Kitchen Progress and Hermitage

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I started a kitchen renovation a long time ago and it’s still not done. There has been bursts of progress, periods of neglect, mental blocking, grand ideas, lack of funds, influx of funds, deals and bargains. I’m happy to say there’s been lots done, but I still don’t know when the end will be. So, rather than an even longer grand reveal, I thought I’d give a progress update. I should share more of the in-betweens anyway.

If you reference the earlier kitchen post here, you’ll see a lot has happened. I still have some small loose ends like trim work, hole patching and a soffit to make, and bigger ones like ignoring the ceiling forever and making a real walnut shelf to replace that large oak board that I had laying around in the shop. Also, I thought I liked those brackets, but I think I’ll change those out too. Something more interesting, maybe hanging, or brackets above instead of below.

Since it was nice and bright today, I figured I might take some other pics of the place. It’s been a while since I had documented any home projects, and things around here have probably changed some. If you follow on Instagram, you’ve seen bits, but here’s something bigger.

A friend once introduced me to the word ‘hermitage’. No one wants to be called a hermit, but hermitage has a slightly more regal sound to it. I have a tendency to hide out sometimes and I’m perfectly comfortable with that. This place is a good reflection of me and my hermitage tendency. I like to get out of course, but for me… Damned if there’s not a better place to retreat to. Even if it’s never finished.

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Duquette Johnston Review + Giveaway

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I’ve not done a record review post in a loooong while. Having no time to sit and relax with an album is one thing, but also I like to wait for interesting and smaller release gems too. Not that I think I’m some record finding wizard – it’s just that with so many reviews out there, who needs to hear another person talking about some big budget crusher, right?

Anyway… My reviews are biased since I only talk about stuff I like, and I feel like a music review is more about finding leads than anything. I’m giving you a lead about this cool fellow named Duquette Johnston and you follow up by listening to some samples and deciding a coolness level for yourself.

Granted, I’ll be honest and say you should take my word without question… Rabbit Runs A Destiny is a standout record. Things start off with a cool, low driving track, Heart Is Breaking. It’s a great start as the album rolls into some heavier songs, like the title track and then meanders back to some slower, more deliberate songs. I typically like the sad stuff, and even though this isn’t a sad record, there’s some real solidly heavy ones… Cherry Blossoms is a favorite.

So another biased angle to this review is a bona fide give-away. I’m buying the record for you, but Duq was gracious enough to send a t-shirt to the winner too. Just comment with a hello or maybe a new album you like and I’ll choose a random number and count out the commenter. Be sure to include your email addr where necessary and I’ll contact you after the drawing end, on January 28th. Open to everyone, I’ll pick up the international shipping too. Good luck!

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Compass Pouch DIY

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No one wants to get stranded outside in the winter, right? Here’s your chance to sew up a handy compass pouch before you embark on any winter treks. This idea was sparked after talking projects with Michael Williams from A Continuous Lean, who recently visited our shop. He’s published the full post here, and it’s incredibly exciting to be on ACL.

I don’t get too crazy on my adventuring these days, but there’s a few canoe spots near Portland that you could easily get confused and not realize where you put the boat in. Throw in some bad cell reception and maps won’t save you either. What’s a better way to not get lost? Having a compass and mini light on your belt should help. I made this with a small piece of Horween Chromexcel and some simple hardware. The template is provided and should snugly fit your AAA sized flashlight and a standard sized compass. I’m using a Suunto MC-2 and a Fenix E01.

Start by printing out the template file at 100%. It won’t fit on a single page, so you’ll need to select the tiling option and then add an inch of printing overlap. Tape the pieces together securely and trim them out. Find a piece of leather large enough to cut both panels from and trace them out with an awl or pencil. Be sure to mark all your inner holes indicated on the template as well.

Cut the pieces and punch the holes for snaps and the belt loop. I’m using a #3 sized punch tube. Once your parts are cut and inner holes punched, it’s time to mark your stitch holes.

Using a #5 overstitch wheel and a ruler, I marked location of all the stitch holes. Make sure to start at the bottom of each size in the same place, so when folded, your stitch locations will line up.

After marking the stitch holes, I like to punch them out instead of using an awl while stitching. It makes things a little easier and I can stitch faster this way. I’m using a hand-sewing leather punch, but you can also use regular tube style punch or even a thick awl.

Once every sewing hole is punched, you’ll need to assemble all the hardware parts. Add your snaps, then using copper rivets, you can attach the belt loop.

Now you’re ready to sew the pouch together. I’ve made some stitch ponies for the shop that we use, but you can easily purchase a simple one from leather hobby shops as well. The stitch pony will hold your pieces together securely, keep your holes lined up, and make sewing so much easier. The hand sewing method is detailed on my post here if you want to learn.

After stitching through your piece, give it a couple back stitches and tie off your threads inside. Then you’re ready to attach to your belt and get lost!

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W&F slim billfold

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First of all, when did people stop calling bifold wallets, billfolds? Is this something that only Dads called their wallets? Whatever the case, I’d like to introduce the Wood&Faulk official slim billfold.

I had been using the front pocket wallet for a while now, but wanted something that I could put unfolded dollar bills in. Robert of Beam&Anchor, was also bugging me for a billfold. When he’s out treasure hunting, those old guys selling barn finds are only gonna take cash and the pocket wallet just doesn’t have the capacity. Here’s some pics of mine broken-in, a custom number sewn with butterscotch thread.

Regular billfolds can be bulky. This one is slim, with two full pockets for cards and a western style mini-pocket to keep your most used cards handy. It’s made with Horween Chromexcel leathers and hand-stitched with wax linen thread, like all of our wallets. Available now in our store for $140.

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Official W&F Leather Jar Sleeves

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Well, it has been a looong time since I did the jar sleeve DIY, and they are finally coming to the store. Actually, we’ve been producing some for Japan and some retail shops for about 6 months now, but with everything going on in the shop, I’ve neglected to get them up in our own store!

I think they’re really great gifts for the upcoming season, especially coupled with a bag of coffee beans or a jug of cider. The sleeves are made with English bridle leather from a domestic tannery and come heavy wax cord. Simple utility, ready to hold your favorite hot beverages.

These come with a half-pint jar and lid, available in four colors. Tan, chestnut, brown and black; all sure to mix well with each other or to keep as one-color sets. Stamped out and sewn from our Portland workshop.

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which bag for what?

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We’ve been asked plenty of times, “What bag should I get?” I know the right answer isn’t always ‘one of each’, so let’s talk about what you can stuff into them, intended purposes, and a few other details concerning Wood&Faulk bag sizing.

Let’s start with the 12″ Northwesterner. Here’s some ideas: simple overnight trip; camera, lunch and jacket tourist supplies; six pack protection for the front basket in your bike; or just some regular daily duties. Good for guys or gals. Fits ipads, but probably not your computer. The opening is about 11.5″.

Next larger is the Northwesterner 16″ size. This one is much more versatile and will handle a 15″ laptop with ease. Plenty of room for a business trip, as an overnighter, food and supplies for a picnic, or an everyday briefcase-type setup. One thing to note – the bag has soft sides and you’re gonna want a sleeve on your computer for extra protection.

Preparing for a longer trip? The 20″ Northwesterner is what you need. Always fits in the overhead compartment and can be put under a seat in a pinch. Plenty of room for a few changes of clothes and your laptop. Probably too big for a daily bag, but if you’re traveling  often enough, it’s a perfect alternative to bulky luggage. This is my preferred travel companion.

Hopefully the pics illustrate some fitting scenarios. The one thing I’m missing in the 16″ and 20″ pics is a travel bag or ‘dopp kit’. Both scenarios will accommodate one AND it’s something we’re finally working on as well, so stay tuned.

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Forgot my own Birthday

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Well, another year passes and I’m late in realizing it. Yesterday it seems, was the third birthday for Wood&Faulk. Such a crazy feeling thinking back on this project and what it has become. What started as a simple blog about personal projects and ideas, has turned into my full time job, which now also employs three other people. I’m eternally grateful at the reception it has received and am humbled every day I arrive in the shop, knowing I have exciting things to work on.

It’s been interesting setting up a shop and (reluctantly) starting a business. There’s an inconceivable amount of duties for a new business owner, few of which I was accustomed to doing. It can be frustrating at times, but each item I get past something, it becomes great experience. I have to thank JD for pushing me to start a blog when I wasn’t sure, thanks to Anna and Victoria for the early promotion and tweets and such, thanks to Erin for the early WordPress help, and thanks to Pensworth for the continued development help. Thanks to Grace for pulling me into D*S as a contributor, which was a huge motivation. Thanks to Robert and Jocelyn for bringing me into some amazing space, and thanks to my rad W&F team – Anna, Emma and Nate.

I know there’s tons more folks to thank and it would be crazy amounts of text to cover it. Know that I’m super grateful to everyone that’s helped and supported and read and purchased items! Here’s some pics to recap some projects in the last three years, and I’m looking forward to new projects in the coming years.

 

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Badger Lake, Oregon

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It’s been a while since a good canoe trip post, and I’ve been sitting on some pics from a late summer trip to Badger Lake. This was the last trip with my old Mad River canoe, and with so much going on here lately, I’ve had few opportunities to get out in the new one.

Badger Lake is a tiny lake in Mt. Hood National Forest. There’s an easy way to get there, and there’s the iPhone maps way to get there… which is long and arduous. I recommend following the Forest Service directions and map your route accordingly. We had the Land Cruiser packed up with camping gear and the canoe on top and it was a sometimes ridiculously slow route along the old fire roads. Some bowling ball sized rocks and a 4mph downshift to 1st makes for a long trip. Probably added an hour or more to our supposed trip time. It was fun bumping around like that, but just be ready – It seemed to take forever.

After rolling into camp, we found it to be unexpectedly crowded considering the crazy way in… Though the weather was perfect and after finding out there was a much less treacherous way in, it made sense that you’d see a couple mini-vans. Luckily there was a site open and we unpacked for the night. Campsites were close to the lake, and there’s a good area to park and unload too. No ramps of course, and motors are prohibited on this lake.

 

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leather wrap handlebars

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You might know I like bicycles… and probably more tinkering with them than riding them. I’ve had my beige beauty for a while now, and figured it was time for a refresh. It’s been a straight-bar, fixed bike for a while now and I wanted something more relaxing. I opted to loose the skinny tires for some Ruffy Tuffy 28c and put some swept-back bars on it. I went with a Velo Orange Left Bank handlebar if you’re wondering.

After the change, I was thinking about cork and shellac, like I did with my Raleigh, but realized it’d be a shame if I didn’t try my hand at a leather-wrapped bar. So, using the similar technique as on my Landcruiser steering wheel, I went for it.

To start this project, first measure the circumference of your handlebars and then lessen the number a little, depending on how stretchy your leather is. I used Horween Chromexcel and it’s got plenty of stretch to conform perfectly around the bends. Estimate your length and add an inch or two just in case. This will be trimmed off later.

After cutting the appropriate sized leather pieces, I ran them through the sewing machine with a 23 needle to punch my lacing holes evenly. This can be done with an overstitch wheel and an awl if you don’t have a sewing machine available. Once the holes are in place, it’s time to start wrapping. Tie a loop on your thread to keep it secure in the first hole and lace it through the inner end a couple times before beginning your lace sequence. I just looped heavy nylon waxed thread in a single-needle continuous stitch. It goes slow, and you’ll need to pull and tighten the stitch every couple loops. This works best if you can have the bar loose. If you’re using a quill stem, you’re gonna have to lace at least one side on the bike.

As you get to the end, get your scissors and cut the leather so you’ll have a very tapered end. You’ll cut your stitch holes off, but you can use an awl or a punch and make new ones. The leather ends need to be sewn together in a peg-leg fashion, so the material can be cleanly folded into the end of the bars. After feeding the ends into the bars and smoothing out any lumps, I tapped in corks from the hardware store to finish (not pictured).

 

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Army Surplus Curtain DIY Revisit

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You’ll need some tools:
  • Tape measure
  • Large sewing needle
  • Shears
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Leather hole-punch
  • Elmer's glue or hot-glue gun
You’ll need a few materials:
  • Army surplus blanket
  • Pine 1x3 board, cut to the desired length
  • Leather or canvas straps, each 7/8 inch wide, 15 inches long
  • Snaps fastener kit, with setting tool and at least two complete snaps
  • Embroidery thread
  • Screws 1/2" long to mount snaps
  • Longer screws to mount board to wall

This was actually one of the first posts on W&F some time ago, but I never published the full instructions because they appeared in ReadyMade Magazine. Since then, RM has gone out of business and I’ve got folks finding pictures here and there and wanting the DIY. So here goes… Re-releasing the full DIY so you can get your windows ready for winter.

++ First Published ReadyMade Dec 2010 ++

1. Measure your window to be covered, after deciding where you’d like to mount the board… inside or outside the frame. Cut your board to length, or have it cut when buying at your local hardware store. Measure the length of your window to be covered too, and use these measurements to cut your blanket dimensions. If your board is to be mounted above the window, be sure to add enough length for the blanket to reach the window sill. (It doesn’t hurt to add a 1/2″ extra all-around to your curtain as well.)

2. Cut two identical panels of your blanket (double panels really block the light). Stack your blanket pieces and blanket-stitch around the sides and top. I like leaving the bottom open for effect, but you can sew that shut too. Sew a couple small cross stitches in the body of the blanket so it doesn’t bunch when you fold it up.

3. Assemble your straps by punching small holes in each end, one for the snap, one to mount to the board. On your snap side, cut a rounded edge on your strap. If you use canvas straps, make sure to glue the end to prevent fraying. Use your hammer and the setting tool to attach the female snap assembly to the strap, with the open end on the rough side of the leather.

4. Measure and mark where you’d like your straps to be on the blanket, generally 1/4 of the way in from your board width.

5. Lay your blanket over the board, aligning it centered width and a 1/4 inch over the top. Using the screws with the male snap piece, screw it through the blanket and barely into the wood. Lift up and put the strap (rough suede side up) into place and then completely screw assembly into the board.

6. If you’re happy where everything is lining up, you can glue the top edge of the blanket to the board to prevent sagging. Elmer’s or hot-glue works fine.

7. Then level the board over your window and screw it to the wall or window frame.

8. Fold, roll, or accordion your blanket and pull the straps to snap in place.

Tips / variations:
• Use contrasting embroidery thread to stand out or compliment the blanket color.
• Find a blanket with tags, markings, or embroidered initials for an interesting element.
• Add snaps to the middle of the blanket so you can snap it open half-way.

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