Sunday, 30 March 2014

New Toy

Hi All,
In my last post I mentioned my new toy which I will reveal to you today. Recently, I became interested in making bandsaw boxes with my scroll saw and here is the first one I made.
I have mentioned bandsaws and scroll saws, but because these boxes are enhanced by their sculptured lines perhaps they should be called sanded boxes. Much more time is spent sanding the wood to shape than is spent cutting with either saw.

Anyway, I managed to do quite a bit of sanding on the above box using my belt and disc sander. This is a great sander for sanding surfaces that need to be flat but for graceful curves it is not so good. I spent more than a few hours hand sanding this box to the desired shape and it played havoc with my carpal tunnel, so I decided to invest in an oscillating spindle sander. It comes with various sized drums and moves up and down while it sands. It now sits next to my disc and belt sander; its the big orange one in the photo below.
I haven't used it in anger yet, but should be able to give you a full report in my next post because I have just finished designing a new bandsaw box with two draws. I will show you that in my next post too.

Regarding pyrography, my intention is to decorate the boxes I make with pyrography patterns and that is something I'm looking forward to. In fact I have made a start on a small trinket pot that I purchased a while ago. I have divided the pot into quadrants and will fill each one with a different abstract pattern.

 Dividing the pot into quadrants with a curved line may look like a difficult thing to do, but it can be made easier if you break the task down into small chunks. The away I do it is to place four pencil spots on the top rim of the box as if they were compass points, north, south, east and west. Then do the same on the bottom. Then, looking from the top, all you have to do is join top south to bottom west and carry on like that around the pot.
To aid getting the curved line symmetrical, I put a pencil dot half way between the top point and the bottom point and then just drew a simple curve between the two.Here is a picture with red spots to illustrate where I put the pencil dots before drawing the line.

 Lots of drawing tasks involved in pyrography can be made a lot easier if they are broken down. Anyway, in my next post I will show you the finished pot after I've attacked it with my pyrography iron.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Snake

Hi all,
 Sorry for the delays between my posts, but after moving house there are hundreds of jobs waiting to be done and there aren't enough hours in the day. For almost eight weeks I've dedicated all my time to the house even though I keep telling myself that I need to have a better balance between work and play.

I will have a day off every week to do some writing I say to myself, and I will make time for pyrography and scroll sawing, but then I look at the list of jobs that need doing and I'm back to square one. However, I feel a slight shift in the air and I'm determined to put more priority into writing, pyrography, and scroll sawing. A couple of days ago I made a step in this direction whilst gaining some brownie points off my good lady wife by curing one of her problems.

Since we moved into the new house our washing machine is now in the kitchen instead of the utility room, this is a peril that comes with down sizing. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the knob on the front of her washing machine protrudes in such a way that she kept bumping it with various bits of her anatomy as she went about her daily tasks. On wash days, utterances of vile nature would pour from the kitchen as she yet again nudged the button and sent the machine into a crazy cycle that usually meant the washing would need to be started again from scratch.

She was not best pleased with this state of affairs and asked for my help regarding the solution she'd come up with. "What I need is something that I can jamb between the top of the washing machine and work surface, that protrudes further out than the knob, " she said.

Seeing an opportunity to do a bit of craft work I set about cutting a piece of wood that would do the trick. I wanted it to be slightly bulbous at one end so that it didn't have any sharp corners and I wanted a slight taper on it so that she could push it under the work surface until it gripped. I cut a piece out on my scroll saw and sanded it roughly to the shape I desire. I tried it in situ and after a few tweaks to the thickness it worked just as my wife thought it would.

However, it looked boring so I grabbed the chance to do a bit of pyrography on it. To me, the stick looked a bit like a snake, so I modified the end of it with my new sander, which I will tell you about in my next post, and then did some pyrography on it. Because time wasn't on my side, I drew what I thought a snake's head looked like on the end of the stick and burnt it in with my pyrography iron. I then gave it two coats of varnish and presented to my wife. She was chuffed and my snake now comes out at least once a week and all is well with the world.