Friday, 22 November 2013

Bottle Kilns

I am still in limbo waiting for our house move. It has been almost 3 months now but still no confirmed moving date. There are only 4 people in the chain and we are moving to an empty house so how hard can it be?

Anyway, while sorting out the stuff I am taking with me I came to the conclusion that I needed a decent box to keep my blocks of polymer clay in. If you've ever wondered what a block of polymer clay looks like here is a photo.
These are sculpey polymer clays which come in a wide range of colours. Each block weighs 2oz and is an inch thick, two inches wide and 2.5 inches long. To keep them neat I decided on a flat box and I thought about making one, but then I remembered that I had just the thing. Many years ago when I was match angler, I kept my pole winders in a flat plywood box, so I dug it out and found it suited the blocks of clay perfectly.

Now seeing as I am kicking my heels waiting for moving day, which seems to be moving at a sloth's pace, I thought I'd brighten the lid up with a bit of pyrography. Those who have read my last post will already be aware of the design, but here it is again for anybody who missed it.
I live in Staffordshire so it seemed fitting to have have an image from the potteries on the top of my clay box. I also thought that it would be a change to do some hard landscaping because most of my pyrography work to date has been of flowers and items inspired by nature. This would be something completely different and a bit of a challenge. So, here is the finished article, I hope you like it.

I am very pleased with the way it turned out and I may do something similar in the future. Doing the brick work was slightly tedious, but at the same time it was therapeutic even though it did give my carpal tunnel some gyp.

I'm not sure about what I will be doing next because with half my world packed away I feel like I've been dispossessed. Ah well, I guess it will all sort itself out soon enough.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Bits and Pieces

Hi all,
I was hoping to move house this week but it has all gone a bit pear shaped. The solicitor who is doing the legal stuff for the people we are buying from decided to go on holiday for a couple of weeks and left us all in the lurch. Ah well, I least it meant I could do a bit more crafty stuff before I had to pack my scroll saw and pyrography kit away for a couple of months.

One of the things that has been annoying me lately is the accessibility of all my bits and pieces. Scroll sawing, and the wood working that surrounds it, necessitates the use of a wide range of bits and pieces. Not least a lot of different sized drill bits and various collets for my rotary machine. Up until this week, I have been keeping all this paraphernalia in an old fishing tackle box, but because it wasn't fit for the purpose I was using it, finding the actual bit of kit I wanted was a frustration.

Anyway, I decided to make a small set of draws and have a place on the top where I could conveniently keep all the other stuff including pens etc. Below is a picture of the finished article.
I made it from various pieces of scrap wood, pine, tulip wood, beech and various thicknesses of plywood are all in there somewhere. I am particularly proud of the carcass because that was made from the lump of plywood that came attached to the bottom of my scroll saw. I just knew it would come in handy one day for something. If you are wondering about the draw handles. I pinched a large wooden bead from one of my wife's necklaces and quartered it. If it wasn't for the fact that she proofreads these posts she'd never find out, but I guess the cat is out of the bag now.

One of these days I might have a go at building the same thing but on a bigger scale, it might look nice in our new lounge if we ever get there.

On the pyrography front, I am working on the lid for a box to keep my polymer clay in. I live in Staffordshire, which is the home of the potteries, so I thought a nice pottery based industrial scene would look good. Here is a sketch of the image I have in mind.
It will take me a couple of days to burn it in with my pyrography iron but I'm looking forward to showing it to you in my next post.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Heart to heart

Hi all,
Due to my imminent house move I haven't been doing much pyrography or scroll saw work, but during the week I managed a couple of heart shaped boxes.

They were both cut with the scroll saw from a piece of maple and have plywood bases. The first box, which it the larger of the two, has the message "I Love You" burnt into the lid with pyrography.

I quite like doing text with my pyrography iron and find that it is easier than it looks. I always do the outline of each letter first and then do very closely spaced lines inside each letter to fill them in.

Sometimes I make stuff for myself and sometimes I make things to sell and this box fitted into the latter category. I will be putting it up for sale on Folksy in the near future and imagined somebody as romantic as me buying it to present a loved one with a ring or other piece of jewellery.

The top of the box is pine and although some people say that pine isn't suitable for pyrography I would have to disagree because it worked fine for me. With this box I have made a change from my traditional varnish finish and gave it a coat of wax polish to enhance the grain and I think that it worked.
The second box was slightly smaller and the top was cut from a piece of tulip wood. Tulip wood is very light and takes pyrography well.

The design for the top was done by scanning the box and then copying and pasting small and smaller outlines of the heart into one drawing. I then when around the lines with the pyrography iron before shading in the alternate hearts. I tried to give the pyrography work a walnut burr look because that is one of my favourite woods.

The pyrography work on both boxes was done using a spoon tip. If you do try to do any work like this box it is important not to have your pyrography too hot because if you do, you will get over burn and that will spoil the contrast between the light and dark areas.

Hopefully, I will get another post in before I move and have to set up another broadband package That is something I'm really not looking forward to.