January 2019 MakerBarn Newsletter

Clay McGovernEvents, Making, News, Tools

The Maker’s Mark

Ever since people have been making things, they’ve been placing their mark on the item. From the stones in giant buildings to tiny pieces of jewelry. Why? Because they were proud of their work and were willing to show it and they wanted people in the future to know where it came from. The mark was generally hidden, and quite often could only be found by someone else skilled in the trade. If you look at the silicon die inside an Intel 8080 microprocessor chip, you will see the stylized initials “HF”. Hal Feeney was one of the designers of the 8080, and the person who designed the physical layout of the chip. Rumor has it that the Soviets cloned the 8080 by doing a straight copy of the chip’s artwork, including Hal’s maker mark.

The maker’s mark is usually not in plain sight. On a chest of drawers, the traditional place is on the inside left side of the top drawer. Leather workers usually have an oval stamp on the backside of the belt or holster.

Painters and photographers usually sign their work on the lower right corner. Ceramic and glass vases are marked on the bottom. (Ever watch “Antiques Road Show”?) The mark will usually have the maker’s name or initials and the date.

Today the world seems to move so fast. We spend much of our lives at work creating designs, proposals, budgets, and closing sales. The truth is, even some of the most important projects soon disappear and are forgotten. But not everything, toys and furniture I built for our kids are now being used by our grand-kids and will probably be used by their kids. The maker mark is still there, it is like a tiny time machine showing when and who made the piece. The grand-kids may not know what VHS tape is, but they know Grandpa made that chair. So don’t forget to mark your work, someone in the future will appreciate it.

New Additions!

Something that will be arriving at the shop, in the near future, is a Laguna Revo 18/36 wood lathe. As part of our program to replace loaned equipment it was decided we were long overdue for a new wood lathe. The Revo is a hulk, weighing about 500 pounds. It can turn everything; bowls and platters up to 18” in diameter to tiny objects like pens and doll house furniture. Turning wood can be great fun. Many projects can be done almost entirely on the lathe, even finishing. To complement the big lathe, and to assist in training, we have purchased two mini-lathes. The mini lathes can do almost anything the full-size machine can do, except much smaller.

The two small lathes will be located upstairs and will be used primarily for teaching and demonstration, but members may also use them for projects. (make sure you clean up your mess). Greg Radliff came up with a neat idea of replacing the black pulley covers with ones made of clear acrylic. This makes it easy to see the speed that has been selected. The covers are held with magnets to make it easy to change speeds.

Upcoming event

Monday, January 7th, 7:00PM The Metalworking SIG will be meeting once again. This time the subject will be “Welding”. We’ll have a group discussion on welding methods, equipment, and materials. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Upcoming Class

Saturday, January 19th, 6:00PM to 10:00PM A Basic Woodworking Class will be held. Everyone will learn to safely and confidently operate around 10 different power tools! These will include the jointer, planer, table saw, and band saw. In the process, you’ll learn how to square up a board and design and cut your very own cheeseboard! You will also learn about sanding and food safe finishes. The cost is $42. If interested, please contact instructor Lacey Porter.

Volunteer Opportunity for Members Only

The Conroe House of Prayer (CHOP) is a “street church” for the homeless and others in Conroe (http://compassionunited.us/ministries/chop/). Last year the MakerBarn made a beautiful table that is now used everyday for food service at the church. This year the church needs some simple bench furniture to go with what they already have. We are looking for a team of folks to get together and measure the existing benches in Conroe and then buy lumber and assemble benches at the Barn. We also need folks with trucks to deliver the benches to Conroe from the Barn. CHOP is very grateful for last year’s table – let’s do more to help them this year! Contact John Buckley at info@themakerbarn.org to volunteer


When doing welding operations, it is always a good idea to have a Spotter. The Spotter is a person who makes sure the weldor (the person doing the welding) is being safe and not catching things on fire that shouldn’t be (like pants cuffs). We have gone though a lot of trouble to keep the welding area free of flammable materials, but there always seems to be something that will burn. Wearing a welding helmet prevents the weldor from seeing flames or smoke until it’s too late.

~~ Reminder ~~
East Bay Clean-Out

Starting January 15th we will be cleaning out the East Bay of the Barn. That means everything except the Roll-In saw and Air Compressor will be removed from the area. This includes all of the wood storage bins and the horizontal metal storage cabinet (near the air compressor). You must have your material removed from this area before January 15th. Sorry, but we must free up this space for additional machinery and work-space. Please contact Raul Garcia to reserve space in the new store container. Spaces are rented on a semi-annual or annual contract on a first-come-first-serve basis, so don’t delay. Details are below:

You may rent a storage bin in our new storage container located on the North end of the Barn. Storage must be bought in a 6 month or 12 month block. Rentals are on a first come/first served basis. Raul Garcia is the Storage Rental Manager. Please direct all questions and concerns to him.

Here are your options:

$5/mo for 1/2 of a tall sized bin:

  • Vertical fit is 2 ft deep, 1 ft wide, and 8.5 ft tall
  • Horizontal fit is 2 ft deep, 2 ft wide, and 4.25 ft tall

$3/mo for a quarter sized bin:

  • Your storage tub must be within 28” with 4” allowed to overhang, 2 ft wide, and 2 ft tall

All members [individual or family memberships] may only rent one tall and one quarter sized bin at once; one tall and one quarter size bin per family. If you teach an EE semester-long class in the Barn, you may rent one tall and one quarter sized space for that purpose, as well.

BONUS: Renters may use the plywood storage area at no additional charge for sheet/panels only. Only 4 sheets per person at a time AND they may be stored for up to 2 months. After two months, those sheets may be removed and discarded.

  • Space is intended for project material storage, not long-term storage.
  • Center aisle must be kept clear at all times.
  • Any material left in Barn will be considered abandoned and may be discarded.
  • Sorry, there is no storage for material over 8’6″ in length.
  • Space must be evacuated at time membership is terminated. No refunds for space rental.
  • By renting a space, you agree to the Waiver and Release Agreement (given upon payment)

Absolutely no flammable liquids may be stored.

All material must be removed from the Barn (including the East storage bay) by January 15, 2019