Category Archives: Charity

Upper Cut Woodworks charitable contributions including donations, auctions and volunteering

Get Woodworking Week

Get Woodworking Cub Scouts

Get Woodworking Week

Get Woodworking Week

Over the holidays I had the opportunity to build some Arrow of Light awards for a local Cub Scout troop. These are simple cherry boards with a routed edge detail that the Scouts will hang on their wall in their home. The plaque will have an arrow mounted on it, and the arrow will be painted with colored bands, each representing an achievement reached by that particular Scout. This award is used in the ceremony that transitions the Scouts from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, and there were 14 of them.

The Easy Stuff

I selected Cherry for this project and picked up some great pieces at Compton Lumber in Seattle. After  selecting face sides of the lumber to hide any defects or sapwood I rough cut the pieces to length and let them accilimate. After a few days I milled  the lumber to final dimensions and routed the edge and endgrain with a Freud Quadra cut bit on my router table. I was sure to route the end-grain first with a backing block, and then route the edge. This left a nice smooth cut with very little tearout.

Keyholes with a Plunge Router

To make these awards easy to hang on the wall I used a keyhole bit. With this bit you plunge into the piece creating room for the head of a nail, then move the bit along the upside of the back of the piece creating a recess for the nail and a slit for the shaft. There are cutters on the wide disc on the bottom of the bit and along the shaft of the bit. You’ll see how this works in the picture below.

I created a fixture to hold the boards securely and also guide the router in a straight line up the back of the piece with stops at the top and bottom. I used opposing wedges to hold the board against a fence, which worked better than any wacky creative clamping and was very low profile. There were 14 awards, and the jig helped me cook through all 28 keyholes quickly.

Arrow of Light Keyhole Router Bit

Arrow of Light Keyhole Router Bit

Arrow of Light Keyhole Jig

Arrow of Light Keyhole Jig

Arrow of Light Completed Keyhole

Arrow of Light Completed Keyhole

CNCs and Lasers – Oh My!

After completing the keyholes, it was time to add the Arrow of Light design. This was the most challenging part of the project because in the past the awards were laser engraved, and I don’t own a laser engraver. I contacted trophy shops in the area but there laser engravers were too small for a 34-inch long board, or they were going to charge outrageous prices.

A fellow online woodworker, Ralph Bagnall, offered to help by creating router templates for me. Ralph does some CNC work so I sent him the design. We had some conversations via phone and he quickly sent me some router templates. Ralph is a helpful, positive, and encouraging worker. You really should connect with him through his website or on Twitter @Consultingwood.

After trying the router templates, I decided to continue to look for laser engravers. It’s not that Ralph’s CNC skills weren’t awesome, it’s that the design just wasn’t suited for routing. Lots of corners on the design that the router just can’t get sharp enough.

Hackers, Makers, and Robots

Luckily I found Metrix Create:Space in Seattle. CreateSpace is one of those Hacker and Maker Spaces that has lots of gadgets and gear: 3D printers, laser engravers, CNC machines, robots, soldering stations, all kinds of cool stuff. Their prices are reasonable and they have friendly and helpful staff. I had 14 of these awards to laser engrave and it took about 10 minutes per award with help from the staff. I had to draw the design in Inkscape which is a free program, and it was very easy to use.

The laser engraver works like a giant inkjet printer, except for three main differences:

  1. The laser engraver is much bigger
  2. The wood stays still (with an inkjet the paper moves)
  3. It’s shooting a laser not ink

Here’s a video of the laser engraving an award. The smoke in this video is real, it smelled like a wonderful campfire in the workshop even with capable ventilation.

Even Machines Make Mistakes

Very rarely the laser would lose track of its position and the laser would engrave the wood in the wrong position. But it would do it perfectly and continue on, not knowing that it was messing up the award. When this happened I planed the surface new and let the laser take another shot.

Here’s what that looks like, compared to a correctly engraved award right out of the laser. The sap in the wood heats up and rises to the surface and the surface is left tacky. I cleaned that up with mineral spirits and then handplaned the surfaces crisp and clean.

Arrow of Light Laser Mixup

Arrow of Light Laser Mixup

Arrow of Light Laser Complete

Arrow of Light Laser Complete

Now Here’s the Fun Part

At this stage, the awards are ready for sanding and finish. Remember, there are fourteen of them. And they are for Cub Scouts matriculating into Boy Scouts. A day was scheduled at the Pack Leader’s garage, and I packed a road kit. I would deliver the awards and teach the Scouts to sand and oil their own awards. I chose Danish oil for the finish because it’s near impossible to get wrong. I brought my plane, my planing stop, sandpaper of various grits, rags, and Watco Danish Oil. I also brought the appropriate safety equipment including gloves and a bag to take all oily rags home.

After a brief tutoring session the boys were busy at work sanding along the grain, sanding the end grain to higher grits, and checking each other’s work. There were some boys who weren’t interested but for the most part the Scouts were really interested.

Arrow of Light Finish in Progress 1

Arrow of Light Finish in Progress 1

Arrow of Light Finish in Progress 2

Arrow of Light Finish in Progress 2

The Pay Off

It was a fun experience to share woodworking with some Scouts, and it was especially rewarding to see the kids who were genuinely interested in the work we did that day. It was fun to see these kids share this time with their Dads. Maybe I’ve started something in these kids and someday they’ll say “Hey Dad, can we do some woodworking this weekend?”

Arrow of Light Finish Complete 1

Arrow of Light Finish Complete 1

Arrow of Light Finish Complete 2

Arrow of Light Finish Complete 2

Upper Cut Woodworks and the Skyline Gridiron Club

My wife Alexis taught at Skyline High School in Sammamish for seven years and introduced my daughter and I to the great community that surrounds the school. Fantastic academics, extra-curricular activities, and athletics. My oldest daughter graduated from Skyline and was a two-time state champion in cheer.

If you know me, you know I love football. College and high school are my favorite, and Skyline has a great program, winning the state championship four out of the last five years. In support of the Skyline Gridiron Club Upper Cut Woodworks is proud to participate in the fundraising auction. I’ll be building a Shaker Table and bidding on some items as well.

You can view the listing here, and even though you might be far away from Sammamish I hope you are encouraged to support your local schools.

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2010 UpperCutWoordworks-Shaker table

Upper Cut Woodworks and The Kyle Kupp Foundation

Kyle Kupp was my college friend at PLU and the best man in my wedding when I was 20. He’s been gone two years now, and we all really miss him. I was very proud to sponsor the 16th hole at Apple Tree Resort during the Kyle Kupp Memorial Reunion and Golf Tournament this year.

Here we are, just before the golfing started. I don’t golf, so I made sure golfers were hydrated (had to learn some things in advance at Gadgets Golf, by the way). We make a weekend out of this time together, and we laugh a lot. It’s important for us to stay in touch and make sure our kids grow up knowing each other. This is just the guys, our wives and kids were all in Yakima as well.

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Here’s the Upper Cut sign at the 16th tee, that giant man is another buddy from college, the member of Aurora golf club.

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From the Memorial

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Kyle Bradley Kupp passed away June 5th, 2008, at home with his family by his side, in Selah, Washington, after a five year battle with brain cancer. He was born February 23, 1969 in Sunnyside, Washington to Jake and Carla Kupp currently of Yakima.

Kyle grew up in Selah and graduated from Selah High School in 1987. He attended Pacific Lutheran University and earned his bachelors degree in Psychology. He later went on to Heritage College where he received his Masters degree in counseling and education.

Kyle was an athlete and enjoyed sports and competition. He participated in football and track at Selah High and later went on to play football for Pacific Lutheran University as a defensive back. After college he continued to play flag football as well as church and city league basketball. One of his favorite things to do was to play golf with his dad and brothers at Apple Tree Golf Course.
Kyle started his counseling career as a case worker with Comprehensive Mental Health and later became the counselor for East Valley Central Middle School where he has worked for the last nine years. Kyle considered the East Valley School District more than just an employer, but as family. They have been an amazing source of support since his diagnosis.

Of the things that mattered most to Kyle was his family. He met his wife Kendra, a teacher in the East Valley School District, on a blind date in 1994. They were married in July of 1995 at First Presbyterian Church in Yakima. July 8th of this year would have marked their 13th wedding anniversary. Kyle and Kendra have treasured and built their lives around their two children McKenna (8) and Kyler (6).

Kyle had a great sense of humor. He loved to laugh and to make people laugh. He was a joy to be with.

Kyle had a strong faith in Jesus and was secure in the fact that he was in God’s hands since he began his battle with cancer, counting on the most positive prognosis possible to get (source: https://mesotheliomaexplained.com/prognosis/). Over the last five years Kyle, Kendra and family have been sustained through the prayers of scores of people in Yakima, our country and across the world. A special thanks to Kyle and Kendra’s home church of Yakima Foursquare who have provided tremendous care and support. Thanks also to the medical community here in Yakima for their personal loving attention they showed Kyle.

Kyle is preceded in death by his Grandpa, Carl Marion of Sunnyside and Grandma, Bernice Kupp also of Sunnyside. He is survived by his wife Kendra, daughter McKenna, and son Kyler of Selah; parents Jake and Carla Kupp of Yakima; brother Randy and wife Nina of Yakima and brother Craig and wife Karin of Yakima; Grandparents Jacob O. Kupp of Sunnyside and Jeanette Marion of Yakima; mother and father in-law Ken and Jean Hereth of Selah and Brother in-law Matt and wife Megan Hereth of Selah; nephews, Cooper, Ketner, Kobe, Carter; nieces, Katrina and Katya, all of Yakima.

Memorial services will be held at 11:30AM Friday, June 13th, at Yakima Foursquare Church, 700 N. 40th Avenue. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Kyle’s children’s college funds or Yakima Young Life in care of Keith and Keith Funeral Home who is entrusted with the arrangements.