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.

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