Wind-Driven Mechanical Whirligig Starter Kit

On a whim during early 2013 I placed a few wooden whirligig parts on eBay to see if they’d sell. To my amazement they sold out in days! I made more; those sold as well. Thanks to customer requests my production expanded to include various whirligig parts and hard to find brass hardware. Now, a year later and with thanks to my friend Judy in TN, I am proud to introduce my Wind-Driven Mechanical Whiligig Starter Kit. This kit required a good deal of thought and trial an error; I am very happy with the final product.

This kit is everything necessary to build a base and wind powered motor for your own creation. The builder is free to decide the configuration and theme on their own. I get a thrill contributing my skills to the unique creations of other whirligig enthusiasts. This kit is for sale on eBay for $25 plus s/h. Please email me, if you have any suggestions to improve the kit, or if you need a completely different setup.

Lunch Box 2.0 – The Lap Desk Lunch Box

lunch box lap desk

After two years of carrying the brown paper bag lunchbox during my commute I decided to consider new designs. While riding the train from NJ to NYC I find myself doing one of two things: sleeping or sketching. The carved bag lunchbox served dutifully as a place to rest my elbow on the train but got in the way while sketching. A few months ago I decided to reinvent my lunchbox by creating a lap desk to store my lunch and drawing supplies. In order to solidify the ideas in my head I first folded and taped cardboard into lap desk forms. These cardboard boxes allowed me to quickly identify scale, shape and general usefulness.

Satisfied with a lap desk form I assembled a solid prototype from thin plywood; “solid” because this lap desk was completely empty, all sides screwed together with no door. I carried this empty box on my commute a few times to evaluate carry-ability, sketch worthiness and elbow rest seat divider success. I decided on a few tweaks to the shape and set out to finalize a functional design, one that could be opened and used.

The plan, a sophisticated lap desk with ornamentally carved wood sides and solid maple wood construction. A few frustrating days were spent trying to coax maple wood to conform to my plan. Every attempt to thickness plane the maple lumber resulted with the wood wanting to cup and crook. Call me impatient, but sometimes you get a piece of wood that refuses to cooperate. Since I knew I would be re-designing the lap desk after a few months I decided to change the design and use pine and birch plywood, on hand materials. The construction of Lunch Box 2.0 allows full serviceably, meaning the entire thing can be disassembled, adjusted and reassembled.

Over the past weekend the finished box spent time outside to allow the stain and finish to cure. Now that it doesn’t smell like oily rags anymore Lunch Box 2.0 was ready for its maiden voyage. Lunch Box 2.0 is performing well. Already I’ve discovered a few things to improve the next time around; and there will be a next time around. This process of discovery and change is a ton of fun. I’m never bored, always thinking of what I am going to do next. Now, if I could only find the time.

The Orange Squirrel wood carving cameo appearance in Eat InkRecipes, Stories, Tattoos book.

orange squirrel

Several years ago a Bloomfield, NJ watering hole experienced major renovations and emerged as The Orange Squirrel restaurant. My wife and I witnessed the transformation while out and about with our standard poodle Fleur on our daily walks. After learning the restaurant was to be named The Orange Squirrel I carved a squirrel grasping a mug. I presented the carving to the Executive Chef Francesco Palmieri on opening night.

While enjoying drinks and outrageously delicious food at “The Squirrel” my wife and I hunt for our squirrel perched among the menagerie of squirrels in various locations about the establishment.

It’s exciting to hear about the various ways Chef Palmieri finds his way into the spotlight: “He’s on the TODAY show!”, “He’s on FOOD Network!…” It was to my surprise to learn our little carved squirrel found its way into Chef Palmieri’s spotlight. Our squirrel is in a photograph along the chef in Birk O’Halloran & Daniel Luke Holton’s new book Eat Ink! Way to go little guy. Nice work.