Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Award for the Best Supporting Craft Material goes to Wood

  My wife is a talented and creative person in the kitchen and glass studio.  Most recently Eva completed a glass sculpture of a cedar ( cedrus) tree.

  As the tree neared completion the question of where and how to mount it came forward.  I had in a back cupboard a piece of walnut that caught my eye in a cut off bin at a wood show, at least five years ago.  Some shops have no extra wood laying about without purpose, my shop has too much wood laying about with no assigned purpose, but sometimes a random piece of wood is just what the doctor ordered.

  To make the sculpture stand on its own I had to set the four glass sections into slots in the wood.  I began by tracing the glass base, each piece was a different length and width. I drilled out sections of the slots and then cut the rest of the slot with a coping saw.  Once the slots were cut I cleaned them up with needle files, rasps and a 1/4 inch chisel.  A coping saw is a good little tool to have in your shop for a job like this.  After the wood work was done I sanded the board to 600 grit and gave it two coats of spray vanish and a coat of wax. 

  A unique piece of glass sculpture reserves an unique base to finish it off.

note: measurements in centimetres. 
   The other knock off I am doing while hanging out with our grandchildren this weekend is a puzzle.  There bird cut outs are wood burned and will get a frame  17.5 by 19.5 cm. It is a surprising  challenge to fit all the pieces back into the frame.  My grandson likes to do puzzles. 

  It is great when a wood shop can provide support and entertainment for other people as well as pleasure for me.

cheers, ianw


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Maple Knife Handle, by hand, mostly.

the yellow handles knives were destined for Iceland
fishermen but the deal fell through. I got the knives for 30 SEK ($4.55 Cdn)
each. The blades are stout and very sharp, the handles will be replaced.  

  I brought those knives home from Sweden last spring and have finally got around to making  a replacement handle.

  Don't get me wrong, the yellow plastic handle is excellent and probably easier to hold on to when wet than my maple handle. After all Frost/Mora are world class knife makers.  But, the handle is yellow plastic, its just not pleasing to my eye.

  The first stage of the process was to grind the plastic handle off.  I used my angle grinder and a course abrasive disk, easy and quick.  Every shop needs a 4 1/2 inch angle grinder. 

  Once I cleared the plastic away I drew a design for the handle, by tracing the blade and drawing around it.

  I picked maple for this handle. I picked a board twice as long as I needed. First I ripped the board in half, the length of the handle. Then I cut the rough shape of the handle on the band saw.  This let me cut both halves of the handle as though I had stacked them for cutting, with the uncut end providing plenty of support.

   Once I got the rough shape cut I used my dremel tool  to hollow out half the thickness of the blade on each side of the handle.  When the blade fit tightly into the hollows I glued the blade in and the sides on with contact cement.  I know there are plenty of new high tech epoxy style glues out there cement has never let me down.  You just have to give it the time it needs to set.  As the blade is inset into the handle I am not concerned that it will wiggle.

  After I finished with the Dremel  I settled in to watch a Youtube series on Queen Jane of England. ( reign 10 July 1553 - 19 July 1553).  I know that I spent a little over three hours shaping the handle with rasps, files and sand paper.  Three episodes plus coffee drinking time. I sanded the handle to 600 grit.  It was so smooth it felt soft.  


   That is the chaos of my work space as I shaped and sanded, if you look closely you can see the knife in the middle of the photo with green tape on the blade.  I think that a belt sander could have done the job 3 or 4 times quicker, but I didn't feel like the noise or aggression that comes from power tools this time.
   I finished the handle with two coats of orange shellac.  Maple is so close grained and so hard that I didn't even try to stain it, the stain just sits on top.  Old style maple furniture if usually finished with tinted varnish.   I picked orange shellac because it has a old style traditional colour and feel to it.

  The handle is a bit rustic and probably too small for most tastes but I quite like how it fits my hand.

  I have few more of these blades. My plan is for the next knife handle  be made from walnut or some other dark wood.  The handle will be a bit longer and more round with a hole in it for a leather thong too.   I am also thinking of drilling the blade to put in a couple of brass rivets, more the the look of things than any other reason. 

   I should gather together the knives that I have put handles onto.  I think I am getting better. Maybe in a coming post. 

cheers, ianw