Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Mr Snuggles

Hi all,
I'm slowly getting back into doing a bit of woodwork. My first project for the year was very small but it involved a little bit of turning, some carving and a touch of pyrography. Here is the result, nothing sensational but he's kind of cute.
He's supposed to be an hedgehog that is all snuggled up for the cold weather. I've called him Mr Snuggles and my wife thinks he's lovely. He is very small, about 40cm tall and he is carved from a small block of lime wood.

The thing is, I really like carving these small pieces. Not as intricate as doing a netsuke, so they don't take up so much time. I intend to increase my skills in woodcarving to the point where I am able to carve a realistic bird but that might take some time. I have purchased a book about the subject called "Carving Realistic Birds" from amazon, written by David Tippey. I got it second hand for 1p plus P&P. I think it is a real bargain because it is a great book.

Anyway, one of the things he advocates in the book is to make a model of the bird in Plasticine before carving any wood. So I tried it on Mr Snuggles, I got a block of newplast modelling clay off
amazon for £3.65 and gave it a go. It was funny to be working with Plasticine again and it took me back about 60 years. Actually, I think this newplast stuff is better than the Plasticine we had in the old days, it models very easily.

I was well pleased with doing the model first because it only took a couple of minutes yet it gave me so much confidence before I carved it in wood. Having something in 3D to referr to made the carving process so much simpler.

For my next carving project I'm going to do a small owl before moving onto something bigger. Any comments or questions are welcome.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Just Plain Ugly

Hi all,
I'm still struggling with the cold in the workshop. Not that it is cold everyday, but as soon as the weather is nice I have other tasks to do in the garden. No matter, over the past couple of weeks I have managed to complete a project. Probably the most ugly project I have ever done, but at least I managed to accomplish something.
 So without further ado, here is a picture of the ugly bugger.

Have you ever seen such a monster of a mechanical pencil? The whole thing was an epic failure at least from an aesthetics point of view and here is how it came about.

I like to do a bit of drawing and have spent many pleasant hours during the cold winter do just that. It was while looking at pen kits on line that I saw some  mechanical pencil kits for sale on a website called Prokraft .The price looked good at £3.30 a pair I thought I give them a go and make myself a couple of really stylish pencils to do my drawing with.

I watched a you tube video  to see how it was done and found the instruction very simple. The only difficult bit is in the drilling of the hole through the centre. Not only did it need to be straight, but drills of three different thickness were needed to accomplish the task and the depth of drilling needed to be pretty accurate especially at the nib end.

This is where I came unstuck. Because I intended on doing some carving on the body, I choose a piece of lime wood and mounted it via a collet chuck.
Step one was to drill a 4 mm hole straight through the blank, this I did, using a Jacob's chuck in the tailstock, quite easily. Now here is the hard bit.
Step two required me to drill through the blank again with a 5.5mm drill, but this time, instead of dilling all the way through I would need to stop it 3 mm short of the end. Now if you can see where the end of the hole is going to be it isn't too bad, but I was dilling blind. I marked the drill bit and hoped for the best. Then another bigger drill bit, 6mm in width, was put about 75% of the way down the same hole. This gives clearance for the top of the pencil to work.

Anyway, I parted it of and found that the pen would not assemble because I hadn't got enough thread sticking through the nib end to allow me to screw the nib bit on. The reason for this was that I hadn't drill the 5.5 mm hole quiet deep enough. Easily cured I thought, I put the 5.5mm bill back in the hole and gave it a couple of twists by hand. Perhaps if it had been a harder wood I would have been alright, but because it was lime it came straight through the end.

At this point I was a bit miffed to say the least but I was not going to be beaten. I decided to make it a pencil of two halves. I would carve the back end and do some pyrography on it and make a new piece for the front. I would stick them both together and it would look great. Has you can see it didn't. The carved flowers are horrible and the sapela wood at the front end doesn't go with the pyrography at the back. The kits are great, and very inexpensive it is just my skills that are lacking. Doing a carving on something this size is out of the question beacause it make it too chunky.

However, I will not be beaten. Two kits came and two pencils I shall make. Please watch this space to see how the next one comes out.