Triforce Oak Shelf (Amibo Shelf)

A few months ago a friend of mine made a comment about his Amibo collection and not knowing what to do with all of his Amibos. He wanted to have them on display but was not a fan of the standard shelf you find in the big box store. I had recently finished a previous project and mentioned that I would be interested in trying to craft a custom shelf for his Amibo collection. We settled on the idea of a shelf based on the idea of the Triforce from the Legend of Zelda series and I got to work that night. Till this point, most of my experience as a woodworker had been straight cuts and right angles. I quickly realized that I was going to go way outside of my normal routine to build this shelf. I began by doing some miniature test builds to test my measurements and cuts.

My first test piece was more or less perfect.

With a test piece out of the way, I went ahead and gathered my parts for the build. In order to save time, I purchased a few pieces of oak board from my local Lowes (This isn’t a plug for Lowes, though I do love their 10% Military Veteran discount program). This wood is already prepped and ready for sanding. I transferred my test measurements to the larger pieces of wood, cut it to size on my miter saw, and after a few passes with the orbital sander, I was ready to glue my primary structure together.

The shelf is beginning to take shape

I considered using cabinet screws to attach all of the pieces originally but decided against this approach for two reasons. Considering the load that this shelf was expected to hold I already was thinking that screwing the wood together would be a bit overkill. The second consideration was my lack of a counter-sink to hide the screws once installed. Basically, I lacked the required tools and skills to improvise, so glue it was.

I glued and clamped the primary structure, then I repeated the whole process on a smaller, secondary structure that was to be placed inside of the primary structure.

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You can see some clamps were used to help seat the secondary structure while the wood-glue dried.

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My Guardian Amibo provided me with a helping claw…

I let the shelf set overnight and did a strength test on it the next day. Satisfied that my Guardian Amibo was no match for the shelf, I went ahead and cut the back panel out of 1/8th inch plywood. At this point, I realized that I probably should have applied my Amber Shellac before attaching the back panel but I could still use a brush to work in the edges so I let it be.

In the light, the Amber Shellac gives more of a “golden” appearance to the wood. This follows the theme of the “Golden Triforce” from the Legend of Zelda series.

After a couple of coats of the Amber Shellac, I began crafting the foam inserts. This part of the process is my favorite part because this is the moment that the project really comes to life. I began by taking exact measurements of the interior of each triangle (I do each section to account for any small differences that may exist). I then transfer those measurements to regular foam crafting board (the kind you put your 5th-grade science fair project on). I subtract about 1\16th of an inch from all sides and then I cut out the foam pieces using an Exacto knife. With this complete, I turn my attention to the fabric backing.

I found some lovely, inexpensive black and gold pleather at my local Joanns Fabrics store to use for my interior inserts. I outline my foam inserts on the back of the fabric, then I add roughly 3 inches to the measurement on all sides of the outline. This allows the fabric to wrap behind the foam insert. This extra lip behind the insert is where I apply hot glue to attach the fabric to the foam. All of this is hidden away from view once the insert is set inside of the shelf. This is also the reason why I removed 1\16th of an inch from the foam cutout earlier, to account for the space that the fabric would take up. Once inserted you are left with a clean backdrop with which you may present your Amibo collection

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A nearly complete shelf.

After finishing up a few small details like adding protective feet and wall mounts, I am left with a great looking shelf!

I don’t recall the exact measurements of this shelf, though I think it was 40x40x40

If you made it this far then I thank you for your time.

(Shameless Plug) If you are interested in possibly owning a shelf like this one, feel free to check out my Etsy store where I offer custom built shelves just like this one in a variety of sizes. Feel free to ask for a different custom build as well, I’m always up for a new project.

Best of luck to you, reader.

-Beal

Master Chief-Watercolor & Marker

To be fair, I’m not sure if I can legally call this a watercolor painting. I’m no mathematician, but I’m guessing that at least 50% of this image is the Sharpie marker I used for the black vectoring. Regardless, I still like it. I actually liked it more without the color but what’s done is done now. This piece was sort of an experiment for me. You see, though I just posted lots of other artwork in the last few weeks, this piece predates all of my earlier post from this past week. This was my first official work on canvas in over 8 years. I have dabbled intermittently with different types of art in the last decade, but not very often. I knew I was ready to get back into creating new things, and I figured there was no better way to get my inspirational juices going than to sit down and work on my favorite character ever.

The Master Chief!

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I know a lot of people say they are fans of a character, but when I tell you I am a superfan… I mean it

 

 

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I might be posting more about my costume here in the future, stay tuned!

Thanks for your time.

Mario Bead Party

 

Have you ever been in a store and seen someone shopping in an aisle that just didn’t seem quite right? Like a kid in the medicine aisle, a teenage boy in the woman’s underwear aisle, or a grown man in the toy aisle? I witnessed one of these scenarios today, only because they had changing mirrors next to me in the women’s underwear department… I kid… or do I? Seriously now, I was the man in the third scenario today. In my defense, however, my inner child was probably on full display.

I was at my local Michaels arts and crafts store picking up new brushes, a simple enough task, except I always end up veering off into other isles because I have the attention span of a squirrel and there are a lot of shiny things in that store. Fast forward twenty minutes and I find myself in the children’s isle fawning over this packet of perler beads that promise me a picture of Mario if I place them in the correct order and hit ’em with some heat. I never heard of “perler” beads before, but a quick Google confirmation search proved that they work. (I did find them in the girls toy aisle… still not sure why that is a thing but whatever).

Anyway, 3+ hours and $8 later, I present you with the following.

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I had plenty of leftover beads so I made a mini BOO so Mario would have company.

Needless to say, this isn’t a sponsored post, I really just enjoy getting my supplies @ Michaels. If you are interested in doing this project yourself you can find the kit HERE.

Thanks for your time!

Veterans Day 2018

[Just a bit of a preamble here. I typically do a post like this every Veterans Day on my Facebook page. Though we are both Army Veterans (where we met), I always try to highlight her status as a Veteran above my own. I do this because society tends not to see her, or any female Veterans for what they truly are. I’ve witnessed it firsthand, people assuming my service to be more important than her service. This is obviously not the case. She is amazing and I mean every word you are about to read.]

I saw her for the first time in the winter of 2010. I didn’t know anything about her, but my instinct told me that she was special. I wasn’t wrong. That was nearly nine years ago to the day. In the time since that day I first laid my eyes on her, she has done more with her life than most people do in a whole lifetime.

She agreed to step into my life, adopting my daughter Laila as her own child. She became a biological mother not long after to our daughter Sophia, a child born with autism that was about to challenge us both in ways we never imagined possible.

Despite her need to be at home with her newborn, duty insisted she do her job and on her daughters first birthday, Ashley boarded a plane headed for Afghanistan. Nerves of steel. This was the longest year of our life, but we planned our moves carefully.

Before her return to the States, she had a job as a Correctional Officer and was ready for her exit from the military. She drove two hours to work and two hours home every day for a year until a better opportunity presented itself. That opportunity saw her become a Sheriff. Always on the hunt for the next goal, she would eventually find herself working as a Police Officer.

She chose this line of work not because it is easy, but because it is hard. She wants to be the standard bearer in life, someone that her own children, as well as other little girls, can look up to. She does all of this and she makes it look easy. She is a Veteran and so much more, and this is why each Veterans day I choose to highlight Ashley Armstead.

Hope everyone has a Great Veterans Day.

(This was something I originally posted elsewhere on Veterans day but felt it deserved a spot here on the blog

Art & Woodworking

20181103_152350As you can tell from the above image, I have acquired quite a bit of art supplies over the course of my life. Recently I decided that a new way of storing my supplies was in order, so I drew up an idea in my mind for a storage box. My criteria for the box were simple, it needed to be functional, simple, not an eyesore, and made from recycled wood and parts.

To begin, I went into my wood storage and quickly found exactly what I was looking for… Not long after I purchased my home, I removed the fireplace mantle and installed a custom built television mount (A whole separate project). I kept the wood from the mantle and decided it would work great for this project. You can see pictures from the television mount project below.

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Front view of the original mantel
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Side view of the original mantel
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The custom built mount I created
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My finished den

The wood from the mantle, as you can see, was solid oak with a wood stain. I had planned to take photos of the art box project as it went along. Unfortunately, I simply forgot and completed the whole thing in a rush due to time constraints. Below is the completed project. 20181113_15210920181113_15212020181113_15213620181113_15391120181113_15391920181113_15395020181113_15392920181113_154012

As you can see from the last photo I am still quite short on space. I am using my computer desk as my art area which is another problem I intend to fix with my next project. I intend to build my own drafting table, possibly incorporating my art box into the design. Regardless, I will document the whole process with photos. I may even record the process, though I am a bit camera shy so that is still up in the air.

Thank you for your time.

Growing Pains Expressed In Art

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I was twenty years old, give or take a year, when I drew this picture. It was back in the 2007-2008 time frame. I was a freshly minted father who was freshly unemployed due to the housing market crash of 2007. All I had was a G.E.D (General Education Diploma), no marketable skills, and no idea what I was supposed to do. After loosing my apartment, my car, and my unemployment income, I did the only thing I knew how to do in order to cope with stress at the time. I began to draw.

I sat down one night and let my hands do the work. I still don’t remember drawing this, but I remember the feeling of being incredibly angry and depressed all at once. The unnamed feeling we all go through when life introduces us our new limits of expectation. I was trying to sum up my life at that point in one image, one drawing. I wanted to express all the pain and damage I was feeling. It worked, for me at least. I look at this image and it still sends a shiver down my spine.

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A piece of me is buried in one of those graves…

Those times were tough and terrifying, but I dealt with it as best as I could. Through my art and my writing… I was able to get everything out in the open so I could think clearly, and make a plan. Having the ability to cope in this way was quite possibly the thing that changed my life around. I went through my emotions and worked things out with myself so that I could accept everything that had happened and begin working on the next step in my life. That next step happened to be enlisting in the U.S. Army.

I thought life was hard before joining the Military, and it was in its own special ways, but the Army was a whole different beast entirely. Luckily I still had my way of dealing with it.

 

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…isn’t always about making a pretty picture.

 

Sometimes you just need the art to display a certain emotion or feeling. Something it is a feeling you maybe can’t put into words. It won’t always make sense to others but it doesn’t always have to. The image above may seem exceptionally violent, and it is. But there is more to see here. That image is a representation of my life in the Army killing my old idea of how to live. Basically I am shooting myself in some sort of convoluted grandfather-paradox nightmare, if you will. The military toughened me up for sure, made me more resilient to life and all of its woes. Though life is better these days, I do occasionally come across bits of stress that need to be sorted out and filed away, thus….

sgt-stach0001….I was created. A sarcastic web cartoon character with horrible hair, a crooked mustache, and killer abs. Thanks for reading, sorry for the anti-climatic ending.