Monday, 18 June 2018

Failed Pen

Hi all,
Sometimes things go right and at other times they turn to a bag of crap. Let's start with the good stuff. I've done a bit of turning and made a couple of vases. The first of which I decided to colour up with a band of polymer clay. If nothing else it would be a change from pyrography bands. I shaped the vase then using my parting tool I turned a groove about 6mm deep. Then I mixed some blue and white polymer clay together and while it still had some separation I filled the groove in the vase with it. Then I fired it in the oven and then turned the shape and finished it.
The pound coin gives you an idea of scale, so you can see that it is a small vase. I guess the outcome was ok but nothing special. It was turned from a piece of sapele that was in the scrap bin so you can't expect too much from a bland piece of wood.

Then I thought I'd make another vase for the fridge, but a different shape to the last one. I thought a bit of segmentation might be alright so I did a couple of light wood bands in the middle.
I was going to flatten one side so that it could be stuck on the fridge but my wife said it was too nice. She stuck a viola in it and put it on the windows sill in the kitchen. So I'm not doing too bad overall, but here is the failure.
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Inspired by something I'd seen on Youtube, I decided to have a go at eggshell mosaic. Further to that notion, I decide that it would look nice on a pen. Anyway, I turned a pen fro African blackwood and recessed it a little in the area where I wanted the eggshell. By the way, this project looks better with white eggshells which I didn't have, so after a full English I grabbed the brown eggshells, before my wife could stick them in the bin, and painted them with white acrylic paint.

I then stuck the eggshells onto the pen in a random pattern so that the blackwood would show up behind. It was a tedious, tiresome and frustrating thing to be doing but I perceived. Luckily I decided to do just the top first and finish that so not to waste time on the bottom part. Am I glad I did, because the CA glue that was supposed to seal the gaps between the eggshells and give me a crystal clear, glossy finish just didn't happen. For what ever reason it went all milky on me. So here is a photo of the mess.
The sad thing is, up until when I put the super glue on, it looked quite promising. So I won't be messing with eggshells again any time soon. It seemed like a cracking idea (pun intended) at the time but we all make mistakes.

To save me wasting the pen blanks and tubes I had another idea. Why don't I cover them with nano mosaics? I will show you how I get on with that idea in my next post.



Tuesday, 5 June 2018

A little Vase

Hi all,
I thought you might like to see this little bud vase that I made. I saw the idea in a woodturning magazine so I thought I'd have a go. Not only is it a small vase but it has a insert which allows it to hold water and thus keep alive any little flower that are put into it. Plus, I have flattened the back  and inserted a magnet so that it can stick on the side of the fridge.

The wood is sapele and I have burnt two circles around the vase. The flowers are fairy foxgloves and have been in the vase for 4 days now and don't show any sign of drooping. My Mrs is well pleased and wants me to make a load more.

It was easy to make and I enjoyed it, so I might just do her another couple.

By the way, one of my books, "Bun In The Oven," will be free to download until Saturday 9th of June. Please grab a copy and have a good laugh. To get the download just go to the book's tab at the top of the page and click on the cover. That will take you straight to Amazon for the download.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Carved Rabbit with Pyrography

Hi all,
I've just finished my latest carving. It's a rabbit and it was a little more difficult than I thought it would be.

I roughed it out first from a piece of lime wood.
At this point it is still attached to the main piece of wood. I do it like that so that I have something to hold on to whilst most of the material is removed. The rabbit was roughly drawn onto the piece of wood and then I carved away most of the material with a selection of Saburr tooth burrs.These are very good at removing a lot of wood quickly whilst still poviding some control.

The rabbit was further refined with diamond burrs, rifflers and various grades of sand paper.
Here is the finished rabbit after the details were burned in with my pyrography iron.
I kept the finish simple, using several coats of Danish Oil.

This will probably be my last carving for a short while because I have acquired a ganglion on my wrist. The doctor's advice is not to do much repetitive work for a while so carving is going to go on the back burner for a bit. I'm seeing the doctor again on Monday with a view to having said ganglion removed, but we will see.

For those who have not come across a ganglion before her is my description. It comes as a large swell on the wrist in the area wher it joins the hand. It looks like  a marble has got inder the skin. It's a bit like a cyst, with the cause being unknown. Generally it is not painful unless you knock it and then it is absolute murder. I also get pain when my hand gets into certain positions so I am learning to avoid them. It's a stange old world, one minute I've never heared of a ganglion and now I've got one, still i guess its better than waking up with a gammy leg.

I shall continue woodturning so please watch this space for my next post. I'm also thinking about doing some video work of my projects, but it is early days yet.

I did do one of my garden to see how it went. I know next to nothing about video editing but here is a link to youtube and my first decent attempt. It's even got background music




Monday, 21 May 2018

Torquise Inlay

Hi All,
I have been meaning to have a go at a bit of inlay work for a long time. I have done a bit with polymer clay a couple of years ago. Here are some hare bells an the lid of a box.
And, I have even done a few bits with wood. Here I inlaid some tulip wood into the top of a box with a mahogany lid.
However, I haven't tried inlaying gems stones even in dust form. So, I turned a small lidded box out of what I think was rosewood. I bought it over a year ago so I can't remember, and I'd already used the end of the blank with the identification label on. Whatever it was, it turned very well and provided the perfect background for the turquoise.
It turned out very well, in fact, I was pleasantly surprised how simple it was. After I'd turned the lid of the box I used a thin parting tool to make a groove a couple of mm deep. Then I carefully poured the turquoise dust into the groove and soaked it with thin CA glue. Once it had dried I used a round nose scrapper to smooth the turquoise so that it was level with the wood and then I sanded it in the usual way by going through all the grades. I then gave it a coat of wax and polished it up. I'm afraid the pictures don't do it justice because the lid is super glossy and super smooth.

On the carving and pyrography front, I'm having a go at a small rabbit. I'll share that with you in my next post. If you have any questions about any of the inlay stuff above, I'll be happy to answer any questions.



Friday, 11 May 2018

Wise Owl

Hi all,
Ive finally managed to get a couple of projects underway. For a simple start I thought I'd turn, carve and burn a small caricature of an owl. Here is Oliver, or Olly if you want to shorten it, he won't mind.
He looks kind of cute and I quite enjoyed burning the feathers on. It will be good practise for when I try to do a realistic bird in a few weeks time. If there is one think about it that I don't like, it's the beak. Especially from the angle I've photographed it from because in the photo it looks more like a pig's snout. Perhaps I should have called him Porky.

Anyway, for those who are interested, this is how he was made.

Step 1:  I made a rough model out of Plasticine.
This gave me something to follow when removing wood. You may notice that the finished article is a bit taller and on a plinth. The reason for that is, the plinth is actually the bit that the wood was mounted to the lathe with and I kept it on during the carving process to give me something to hold on to. Anyway, I like  the look of the plinth and decided to keep it.

Step 2: I took a square of lime wood and turned it to the overall shape of the owl. By doing this I removed a lot of wood which saved me time when doing the carving.

Step 3: I roughed out the shape.
Once I was happy with it what I'd done, I refined it and sanded it to the final shape.

Step 4: I drew on a few feathers with a pencil and once I was happy with the style I did the rest with my pyrography iron. I also burned the plinth to give it some texture and some colour.

Step: 5 I wiped it down with rubbing alchol to remove any surplace carbon/soot that was created by the burning process. Then I gave it seveal coats of melamine lacquer.

My next project is a small box with a turqoise inlay. I've not done this before so I'm waiting to see how it turns out. All will be revealed in my next post.






Sunday, 29 April 2018

Slow Start

Hi all,
Getting going again after the long winter is turning out to be very difficult. Eventually the weather has warmed up enough for me to get back into the workshop, but there was a list of things to be done in the garden so I have been delayed.

Anyway, to get myself back into woodturning mode I made my wife some earings so that she could decorate them. She has started making paper beads and wanted to have some earings so that she could make a set. She decorated a couple of bangles and made some beads for a neckless and then decorated the earings I made her.
I think she has made a really good job of them. The trouble is that she now wants more earings so that she can make other colours to go with her many outfits. Hopefully, I will be able to do something fo myself soon.

I have a small wooden owl in mind and I should be able to show you some progress in my next post.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Mr Snuggles

Hi all,
I'm slowly getting back into doing a bit of woodwork. My first project for the year was very small but it involved a little bit of turning, some carving and a touch of pyrography. Here is the result, nothing sensational but he's kind of cute.
He's supposed to be an hedgehog that is all snuggled up for the cold weather. I've called him Mr Snuggles and my wife thinks he's lovely. He is very small, about 40cm tall and he is carved from a small block of lime wood.

The thing is, I really like carving these small pieces. Not as intricate as doing a netsuke, so they don't take up so much time. I intend to increase my skills in woodcarving to the point where I am able to carve a realistic bird but that might take some time. I have purchased a book about the subject called "Carving Realistic Birds" from amazon, written by David Tippey. I got it second hand for 1p plus P&P. I think it is a real bargain because it is a great book.

Anyway, one of the things he advocates in the book is to make a model of the bird in Plasticine before carving any wood. So I tried it on Mr Snuggles, I got a block of newplast modelling clay off
amazon for £3.65 and gave it a go. It was funny to be working with Plasticine again and it took me back about 60 years. Actually, I think this newplast stuff is better than the Plasticine we had in the old days, it models very easily.

I was well pleased with doing the model first because it only took a couple of minutes yet it gave me so much confidence before I carved it in wood. Having something in 3D to referr to made the carving process so much simpler.

For my next carving project I'm going to do a small owl before moving onto something bigger. Any comments or questions are welcome.