Thursday, July 2, 2015

Before there was plastic there was Raw Hide.

  A while ago I replaced the end on one of our garden hoses. To hold the new fitting in place I used a hose clamp and the result looked like this:

The clamp is doing the job perfectly but it is not very nice to hold on to while splashing water around the yard. Having a nasty thingy on the end of the hose is not really an issue for grown ups.....but shortly there will be grand children playing in the yard and I don't want a four year old's hand messed up by a rough edge.

 The solution:
before trimming

 a raw hide wrap.  
after trimming.

   Once raw hide is wet it can be shaped easily and once it dries it is very hard.

  I started out with a cheap cheap piece of raw hide for a cheap cheap bag of raw hide chew pieces for dogs. I bought the bag at a $ store, not even a pet food place.  There are a dozen irregular hunks of raw hide about the size of the palm of my hand.

 First stage to making the raw hide workable is to soak it for a good long time.  Usually I soak the piece I want to work with for at least over night and usually more like 24 hours. Once the hide is that soaked it is kind of spongy, a bit slimy and ready to be shaped and stitched.
  I cut the wet hide with a sharp utility knife and punch holes in it with an awl. After getting the wet hide shaped I leave it to dry out, usually a couple of days. Once dry it is a bit rough but quite hard. For this project I will probably smooth the dried hide down some how, sand paper I expect.

  Yesterday was Canada Day and as I rode my bike around the neighbourhood I saw some school kids playing road hockey. 

   The great Canadian summer tradition.  There is even a reference to playing road hockey in one of the Murdoch Mysteries episodes. Aside from a part of my history as well as Canadian Identity I just love it when I see kids outside playing. 


Saturday, June 27, 2015

folding table

  Our deck needs a small table and I decided to look for a plan for a folding version.

folding chair and matching table, from an old wood project magazine

table plan

  To make the table I gathered several pieces of oak from my stash of rough flooring boards. 

  I rip sawed the oak on my band saw to make the table top 3/8 inch thick and then joined and planed all the sections.  Oak can have a wonderful grain and will look nice on the deck.  In the pattern most of the wood is 3/4 inch but pine instead of oak.  I opted for thinner hard wood, it should stand well if left on the deck in the weather.

    I made all the pieces for this project, scraped and sanded everything to 120 grit before assembly.

   When working with oak there a few of things to remember:

 1. Oak is very hard and quite sharp so you have to be mindful of edges. Oak will splinter if you are not careful and it is no treat to get an oak sliver under a finger nail.

 2. Oak has a great grain that you have to mix and match when you are setting boards beside one another to get the best effect.

 3. Every fastener has to be pre-drilled or you'll split your wood or bend your nails.

 4. Oak finishes very nicely with cabinet scrappers in place of sand paper, but watch out for the grain in the same way you do when hand planing

  Next blog, the finished table.
cheers, ianw