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A Woodworker's Musings
Woodworking has been subordinated by the work of giving the home interior a new look. But we still manage to scratch out a little time for “making chips.”
Les completed another high chair for Raggedy Ann’s soulmate, Andy. Cherry was used and Les opted to give the chair a little “sun tanning.” The result was rewarding. The chair darkened to a deep reddish color, then was finished with three coats of Waterlox Original, prior to the seat weaving.
We continue to plug away on the jewelry box project, changing designs “on the fly.” We’re at the point of making small interior partitions. I’ve concluded that sawing up bunches of small parts is not my favorite part of woodworking. But the final product should displace the anxiety.
Working in my shop in winter is akin (I imagine) to being sent to the Gulag. Suffice it to say that it’s difficult to be at the top of your game while wearing a toboggan cap, gloves, a sweater and a mackinaw. So the bulk of the winter months provides me with time to work on designs, play the banjo and catch up on reading.
However, Les and I get together at least once a week to indulge our creative “demons”. The projects tend to become somewhat smaller during the “first quarter” of the year. This year’s effort is centered around getting rid of scraps. My guess would be that just about all woodworkers share a certain reluctance to get rid of “shorts and drops.” A number of justifications for this “failure to eject” seem to be universal: “These can be used as glue blocks”; “The minute I through that away, I’ll need another”; or the “classic”, “I’ll never be able to find another piece like that”. (If anyone needs glue block material, let me know.)
This year Les came up with a plan to rid his shop of “fancy and exotic” scrap. His plan? Jewelry boxes. So we’ve been doing our best emulate several of the older elves at the North Pole. The process is proving to be rewarding.
There are few things better than the feeling of freeing yourself from the aggravation of “surplus, potentially unusable inventory.” However, this project poses a conundrum in it’s own right; what will become of all the finished boxes?
Those of you who have followed this blog for any length of time know that Les and I tend to work slowly. And, it’s not unusual for us to put aside an unfinished project due to being distracted by some new “bright shiny object.” (One might argue that this is evidence of old men being similar, in many ways, to children.)
We started our Asian inspired hall tables quite some time ago. We’ve both gotten tired of tripping over, navigating around and moving them out of the way. So we completed them.
Les’ table is all blood wood. Mine has a blood wood top and an ebonized walnut base. Our first plan was to finish them in sprayed lacquer but the weather just never proved to be cooperative. We opted to use a variety of finishes but the common thread was the use of Waterlox Original finish for the tops. Waterlox is a marvelous finish, one of the very best wiping varnishes on the market. But a word to the wise, it is a fairly expensive product and it doesn’t have a very long shelf life. The manufacturer recommends one year after purchase. Normally I look the other was at shelf life dates. But not on Waterlox! A final word of caution: Never, never shake it! (It polymerizes and when you entrain air, especially if you’re closing in or past the “use by”, you’re in for a big surprise – a can of semi-solid goop that can’t be re-solubilized.)
Now that we’ve had our little adventure in the realm of contemporary furniture, I expect that we’ll get back to the “old lookin'” stuff.