I got home from work today and told myself I should go down to the shop, but could not bring myself to do it. It was a long day and I fear my judgement may suffer from my lack of focus and enthusiasm. Too many times I have forced myself into the shop to get something done and have been disappointed in the results, gotten frustrated and ruined a piece of stock, or even injured myself. Knowing when you should and should not be working on projects is very important as well. I would rather have something take longer to accomplish than turn out sub-par work. Also I don’t think I would take the joy from it I usually do which would defeat the purpose of the hobby. Maybe tomorrow I give it a go. Tonight, I’m taking the night off.
It took a little longer than I thought it would, but I got the shelf finished up today and it is ready to hang up. I just have to find the perfect spot for it. The wood burning was an interesting process, I needed to keep a steady hand and not linger on any spot too long. In the future I think I would use a larger torch to speed things up, but then I might lose some control over the process. I like the beeswax finish and experimented with a few ways to apply it, involving the torch, an iron, and the oven broiler. In the end I like the way it all turned out. I would like to try some more steam bending in the future, but I will need to build myself a steam box to make things run a bit smoother.
Next I am moving on to a computer table I started about a month ago. The legs are roughed out, now I just need a few days in the shop to make the aprons, stretchers, and top to finish it off.
I got this idea from a search I did over a year ago. Someone had made a beautiful shelf with the illusion that the edge of the shelf was blowing in the wind. I thought I would give it a try and attempted to do some steam bending with a few pieces of ash I had laying around. The bending and twisting was an interesting process. I chose ash because it lends itself well to being bent and pushed around without breaking. Each piece has a live edge and in the end it should be one backing piece and two windswept shelves. Today I was working on shaping the bigger of the two shelves. I may put a burnt finish on the tips of the shelves and finish in beeswax for what I hope will be a stunning look.
Here are the shelves after I used a small torch to burn them and added beeswax to them while they were still hot. A little more sanding and a finish on the back board and it should be all finished up!
Well, I took the morning to work on getting the lamp put together and I think it turned out pretty close to my vision. I used a lot of wood hardener to get the bug eaten pieces to have enough structure to work with. If I were to do it again, and I may, I would definitely do a few things different. I am really surprised at how warm the glow is from the incandescent bulb, I am getting so used to the super-bright LED lights that are everywhere these days. Sure it uses a lot of energy but it also adds atmosphere to my living room. Just a little more finishing up and I will be able to declare this project done. Next up, natural edge- steam bent shelf that has been kicking around my workshop for over a year.
Today I woke up to 6″ of snow on the ground and more still falling. I knew my workshop time would be limited. In between rounds of moving snow I got two short sessions in and worked on a table lamp I had been dreaming up for a week or two now. I had some lumber that was bug infested at one time (I have been storing it outside away from my good stock). I had cut and baked this wood last week to make sure there were no more critters in there. I thought the wood had interesting character as you can see all the paths the bugs took as they made their way through the tree, bored out through the bark and moved on to a different host. These will be the upright pieces on the lamp and two pieces of ash scrap will be the top and the bottom. It should be a relatively simple project, but we will see where this journey takes me.
I have started this blog to help me follow through with the many projects I have in the works right now. I have been working with wood as a hobbyist for many years and have just begun to experiment with metalworking as well. I find that it is a great stress reliever as these projects help me to exercise my mind and my muscles to figure out how things work and come up with creative solutions to the problems I encounter. I hope to post about individual projects and show my progress as they move from idea to completion.
I am excited as well as a little nervous to step out of my comfort zone to share my progress on my projects, but I believe that it will help me to stay on task and motivated to get things finished. I also hope this will improve my photography skills which are somewhat lacking.
Above is an one of my early projects. It is a pie safe I made for my sister who is an excellent baker. I did not have any plans for this project and made it up as I went along. It lacks a few details I would add in today, but I am happy with my result and the enthusiasm I had for this project.
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