Longest cut yet…

spiralwip

Black walnut (left) and European beech to give good contrast on the finished piece.

Sometimes cuts are really easy.  A line here, a line there… Other times, it’s ONE GIANT line!  This spiral design has 8 pieces total (not many), but each piece (minus 4 easy ones) are suuuuper time consuming.  Knotwork would have been much simpler – over and under = start and stop lines for each piece.  Spiral-work?  Ufda.

Perfect Fit

wyrmsketchSometimes a pattern just falls in to place.  I’m working on a sign for myself / my shop, which is the same proportions of a business card (see where I’m going here?).  In the sketch, you can see some of my thinking process.  Some digital (text), some pencil, a little pen for clear detail, etc.  In the current rendition, the belly scales have changed (4 times…), as well as the scales, but the overall feel is the same.  The pattern is to the point where I have redrawn it yet again in photoshop, added directional lines, divided up color families… and am now isolating each section on to the appropriate wood type.  This means I’m sifting through my stock in the hopes that it is large enough to fit pattern blocks.  Three times now I’ve placed my pattern over a chunk of wood, and the wood juuuuuust fits!  With maybe 1/32″ to spare.

It’s awesome…  I can’t wait to start cutting out this piece!  I’m adding some non-wood elements as well, since it’s just for me.  I have some left over ivory from when my Mother worked with scrimshaw (teeth, eye), some abalone (eye, scales), and a real ammonite (hanging bauble) that I’ll fit in.  Once it’s done – my sign, and yes, business cards, will be ready to go.

Bittersweet

I love creating different woodworking pieces.  However, I cannot house all I create, which is why I sell artwork too.  When a piece leaves, I’m sad to see it go, because I remember all the time and energy I put into making it.  Then again, I’m also happy to see them end up in a good home, where someone appreciates it.  So, bittersweet.

Burls

sindoraburl

Sindora burl

I have a tendency to hoard wood bits for special projects… I have a number of burl pieces (amboyna, thuya, etc.) squirreled away, but haven’t worked too much with them yet.  Last night I decided to add a burl into the mix for my Eastern Wood Whelp series, giving me a chance to at last experiment.

It was… unique.  Because of its structure, there wasn’t a distinct grain I had to fight.  Rather, there were sections of soft and hard, and under my pattern it was fairly unpredictable what was going to be where.  For instance, take a Red Delicious apple (which I hate, and don’t know how anyone could classify it as “delicious”) – kind of a mealy texture.  The burl struck me as a similar feel.  Not that I’ve ever cut into an apple with my scroll saw, mind you.

Huh.

Sander

My poor little belt sander has sanded its last…  It is tougher than you would think, finding a new small sander.  Lots of large vertical ones available – not so much on the table-top size.  Just ordered a new Rockwell (4″x36″ belt), we’ll see how well it functions.  Fingers crossed!

Nibbles

A little work each night leads to a finished product.  If I can spend 20 minutes here, maybe an hour there, it all adds up.  Much like working out!  I don’t have the blocks of time to work on a project for hours on end – guess I’m a “long term goal planner”, as the trainer at my gym says.

Smells

I love the smell of sawdust.  Each type of tree has its own special characteristics, textures, and of course smells.  Kingwood and Tulipwood smell like a fruit smoothie.  Walnut smells like pepper – and always makes me sneeze.  Some are sweet, some are bitter.  Some are spicy, and some are earthy.  Some bring back memories – oak and pine always remind me of Grandpa Bud’s woodshop.