Monday, 12 December 2016

Christmas Presents

Hi all,
This year my run up to Christmas has been very different. In years gone by, when I was still married to my first wife, I used to book a day off work so that we could trundle about shopping centres and find gifts for everyone. I would like to report that this was always a joyful event but I'd be lying. In fact the episode rarely contained any Christmas spirit and would often sink into the depths of misery by the time we'd finished.

With my second wife came a new regime, she was happy to take the Christmas shopping reins and pick things up at her leisure at any time after the end of September. This worked well until she discovered the joys of Amazon and more recently Amazon Prime. A vast range of products with next day, and often free delivery. What more could anybody want.

Anyway, things have gone well for the last few years and  I haven't had to lift a digit towards the acquiring of Christmas presents. However, now that I have a lathe all that as changed. Like many other woodworkers across the country I am now loaded down with requests from my wife to make gifts for friends and family. The main item requested by my wife is pens and so I have made her nine so that she can give them away as presents.

This was the last pen in the Christmas present series.
It was turned from maple with a zebrano insert at the nib end, and made from a black chrome kit. The black lines are burnt into the wood with stainless steel wire. It's funny how that 6 months ago I didn't have a lathe and also know idea how to use one, yet here I am now chief pen maker to all who need a special gift.

I love making pens and would like to turn some more but I've got other things to make for my wife's Chrimo present list. The latest of these was a small box turned from lime. I turned the box and decided to burn some primroses on the lid with my pyrography iron, but it didn't come out very well. "You should have just put the recipients name on it," my wife said, "instead of trying to be clever with flowers."

I guess I was just trying to show off and now I was left with the decision of scraping the box or trying to rescue it. Well rescue always seems the best way for me, even if the chances of a successful outcome are tiny. So, with rescue in mind I made a small jamb chuck so that I could remount the lid onto the lathe. My intention was to use sandpaper to grind away the pyrography flowers and that is what I did. Once I had a blank lid, I drew the name on it and burnt it in with my pyrogaphy iron.
Here is a picture of the lid when I'd finished.
Disaster, Can you see what I can see? Yes, if you look closely you can just make out some of the outlines of the dreaded flowers that I'd burnt on before. I could have wept buckets, but I decided on another option, I took it back to the lathe and, this time, instead of attacking it with sand paper I obliterate the name and the left over flowers with one of my wood turning tools. In fact, I took a scrapper to it and removed the name completely.

I redrew the name and burnt it in again and then finished it off with some wax polish.
That's better isn't it? Well actually, only just, I can still sees a few left overs from the flowers which I can't understand. Still it is done now and I have permission to move onto a spinning top. I will let you have a look at that in my next post.

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