Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Dolphins

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Women's Silhouettes

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sometimes it’s Success and Sometimes it’s *sigh* Heartbreaking

I’m sure everyone that’s creative has been there. You try something new and sometimes it’s Success! And others *SIGH* it’s heartbreak.

I ordered my first set of plans from Wildwood Designs in July and waited and waited for the plans to arrive in my mailbox. Finally after what seemed like forever I opened up my mailbox and JOY there was the big envelope that I had been waiting for. The “Arrowhead Collection”, a set of 4 designs all within an arrowhead outline. 

I got the plans scanned into the computer for easy printing and then went through the dilemma of what wood should I use for them? You see, these arrowheads can’t be cut on my normal ¼ inch Baltic Birch because they aren’t normal cut, stain and mount projects. These call for “shaping” with a sander of some sort to give them a chiselled from slate look of a real arrowhead.  This means they require a thicker wood, and well, something special.  As I looked around my workshop the answer was right there in front of me in the scrap bin. Reclaimed wood!

Reclaimed wood is much like it sounds. Its wood that has served its purpose, either its scrap wood cut offs or wood that had served a previous purpose (like an old desk). In this case the reclaimed wood is in the form of scrap wood strips that are laminated together with water based glue and then sanded smooth.

Now that I had my long awaited patterns printed out and some wood prepared specifically for them I scurried down to my shop to make some sawdust.  After a few hours I had the first two of the arrowhead patterns cut and sanded smooth and ready for the next phase of the project, shaping.

But, could I really take the Dremel to my beautiful art? What if I ruined them? And would they look as good as the pictures on the website? With a deep breath I sat down, turned on the Dremel and touched the wood with the sanding surface.  WOW what a lot of fine dust that creates ... *cough* *sputter* ... brush the piece off ... sand some more. “Well, that actually doesn’t look too bad” I think to myself as I look at my handiwork.


Next step, how to finish it. Re-claimed wood has a beauty of its own. But I just wasn’t sure that a clear varnish would show off the “chiselled” effect, so I made the decision to use a Cherry Stain.  The stain made the shaping stand out nicely.

Now it’s time for the “End of the Trail”. Remember that LONG lance and how straight it was? Suddenly, it’s not quite so straight.

Now, remember up above where I explained that the wood was laminated using a WATER based glue? You would think I would remember that wouldn’t you? Well, I didn’t and it seems that dipping the wood in the WATER based stain just wasn’t the best idea.

“Okay, this is recoverable though” I thought to myself, “I’ll just put a wee shim in there to straighten out the wood while it dries!”

Perfect! I put the piece back on the drying rack to finish drying up ready for the next step and turned to go back upstairs when I heard a noise and turned around to see ... it falling to the ground.

After all that effort, the stress of the picking the right wood, the careful cutting, heart in the mouth moment of putting the Dremel to my creation, recovering from the doltishness of putting it in the stain bath only to be clumsy and break it. It’s enough to drive someone to drink! However, thankfully it “broke” along the laminate seams and can be glued back together with a backing added.

But still, sometimes you have success and sometimes, unfortunately you have heartbreak.

Woodworking and the Web as a Resource for Tools

As anyone with a workshop knows there is no such thing as enough tools and I am no exception to this. Whether it is upgrading one of my tools or simply purchasing additions for existing tools (like drill bits or saw blades). I have a few favourite stores in my local area that I will head to but I also am looking to online stores these days. 

One online store that I recently discovered is They are a great all around store that carries a variety of power tools, including my personal favourite the Excalibur 21in Scroll Saw made by General and tool accessories, like Scroll Saw Blades and drill bits, all of which a Scroller needs. However, Tools Plus goes a little bit further than just sales in that they produce a newsletter about tools and have moved into the exciting world of Blogs and Twitter

Another great store that I discovered is Cabinet Makers Supply. Now you might wonder why a Scroller would love a Cabinet Maker Supply store. Well, this company is just a little bit more than a place to buy cabinet making items (though the Clamps they sell are great for what we do!). The owners are invested in assisting the wood working community by providing a forum for all to showcase their talents, be it bowl turning, scroll saw angels like mine, chip carving or just what home repairs people were up to over the weekend.  CMS not only has a newsletter, and are on Twitter, but they also have a facebook fan page and How To Videos on YouTube.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - All Ears African Elephant

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Angel - My "How It's Made" blog

Have you ever wondered how a scroll saw creation goes from this
To this?

I was thinking about that the other night as I lay in bed not sleeping.... again. I’m sure we’ve all seen one of those “How It’s Made” shows, I know I have. And I thought to myself that would make a good blog post! So here it is, without the cheesy techno music they always seem to have. 

Preparing the Wood - My first step in any scroll saw project is to print out a pattern and then attach it to the wood you plan to cut. I prefer to use a spray adhesive, though I do know some people like to use transfer paper. Choice of wood is also very personal. In my case I prefer to cut ¼ inch Baltic Birch, though depending on the project I will use a different width or type of wood.

As this project has two wings, it is easier to stack cut them and get twin pieces rather than to cut them individually. This also means that it takes half the time. 

Drilling the Wood - Next step is to head over to the drill press. I need to drill a hole for my blade to enter in each of the inside cuts of the pattern. 

Cutting the Pattern - Once all the inside cut holes are drilled I’m ready to head off to my scroll saw. I use an Excalibur 21inch scroll saw and it has the ability for the entire arm to move up and down to allow me to insert the blade into the pre-drilled holes without bending my blade.  I make all my inside cuts prior to the outline because it is easier to hold onto a bigger piece of wood then a small piece. There are other reasons too but that gets a little technical for my small how it’s made blog :)

After all the inside cuts are done then it’s on to cutting the outline.

Removing the Pattern - Now that all the parts are cut out it’s time to take off the pattern. Because I’ve used spray adhesive to put on the pattern I brush on acetone to remove the glue and help me take off the paper.

Sanding the Finished Piece - I start out using a finish sander. It’s quite gentle so I don’t have to worry about my delicate cuts breaking off.

After using the sander I use an old blade from my scroll saw to touch up the inside cuts and get rid of any “wood hair” that’s been left over from cutting. 

Staining  - Once the pieces have been sanded I then stain my work. I do this by pouring stain into a container, in this case an aluminum disposable roasting pan. I ensure that the entire piece is well coated with stain and then I hang it up to dry on my drying rack. I usually leave all my pieces to dry for a day or two depending on the stain. 

Final Assembly – After the stain is dry it’s assembly time! In this case I have several pieces to assemble. Body, two wings, wing backing, a halo and two hinges. The first step in this case was to hot glue and screw (to ensure they stay together) the wing backing to the body.

Next was to screw on a hinge onto either side of the wing backing and then screw a wing onto each hinge. After the wings are attached I used small nails and a bit of wood glue to affix the halo to the head of the angel.

ET Voila! The finished Angel!

The pattern for this angel is a design by Patrick and Patricia Spielman. 
I have to give a BIG thanks to my Dad for his help in my final assembly (screwing & gluing) in his workshop as well as my Mom for taking pictures of the final assembly!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tick Tock ... Time for Clocks

Lately I’ve found myself wandering down to my workshop with desktop clock patterns in hand as my work for the night. When I pick out these patterns that I’m going to cut I try to find something that has meaning or makes me think of someone as I cut them. Doing this makes me feel that the pieces are unique and special, not just commercial. 
I am finding that clocks are great items to make because they are little; all you need is a small space on a desk, shelf or table as opposed to wall space to hang it. As well, there are so many patterns available that you can match one to someone’s personality, profession, hobby or sport very easily.
Firefighter Clock - One of my first clocks was this #1 Firefighter Clock. I cut this clock with my good friend Craig (obviously a fireman!) in mind.
Flip Flop Clock – Who can resist slipping on a pair of flip flops? To me it’s a sign that the good weather has arrived and the beach is not far away when I put on my flip flops for the first time each year. And of course I have a great friend, Robbie, who lives in her flip flops and so to me this clock just screamed her name.
Hockey Clock - Hockey just happens to be the great Canadian game so what good Canadian girl wouldn’t make a Hockey clock? But again, there’s the friend connection in Sherri who just lives for Hockey, which I saw as I was at my saw cutting this clock.
Rock Star Guitar Clock - We all have that friend that loves to play the guitar at parties... Well, I have Frank! I made this with him in mind!
Hummingbird & Chickadee Clocks – As I mentioned in my August 26, 2009 blog my friend Kim was my inspiration for my Chickadee Clock, as well as this Humming Bird Clock.
Dragon Clock – Ever know someone that loves the realm of fantasy? Is a game player? I have Ren, and I made this dragon just for him! In fact it was my first custom order clock. He and I searched the web to find the right Dragon for him. And while this one is finished in Gloss Black, I’ve just sent him and unfinished version so he can custom paint it!
Fairy Clock – And again into the realm of fantasy is this gorgeous Fairy Clock. When my niece Hailie was younger she was very much into Fairies. This clock reminds me of those fun times I had with her blowing bubbles or playing Barbie’s when I look at it.

Check out Wendy's Wood Crafts Clocks
All clocks mentioned or pictured were designed by Steve Good of the Scroll saw Workshop blog, with the exception of the Chickadee Clock which was designed by Travis Cook of the Scroll saw villiage