Monday, 27 April 2015

The Sun

Hi all,
I'm afraid I haven't managed any new projects this week, mostly because I had an ultimatum from my wife. Well not so much an ultimatum as a request. She wants me to finish doing the garden before the end of April, so I thought I best take advantage of the decent weather.  I have some trellis work and some crazy paving to still do, but I' almost there.  I look forward to posting a few pictures in my next post.

Now then, one issue came to me during the week. I discovered the power of the sun, not in a sunburning type of way because I already knew about that, in fact, in my younger days I peeled for Britain. What I discovered was the suns ability to bleach the colour out of things. Of course I knew that some items like pictures, carpets and the fabric of furniture can be susceptible to the power of the suns bleaching rays, but not the colour of wood.

A few months ago I made a box with a walnut lid that had a rose inlaid into it. I was going to sell it on but my wife bagsied it and stuck it on the window sill in our bedroom. This being the case, my only course of action was to make another and sell that on Folksy. So I made a second box and wrapped it up and put in a draw so that it would be nice and safe should anybody want to buy it.

Anyway, a couple of days ago I looked at the original one on the bedroom widow sill but it didn't look as nice as I remembered, so I got the second one out of the draw to compare them.
Here is the original.
And here is the one that hasn't been in the sun.
It is quite shocking really, because the sun hasn't just taken the colour out of the walnut, it has actually affected the pyrography. So if you don't want any of your precious items to fade, keep them out of the sun.

By the way, readers of this blog might like to know that one of my books "Bossyboots" will be free this week-end 0n Amazon. The actual dates are the 2nd-4th on May inclusive. If you would like to find out more about "Bossyboots" or any of my other books, here is a link to my website .

My next project involves a bit of recycling. I'm still working on the image for it, but I hope to show it you in my next post.

Sunday, 19 April 2015


Hi All,
It doesn't seem all that long ago that I was singing along with the Beatles track "When I'm Sixty Four," but all of a sudden I've reached that milestone. Another twelve months and I'll be drawing my pension.

I don't know about you, but the older I get, the harder it is to come up with ideas for birthday presents for myself. My wife used to buy me surprise presents but after she got me a spade, which I still ridicule her about, she insists on me telling her what I want for my birthday. So I had to make up my mind and it came down to two choices, some watercolour  painting equipment or some wood for scroll sawing. It may surprise you, but the watercolour paints won.

The biggest problem I have at the moment is sawer's block. My inspiration for making things out of wood seems to have disappeared. I'd like to make a few more boxes but I'm running out of places to put them, and to be honest, I don't like selling most of my work.

Don't worry I'm not giving up on the scroll sawing or the pyrography, but it is going to have to fight for my time against my watercolour painting ambitions. What are your watercolour ambitions you may be asking, well I tell you.

I have always been interested in art and while "When I'm Sixty Four," was in the charts, I was painting an eagle with the left over paints from a painting by numbers set that I'd had for Christmas. I also did a self portrait of myself when I was in Australia, but then life's hectic train pulled into my station and like a fool I jumped on. Courting, getting married, having kids and working all hours to pay the mortgage meant there was little time to be arty. Any spare moments where I managed to escape were spent either fishing or blotting out stress in the local.

Anyway, after getting married for the second time and the kids left home, life became more mellow. I got the urge to paint again and over the next couple of years I tried a few different mediums. I would like to say that I was a success but things didn't go to plan. I fell foul of life again and caught another train to nowhere. Promotions at work and several years studying took away my art time and events took on further complications with my redundancy and a heart attack. Then we moved into a house that would be better described as a hovel. It was one of the places any sane man wouldn't normally have touched, but it was cheap. Every room and the gardens needed doing and, although it has taken me about fifteen months, I've almost got it done.

So, peace of mind may be just around the corner, I have given myself one year to paint my heart out and see if I can do anything worth hanging on a wall. I've made a start by building a stand for my brushes out of bits of scrap wood. It incorporates a jar at the the back to hold my clean brushes and some holes at the front to hold the ones that I am currently painting with.
My wife was so jealous I had to make her one too. Who knows, I might get around to doing a painting one day soon. If I happen to produce a masterpiece with my watercolour paints I will show it to you on here and, for those who like a good laugh, I might even show you some of my disasters.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Free Book

Hi All,
Just a quick post. I know that some of you just follow the stuff on here about pyrography and scroll sawing, but others are also interested in my books. Well, I have just been going through my books to sort out where each one is distributed. You would be excused for thinking that I'd have them all with the same distributors but I'm afraid it isn't that simple. Due to certain issues about exclusive rights, I have four different distributors and each has a different selection of my books.

Anyway, I have now made one of my books exclusive with Amazon. It is called, "No Fishing In Here : Just Short Stories" and I thought I'd just let you know that it will be available free to download off Amazon for three day this week.

The actual free dates are Friday the 17th to Sunday 19th of April, so if you would like a free copy grab one then.
The book contains a selection of my short stories; some are funny and some are sad, but they are all based around emotions like anger, betrayal and denial. I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Oak Box Done

Hi All,
Right, carrying on with the oak box, the next thing I did was to burn in the oak leaves with my pyrography iron. Once I was happy with the pyrography, I gave the lid a coat of ebonising solution. I did this because I wanted the oak leaf inlay to stand out against a darker colour. I don't think it would look so good against a plain oak background.

 Then it was time to carve a couple of acorns. I drew the basic shape of each acorn on a piece of 6mm thick bass wood and then cut them both out on the scroll saw. I did the rest of the shaping with a rotary tool and and finished them off with some pyrography. Below you can see a couple of the stages.
I used wood glue to stick the acorns in place and, while they were setting, I made two hinge posts in a similar way to those I made for a previous box.

The hinge posts, box and lid were then assembled together a everything was clamped into position while the glue set. The rest of the box was then given a coat of the ebonising solution and, after that dried, I gave it three coats of gloss varnish.

Here is a picture of the finished box which I am very pleased with.
 My next post will be something completely different, so I am looking forward to that. If you want to find out more about my books or other pyrography and scroll saw items please click Here.