Remember that old Sly and the Family Stone song - It's a Family Affair?
This month's meeting featured a very laid back group of woodworkers -
all quite curious about Billy Worthen's Gatling Rubber Band Machine Gun.
But before he jumped into his presentation - his wife Heather shared a very nice wood carving made on a piece of cottonwood bark. This carving/stamp was designed to be used in wood prints, and although she mentioned having some problems with the ink, I think this print is awesome. (She also shared another talent later in the meeting, but more on that later!)
Billy captured the crowd's attention with his creation - inspired by the plans in this magazine. Here's a link to the plans on the Instructable's website.
He brought copies of the plan, and shared some REALLY valuable things he's learned while making these toys.
His first suggestion was to make sure that you download the plans and check the ruler that's printed on each page, to ensure that you're cutting the parts to the correct size. (You can see the ruler in the lower left corner in the picture below.)
Next - he told the group two very interesting tips - instead of using spray adhesive to mount the pattern on the wood, a better solution is to cover the wood in blue tape first, and THEN attach the pattern on top of the blue tape.
This accomplishes two things - first, the blue tape can be removed from the wood very easily, so there is no adhesive residue like you would have if you glued the paper directly to the wood. (Good to know!)
Even more importantly - the blue tape actually does two things to help you cut the pieces - first it helps avoid chipout, and more importantly, the tape actually helps lubricate the scrollsaw blade, making it cut much more easily. (Great tip, Billy!)
Some of the other suggestions he mentioned included buying your rubber bands first, so that the length of the barrels could be adjusted to fit the bands.
Each barrel has to have a notch in the end of it, and he suggested making a jig to drill a hole in the dowel, and then simply cutting the dowel in two, creating a notch on one end of each dowel. That's another sweet time-saving tip!
This meeting really brought out the kids in all of us, as we passed the gun around, taking turns shooting our fellow members.
Billy and Heather also create a nice line of wooden wares for sale in their Etsy store - take a look here: Hobbyholica
They also brought a few of these very simple (but clever!) marshmallow guns that they made for their son's birthday party. Each attendee received a plain wooden shooter, and then were given the opportunity to color them with markers and crayons.
What a terrific idea, and I think adults would enjoy this, as well!
One of our members brought a huge selection of hardware to sell, and Beth ended up buying it and then selling off bits and pieces of it to various members. Everyone seemed pretty pleased - there were drawer slides and great knobs, hinges and much more - a good deal for all involved in this transaction!
And finally - that family affair thing I mentioned - Heather brought a loaf of her homemade bread, and sliced it up at the end of the meeting. (Her creativity is not limited to just working with wood!)
This loaf disappeared in no time, and it was a nice way to close out the meeting. Thanks to both Billy and Heather for hosting such a nice night at the shop. You two make a great team, and sharing your talents was much appreciated!