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I’ve been making panels for the 2D prints I’m doing in the gizmo(logy) series. I purchased the smaller sizes from Cheap Joe’s to save some time building, and was impressed with both the cost and the quality. But once I got the process down, I ended up making a variety of panels at home.

Here’s a quick how-to:

I’m building the frames with Select Pine 1×2’s for the edges, and 1/4″ sanded pine plywood boards for the tops.  The sides and top are held together with wood glue and clamped down to dry for at least an hour. I tacked the corners of larger frames with a brad nailer for added strength.1 framing tools

Here’s a look at 4 6×6″ frames glued together and dry.2 panels

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I came up with a schedule of working on 8 mugs every two days.  One day to make and one day to finish.  In the scope of other projects, this will be enough, I think.  By the end of the summer I should have around 200 give or take.  This will be a good supply for the upcoming holidays.

K wanted to see a process oriented post so I decided to do a post covering handle application and finishing a mug.  Here we go:

Start with my handles and tools at the ready.  When I first started making handles in 2001, I went from rolling coils and slapping them on and calling it a day.  I then learned the subtle art of pulling handles, extruded handles, and now a hybrid of slab constructed handle with a “hand pulled” look.  I have also, within the past 5 years or so started to get into handles that taper from thick to thin back to thick again.  This “bone” handle intrigues me because movement in the handle is far more interesting than a handle that has uniform thickness/thinness. I will cover my handle making in more detail at a later date.

Have all your handles ready to be attached.  Spray with water or cover with plastic to keep moist and fresh! (sounds like veggies)

Figure out the location of your handle.  Many times your mug will tell you.  But first, its time to clean up the bottom of the mug.

Mug is leather-hard. Use your thumb to smooth out the bottom and beveled edge.  I NEVER USE A SPONGE!

I also make a small concavity using the palm of my hand.  Be gentle.

Score the area that your handle will touch,  I use a tool that has small stiff wires on the end almost like a wire brush.  Use a drop of water for each connection.  No more.

Attach and press firmly the top part of the handle to the body of the mug.  Use both hands.  Steady.  Make sure it is square with the mug or thereabouts.

Attach bottom portion of handle.  Firm pressure.

I use a Wipe out tool for cleaning around the edges of the handle and any stray marks.  I like emphasizing the seam. Its a good place for glaze to pool.

Have a wet bamboo brush handy.  Shake brush of excess water and then lightly go over your handle and edges.  Re-freshen your handle.

Stamp your work if you use stamps.

Sign and cover loosely and let dry slowly for a day.  After that I set aside and continue to dry uncovered.

Good Job.  As John Britt says: “Make about 300 of those and we’ll see you next time.”