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George Ledo
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Thanks, Michael. I've read about doing a shallow cut first, but have never tried it. I'll keep that in mind for the next box.

Something that came through loud and clear is that taking the time to set it up correctly is totally worth it. There's no UNDO button on a table saw. Smile
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
gimpy2
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I have been to Michaels shop. I would have never have thought you could turn out such fine work out of such a small place. This was the inspiration for my new shop. My Old place had two shops one 30 by 40 for woodworking and one 20 by 20 for finish work. I had worked in the home building business and had about every tool you could think of. When the place we are at now came up for sale I refused it as a possible option because it only had a one car garage. My wife convinced me to take a look at it after all. The house was perfect for us and my wife told me if Michael Baker can work in his small shop you can too. I started looking closer at it and sat down in the shop and made a list of all the big tools that had not been used in a year or more. By the time I got to the end of the list I figured out that about 75% of my shops square footage was just waste. Some tools like a raidial arm saw, shaper, ect. just are not needed for small stuff. Then I set my sights on some other tools like a stationary belt sander that could be down sized to bench top models. Next I put everything on wheels so it could be rolled out of the way. By doing this my shops now only take up 400 square feet instead of 1600. I don't miss my old shop a bit.

As far as cutting the lid off that little box. I had not thought of doing a very shallow first cut. Even less invasive would be to use a very thin kerf blade like is used in a battery powered saw. I think they are only 6 and 1/4" but the arbor is the same size as on a table saw. I did this once to make small stuff. Seem like the cut was only about a 1/16th wide.
gimpy2
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Michael,

Also curious if you buy your thin hardwood stock or re saw thicker material.
Michael Baker
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I wish I had a decent band saw for doing that. Fortunately, my lumber supplier has a huge stock of lumber and they very often have S2S Walnut in thicknesses about 1/2" with random lengths and widths. I bought several boards and planed some of it down to 3/8" for the Coin in Wool boxes. I also occasionally pick up end cuts and turning blanks that are at least 2" thick and at least long enough to feed through the planer. I can rip pieces from these at the table saw that are a bit over 1/4" thick and bring them down on the planer for things like the Lippincott boxes. Those end cuts will often be a good source for nice burl, which has certain uses, too.

Very rarely and only for very special projects will I buy dimensional hardwood. I bought some 1/4" and 1/8" Mahogany from Rockler for those Albenice Card Rise Houlettes that I made for Joe Stevens. It is cheaper than turning nice thick boards into useless sawdust, but you still pay a king's ransom for it. When I had a Woodcraft near me, I regularly gave them good money for all kinds of decent exotics and domestics in dimensional sizes. It's better when you can see the stuff before buying it.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
gimpy2
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I always feel bad taking a 4 1/4 board and planing half of it away. I don't build anything out of hardwood. I build everything out of plywood then put thin strips of hardwood on the edges then veneer on top of that. Got used to doing this because the old shop had no heat and it made it hard to build things and keep things from warping and shrinking or expanding. Now that I have a heated shop I will be doing some stuff out of hardwood. I think my bandsaw will handle the re saw jobs, just need to make a better fence for it.
George Ledo
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Every time I see an article on re sawing in a woodworking mag, I want to go out and buy a suitable band saw. Mine right now is a benchtop one, and not powerful enough to re saw anything correctly. The problem, like with many of us, is space.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
ThunderSqueak
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Quote:
On Mar 13, 2016, Michael Baker wrote:
Thanks, Jessie and George for your kind words!

Jessie, although my arsenal of tools has grown over the years, I still work with inexpensive ones. Most of the larger ones, except maybe the thickness planer, I've never paid more than a hundred bucks for. It's amazing how much can be done with so little. There are projects I'd love to tackle, but if they require a tool I either don't have, don't have room for, or can't afford, I just work on stuff that can be done with the stuff I have.

Regarding space, I do the majority of my work in my garage, which isn't big enough to park a single compact car... seriously. With my tools in there, there is barely enough room for me to walk around. Gimpy has seen my shop and can attest to what I am saying.




Oh, trust me, I know tools are something you collect over the years. I have about 20 years of electronics gear and can pretty much do everything but fabricate my own silicon wafers at home. That being said, it might change soon Smile I have a rather small office that I work in. I try to keep the electronics bench just for electronics. On my desk there is a small 3D printer. I tend to try to buy quality when it comes to purchasing tools, instead of "cheap". My father owned a construction company so it is a habit I picked up from him. Still, I do miss having access to my mother's woodworking shop. If you have ever seen an old episode of "the new yankee workshop" on pbs then you have seen pretty much the type of shop I grew up with.

example episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c2gF7zbRIE

Your work is top knotch Smile Sadly I will most likely keep working in plastics as that is the equipment I have ^^
Michael Baker
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Quote:
On Mar 14, 2016, ThunderSqueak wrote:
Quote:
On Mar 13, 2016, Michael Baker wrote:
Thanks, Jessie and George for your kind words!

Jessie, although my arsenal of tools has grown over the years, I still work with inexpensive ones. Most of the larger ones, except maybe the thickness planer, I've never paid more than a hundred bucks for. It's amazing how much can be done with so little. There are projects I'd love to tackle, but if they require a tool I either don't have, don't have room for, or can't afford, I just work on stuff that can be done with the stuff I have.

Regarding space, I do the majority of my work in my garage, which isn't big enough to park a single compact car... seriously. With my tools in there, there is barely enough room for me to walk around. Gimpy has seen my shop and can attest to what I am saying.




Oh, trust me, I know tools are something you collect over the years. I have about 20 years of electronics gear and can pretty much do everything but fabricate my own silicon wafers at home. That being said, it might change soon Smile I have a rather small office that I work in. I try to keep the electronics bench just for electronics. On my desk there is a small 3D printer. I tend to try to buy quality when it comes to purchasing tools, instead of "cheap". My father owned a construction company so it is a habit I picked up from him. Still, I do miss having access to my mother's woodworking shop. If you have ever seen an old episode of "the new yankee workshop" on pbs then you have seen pretty much the type of shop I grew up with.

example episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c2gF7zbRIE

Your work is top knotch Smile Sadly I will most likely keep working in plastics as that is the equipment I have ^^


Yes, I watch "New Yankee Workshop" and most other woodworking shows on PBS and Create TV. Always something fun to learn, even if I never use it. Your work in plastic is something I have zero skills in, so it seems the grass is always greener, eh?

There is a retired magician in England, named Granville Taylor. He used to perform professionally as Faust... toured internationally with a big illusion show. Anyway, he is also quite the builder, and has a small workshop in his attic. I am amazed at what he is able to produce in such a tiny space.

Here is one of a few websites he has...

http://www.freewebs.com/taylormademagic/theatticworkshop.htm
~michael baker
The Magic Company
ThunderSqueak
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Grandville's workshop is awesome Smile

In platic and aluminum I just made a wand stand to display my new wand Smile Silly, I know. It reminds me of my little sword stand. I used to love woodworking, I also had access to a stick welder, a wirefeed and a plasma cutter growing up. Those were amazing tools and I sometimes consider flying the 2500 miles just to use them again XD

So, where do you get your inspiration from?
Michael Baker
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Quote:
On Mar 15, 2016, ThunderSqueak wrote:
Grandville's workshop is awesome Smile

In platic and aluminum I just made a wand stand to display my new wand Smile Silly, I know. It reminds me of my little sword stand. I used to love woodworking, I also had access to a stick welder, a wirefeed and a plasma cutter growing up. Those were amazing tools and I sometimes consider flying the 2500 miles just to use them again XD

So, where do you get your inspiration from?



My inspiration?? That depends on what aspect of my work we are talking about. My love for art came from my mom, who passed away on Valentine's Day last month.

Building magic? I was making and crafting things from a very early age, not just magic, although that was certainly part of it. My magic mentor taught me a few building tips and tricks along the way. He died a year ago.

The oriental influence?... most definitely from the work of Okito (Theodore Bamberg). I try to channel his thinking and how he used color and form in his design, and then apply that to my own work. Okito died about the same time I first became interested in magic. It was decades before I even knew who he was. If you do a Google image search for Okito magic, you'll see many examples from him and a couple other makers, including some of my work that fits the genre.

Quid pro quo, Jessie. How does a kid grow up to speak in front of NASA and SpaceX, yet still want to make magic tricks? Smile
~michael baker
The Magic Company
ThunderSqueak
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Quote:
On Mar 15, 2016, Michael Baker wrote:
yet still want to make magic tricks? Smile



I grew up on a farm 60 miles from the nearest city, one day after an hour and a half long bus ride home from school I felt an ache in my abdomen. I was 12 at the time. My mom kept me home the following day, and it didn't go away... a week went by and finally the old family doctor who back in those days did make housecalls, showed up. He touched my abdomen and instructed my family to drive me to a hospital, the nearest being 200 miles away. When I arrived there, it was found my appendix had ruptured and for the last few days had been infecting every organ in my abdomen. I nearly died back then... though I don't remember being near death, I was too stubborn.

I spent the next year in the hospital, vacuum pumps were hooked up getting rid of the icky stuff, I had 6 surgeries that year to remove dead tissue and repair what they could. Since I had tubes hooked up, this limited my mobility. My aunt brought me an electronics set, as this is what she did in the USAF. My family brought me a magic set, as I always loved watching magicians like David Copperfield.

Those two things had a profound effect on the direction I would take in life. Being a bored kid consigned to a hospital bed for a year I made a lot of stuff out of what was around me. I built many circuits and went through every trick in both of those kits. I devoured books and got quite good at chess and checkers.

Fast forward 25 years... I am an Electrical Engineer who likes to practice magic and am not happy unless I create something new every single day. You never know when stuff will happen, so its best to do it when you can and to share everything so that in some small way the world might be better for it.

The end.
Michael Baker
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Quote:
On Mar 15, 2016, ThunderSqueak wrote:


The end.


Hardly. Smile
~michael baker
The Magic Company
ThunderSqueak
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True, the thing about the end of something is that it usually isn't.

But then, if you told everything at once, you might not have a story next time to tell Smile
Michael Baker
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I meant that in the same vein as when someone asks me if I've been doing magic my whole life. I say, "Not yet."
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Michael Baker
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The latest...

Nest of Boxes utilizing a method that I devised several years ago. I have finished 2 sets and plan to do at least one or two more. There will also be a version with vintage Halloween decor.

Image


Image


Image
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Wizard of Oz
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Some very inspirational posts here of late.

Michael, your work is stellar as per usual. I LOVE my new Coin Box Deluxe. I had no idea it had an added certain something on the bottom. Very cool. The quality is impeccable.

Gimpy and George, I love hearing other quality builders besides Michael discuss the trade. I built props as a teen in my father's basement workshop using magic books from the library as my blueprints, but haven't since. Unfortunately, due to time constraints. But I love reading about the craft, and hoping that retirement...when and if it comes...will offer me the opportunity to build again. I just remember getting totally lost in the sawdust and smells of hot wood, and completely forgetting that something like time existed.

ThunderSqueak, again, so glad you have found your way to the Café. We love smart, creative, and nice people. And smart, creative, nice people from Alaska are even more interesting. Sorry to hear about the issues you suffered through as a youth, but it sounds like you are proof of Friedrich Nietzsche's quote, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”

Thank you all for the great reads.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
gimpy2
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Wizard of Oz,

My first shop was in the basement furnace room. Got a table saw for my 12th birthday and it took up most of the shop. Heck these days the government would probably take your kid away for that. I built everything in my show in that shop. Sadly I only have 2 pieces left from that time. Still have my club style folding table but the lid on its case has swollen shut from years in storage and cant bring myself to cut it open. Still have a small production box I made, aqua blue with gold glitter sprinkles. That was how I finished everything back then. Have thought about starting a thread where builders could show their early creations. Might be of some inspiration to new builders.
Michael Baker
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It would be fun to see, but that would assume much of that stuff would still exist.

Although I have been making some magic stuff since I was a kid (my first DIY prop was a production box of sorts, made from one of my dad's cigar boxes), the majority of my builds started in the late 1970s, after I was out of high school. For the longest time, the only hand-held power tool I owned was a drill. I think about all else I had was a cross-cut saw, a hammer, and a screwdriver. Ha!

My first illusion build was a flash appearance that I made in my bedroom in an apartment I shared with my brother and another guy. My bed and a chair served as sawhorses.

When I was doing the TV show every week, I would take my old builds and salvage parts to make other stuff so I had new magic to show. Eventually, that stuff used up any usefulness, and would end up in the trash. But, I was so broke back then that I'd even remove and save screws before throwing anything away. I have no doubt that some of that is still with me, but it would take a forensics team to find it. Ha!
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Michael Baker
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OK, I did find this. It's an old Polaroid of a card castle that I made when I was 15. When I first moved to Birmingham, the first time I went to the magic shop there, I saw a card castle in the case. It was way more than I could afford (maybe $10. Ha!). I made an offhand comment that I thought I could make one. The magician there looked at me like I was a smart-ass kid. I wasn't trying to be, I just thought I could do it.

So, I studied it and memorized the number of cards in each layer, like memorizing a phone number. Then I went home and made one... the one you see in the photo. It is made to collapse and when pulled open, remains upright on it's own. It was also strong enough to hold the weight of my birds, as you can see. Smile

The next Saturday, I took it to the magic shop and showed the guy and he and I became fast friends from that day on. He became my mentor and our friendship lasted for the next 45 years. His name was Robert Chadwick. He died a year ago. Gimpy, you met him at Bob Sander's ranch.

Image
~michael baker
The Magic Company
gimpy2
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Michael,

Thanks for posting that pic and the story. Tried to find a pic of Mr Chadwick to see if that jogged my memory but had no luck. You have Mentioned your Mentor several times but never heard who it was and have been curious. Mine was Ben Stone of Delben magic, I think we have talked about that before. I had doves way back then till a cat got to them. Smile
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