Friday, January 16, 2015

Nick The Stitch - Back and Better Than Ever

Hey there, Stitchers!  Nick the Stitch here and glad you are too.  Apparently during my time away you guys have been sticking around, and I cannot express how grateful I am for your support.  Without going into the gory details, the past 2 years have been spent traveling the world and experiencing new things, all of which has given me a better perspective on the world at large and at home.

As a result, I've been itching to get some new stuff made for Nick The Stitch's Etsy Store and Michael's has become my new best friend again.  The more things change in life, the more they stay the same, except for the quality and quantity of ideas.  Those will always change no matter what you endure, no matter what you celebrate, no matter what you tinker with.

And you come up with stuff like this:

My first Etsy product in almost two years, "Sunny Day Framed Pic" (#001/100, $24.99 USD), was something that just... well, came out of me.  I wanted to do something cheerful to help me get through a rough couple of weeks (the past two years have been... interesting and eye-opening, to say the least), and this little charmer popped into my head.

But that wasn't all.  I decided I was going to do the cross-stitch project a little differently this time.  If you've been visiting this blog for a while, you've likely seen some of the 3-D stitch sculptures I've done in the past, like the turtles, the flag cubes, and ladybug lapel pins.

This time was a little different, since I was thinking of selling this framed.  I wanted it to pop out.  I wanted it to stand out.  I wanted it to make people do a double-take and for it to be unusual.  So I created a 3-D bas relief effect with the cross-stitching by layering the stitches a certain way.  It's subtle but if you took the project out of the frame and ran your fingers, say, from the blue sky to over the clouds, you would definitely feel the rise of the layers.

It's not much of a rise as the frames really only allow two layers (keep in mind, the yarn goes through the back too, so it adds up real quick), but it's an interesting effect.  The above (3/4-front shot) photo shows a bit of that effect in detail, but here's what it looks like from the front:

I think it came out pretty good, and I'm using the technique to develop another numbered series involving a mountainside lake scene as we speak.  That one will likely be up in a few days, but I'll keep you posted.  In the meantime, feel free to check out the new, updated Nick The Stitch Etsy store.

And if you're interested in purchasing "Sunny Day Framed Pic (#001/100)", yes, we do ship internationally worldwide via USPS Priority International Flat Rate -- which gets mad props to the genius who came up with the idea.  If you have any questions or requests, feel free to hit me up at and let me know.

I'll leave you with a little motivational thoughts as you prepare for the weekend ahead, and thanks for sticking around.

Stay awesome, stay safe, and just be you.  It takes too much work to be anyone else.

-- Nick The Stitch

Saturday, December 22, 2012

New Product With Photos! Home Decor at its Finest!

Hey Stitchers!  Nick the Stitch here and glad you are too!  So, how'd that apocalypse thing go for you?  Guess I shouldn't've told my neighbors where they can stick their... well, anyway.  It's been a great day for me, because I finally got to making something I've been dying to build since I was running Custom Glen Woods last year.

And there's PHOTOS!  Howsabout that? :D

I'm sure you'll agree with me, that corners in almost any room of a home, apartment, or office are probably the most under-used part of the place, right?  I mean, it's hard to find good decor that fits easily, stores small knickknacks, framed photos, momentos, etc. really easy, and best of all keeps the flow of the room's layout consistent in an out-of-the-way manner.  You can't really find it at IKEA, and Hell-Mart doesn't have anything that is sturdy enough for puppies, roommates, or weekends at Bernie's.  What is one to do?

Well, I have the answer... Corner Curio Bookcases.

(approx. size: 42"H x 10"D/side x 14-5/8"W/front)

The CCB is conveniently sized for maximum storage with minimum space impact, and offers three 12" tall spaces and a sturdy top panel.  This particular version is the economy model, but we do offer other versions (like birch, pine, and yes we can do cedar for the executive-class-type shoppers).

In addition to the convenience, the CCB also offers...

...shelving slots in both side panels, one at the end and the other in the middle of each panel, to ensure stability and weight distribution without the fear of saggy shelves.  I've had stuff from Office Depot and Hell-Mart that I paid a king's ransom for, and those things couldn't handle a bunch of DVD cases.  THIS, however, is literally embedded into the sides far enough that it simply won't bend.

Don't you just hate when things fly off to parts unknown, and you have to go under furniture and bookcases and coffee tables to find it with a flashlight and a Sherpa guide?  We hear you...

...and have you covered, with a dovetailed kickplate!  (approx. size 4"H x 13-5/8"W)  It slides into the top and is practically flush with the side ends on the front.  Plus it literally goes to the floor, so very little will ever get into that space.  Plus you can always take the kickplate off when you need to move the CCB!

Which brings me to the best part...

...the mark of a true woodcrafter or carpenter is that he or she builds stuff that doesn't need glue or screws in order to stay in one piece.  And with the CCB, we've done it!  Using a simple low-tech wood engineering trick, the parts fit together perfectly and tightly snug, and can be taken apart with a little elbow grease.  No glue, unless you feel you need it.  No screws, either.  Just simple basic carpentry tricks that allow you to pick the CCB up by the top panel, and not have the CCB fall apart!  It literally is built to contain itself against itself!

Which does bring us to one particular thing of noting... because the wood pieces are so tight, if you want to paint or stain the CCB, we highly recommend you assemble it completely before doing so.  Paint and stain will cause the pieces to expand to the point you cannot assemble it afterwards, and also you will not be able to disassemble it afterwards either.  But considering the light weight and the openness, if you needed to move it, it conveniently cubbyholes stuff in a moving truck as well!

So if you've got a lot of chotchkies or cherished items that need a comfy place in a sunny corner, or any corner, we'll be happy to ship the Corner Curio Bookcase to you!  Find out more by either hitting the Second Chances Art webstore, eBay, or contact us by email at for details.  We'd love to help you have a more awesome new year, so let us know how you want to roll things.

Stay awesome and happy holidays from Ocala, Florida!

--Nick The Stitch

Friday, December 21, 2012

What Difference Does It Make Which Tool Woodcrafters Prefer??


There's a LOT of tools out there, especially for woodcrafting and carving.  I know this for a fact because there's a Lowe's just south of me that is my second home... and a True Value with a lumber depot just north of me that is getting pretty close to it.  Also, I'm on a couple trade product magazine catalog mailing lists, so I have a pretty good idea how amazing technology has made tools these days.

I mean, you can get a Dremel drill that has wi-fi, a laser sight, and can peel potatoes from 20 paces.  Serious!  And that's the smaller one, you should see the size of the one that changes your oil in Russian and can explode large watermelons from another city!

Okay, okay, so I made it up.  It does canteloupes, not watermelons.  Still, it WOULD be pretty awesome.

But I'd like to make a tiny observation, if I may.  It involves the difference between a good power tool and a good hand tool.

There's a lot of push for the electronic stuff, and I use a lot of them.  I have an amazing 8" drill press that makes perfectly straight holes through wood, which is awesome if accuracy is required when making something like the Whackadoo v.02....

...if only because I don't have the ability to stay perfectly still with a power drill or an impact drill.  Granted, my drill press IS electric, but it is brutally effective and efficient at what I need to do.

Another power tool I use regularly is the saber (aka "jig") saw, which can cut curves and straight lines.  The only problem with it is that the blade cuts about 1/16" across, so I have to cut the wood just outside my lines.  This is what a saber saw looks like...

For what it does, tho, it does good stuff.  And it turns mid-cut on a dime.  Plus the bevel feature helps a lot.  The only downside is that it doesn't do well with small-piece cuts, because even when I use my tabletop jig station, as soon as the wood is cut all the way through, the saw kicks... not every time, but I can't tell when it will.

I picked up a coping saw from Lowe's a month or two back, for $8 and another $2 for a set of 8 blades.  Here's what one looks like, from Kobalt...

It's relatively simple, it can adjust the angle of the blade, so if you can't do a straight-cut, you can parallel-cut (in other words, cut like you normally would, but the C-holder would be to the side), and you can also cut from inside the wood piece.  So if you were to, say, cut a window into a wood block car, you simply drill a starting hole, thread the blade through, secure the blade, and then go to town on it.  After you finish, you unlatch the blade, pull it out of the wood hole, and then re-secure it back into the handle.
Now here's the meat and potatoes of what I'm trying to get to, so I do appreciate your patience.
As I mentioned, the saber saw (usually starts at about $45 for a basic model) is electric, has beveling capability, and can turn on a dime for curves and stuff.  I like it for the big stuff, like the Dippy Ducks I made....
...because I can cut a lot of wood, fast.  But... the downsides are plenty.  It's loud (I do wear protective gear), it cuts a 1/16" swath (which may not sound like much of a problem, but then it does mean I have to shift where I actually run the blade), I've already blown the bevel gears on one model (that went after about 16 months of working with it), and also it's typically now made as an "orbital" saw (which means it's not straight up-and-down, but slightly forward-back too) so the "down" side is rougher than the "up" side.  And I have the basic model, without that fancy laser thingy telling me where I already know to cut.
Now, the coping saw (starts somewhere around $8).  It's hand-powered so it's relatively quiet aside from the typical light-sawing noise.  The blade is 1/8" but cuts somewhere close to 1/32" or 1/64", essentially hair-thin so that means I don't have to move the cut far to get where I need to go.  Also, when I have to drill a hole inside the wood to get the blade through for an internal cut, I only need a 1/8" drill bit instead of the 1/4" for the saber saw (so a smaller pilot hole means less potential damage and a LOT more accuracy).  And remember how I said the saber saw turns on a dime?  The coping saw can literally turn on a pinhead, if not tighter.  So I don't need as much real estate to curve my cuts.  Add to that the ability to shave bumps off and that the coping saw isn't orbital so there's not rough finishes, and you can see some advantages.
In fact, you can make small stuff really easily (because it's designed for fine work, not tree-cutting), like these...
...relatively easy (that's an orbital sander, btw).  Plus, if you look closely at those pieces, yes, they are in fact dovetails, another bonus for the coping saw.  Don't get me wrong, saber saws can do it too, and I did try it.  But it's like using a nuke to wash your car... just too much power for the detaling.  It's one of the reasons I'm enjoying making my Corner Curio Bookcase with a coping saw, because I know I can get the tight fits I need.
There are times when I fall back on power tools, because there's simply so much to do that a hand tool might not be as time-effective due to scope.  And I do love them, I really do.  But even with all those amazing things out there (and it'd be easy for me to blow my paycheck in a heartbeat), I just feel more connected with what I build, and less like an assembly line, with a hand tool instead.  And yes, I do still use hammers and screwdrivers (though for hard woods, I do use a drill.  There are times when blood, sweat and tears isn't enough to get through pressure-treated woods and plastics!)
Then again, there are a few woodworkers out there who will swear by power tools, and they do quite fine with them.  They do some amazing stuff with those.  But it's kinda like the difference between preferring between hiking and Nascar races.  You're going to find a lot of people with toned legs and a lot of people with tanned legs.
So my best advice to you, should you be interested in any particular hobby, is this... don't be entirely set on one type of tool or another at first, experiment.  Feel how the tools fit and move in your hands.  Get a sense over what "feels right" and listen to your intuition!  If the back of your mind says, "I like it, buuuuuuut y'know what?" then figure out why it says that and research.  Hit the library, Youtube, Google, whatever.  Hell, talk to the shop staff, other carpenters and wood hobbyists, learn everything you can reasonably absorb.  But also, remember that you do have physical limits as well, so don't get something more powerful or bigger than you can handle on a bad day, when tired, or when distracted.  Safety first!
Okay, that's my thoughts for now, so I do appreciate you listening.  I hope this helps you feel not so weird about what you like about tools and woodworking because honestly, we've all been there and we all keep learning with every project.
Stay awesome, Stitchers!
--Nick The Stitch

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dippy Dudes, New Whackadoos and How DO You Do!

Hey there, Stitchers!  Nick the Stitch here and very, very much better since this past weekend (at least sleep-wise).  I hope you're enjoying this number-12-obsession day, and staying productive.  Things here are pretty awesome and they're looking better every day.

So here's some stuff you might want to know about...

Renningers: It was fun, the other vendors were amazing (I was right across the walkway from a guitarist named Mel Jenkins, if anyone knows if this guy really did play with other major bands, PLEASE email me the link so I can read it... he challanged me to Google and YouTube him and -- like a retired research librarian -- I Googled, YouTube'd and Wiki'd him, nothing showed up) and the variety of stuff sold was wide.

All in all a good time, sold a couple small things.  The weather was beautiful.  And we really were waiting for you to hang out with us.  By "we" I mean myself and Tuna Lick from Project Asylum.

I hadn't decided about coming back this weekend, but after I sat down with my collab effort partner Marylin from Second Chances Art, we are ready to roll when Renningers calls us back to set things up.  At this point, we may have two different booths (one Saturday, one on Sunday), but hey, if I can get back there, that'd be great.  And hey, even if you don't buy from SCA or NTS at the market, just come out to Mount Dora anyway, there's plenty to see and do.

Whackadoo v.02: Back in early September or so, I built a toy that I loved when I was really, really young, like 5 years old or so.  Essentially, it was a raised platform with a couple colored pegs that you hammered into the platform, flipped the platform, and hammered them again, and repeat.  Personally, I thought at the time it was the neatest thing since sliced bread.  My dad, however, might've disagreed with it... especially after a hard day at the office.

So I'm bringing back the traditional hand-eye-coordination-boosting toy for the 21st Century, the Whackadoo Version 2.  And it's a blast to build, especially now that I have a drill press that drives some pretty tight holes compared to Version 1.  At the moment they are ready to roll, but here's a raw-assembled pic to give you some idea of it...

We'll definitely be having these guys at the next booth event, either this weekend (if the stars align properly) or next weekend (if the world doesn't end first, which unfortunately for Pat Robertson, it won't).

Dippy Ducks: The name alone inspires the bygone days of Hoppalong Cassidy and wonderful wooden kid toys, usually pulled, pushed or ATV'd.  They are, in fact, ducks.  They do, thanks to simple engineering, dip.  And they stay, very happily, upright.  Back at St. Theresa's Kris Kringle Festival, there were a couple kids who had animal pull-toys, but they only rolled and they usually fell over at the slightest turn.  So Marylin and I got together and we figured out a more exciting and interactive toy, hence Dippy Ducks.

One of the things Tuna Lick and I noticed at Renningers was the sheer number of kids and young kids there.  So, especially with the holidays coming up and we all know a couple parents who are looking for an inexpensive and captivating toy to get, we're banking on the success of that appeal to help save the holidays.  And... if the Ducks are as successful as we hope they'll be, there will definitely be MORE Dippy Dudes.

I don't have a good photo of them right now, as they're in assembly stage, but tomorrow evening I should have an update for them.  All I can say right now is wow, I can really rock a saber saw.

On that note, I'm going to call it a night.  Thank you all for your patience, and if you get a chance just hit SCA's store and just give me feedback on the various products there, what you want gone, and what kinds of things you might like to see on there.  No sales pitch -- I would just like to hear what you have on your mind.  That's all, thanks.

Stay awesome!

-Nick The Stitch

Friday, December 7, 2012

Quickie in the Workshed

Hey Stitchers!  Nick The Stitch here with a quick blog, since I have to get up at the ungodly hour of 5AM tomorrow.  However, there apparently will be coffee, so it'll be good.

I mentioned yesterday that I had a couple new toys available for fun and profit.  I just finished varnishing and burning them with their respective designs.  They're very useful, here's...

...the Carpenter's Business Card Caddy!  Handy!  Dandy!  With dovetailed joints and an inviting burned design wanting you to remember the person you just met!  They come in one piece (I have a pair in the pic to show with and without cards) and are protected against major elements, bumps, bruises, zombie apocalypses, and so on.  Available through Second Chances Art's webstore (or if you're going to be in Mount Dora, Florida this weekend, come by Booth H16 and say Blogspot sent you), approximate size 2.5"H x 3.5"W x 2"D.

And then there's this guy, he's a real help...

...the Playing Card Pal!  Ever have those occasions when you just can't hold all those cards in your hand, or need an easier and more convenient way to organize them?  This guy is perfect for kids and adults alike, are woodburned and varnished for poker-room action, and comes in a set of 4 Pals and a deck of cards!  Available through Second Chances Art's webstore (or stop by Booth H16 while I have a set to offer, but don't worry, anything you see on this blog site is available for orders!), approximate size 0.75"H x 10"W x 2"D.

So that's the new stuff you'll find in our booth (H16) over in Renninger's Flea Market and Antique Fairgrounds in Mount Dora this Saturday and Sunday from 8AM-4PM.  We'll also have our cedar and reclaimed clocks (outhouse AND birdhouse), holiday decorations, and much, much more.  We'll also have our 10% discount program (powered by Square).  I hope to see you there, but if you miss this weekend fear not, there will be more opportunities!

In the meantime, stay awesome and have a great evening!  Thank you Stitchers!

-Nick Moore

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Event: NTS is Hanging Out at Renningers!

Hey there, Stitchers!  Nick the Stitch here along with my partner in crime, Second Chances Art, and I know it's been a few days since I posted on here.  Don't worry, I wasn't dead.  Not entirely, at least.  Though coffee is an excellent potion to restore life in a person.

Anyhoo.  Getting off topic.

I wanted to post on here when I had something to post, and being that I had an event to do and a lot of production to do, I wanted to offer a heads-up.  So here it is.

St. Theresa's "Kris Kringle Festival":  Yes, they did upgrade my booth to right across the aisle from the main hall.  However... they only had about 7 or 8 total vendors for the festival, and it drew such a low turnout that even the clowns were paying the kids to take their balloon animals.  But that's okay, because we still had a great time and the crowds we did get were definitely in the holiday spirit.

Hey, sometimes it gets slow!  That's just how these things go, it's not all Sawgrass Mills all the time.  And SCA and I did excellent, considering there was a previously-unknown-about yard sale going on right behind my booth with about 15 vendors.  Personally, though, those guys were an animal shelter and, having a pound puppy myself, I do wish we had had a bigger crowd to help support them.

Upcoming Event Notice!: Yep, just as the blog title says, we're going to be hitting Renninger's Flea Market and Antique Fairgrounds this Saturday and Sunday, December 8th and 9th (and with a little luck, the 22nd and 23rd) from 8AM to 4PM.  This weekend we'll be at Booth H16 in the covered pavillion, just look for something like this...

and this...

hell, just look for this... you'll know you found us!

Could that *gasp* possibly be... Nick The Stitch?

Only one way to find out!  Hit Renninger's Flea Market and Antique Fairgrounds in Mount Dora, Booth H16, this Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 8/9) from 8AM to 4PM and see for yourself!  And if you can't wait for that event, and you want some awesome stuff, or just want to see some of the crazy stuff I make from brainstorming with SCA, just hit our webstore.

A huge thank-you to everyone who has patiently waited for me to pop up like a whack-a-mole.  I will have another post tomorrow night, because I may have some new products.  Let's just say I might get a little philosophical about tools, but if you are someone who uses tools or knows someone who does, it might be interesting.  And dangit, if you like what you read in the posts, comment!!  I don't bite off people's heads for that (at least, not unless it's before my morning coffee....) so fire away!

In the meantime, stay awesome and be good because it's Santa season.  And I will leave you with this one deep thought...

"I hate being bi-polar... it's AWESOME!"

-Nick The Stitch

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Leveling-up in Woodworking

Hey Stitchers!  Nick the Stitch here and really glad you're here with the gang.  It's been a pretty good day and the weather was warm and sunny and absolutely perfect for building wood stuff and stuff.  SCA and I have been working hard to get enough merchandise ready for St. Theresa Roman Catholic Church's "Kris Kringle Festival" coming up on Saturday and today is no different.

Except today, I made my first complex dovetail, and my first dovetail ever.

For those who might be new, I do a bit of building small things out of wood.  I recently finished about 24 wood clocks (12 outhouse clocks, 12 birdhouse clocks; 6 of each were out of reclaimed wood and another 6 of each were out of red cedar so fresh it was still showing a bit of sap in the grains), and in the past I've done about 5 or 6 oil bottle storage boxes.

One of the things I was really looking forward to building, when I was running my previous company Custom Glen Woods, was a corner curio bookcase for home decor.  It was 42" tall, 10" on a side with a 14-1/8" front.  Unfortunately I never got a chance to build it then, because of financial hardships of relocating, my truck blowing up more than Buster from "MythBusters", and life in general.

However, the Universe has been kind to me over the past several months and now that I can breathe a little in my life, I am building bigger and more complicated stuff now.

Like... my corner curio bookcase.  And today I achieved something I've been itching to do for a long time, a complex dovetail.  Like this....'re looking at the kickplate dovetailed into the bottom shelf.  And that was my first dovetail ever!  Took a crapload of math, as I did have a template for the pieces but they were all general-sized, not including the dovetails, which I had to mentally do the math as I drew the teeth.

Best part is, it was very nicely snug.  And if there's any wiggle in the whole structure when I get finished cutting the shelf slots and putting it together tomorrow, a coat of paint will fix that.

And yes, that is plyboard, but if you want I can do it in birch too.  In theory I could also do it in red cedar, but that's not for the financially timid (though you could brag to your friends and coworkers!)  If you want to order a corner curio bookcase (or two, or however many), hit up Marylin at Second Chances Art with an email and tell her Nick The Stitch sentcha.

Oh, one more thing... aside from a couple pilot holes drilled for access to cut out the shelf slots, I've done the entire thing with a saber saw.  No glue.  No screws.  Just a saber saw.  It's a damn good saber saw.  Well I did use a sander to smooth the surfaces, but it's cut entirely by saber saw and needs no glue or screws... unless you feel you really need it.

Will have more photos tomorrow night in my pre-festival lineup, so until then, stay awesome!

-Nick The Stitch