Making and using shields!

A couple of years ago, my youngest son came to me and surprised me with a question. It was innocent enough.

Dad, what are you going to be tonight for Halloween? I’m going to be a ninja and I want you to dress up too.

Key on the word tonight. As in less than 10 hours from when he asked me this. Hmmm…ok not a problem that I couldn’t fix with a little bit of woodworking.

Quickly surveying the available stock in the shop (aka garage/storage for everything that didn’t fit in the house) I came up with the clever idea that I could build a big wooden shield and maybe find an ax or similar accouterments. Turns out I didn’t have enough scrap material lying around in the garage to cut one solid block, so I joined a couple of old leftover pieces from a shelving unit that I had recently completed for the boys. A handy use for my new biscuit joiner as well!

Step 1: cobble together enough scrap wood
Step 2: Cut near perfect circle
Step 3: Sand and quickly apply rough coat of stain finish

At this point, the shield was taking shape but I needed some additional decoration. With more plain blocks of pine available from the same bookshelf I had just completed, I was able to turn a decorative “spike” to the front of the shield.

Simple pine, easy to turn but hard to finish
All set to paint!
Bolted on!

It turns out the bolts matched the silver spike on the front, and served a dual purpose for decoration and a convenient place to bind the lashings for grabbing and holding the now not-so-light shield.

Finally, with shield in hand, all that was left to do was decorate the crazy bearded face to match the mighty shield, and our costume party was complete!

I need a bigger ax

30-year workbench

This is my 30-year old workbench.

It didn’t start out being a workbench, and I doubt I thought it would be used as one 30 years ago. My dad built this for me in the late 80s (yes, that’s 1980s) as I was getting into computers and needed a large amount of space to work. At that time it was with the amazing Commodore 64 along with a 1541 floppy drive unit. The one that loaded 5.25″ diskettes.

(now that’s high tech!)

Anyway, this desk has made quite a journey:

  1. Humble beginnings in Virginia Beach where I lived in the 80s and graduated high school
  2. Followed me to college at NC State in the 90s
  3. Lived in storage for a couple of years while I moved around in my career (early 2000s)
  4. Served as a desk for three of my sons (2010s)
  5. And finally, landed in my new shop as a mobile workbench (2020!)