Tuesday, January 15, 2019

A wooden hat for Tromso

  In two weeks I am taking my February holiday and will be out of the shop and irregular in my postings. That is why I am trying to knock off some of those projects that have drifted around my life or are some little thing that I just haven't gotten around to yet. I what to March 2019 to be filled with new inspirations not left overs.

 Today's post is one of those little things.

  Just before Christmas this snow person arrived from my sister and brother in law's shop.  What was missing was a hat.  Tromso, for that is his name, had a stylish scarf but no hat.  I had never made a hat in my shop before, it wasn't difficult but it was a new experience.  The hat sits on his head and so far is not fastened in anyway but that could change if winter winds become as issue. The hat isn't just a box the sides curve a bit and the top is rounded giving our snow man a hint of style.  Looking at this photo I think he needs a nose job too.

  When we first saw this house without any furniture in it, it looked huge and empty.  We imagined a large living room with a sectional sofa and I thought I'd have a basement workshop that was big enough for a barn dance.  We had even talked about a separate wood shop and a finishing room.    I would have loved to have a dust free space to allow paint and varnish to dry to smooth glossy perfection.  Well......the basement wasn't as big as I thought and so the finishing room vanished in a cloud of physical reality.  So the reality is that when I am painting things like snowmen's hats and chair rails I have to stop making dust. For the last few days the work shop has become a painting and drying space. As you can see the hat's done, the chair rail should be done today and then I'm back to making dust..

  More than building, on my agenda for the next couple of weeks is serious cleaning.  It is time to drag all the machines away from the wall and vacuum behind them, also send the various blades out for sharpening too.  It is time to sort out and put away properly the many assorted nail, nuts, screws and thingamabobs that have collected over the last year or two.  Those two jobs are worst, they seem so mindless, but are actually productive and over due.

  If I find anything really strange while cleaning I'll let you know.

 cheers, ianw

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Long, long chair rail

 Some time ago I had  a brain wave and decided to protect the walls of our living room, dining room with a hand carved chair rail.  The first section, amazingly was finished and installed in May 2018.  The second section had proven to be slower in coming.  

 There are several reasons it has taken so long, none of which are good reasons.  Some of the reasons were busy summers, motorcycle riding, yard work and lack of inspiration.  After having made a 48 inch chair rail, carved, sanded, painted and installed the second section proved to hold no special attractions.  Especially as the effect, being nearly invisible, was quite successful.  Part two was carved a while ago and I just finished the sanding today. The major reason it took so long, is that it is so long

  This rail is 90 inches long, it hangs over my work table regardless of what I do and requires that I have my work space in good order before I even begin working on it.  (you know, my work space is seldom in good order)

  However, there turned out to be a hidden bonus in my sloth.  When carving basswood it is a good idea to not have it too dry.  When I work on a serious relief carving I usually cover the board for a day or two with a damp cloth and try to keep the wood from getting totally dried out between sessions.  Chisels just seem to track better in slightly dampened wood.  When it comes to the finally sanding stage, as today, dry is very best.  My 400 grit paper raised baby powder like dust and the end result it glass smooth.  

  I will try and plan ahead for my coming carving projects so that there is time for the wood to really dry out before final sanding.  I like to imagine that I will evolve as a wood worker and begin planning my efforts weeks in advance. (I also like to imaging world peace, just as likely).

  It does feel good to get a 90 inch monkey out of the shop. I think it is time to turn my attention to a couple of tables.

cheers, ianw