Thursday, 26 June 2014

New Box

Hi all,
Sorry it's been so long since my last post but I've been busy putting the finishing touches to our new back garden. I have also built a 6 foot by 3 foot garden gate because the one we had was as rotten as a pear. The new one is very sturdy and would take long boat full of vikings to knock it down

Anyway, in my last post I said I'd show you the progress I was making on a new box that I'd just started. I'm pleased to report that I finished making the box and I'm very happy with it. The design needs a bit of tweaking but all in all I'm pleased.
The top and the bottom of the box are made from a hardwood called obeche, which comes from Africa. It is light and has a fine grain which is just what is required because I am going to do some pyrography on it. The four sides are made from 6mm x 45mm strip pine from B&Q, again it is cheap and, because it is already planed all around, I figured it would be easy to work with.

The thing that makes this box different from the ones I've made before it the lid. It is hinged, but doesn't have hinges in the usual sense. I have tried using very small hinges on these boxes and  it's a nightmare to fix them to the box so that the lid closes properly.

If you look closely at the box in the picture you will see that on the corners at the back there is a little raised portion. Through there I have drilled a small hole and inserted a thin metal rod straight through into the lid. The lid pivots on these two pins as can be seen in the photo below.

You will notice that the lid is cleverly standing up by itself. This was achieved by sanding the back edge of the box at an angle so that it was allowed to open just past the vertical.

I can also report that the pyrography process is well underway. I was hoping to have it finished in time for this post but it wasn't to be. I still have one side left to do, but it is going well. It is a little bit different from my usual work and I'm looking forward to showing it you in my next post.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

trinket pot

Hi all,
In my last post I told you that I had a bit of pyrography on the go; I wanted to do something quick so I had a go at one of the trinket pots I purchased a while ago. I like these little trinket pots because they always come up nice with a bit of pyrography on them.

I had been mulling the idea of using my pyrography iron to make a trinket pot look as if it had been woven like a little basket. I had a couple of false starts when it came to drawing the pattern on the pot but in the end I came up with a method that worked for me. In fact, I did very little drawing and burnt most of the pattern onto the wood freehand with my pyrography iron.

Here is a picture of the finished pot, I hope you like it. I think it looks cute, but I'm probably biased.
At first glance, it probably looks like a big task to produce something like this, but the reality is, for anybody with decent hand to eye coordination, it is not as difficult as it might seem.

Believe it or not, but it took less than an hour to do the pyrography on this pot so it's worth having a try if you want to produce something fairly quickly.

The secret is to break the pot down into sections. I drew a line around the pot from north to south so that I had the sphere cut in half and then I quartered it. Once this was done, it was easy to mark the pot in equal parts. Just imagine a peeled orange with the segments running vertically.

For the horizontal lines, I just imagined the tropics going around the world and drew two lines accordingly. Once I had those pencil lines in, the rest was done with the pyrography iron. I burnt in two short horizontal lines on the tropics, then drew one in the middle which would be the equator and then another line between those two.

My explanation is probably as clear as a bottle of ketchup, so here is a picture showing the sequence of the line burning.
Once you get started you will find that it is all about burning straight lines which make little boxes. Two edges, one in the middle and two more to fill in the gaps.

I used my usual spoon tip on a medium heat to make sure I avoided over burn marks. The finish was three coats of Ronseal clear gloss varnish and I will flock the bottom and insides when I do some flocking on my next project.

Talking of the next project. I am finally getting around to making a box on my scroll saw and then decorating it with pyrography. I have made a start and will show you my progress in my next post.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Broll Box Done

Hi all,
Pass the biscuits around because I've finally finished my latest box. You may have noticed from the title of this post that I have called it a broll box. I've done that because I'm fed up with referring to it as a band saw box when I actually made it using a a scroll saw. I suppose I could call it a scroll saw box, but where is the fun in that.

I mentioned before that this type of box is usually made on a band saw by sticking all the pieces of wood together first then sawing them. However, because I haven't got a band saw, and the depth of cut is very small on a scroll saw, the procedure needs to be reversed.

So, to make a band saw type box on a scroll saw, you need to cut out all the pieces first and then stick them together. I thought the effort would be about the same but it didn't work out that way. Making a band saw type box on a scroll is much more time consuming. The cutting doesn't take too long, but the sanding does.

Anyway, here is a picture of the finished article.
You may notice that there is a small gap under each drawer. This was deliberate; it is where I drilled the entry point for the scroll saw blade. During the sanding process I smoothed out the hole and made it look like part of the design.

If you are wondering why you can see lines going around the box, unintentionally highlighting the laminated nature of its structure, it is because of the wood I used. I made the box from a support rail from my mother -in-law's bed, (there will be hell up if she finds out) and the pine had gone that orange colour that pine goes. I mistakenly thought it wouldn't show because I was sticking the pieces together but it just goes to prove how wrong one can be.

Here is a another picture with the drawers pulled out. They have dark insides because I used navy blue flocking on them. I'm pleased with the flocking because it is much simpler than using sticky backed felt and it looks better.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the end result but if I do another I will make a couple of modifications to make the box quicker to make. This will entail making a couple of changes to the design which will  make the sanding process quicker.

Firstly, I would change the contours around the drawers. The ones on this design are too tight to accommodate the narrowest drum on my bobbin sander. And secondly, I would remove two pieces which would reduce the depth of the box. This would mean that my bobbin sander would be able to do all the sanding from one end of the box.

I have just finished working on the design for a new box which will be more traditional in style, but adorned with a pyrography finish. I hope to show you that soon. Talking of pyrography I have just started work on a new trinket pot and it is going well. I will show you that in my next post.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Scroll saw box stage 4

Hi all,
Scroll sawing
In the last post I showed you how I went about sanding and gluing together all the box parts and the pieces that go to make up the drawers. Here is a picture of how it looks once that is done. Note that I have also made a couple of handles for the drawers out of bits of scrap walnut.

Special care needs to be taken when sawing small pieces of wood for the handles because you don't want to get your fingers too close to the saw blade. When I cut the handles for this box on my scroll saw, I held the wood in a pair of bull nosed pliers. Its a bit fiddly but I like my fingers and want to keep them in case I ever take up the piano.

 The next stage is to see how the drawers fit into the box and to do any sanding that is required. Take the minimum amount of wood off to just allow the drawers to open and close freely without snagging.

Here is a photo of the box now it is put together with the drawers fitted. The next task is to sand the outside to a pleasing shape and I will show you that in my next post.

In my last post I showed you a picture of the running hare that I'd drawn with a view to it being my next pyrography project. It described the shape of the hare in a number of elipses. Here is the finished hare after I burnt it into a maple plaque with my pyrography iron.

The result is quite pleasing but I think I should have made the dark parts even darker. The trouble is,  by the time I'd thought about it, I'd already given it 3 coats of varnish so it was too late. In the future I'm going to give all my work a couple of days grace before I do the finishing off.
By the way, if you are interested in the hare, I will be listing it in my Folksy shop in the next few days.