Apr292014

Cub Scout Neckerchief Slide

photo of work in progressWeblos is the highest level in Cub Scouts. Unlike the others, this rank’s symbol is not an animal. I see it as a simplified Fleur de Lis, a predecessor to the Boy Scouts of America symbol. Carving this year’s slide was more like classical woodcarving, a classic shape rather than a caricature. (Where do the eyes go on a carnivore?)

The young recipient is growing fast!

It is carved in Basswood and finished with acrylic, topped with satin poly.

photo shows 6 views

Earlier slides:

Other carvers and their scouting slides

 


Apr252014

Jeweler’s Regulator – Stock Prep

The lumberyard I use for hardwoods, Maurice Condon in White Plains, NY, has a great selection. Like most good yards, they don’t mind customers combing through stock as long as they put things neatly back in the racks. About this time a year ago, I pulled out a small collection of cherry boards. They were so nice that one of the guys working there said, “Wow, you found that here!? We have stuff that nice?”

Of course, there’s always a “…but…” Specifications for Cherry say that sapwood is not a defect. Yet, cherry that has been stacked in a rack almost since it came from the mill has had so little exposure to light that sapwood is not apparent. Get it out in daylight. Sticker it for a few weeks. Then the sapwood fades into view, and there’s always more of it than one wants. Despite that, it turned out to be a very nice collection of boards. Some have already become boxes.

the first of 8 pages of drawings, showing a list of partsNow, let’s find a clock case in those boards. One side of each board shows mostly heartwood, the other not so much. Turn the boards to show all the sapwood and start finding parts within the heartwood. I need 30-some pieces and found most of them within three boards.  All but the long pieces for the sides and door are four-squared. The rest are now rough cut, leaving a bit of length until final prep.

a board marked for cutting 11 foot board on a 12 foot long benchProcessing  long boards is a real joy when there’s a bench that can handle them with ease. The twelve foot long bench was originally for boat building but handles this sort of work superbly .. when not affected with HSS (Horizontal Surface Syndrome, which attracts all sorts of stuff randomly collected and in the way).

This wood has been here about a year and well acclimated. It is also straight grained enough that little tension is apparent. There’s no cupping among the cut pieces and only a slight bit of twist that already existed on one piece.

a stack of about 35 rough cut pieces of woodVery well behaved wood!


Apr182014

Jeweler’s Regulator

Since my 47 year old mechanical school clock left home, there’s been an empty spot on the wall where eyes land several times a day, finding little but a faded outline and silence. It’s time to change that.

Jeweler's clockBack when clocks and watches actually had mechanical things inside, watchmakers and watch repairers (often jewelers) needed an accurate timepiece from which to set and check times. “Regulators” were accurate enough, probably not quite as accurate as H4, or other chronographs used for navigation, but close.

Many case styles exist for regulators. Two of my favorites are movements with longer pendulums, the Vienna Regulator and the Jeweler’s Regulator. Here we have a Jeweler’s Regulator that has been offered for many years by Klockit. I’ve admired it for as many years, keeping it on my bucket list as one of the clocks I want to build. Nope! I am NOT building a kit. Klockit offers drawings for this clock, 8 large sheets. I’m working from those drawings and using some Cherry that I bought last year. However, I will be using the mechanical movement components the clock was designed around, a Hermle regulator movement. When I built that school clock 47 years ago, mechanical movements were very plentiful and reasonably affordable. That was a decade and a half before the rise of quartz movements. The transition to quartz is now nearly complete and mechanical movements are becoming rarities. Demand has fallen, resulting naturally in fewer choices and dramatically higher prices.  So, I caught this one during a 20% discount sale before its cost escalated yet more.

Rarely do I build from plans. In this case, I’ll stick close to the plan but will make some alterations, specifically to allow some carving. At the moment, I’m thinking the biggest change will be replacing the dentil molding in the crown with egg and dart. Maybe more…

In any case, we now see the reason I jumped on that set of hollows and rounds a while back. They were bought for clock moldings. Learning curves ahead…


Apr82014

Great Wall of Easton – in progress

No, it’s not woodworking … nor woodcarving … nor (especially not) DIY.
Updated after wall construction was completed.

wall-done-1-1600

wall-done-1-1600

wall-done-2-1600

wall-done-2-1600

wall-done-3-1600

wall-done-3-1600

wall-done-4-1600

wall-done-4-1600

wall-done-5-1600

wall-done-5-1600

wall-done-6-1600

wall-done-6-1600

That last picture is from asking the masons to “Sign Your Work.”
The back story of why it’s been “in progress” for 6 months will come later.

 


Mar172014

Small Storage Box – Radiata Pine – and a Carving

Card scraper box - finger notch was cut with a #6 gougeShe said, “It turned out pretty well for being chintzy wood.”

Pines are native to most of the northern hemisphere. So, why is it when I go to nearest home center, the pine they have is the Radiata species grown in New Zealand? I wonder what the market dynamics are that brings the stuff nearly 9000 miles to get to the big orange box store near us. I do have to admit that it is generally very free of knots and usually straight, flat, and straight grained … much better than some of the other stuff in the store.

Card scraper box - room for moreThis little flip-lid box is intended as storage for a growing collection of card scrapers. Being a shop accessory, I decided to use some of the radiata pine I have left from other projects and save the hardwood for other times.

The box needs dividers and I’ve never made them before. I worked out the simple scheme of three dividers and two end pieces to hold them. Another quick wood decision. … photo of dividers, end piece with dadoes and toolsThere’s a lot of cedar left from boatbuilding days and it can be cut down to 1/8 inch thickness very quickly. It’s the nature of cedar to crush more easily than cut, so when it came to routing the dadoes, a knife and slicing motions worked better than a chisel. A shop made router rounded out the tools needed for these joints. These are very small dadoes, 1/8 inch wide and only 1/16 inch deep. It turns out that they need exactly as many steps as any of their larger brothers.

As the box neared completion, regrets about wood choice began to loom. All of the boxes I’ve made recently have been made as much for having something to decorate with carvings as much as having a practical storage box. Carving wasn’t in the original plan, but why not? …. Because it’s stringy pine, that’s why not.

Then, along came Rob Porcaro (Heartwood blog) with “It’s always something.Read it!

A simple three leaf embellishment, a recent carving lesson from Mary May, originally meant for corner decorations, turned out to be just complicated enough to be satisfying and just simple enough for the pine. Taking shallower cuts to avoid unwanted splitting resulted in more facets than I like in the background, but adding yet more facets even things out.

All in all, she’s right. It turned out to be a satisfying project with a purpose.

Dimensions: 6 3/4 inches (L), 3 3/4 inches (W), 3 inches (H)
Finish: Shellac.

Card scraper box - carving on my new bench-on-bench

Card scraper box - carving on my new bench-on-bench

Dadoes are 1/8 inch wide and 1/16 inch deep to accept haunched dividers.

Dadoes are 1/8 inch wide and 1/16 inch deep to accept haunched dividers.

Like all good dadoes, they fit perfectly.

Like all good dadoes, they fit perfectly.

Card scraper box - ready to finish - waiting for shop to be warm enough - dividers are cedar

Card scraper box - ready to finish - waiting for shop to be warm enough - dividers are cedar

Card scraper box - body pieces are 1/4 inch thick Radiata pine - dividers are 1/8 inch thick cedar - bottom is 1/8 inch thick pine

Card scraper box - body pieces are 1/4 inch thick Radiata pine - dividers are 1/8 inch thick cedar - bottom is 1/8 inch thick pine

Card scraper box - end view shows lid pivot pin

Card scraper box - end view shows lid pivot pin

Card scraper box - finger notch was cut with a #6 gouge

Card scraper box - finger notch was cut with a #6 gouge

Card scraper box - room for more

Card scraper box - room for more

Card scraper box - bottom is only 1/8 inch thick, captured in grooves

Card scraper box - bottom is only 1/8 inch thick, captured in grooves

 


Mar92014

Fun with Small Dadoes

photo of dividers, end piece with dadoes and toolsA small box I’m making wants interior dividers. This is the first time I’ve tried making them, so it is a learning experience. The idea is 3 lengthwise dividers organized by two end pieces. The end pieces need dadoes. The scale of the project is such that the interior pieces are only 1/8 inch thick. I don’t have a 1/8 inch chisel and didn’t want to order one and wait. I do have an “Old Woman’s Tooth” router. So, off to the scrounge bin of Allen keys … some time with the hand cranked grinder … and some more time with the stones. The result is a 1/8″ router made in about a half hour.

photo of divider gripped in a good dadoThe material shown here is a sub-optimal choice, but it will do. It is cedar which is quite soft and crumbles in fear when a chisel comes near. Slicing is the key to success, and that little knife is kept razor sharp for marking, and now for slicing cedar.

Haunched dividers and stopped dadoes: a success, and fun learning how to make snug. (Yes, each fits snugly enough to support the end piece.)