Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blacksmith's Anvil

End March 2010

Time to carve: 2.5 hours
Finishing: 1.5 hour

It's funny, when I go looking for wood it always seems to be in the strangest places. A couple of weeks ago, I was in Vermont on business at one of our sites and stopped into a local hardware store. It is an odd mix of a regular hardware store and kind of a department store rolled into one. I always am amazed when I go there because there is always something I don't expect and this was no exception. I was looking in the handy craft section at some wood they had for carving. Small bags of balsa, basswood, and one of assorted hardwoods. The biggest problem I had was with the price because it seem a lot to pay when I could only find one or two pieces in each bag that would be worth carving as a slide. (The rest of the pieces in the bag were too small or thin.) On the way out of the store, there were large 40 pound bags of firewood for wood stoves. It caught my eye because it was all planed pieces about 1 to 2 inches thick and various lengths/widths. The best part...it was all kinds of hardwood for $6.95!

Right off the top of this bag I found a great piece of maple to make this slide with. I did a bit of sawing with the bandsaw to rough it out and a really sharp knife to shape it. The hammer was made out of some scrap I had cut off and glued on after the whole thing was painted with craft paints. A couple of coats of poly finish it off. There is something that was very pleasing making this slide. Perhaps it was the pleasing lines of the anvil or maybe it was knowing I got a great deal.

Just Call Him Sorrowful

Mid March 2010

Time to carve: 1.5 hours
Finishing: 1.5 hour

I wasn't too sure about this one... it seemed too easy. Well I started to make this slide out of pine but it didn't work out so well because the wood kept giving me raw edges in certain spots. The second one was carved out of bass wood and it was a beautiful day. I don't mean just because the project came together, but a really nice day outside with temps in the 70's. After a long cold winter, a day like this one shouldn't be wasted. No...not a sick day or impromptu vacation day, just a lunch hour sitting in the sun and carving. Anyway, the head was carved and the ears were glued on after painting with craft paints. A couple of coats of poly finished it off.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Riding Quirt

Mid March 2010

Time to carve: 0 hours
Leather work: 2 hours
Finishing: 0 hour

And now for something completely different...no carving or woodwork. The only thing necessary to do with the wooden dowel was to cut it to size and glue the leather to it. Having a pattern I make out of paper and a good bag of leather scrap from Micheals this slide came together very quickly one Saturday morning. But unlike most of my other slides... No coats of poly.


Late Feb. 2010

Time to carve: 3 hours
Other work: 1.5
Finishing: 1.5 hour

This slide has special significant for our family. While looking for some wood for "the herd", I contacted my mother-in-law to see if my father-in-law had any cherry. While he did not have any, there was lots of other good hard woods there including some black walnut cut from the family farm before he was born. Bob made many things from this wood and brought it with him no matter where he and his family were transferred to and since his passing the wood has been slowly given out to each of the children's families. I knew the rich dark brown color would make the walrus come to life without having to resort to any stain or paint. Carving black walnut take time, patience, and several sharp blades. I must say at this point that black walnut is the toughest wood I have ever tried to carve because it is really hard. Once I had carved the head it was time to work on the tusks. I looked a a couple of different kinds of wood for this but nothing seemed the right color (without resorting to paint). What I ended up using was some pieces of white plastic molding cut, sanded, and bent to the right size and shape. Following the instructions, the whiskers are made from toothbrush bristles but I wonder if when the original was made if the bristles were as narrow a diameter as these were. (Come to think of it, I could not think of doing this part without Crazy Glue ether.) As for the eyes, well I did break down and paint those with some black paint. A couple of coats of poly finish this off. One thing I would do differently if I was to make another. The whiskers would have been done after the poly since the poly collected on the bristles like droplets of water .


Late Feb. 2010

Time to carve: .5 hours
Finishing: 1 hour

It's funny how sometimes oppertunity strikes.
Just as I was finishing with the last couple of members of "the Herd", I broke a bandsaw blade. Oddly enough, it just so happened I needed a part of a blade for my next slide.

As a young Scout, I seem to remember seeing someone in my troop (or maybe it was another troop?) who had made a real bucksaw and use to carry it to overnights in his pack. I even think I have the plans for one in an old fieldbook soelymewhere. Cut from a strip of thin Poplar, these pieces to this slide had to be cut precisely in order for them to fit together correctly. The blade is a piece of the bandsaw blade and the rope at tbe top is waxed heavy thread.A couple of coats of poly to finish it off and this one was ready to turn some heads.

Phillipine Water Buffalo (and the herd)

Mid Feb 2010

Time to carve: 18 hours
Finishing: 6 hour

I began thinking that I really wanted to come up with something special for my 50th slide and checking the packet I am working from the “Philippine Water Buffalo” was the next in line. Hmmm...a good looking slide and made in cherry. But I don't have any cherry. I began looking around for some wood to use instead of cherry but nothing was grabbing me so I set forth look for it. I looked on line and found some but I thought I must be able to find this locally. The first place I tried was closed three years ago and the second place had odd hours that never seemed to fit in with my working hours. By chance, I happened to ask Jud (the father of an Eagle Scout in our troop) if he knew anyplace where I could buy some cherry. Jud, one of the most bighearted guys I know, offered to give me some cherry scrap he had hanging around (as well as some other good wood for carving). A quick coat of glue, some clamps, and a couple pieces of wood that were not thick enough became just right for this slide. I roughed it out on the band saw, using the drawing as a guide, and began carving. A little more than an hour later I had a really good looking slide in front of me. Again curiosity got the best of me and I tried another kind of wood (some red oak). Also, a very nice slide.
Re-reading the article I struck on another idea. It seems that these slides were brought by Philippine Scouts to the 2nd National Jamboree, in 1950 Jamboree at Valley Forge, PA , for trading. I have a Scout in my troop going to the 2010 Jamboree. It seems like a match so I set forth to make a bunch of these slides for him to take with him. A couple of weeks (or more) latter I have 12 slides for him to trade, one for him to wear, one for Josh (Jud's son), and two for me. (One of which I messed up on and didn't want to send out.)

Lots of sanding on these slides but it was worth! Normally I use a water based Poly on my slides because it drys quickly and clearly. But on these slides I wanted the slightly yellow tinge of an oil Poly to bring out the grain on theses slides.

I went to post this blog and realized this is my 51st slide...Oh well!