Saturday, January 30, 2021

Slide of the month tutorial - wooden loops

 And now for something completely  different...

(que Monty Python theme)

A friend and fellow whittler asked me about doing a brief discussion on the loops I use for my slides if I wanted to take a break from making slides. Well, I'm always whittlin, painting, or thinking about my next slides. There are times I might have 4 or 5 in process at any given time. But "it's a fair cop" and it is long over due that I should talk about the loops. (My thanks to Walt Whitman for suggesting this series and you should check out his amazing neckerchief slides too!)

Nearly 85% (figures made up on the spot) of my slides have wooden loops I make up ahead of time and stored haphazardly in a zip lock bag.  I most often use 1/2 inch poplar board  I can get from the big orange home supply store. Until recently, the size of the board was 2 and 1/2 inches wide and 3 or 4 feet long finished on all four sides. 

The black section yet to be cut out

Now this morning when I went to look for a piece to make some for this tutorial, it seems it is no longer carried. No matter, I just use a larger or smaller piece of this same kind of board and use one of the layouts I have at the end of this. The basic size of the loop is 1.25 in wide by 1.75 inches long and .5 inches thick. The sides are 3/8 of an inch which leaves a 3/4 inch  by 1 inch opening for the neckerchief. I normally have a template (made from thin cardboard like a cereal box) to draw the cut lines out on the board. Next I cut the lines using a bandsaw or scroll saw. Once I'm done cutting out loops, depending on how pressed I am for time, I will sand or carve the edges of the loop. (Admittedly, it doesn't always happen.) Before you know it, I have a large amount of loops ready for slides. To attach the loops I normally use a good quality wood glue and let the loop and slide dry overnight. One thing of note, it is best to keep the slide level during the gluing process. I've been known to stabilize the slide I'm working on using pieces of cardboard, folded paper or even other spare loops to keep the slide as level as I can.

Here are some patterns I'm going to try depending on what piece of poplar I can find next.

  (Each square is 1/8 of an inch)

DISCLAIMER: This is the way I do loops. It is not the only way to do them but simply the way I currently make them. (Subject to change on a whim, fancy or when the dang thing wont fit!)

Monday, January 25, 2021

Slide of the Month Extra - Smellable (Philmont - my gear)

January 2021

Time to make: 1 hour

Finishing: 1 hour

Original design: Bill Macfarlane


Smellable?! By definition it is "That can be detected by smell." and if you are a bear (or even mini-bear) in the back county of Philmont you can always smell something tasty. Which brings me to the one water bottle I'll be carrying to mix my electrolyte fruit drinks in. No matter how many times it is washed, if it every had anything in it besides just water, it is considered a smellable and has to be hosted up with other food items in the bear bag.

Carved from southern (pallet) pine, this is a pretty fair representation of the water bottle I'll carry at Philmont right down to the drink spout top I added. Painted with hobby paints and given a couple of coats of poly to finish it off.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Slide of the Month Extra - Philmont Leadership Challenge

January 2021

Time to make: 1.5 hours

Finishing: 1 hour

Original design:  Philmont / Bill Macfarlane


Taken from the Philmont Leadership Challenge Guidebook, "The Philmont Leadership Challenge is the ultimate training experience designed to motivate you to follow a life of servant leadership based on the values of Scouting!"   

Carved from southern (pallet) pine, I must admit, I took the easy way out on this slide. I had tried to make the Zia and PS with many different methods but always ended up with disastrous results. It seems the rays of the Zia are too close together for even a simple v-cut and a straight cut showed little detail which often also caused the wood to split. My only solution so far (I might revisit this slide in the future) was to carve the basic shape and use waterslide decals for the details. I matched the colors as closely as I could to the decals and gave it a couple of coats of poly to finish it off.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Slide of the Month- Pin Slide

January 2021

Time to make: 1.5 hours

Finishing: 1 hour 

Boy's Life: April 1994, page 61

Original design:  Jeff Springer

(With the apologies to the writers of MASH) ... Here's to the New Year 2021. May she be a damn sight better than the old one and may we all be able to leave home before it's over.

It has been a long hard year with Covid-19 and hopefully we are turning the corner as vaccines begin to make their way to the public. I wanted to take a moment to honor some of those folks on the front lines who are probably getting there shots right about now.

The other day, I found some pins of mine and knew I was going to do with them. I'm showing two different methods of creating this slide. The first, the Volunteer Fire Department pin, is mounted on a of black walnut with a coat hanger loop. I used a super glue to adhere the pin to the wood and for a different kind of finish.  The second, the Fire Department Paramedic pin, is made using a countertop sample with a leather loop pop riveted to it. The pin was epoxied in place and there was no finish necessary for this one.