Monday, May 26, 2014

30 Projects in One Post 24

     I've decided to stop making projects for now, as my talk is this upcoming Thursday.  I've kicked it into high gear, finished my presentation that will go along with my talk, and am still tweaking things in regard to it.  As I began to think about what my talk should be about, I couldn't think of much.  I mean, all I really did was make things, it was pretty much as simple as that.  When I went into it, I had no overarching theme in mind or anything remotely close to that.  I just wanted to build things, so I did.  After thinking for a while however, I figured that I could talk about the process of building things or creating a product in general and the troubles and skills you will need along the way.  Also, I wanted to include the fact that if you are doing something that you like to do under your own will and desire, you will most likely get a better end product than doing something just because you have to do it.
     To go further into what I will talk about, I am going to talk about there always has to be a starting point with everything.  For me, I needed the help of the community over at to guide me along and give me ideas on what to build.  This was extremely structured and I followed all the instructions step-by-step, never straying from the guidelines.  However, this became extremely boring, as I was never able to really create something all on my own without the help of another person's Instructable.  Here and there I began using the Instructables as more of a guide or an idea, but used my own process to create the final product.  Sooner or later, I ended up coming up with ideas completely on my own and making a nice finished product.  This is where the big cliche of creativity comes into play.  It is almost the only thing anyone ever talks about nowadays, but there's a reason for it.  If you do the same thing over and over again with no freedom to do what you want to do, things will become extremely boring.  You most likely will begin to put in less and less effort, and the quality of the products will degrade significantly.  Another factor that I will be including with this creativity is that throughout the process of creating all of the different things that I made, my scrap wood pile grew and grew.  Normally, someone would just look at it as a pile of trash that couldn't be used, but if you look at it differently, you can use that wood to create something out of practically nothing.  Almost all of my later projects were actually made from my scrap pile and I didn't have to spend a dime.
     Even though this was not the entirety of what I will be talking about in my talk, it is the gist of what I want to get across to people.  The key to creating a good product is variation, creativity, and pure desire to make something.  If it's something that you like doing, you will most likely end up with something amazing.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

30 Projects in One Post 23

     Be forewarned, this week was extremely disappointing, so don't expect much out of this post.  I had a plan to get quite a lot done in terms of making things this week, but that turned out to be something that I couldn't manage.  First of all, last weekend I ran in part of a marathon to help one of my classmates, Lauren Riley (, complete her 20 Time project.  So, I didn't have much time then to accomplish anything.  Then, I had two track meets during the school week this week, so I had very little time to make anything then either.  After the busy school week, I had another track meet this Saturday.  On top of that, I have an AP test coming up, so I had to prepare for that, along with my other homework.  Finally, it's Mother's Day today, so I have family coming over, taking away from the time that I could make something.  I'm done giving excuses, so let's move onto what I did get done this time.
     I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but at the end of this year, to wrap up this whole 20 Time project, each of us will have to give a speech on what we learned from our project.  Along with this speech, we should have a presentation with pictures, quotes, and things of that sort to help get our point across.  I've been thinking about what I should talk about and have a pretty good idea.  The great thing about my project is that I've taken pictures of everything that I've made and the process behind it all, so I have a lot of support.  Also, many principles that are used in building things can be applied to life and doing almost anything.  This will really help me out in my speech.  So, what I did this week was pick and choose different pictures from my blogs and projects to use for my presentation.  Now that I have it pretty much done, I have a much better feeling about my speech that I have to give.  Two weeks from now, I hope to have my whole presentation and speech all planned out and have some more projects complete.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

30 Projects in One Post 22

     It's been three weeks since my last post due to having our school's spring break.  I really needed this break, as I'd been bogged down with test after test and assignment after assignment, so I did not really accomplish much in terms of 20 Time.  I managed to complete one project, and get a good start on another.  The first project was one that just sprung up out of nowhere one night while I was on my computer.  With my computer, I like to talk to my friends, and I don't have a built in microphone, since I built my computer.  Instead, I have a mic that you plug in via USB.  It has a clip on it that you can put on a screen or something, but I've never been too keen on doing so, and kind of wanted to get a small stand for it.  I really had no major use for one, it was mostly just me wanting something for no reason, so I never actually bought one.  Instead, I decided to make one.  I looked online for any good instructions on how to do so, but came up empty-handed.  So, I got out my scrap wood, a ruler, and a pencil to map out how I would go about doing so.  I wanted the stand to be on my desk and raise up to about head level, and then I would clip the microphone onto the stand.  So, I figured about 8 inches would be the right height, marked out a 4x4 inch base to hold the stand up, and cut everything out.  For the design, I borrowed the general layout that I used for the headphone stand that I previously made.  Once everything was cut out and glued together, I had pretty much a finished product.  However, the clip for the microphone did not stay on the stand as firmly as I would have liked, but then I remembered that the clip had a small threaded hole through it.  I then found a suitable sized bolt and matching nut, grabbed my drill, and made a matching hole through the top of the stand.  Finally, everything was done.  Here is the finished product:

     I am pretty happy with the project.  It works well for what I need it for, and didn't cost me a dime.  This is what is great about being able to work with wood.  If you have the materials and an idea, you can make almost anything to suit your needs.
     Easter was over break, and I had some relatives over.  While everyone was talking, somehow my 20 Time project came up, and one of my relatives told me about how another one of my relatives used to make things just like me.  He said that they made things like birdhouses, wood chests, and things of that sort.  That got me thinking that I could make a bird house myself.  I'd never thought of it, but it didn't seem too hard, and it fits that it is the spring, so all the birds will be reemerging.  I didn't really bother looking up how to make one, as it seemed simple enough.  Make a box and put a roof on it.  So, I once again took out my ruler, scrap wood, and a pencil to mark everything out.  Once that was done, I cut all the pieces, but something interrupted me, so I never got to put everything together.  Here is my progress, or lack thereof:

     I pretty much made a pile of wood into a pile of smaller pieces of wood, but it's a start.  Next time, I should have this finished, and hopefully something else as well.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

30 Projects in One Post 21

     This week, I made two new things.  I didn't have time last weekend to make anything due to homework, but I made up for it this week by doubling up.  The first item I made was a guitar pick for my friend Gabe.  This project was inspired by this one on Instructables:, but I used a slightly different process.  First, I cut off a small rectangle of wood from some 1/4" pine in my scrap pile.  Once this was done, I took out my belt sander and fired it up.  I then roughly sanded the rectangle into the shape of the guitar pick.  After it had taken on a pretty good shape, I had to sand the wood down a lot to thin it out.  Otherwise, you'd end up plucking two strings at once because it'd be way too thick.  Once it was down to an acceptable width, I took out my various grits of sandpaper to hand-sand the pick down to a smooth finish.  After all of this was finished, I took out the trusty Danish Oil and put a couple of coats on it.  Here is the finished product:

     The whole thing is really smooth and I think it turned out well.  After I made this, I decided to try to replicate the wooden rings found in this Instructable:  However, I did not have a lathe, so instead, I used a hand drill with a 1/2" bit to make a hole in the middle of a piece of scrap wood I had.  Then I took my Dremel to widen the hole to fit my finger.  Once this was the right size, I then took my belt sander and Dremel and sanded the outside of the ring into a thin circle surrounding the hole.  After this, I once again got out my sandpaper and sanded the ring smooth.  Lastly, I put a couple of coats of some walnut stain and a final coat of Danish Oil to seal everything off.  Here are some pictures of the final product:

     This turned out okay, but not as refined as I would have liked.  However, I think it's pretty cool overall.  So, now I have a ring that I'll never wear, but at least it looks halfway decent sitting in a drawer somewhere in my house.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

30 Projects in One Post 20

     After a very stressful weekend two weeks ago, last weekend I decided to take a break from 20 Time.  However, this week I had a bit more time to use to build something.  I was browsing Instructables for something to build and saw a few different clocks.  I was looking at the instructions and basically people just made the face of the clock in any shape they wanted, bought a clock kit from a crafts store, and then put the two together.  I then got to thinking about what relates to my life that is in the shape of a circle.  Then it hit me.  I could make it look like an archery target!  I took a quick trip to Lowe's and Joann Fabrics (very reluctantly) to pick up the supplies.  I bought a piece of 1/4 inch birch plywood and a small clock kit and everything totaled to about $20.  Not bad for a fully functional customized clock.
     I started by marking a ten inch circle on the plywood and cut it out.  I then drew smaller circles on the wood circle as the rings for different points on the target.  The targets have blue on the outer rings, red in the middle, and yellow in the center.  I then used black paint to define the edges of the rings.  After everything was dry, I drilled a 3/8 inch hole in the middle for the clock.  Once the clock was in place, I took a protractor and at 30° intervals, marked the locations for the numbers on the clock.  I then painted Roman numerals with black paint and the clock was finished.  I hung it up in my basement right above my archery rack.  Here is a picture of it hanging up:

     It's not too refined, but I think it looks good enough for me.  I will be pretty much the only one seeing it, so it doesn't matter too much.  I did like this project though, because it didn't take too much cutting or sanding and it was mostly just painting everything on.  It was quite the break from the loud power tools, scrapes, and cuts I usually get from woodworking.  Also, it was more personalized than most of my other projects.  Hopefully next blog, I will have two projects from the two weeks I'll have.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

30 Projects in One Post 19

     This week, I had the pleasure of making another box for Mr. Provenzano's Google Glass.  As you probably know, I have made a box for it in the past, however, it was too small.  Then, I took it back to my house to try to widen the walls a bit, but that did not work either.  So, I was left having to make a whole new box.  This time however, I added about an inch onto both dimensions to make sure that it would fit.  I went through the exact same process that I used for making the other box, which was just cutting the wood, gluing the base and walls together, attaching the lid with the hinges, sanding the whole thing down, and then putting the dark walnut stain on the whole thing.  It's a relatively easy process, but it was definitely time consuming.

Here is the finished product:

     Due to the feedback that Mr. Provenzano received from last week's questions, he is changing the blog post due dates from every week to every other week.  However, to reach my goal for 20 Time, I will still have to make something every week.  I will probably just put two projects in each post from here on out.  Sorry this post was shorter than normal, but I had very little time today to do it.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

30 Projects in One Post 18

     This week, I was supposed to make another box that would hopefully fit Mr. Provenzano's Google Glass, but that did not happen.  I went to Lowe's and bought the wood, but I also bought a piece of red oak to make another longbow.  This was just going to be a side project that I would work on over a few weeks when I had time.  But, when I got home I decided to start with the longbow and I would then make the box later.  However, while starting up the longbow, I had to go shovel my neighbor's driveway, which took quite a while.  Once I was done, I really wanted to work on my longbow some more.  I continued working on it and did so for more time than I realized.  Before I realized, I was pretty much done with my longbow and I decided to finish it up.  And I did.  I've made two longbows before this one, but those took probably a week with no school to finish.  This one took about three hours to make.  I don't know how I did it, but the tillering process (where you make sure the bow bends evenly) took almost no time at all to finish.  Here is the finished project:

     The longbow turned out pretty well for how quick I finished it.  I am pretty proud because I didn't use any power tools.  I only used two rasps, a spoke shave, a draw knife, a file, and sandpaper to make it.  These tools are probably completely unfamiliar to most of you, but there's no need to explain them.  All you need to know is that they don't use electricity.  Hard to imagine, right?  Also, the bow's draw weight (how hard it is to pull the string back) was right about where I wanted it to be, at 50-70 lbs.
     Besides from making something this week, Mr. Provenzano also assigned us to write about our experience with 20 Time so far.  We are supposed to write about what we have liked/disliked so far and what we would have done differently if we could have.  To me, my favorite part about 20 Time so far has been simply being able to make all the things I have wanted to make for so long.  Before, I had no excuse or pressure to make things.  I would look at things and want to make them, but would never go through with it.  However, the pressure and deadlines to make the things have also been something that has made things a little worse.  Sometimes I feel forced to make something, even if I'm really busy or don't want to make it.  This only happens every so often, so it isn't something extreme.  I really can't think of anything that I would do differently for my project, other than lowering the amount of projects that I have set for myself.  If I made it 20 or 25 projects, I would have had more time to make things and things would be more leisurely.  However, this may just be coming from my laziness.  Overall, I have been pretty happy with my project choice and how everything has been going.