cutting boards

Andy Bungo is The Prodigal Carpenter

Creating Finely Crafted Hardwood Products

Cutting Boards, Turnings, Pen Blocks, Wooden Spoons

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Andy cutting wood

As The Prodigal Carpenter, I’ve been crafting fine hardwood items surprisingly, in my small shop in Georgia, since 2014.  After a career in air traffic control,what began as simply trying my hand at crafting an end grain cutting board. After viewing a few Youtube “how tos” uncovered a passion for creating finely crafted hardwood items. Over that first year my small basement shop space evolved to accommodate the necessary tools of the trade, I gradually and selectively added to my basic equipment.

My inspiration:

My Dad was the kind of guy who always figured out how to “fix” things as opposed to replacing them, or how to make something himself as opposed to buying it. As a kid growing up I didn’t appreciate that quality very much, more absorbed in my world of sports, baseball early on and later golf. As a young adult, my career in Air Traffic and raising a family left little time for thinking about “hobbies”, though the work ethic my Dad had instilled and his example of maintaining and caring for things were certainly evident. It was only in recent years that I discovered the joy of hours spent working with my hands to create something beautiful and useful out of wood.

Just like the way I watched my Dad approach things when I was young, I approached woodworking with intention and purposeful research to understand each aspect of it……..from learning about the unique properties of various woods to exploring techniques and understanding how experienced woodcrafters achieved impressive results. I researched tools, tips and what others considered essential…….and noted the lessons I learned along the way. (Check out a past blog post titled “Don’t Be Intimidated by Lumber Stores ….yes, even learning the jargon can be intimidating for the uninitiated:)

Simply put, after doing my research and diving in, I found woodworking to be a deeply satisfying process. I loved it.

A workshop is essential for a craftsman. I started out with a relatively small space (22’ x 12’) that houses our water heater, air conditioning units, plenty of uncovered duct work and the electrical panel; all on top of a concrete floor. I mapped out a rough plan and went to work knowing flexibility was important, but a few things were non negotiables.

If you’re considering setting up your own workshop…. There are obvious essentials to consider and abundant information accessed online to help you arrive at a plan. Take the time necessary to consider your best plan…. It’s time well spent. I’ve blogged before on some shop essentials like safety, workbench, electrical outlets, etc but here I wanted to hone in a bit on what kind of tools I use and how effective they are.

Tools and machines in my shop

I don’t have a massive shop, so having a large table saw or full size drill press is not practical for me, but if you have limited space and a limited budget there are still ways to create quality products.

I have a portable Kobalt Table saw

table saw

Bench Top Drill Press

drill press

Bench Top Bandsaw

band saw

….are you noticing a theme? All of my machines are smaller versions or table tops. The only restriction I am finding is limited to the size of my workpiece.

My table saw for example, is a Kobalt 15-Amp, 10-in saw. The table saw  cost me just under $200 back in 2014. It’s a floor model and certainly not a large one, and has some flaws. It does have wheels for mobility and a sound motor. I’ve cut sheets of plywood on it (though I recommend having a helper with that) and many pieces of hardwood. The 10″ indicates the size of the saw blade which to me is the key that unlocks the door of quality woodwork.

Quality Saw Blades:

In my opinion, the key to quality work and not so much the table saw itself, but using a high quality blade makes a big difference.SAW BLADE
If you look around various websites and you will see a variety of tool options from some of the best artisans. but one constant you will find is quality cutting blades. Quality sometimes does not always mean expensive, but consequently, and therefore, sometimes it does.

I purchased a Forrest Woodworker II Blade. More than half of the price of my saw ($125) but it  was money well spent. The blade (WW10407125-Inch 40 Tooth ATB .125 Kerf) has performed remarkably well in cutting all sorts of hardwoods; from hard maple to Sapele and Bubinga without burning or bogging down.

** KEY TIPS:

The blade that comes with your machine is probably not the greatest.  Keep it around for rough cuts on things like MDF. Keep your blades clean! Take the time to periodically wipe them down with a quality blade cleaner. First of all, when making deep cuts in thick dense wood,  set your blade lower. Make your cut, then raise the blade an inch at a time until your cut is complete.

Our products are Artisan crafted fine culinary tools and select home decor. Here is a list of items I make: artisan end grain cutting boards, cheese boards, hand turned pepper grinders and salt shakers, handcrafted spoons, spatulas, pot strainers, toast tongs, salad tongs, magnetic knife racks, cheese spreaders, cheese boards, wooden trays, finely crafted remote control storage boxes, game tables, etc.)

 

 

You can purchase our Artisan Products from Our Web Store
F
ind us on Facebook or at our retail outlet located  The
Woodstock Market in Greater Atlanta. ( 5500 ) Bells
Ferry Rd. Acworth GA. 30102 Booth B5E )