easier to store out of the way.
That said if you are going to do any milling or sanding over a glue joint using Titebond or other water based glues it’s good to leave a few days or even weeks to let all the water to fully evaporate from the glue joint. The joint is swollen from the water and if you level it before absolutely dry it can sink a bit when it fully dries leaving a low groove along the glue joint.