Saturday, February 12, 2011

Family trip to the wood shop

Chad and Anamaria came down with a nasty cold a couple days ago, and that always makes them stir-crazy.  So, when today opened up, we decided to head out to the shop.  Ever since Chad came home with his first candelabra, I've been wanting to make one on the band saw.  We came across the design in a huge book of woodworking projects Collete (my birth-mother) gave me for my birthday.  Chad's first was Hickory, which he stained with black walnut colored stain.  Hickory is a super hard wood with super tight grain that has stripes of larger straw-like grains.  The stain doesn't take well in the tight areas, but the straw-like grains become almost black, which look like armies of pinstripes rushing across the board in waves.  That's the thing about hickory.  Naturally, it has light, ash-like areas, and darker cherry-like areas all poured into the same tree.  The lighter areas really aren't all that remarkable.  And you'd hardly ever notice the long, open grains.  Until you stain it.  Wow.  So cool.

So, Chad dropped Ana and I off at the shop and left to grab us all some lunch.  Ana moseyed about overwhelmed at all the things there are for a 1 year old to touch.  And I moseyed about looking for the perfect piece for my first candle holder.

Let's get some things straight here.  I come from a very resourceful, but somewhat unskilled background when it comes to this kind of thing.  Large, noisy, powerful machines scare the bejeezers out of me.  Plain sand paper is my kind of thing.  Oh, and my Dremel.  Well, the actual Dremel burned out pretty quick, so I have some other small rotary tool that fits all those nifty little gadgets.  Anyhow, table saws, drill presses, and the like... um... yeah, you do that, I'll be over there.  Chad, on the other hand, honestly can't remember the first time he used an electric drill (back when they all plugged into the wall, haha!) because he was so young.  He was using said drill to help his dad remodel their house when he was 8 or 9.  He went on to help his father build an amazing wood home - not a drop of paint in the entire thing.  You've never seen so much gorgeous wood.  And then later built houses with his friend.  Power tools are his thing.  So, when I do a project, it generally starts out with him cutting everything to size, explaining everything as he goes so I can do it next time.  Sure.  Whatever.  Just cut my stuff.

(Once he reads that, my cover will be totally blown.  *sigh*  Going to have to put my big-girl-safety-goggles on and learn how to do it myself, eventually.)

Measuring and drawing my lines.  Ana added some of her own lines, well, squiggles, too.

So, I picked out a few boards to look over when he got back.  After settling on the Ash, and devouring a chicken sandwich, Chad got busy cutting my board to size.  {Thank you, My Love!}  With a fresh blade on the band saw, I was good to go.  Now, the band saw isn't so scary.  It isn't too loud, and it doesn't kick.  Besides, I remember using a jig saw in Tech Ed back in jr. high, and this was kind of like that.  This blade cuts  like butter.  It was actually a lot of fun, and I think I'm going to enjoy doing more with it.  Then, I headed over to the stationary belt sander.
It was here that I realized Three Things.
1 - It would have been far more efficient to sand the entire board before cutting it into pieces.
2 - It would have been wise to run my board through the planer before sanding (before cutting it into pieces).
3 - It hurts like a sonuvagun when a finger slips off the wood, sanding a hole in it.  It is still throbbing as I type.
Chad promises that this is not the last time that I will learn any of these lessons.  Lessons 1 & 2, fine.  But not 3.  Please, not 3.

Ana is learning the meaning of "ouch", "owie", and "hurt".  She just had a growth spurt so abrupt that she's still getting used to having to duck down in places she used to fit under.  So, having a bandage on my fingertip immediately drew her attention.  At her questioning look, I pointed to my finger and explained "Ouch.  I have an owie."  Her face fell into a painful look and she held her hand to her head!  Oh, the sweetheart.

Improvising a sling with Grampa's flannel.

Most of my work done, Chad picked out a really fat Champagne Sugar Maple board and decided to make a candelabra for tea lights since tea lights are so popular due to their safety and availability.  For one, the Maple is breathtaking.  Maple?  You say, incredulously.  Yep.  This isn't any ordinary bland Maple.  This comes from a tree that dies standing, doesn't rot, and leaches minerals from the soil.  These minerals color the wood like a very subtle watercolored rainbow of browns, grays, roses, tans, and golds.  Not yet finished, but a solid start.  I'm loving his fresh take on this design, and can't wait to post pictures once completed.

Stores flat, pivots open for stability.  Open as far as you like.

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1 comment:

  1. Chad and Jen you are an amazing couple of artists! Love your work!