Begin making trophies in, 3.. 2..1.. FIRE!

Forums General Discussion Begin making trophies in, 3.. 2..1.. FIRE!

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    Tominco
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    It's that time of year again when all my other projects take a back seat. I have the unique privilege of making the trophies for the Extreme Benchrest Competition. They were very well received at last years EBR as well as EBR Mexico. This year, I thought I'd bring you all along for the process and some sneak peeks.

    Just outside the Tomcat Airguns filming/shooting room is the remainder of a busy 30×40 shop. This is where I spend a lot of my time DIY-ing, performing vehicle maintenance, experimenting, and woodworking. Before I can even start, I have to clean up the leftovers from a busy shop and a busy life. (The "busy life" part is just another way to say, "I'll pick it up later." lol!) These pic were taken after about 3+ hours of cleaning! I actually filled a 55 gallon drum full of sawdust!

    Welcome… to Tomcat Woodworking!

    This side of the shop is set up for cutting, shaping, and glue up. 

    Some of my clamps. The saying is true… you can't have too many clamps. 

    Table top sander, CNC, laser, and tabletop planer.

    This is the router station that I built. I've got a dedicated router under that table extension. When not in use, I can flip it up and out of the way. 

    It's VERY RARE to see either one of these saws in this clean of a condition! 

    I wasn't able to get to cleaning the whole shop as you can tell by my sanding station. I'll be cleaning that up later on today. I use a lot of different tools when making these trophies but, it all comes down to the sanding to get the smoothness and finish right. I'll do bulk sanding on the tabletop sander, fine sanding with the twin RO sanders, and final sanding by hand. Yeah… I hand sand each trophy and yeah, hand sanding sucks. For me, making these trophies is a way for me to show how much I love the sport of air gunning and when the hand sanding starts to suck, I just think about the shooter that will be receiving it and it keeps me going. On the right side of the pic, you can just make out the back side of my rubber mulch shot box still on the bench top from some chrony work. 

    My inspiration wall. 

    LUMBER!!

    I collect exotic hardwoods throughout the year for this project more than any other unique woodworking projects I take on. I also keep an eye out for unique woods from other resources. Believe it or not, I have found some very stunning wood inside chunks of firewood. On the list of woods… walnut, maple, curly maple, thermally modified curly maple, mahogany, beli, wenge, lati (white wenge), red heart, yellow heart, purple heart, bamboo, bloodwood, black palm, red palm, patagonian rosewood, canary wood, cherry, oak, bubinga, silver leaf poplar, sycamore, zebra wood, ash, leopard wood, marble wood, spalted maple, spalted tamarind, bocote, and more. There's some that I don't even know what they are! This is most of my hardwood and exotics collection but, there's even more that I'm didn't take pics of. I'd say I'm somewhere in the neighborhood of 4K in hards & exotics.

    And, Laminates!! Working with hardwoods and exotics is hard enough but, laminates can be extremely challenging!! I use them because they seem to be the easiest way to get the most vibrant and unique colors such as blue, aqua, green, orange, wine, olive, and so on. 

    I've actually laminated laminates in order to get the color combination I was looking for. I don't ever want to do that again! 

    Here's some pics from the Hard Air Magazine article from last years Extremem Benchrest showing the winners receiving their prizes. 

    Michael Wendt starting his collection.

    Michael Wendt growing his collection! LOL! Way to go Michael!

    Here's Claudios trophy. This one was a lot of work! The center is actually unknown but, I think it's a flame birch or flame maple. The two layers of laminates were very difficult to make. I had to cut each of them on an angle, flip the pieces, glue them back together, square them off, and then cut them to size. It was a lot of work for those 4 little strips of wood! After those is some bamboo and the outsides are thermally modified dark curly maple which is a softer wood that chips very easily but smells wonderful when working with it. It's almost like a chocolate-coffee smell. 

    Some of you may know that I sell clocks and mini pellets using this design. What may not be as well known is that the trophy pellets are a certain size which is smaller than the clocks, and bigger than the mini's. It's a size that I will never sell to anyone. The only way to get that particular size is to win it at the Extreme Benchrest Competition! I hope to see you there! 

    Happy Shooting!

    Tom

     

     

    • This topic was modified 4 weeks ago by Tominco.
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    Dairyboy
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    You sir are a phenomenal wood worker I love the looks of those!

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    golfer70
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    Beautiful work Tom. I really like your shop set up. I could get lost in there for days. 

    Thanks for your hard work. 

    Best wishes. 

    Tim

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    douger
    Participant
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    very nice shop sure helps to have all the tools that's what makes it so much nicer to be able to do projects like that  great job Tom 

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    CampFussell
    Participant
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    Thanks for showing us where the magic happens Tom. I didn't win mine, but it's certainly a trophy to me! Thanks man.

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    RB-AOA
    Dealer
    Dealer

    Tom. 

    We appreciate your hard work and the love you put into our trophies. We are proud to have Tom Cat as an important partner at EBR and a good friend. 

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    TarheelScott
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    That is so cool Awesome job. πŸ‘

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    adijorio
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    A thing of beauty is a joy forever.  

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    Airgun Advisor
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    Nicely done! See you at EBR.

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    Ranchibi
    Participant
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    Tominco, very beautiful wood work! I have a friend that is a wonderful wood worker and I really appreciate the work he does with all that exotic wood!

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    Tominco
    Participant
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    1st off, I'd like to thank all of you for the very kind words!! 

    @golfer70 – Sometimes I do get lost in there for days! Add a fridge, toaster, bathroom, and bed, and I'd spend the night! 

    @douger – Having the right tools does make the job possible. But, like an airgun, they all need to be tuned to work at their max potential. 

    @campfussell – Hey! There it is! That was a nice one. 1st time I used Spalted Tamarind (center), After that, I think it's Walnut, Zebrawood R, Bloodwood L, and Canarywood on the outsides. ;)

    @rb-aoa – It's a privilege and honor! Thank you for the compliment!

    @adijorio – Great phrase!

     

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by Tominco.
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    Tominco
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    Update from Day 1. 

    I spent about 8 hours in the shop finishing a little cleanup, checking tools, testing some concepts, and beginning the process on a few of them. 

    A tool out of alignment, like this, can cause major headaches. It doesn't look like much but, if I don't correct it, the trophy ends up shaped like a bowl!

    Take a guess how I found out the blade was off!

    Better! And, I upgraded my table saw push block in anticipation for this project.

    Most of my cuts need to be ultra-precise and dead-on the line.

    For example, One of these cuts is good and one is bad. Reference the table saw fence vs the edge of the wood. I'm using the fence to check how straight the cut is. 

    Here's another example of a cut gone wrong. 

    1st concept and color mock up. 

    Pencil holder…

    What's interesting about the wood in the next pic is that those dark streaks that add so much character to the piece are actually MOLD!! Respiratory protection is required when cutting and shaping this stuff.

    Perhaps something like this??  Hmm….

    Getting my glue on! 

    As I stated, I'll show "sneak peeks" but, I'm not posting any final pics until after EBR. You'll just have to use you imagination… except for one! My next update will show you all my most complex and favorite design. I've tried 4-5 times to make it and have not been able to complete it successfully. I'm going to try it again… just to give it away at EBR! As I write this, it is sitting in the shop glued, clamped, and drying overnight. I should know if it has a chance to succeed by sometime tomorrow. Wish me luck!

    Happy Shooting! 

    Tom

     

     

     

     

     

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by Tominco.
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    jking
    Participant
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    Wow, that's a hell of shop you have there Tom. Very nice equipment as well. It sure adds to a trophy knowing that someone has personally put in the time to create them that has a dog in the fight. Thanks for doing that and sharing some of the process.

    Jimmy

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    mark2cars
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    Tom you create real treasures and are one yourself !! It is so cool that your work touches so many folks !! Thanks for all you do in the world !!

    Mark

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    Fuciliere
    Participant
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    Nice shop and very good woodworking product, do you make your own gun stock?

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    Tominco
    Participant
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    Fuciliere

    Nice shop and very good woodworking product, do you make your own gun stock?

    lol… I had a feeling this question would come up! 

    No, I do not make gun stocks. Thank you for asking.

    Tom

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    Tominco
    Participant
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    I'd like to introduce you all to a pellet design that I'm now calling "The impossible pellet". My first attempt at this design was a few years ago and also just happens to be the first EBR trophy concept that I originally presented to Airguns of Arizona to gauge their interest. Needless to say, they were very interested! 

    However, it's a defect! Notice the lower left corner. The bloodwood suffered a major tearout. 

    But, the concept looked really good regardless! This pic shows off what the blue really looks like a little better, too.

    My 2nd attempt was for last years EBR and suffered a catastrophic tearout in the same spot that was even worse!

    I called it a defect as well and used it to practice my repair skills. I cut the bad side off and finished it out without the red stripe. The repair piece mated up to the yellow very nicely! But, the piece has defects in some other spots as well.

    At this point, I'm frustrated and motivated to get this done! What makes it worse is that I did manage to pull off the design twice in different color patterns. Some winners went home with these last year. 

    My 3rd attempt was clock sized. All went well through cutting, glue up, and shaping. But, once again, I ran into an issue causing me to call it a defect. During final sanding, I sanded through the thin layer of blue laminate and into the black. There's no coming back from this because I had a minimum thickness requirement. 

    One thing you can see, in this one, is how I maintain the grain pattern in all these. This causes extra work but, I feel it's important in order to give a special touch to the overall appearance. It also forces me to use wider (more expensive) wood, and increases the risk of going defective quite a bit. Basically, I have to cut out the exact width of the material that's going to be put in that space. 

    Luckily, the other side looked just as good so, I simply flipped it over and finished it out as a mirror image of what it's supposed to look like, IMO. I now label this one as "Salvage". Maybe I'll raffle this one off at EBR this year. What do you guys think?

    Will this be the year I finally pull off this design as it was intended? I certainly hope so! I've already started on making it and I've already had to overcome a few bumps in the road. Hopefully, I'll have time to update you all on those challenges tomorrow. 

    I hope you're all enjoying following this thread as I move through the process of making this years Extreme Benchrest trophies! 

    Happy Shooting!

    Tom

     

     

     

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by Tominco.
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    Lord_AriEL144K
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    πŸ‘πŸΏπŸ‘πŸΏ

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    intenseaty22
    Participant
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    Fire? FIRE?? Where? You better call a Fireman! 

    Nice Woodwork btw, I’m kinda jelly that Workshop . 

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    Tominco
    Participant
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    intenseaty22

    Fire? FIRE?? Where? You better call a Fireman! 

    Nice Woodwork btw, I’m kinda jelly that Workshop . 

    LOL! Thanks man. That's a quote from my favorite EBR event – Speed Silhouette. Jared from AoA announces it every year the same way. "Shooters begin firing in 3,2,1, FIRE!"

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