It’s been ages since I posted anything about my workshop projects apart from a few photos of my wild plum slabs which are currently drying and warping and splitting at this moment in time. Not unsurprising when you try to dry something too fast…. should create an interesting set of problems later in the year….
I have finished the first of a number of smaller projects which are ‘on the bench’ at the moment, namely my posh bird table.
I’ve cobbled this together with bits of reclaimed oak along with a few newer pieces, using slate for the roof.
I’ve managed to use pegs rather than screws, mostly, as I’m pretty sure that the weather and bird poo will subject it to quite a bit of stress …[if bird tables ever get stressed]. Which is why I chose solid oak rather than anything fancy.
The pole it sits on is just a cherry laurel post I had hanging around and will obviously rot but the peg connecting the two pieces is Australian Ironwood which is, not surprisingly, hard as iron. It should be a simple process to replace the pole when it’s time is up.
I’m also working on another Tiger Oak box with an oriental ‘style’ which should be appearing on these pages soon … and one or two other bits and bobs.
Anyway … back to work..
Yes, I finally got around to framing my Virtual World painting. It’s been hanging around on the kitchen wall for months now and I’ve been promising myself I’d get around to it as soon as the wardrobe was finished. It also needed a good varnishing as it was now old enough. I found a bit of wood on a client’s bonfire that I knew wasn’t oak or pine so I took it home and cleaned it off, it was caked in crap and a rotten layer of wood. Anyway, it turns out it was birch. I bought a rabbet plane off eBay a while back specifically for this job so I dusted it off and it did a good job. The corners turned out OK and the frame was more square than the canvas. Quite a difficult job with only hand tools. The wood was just a little too good to paint over entirely but as I didn’t want a brown frame I had to treat it somehow. I tried using a white tinted cellulose based varnish but it just soaked into the softer bits of wood completely. I was hoping for a slightly opalescent finish…. I didn’t really manage… so plan B was to give it a “cloudy” look. I used a slightly tinted ordinary varnish on top of the cellulose hoping to give it a hue and show some of the wood. The second coat had a little chrome yellow in it. It’s turned out a bit ‘distressed’ …. I’m not entirely happy with the final effect but it will do until I get bored with it and just paint it one colour. Still, it’s done and varnished and kitchen-proof now. :))
As you may know I’ve been building a wardrobe for the last few months and, finally, it’s finished. It’s basically the biggest thing I could make in my workshop and still move around so I’ll be glad to see it moved indoors.
Now, mythologically, the first person to need a wardrobe was Eve. Once she’d munched the apple she was no longer content with fig leaves and headed for the nearest mall. Historically, though, selective evolution saw to it that those who liked to run around naked (at least in this part of the planet) never got to reproduce. As there are plenty of Darwinian Logic style wardrobes for sale at Ikea (other crap-packed furniture is available), I have tipped my hat to Eve in the decoration of mine.
Well… the prim-like ‘leaves’ on the wardrobe doors are enamelled copper dishes I hammered out and soldered a short length of 5mm copper pipe to the back of. I used a blow torch for that as I don’t have a kiln. I secured them in place with a short piece of plastic hose (5mm internal diameter).
The handles are wood with lots of filler and many layers of paint. To keep the doors closed I’ve buried super magnets into the frame and the doors (eBay) and the hinges are just brass bars (eBay) I’ve drilled.
The top hinge has to be cantilevered like that as the doors aren’t straight-sided.
The apple ….I’m not sure about… it has a copper top and bottom skin, the white bit is made of wood and epoxy resin. The enamelling on it is pretty bad and I’ve bodged it with some varnish, paint and various forms of ticky-tacky.
I used the best paint and brushes I could afford with a primer coat, two undercoats and 3 top coats. It’s not a perfect finish, but it will have to do.
It’s probably cost me around $300 in materials as I bought most of the wood and brass fittings, upcycling where I could.
So..it’s all done now apart from cleaning brushes and rescuing my workshop from the mess.
Happy to have my workshop back…
Moving house as often as I have in the past I have been used to hanging my clothes on one of those clothes rails like they use in cheap clothes shops. The trouble with buying a wardrobe is that I’ve never really seen one I like and, being a bit of a furniture snob, I could never quite convince myself that buying a cheap bit of flat-pack furniture was a good idea.
So, the solution, now that I have a workshop, was obviously to make myself one.
Cutting up bits of tree trunk like I have done in previous projects seemed like quite a chore for such a large piece and the resulting weight would require a forklift truck to move it from the workshop to the house.
I would have to buy plywood anyway so, as I mentioned in my last post, I bought some off-cuts from a cigar box factory, thinking that it would help keep the weight down.
So.. the ultimate in flat-pack, a load of timber, arrived and I started the assembly … that was a month ago.
I don’t really like large brown things so it is to be a painted wardrobe, giving me an easy time when it comes to hiding flaws and dodgy joints.
Progress so far….
As the sides are sloping, the doors will have to have special hinges. They are about $30 each so I decided I will make my own from a bit of brass (another eBay purchase).
I’m going to make some carved handles and some decorations, possibly out of copper, for the doors so it’ll be a while until I’m finished..
I’ll post more later…
I wanted to be able to ‘sign’ my future pieces with my new logo…
I started off with the following, a scaled image of the log, some Copper Art Clay, two pieces of hard wax and a good scalpel.
There are instructions on Youtube if you want to make copper clay rather than buy it…. I bought some ($17)..
I wrapped the image around the wax
Carved the image into the wax ( I gave up on the very small image, my eyes couldn’t do it)…
Pressed the clay into the wax and carved it out deeper when it was a little drier (it was very sticky)…
Left the clay to dry
Fired it with my torch in the BBQ
and… with a bit of practice it looks like it should do fine…
Don’t you love it when people say (about virtual worlds) “Well, it’s not real, though, is it!”
Some of my virtual friends bought some of my virtual trees with their virtual money which I then converted to buy a cast iron drill.
How’s that for reality?
Some of you may have heard, I’m upgrading my workshop. I’ve spent the last month or so doing it and I’m more or less finished.
I thought you might like to see some photos…
The reason for this is to get a bit more space (especially for drying wood) and I’m hoping it will augur a new phase in my work. I want to get a bit more professional and try and make stuff for sale.
That’s the big idea anyway, we’ll see where it goes.