LumberJocks

Learning Curve #5: The Challenge

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by MsDebbieP posted 02-08-2007 05:34 PM 1062 reads 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Personal Growth Part 5 of Learning Curve series Part 6: Frustration »

And so, with my hat in the ring, I have made the commitment to participate in the next LJ contest (Universe permitting).

Living up to this challenge has me walking with one foot on the skill-building path and the other foot in self-awareness as I seek to understand my goal of Spirit and the lessons that this opportunity is providing me.

The skill-building journey took a few steps this morning as I experimented with the beginning stages of my vision. (When the glue dries I’ll post a picture here to let everyone in on what the end product might look like.) I am overall quite pleased with the idea and I think that when (not if) I get the final product completed that it will have met my goals. Over the next few months (when is the next contest deadline???) I will, of couse, be adapting the vision, adding/adapting details and the vision will take on a life of its own.

This morning’s work/play/experimentation has also provided me with some more learning curve tidbits. 1) scroll saw blades do break and 2) stop working in pine. Having learned the lesson about weak wood, after my “wave” project has a mishap, I took extra care with the process, knowing that it was fragile. I kept the cut-out pieces attached to provide strength (brilliant idea) and I carefully moved the wood around the work area. Success – until I sat the pieces on my work-bench and what to my surprise but didn’t a piece just fall off right then and there—yup, it just fell right off.

And so, as I added some glue to put my practice piece back together, I made a mental note that it is time to make the change over from the “easy wood” to something that fits my new skill level. Of course, the cheaper pine is still great for some projects and for trial runs.

What else did I learn? That my skill at scrollsaw work is indeed getting better. The curves are getting easier, my confidence is getting stronger, and my ability to focus on the quality is overtaking the process of exploring how this works.

And so, I had better go check my gluing job. I’m sure you are dying to see what I am working on.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)



21 comments so far

View Karson's profile

Karson

34891 posts in 3088 days


#1 posted 02-08-2007 05:52 PM

Debbie: I don’t know what selection of blades that you have purchased, but there are different teeth and width of the blades. I believe that Olson are rated the highest by users of Scroll saws. Here is a web site that talks about different blades and the amount of wood that they will cut. You may notice that they say they will cut 2” thick. But, that would be in softer woods http://www.awsc-online.com/ContentB2_b.htm

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2848 days


#2 posted 02-08-2007 06:02 PM

thanks for that site, Karson.
Cutting pine, yesterday, I noticed that my “bigger” pin blade that I have been using does not compare to the smaller toothed blade that i put in – it was like cutting butter. So, I’ve been using the smaller blade and my skill at turning corners and going throu tough spots in the wood is not the best so I’m sure that I have been abusing the poor little blade. It just couldn’t put up with my shinnanigans any longer.

i’m also not sure (haven’t looked into this yet) whether my Dremel has been made to take only their blades – which limits me to what the store has decided to carry. So far I have also only been using the blades that came with the machine and so I have no idea what they are, besides pin and non-pin and bigger/smaller toothed.

Another learning curve to overcome. The website that you shared will definitely help!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2987 days


#3 posted 02-08-2007 06:03 PM

Debbie,
If you can,why don’t you show a picture of your saw, or a website, I’m curious.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2848 days


#4 posted 02-08-2007 08:05 PM

here she be, Don. The Dremel 1800

I just finished trying a non-pin type blade (plain-end) and well, that was different!! It will take some getting used to, after having been using the pin-blade. As my work progresses and I really see how changing the blade will be important based on the type of wood and the type of job it will be doing.

(Just look at how smart I’m getting!! hahahaha)

I got side-tracked down there earlier. I picked up a small piece of wood to throw out and as I looked at it, the wood Spirit starting calling me—- “look at me; look at me.. really look. I’m not just a scrap piece of wood.” And it was right – it was an apple just waiting for the access wood to be carved away.

Not sure what I’m going to do with this little beauty (I’ll add a picture of it here, later)... perhaps it will be something for my son, who also uses Apple computers. Maybe it will be part of a desk thingy, with a large paper clip to hold notes and the apple for adornment.. ...

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2848 days


#5 posted 02-08-2007 09:59 PM

View Don's profile

Don

2600 posts in 2865 days


#6 posted 02-08-2007 11:07 PM

Debbie, that’s terrific! I love the way you have used the concentric rings of the wood as a feature. Really nice. Have you sanded it and applied a finish or is that yet to come?

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2987 days


#7 posted 02-08-2007 11:16 PM

the apple,
If you cut the brown part ay it may be still edible. LOL

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2848 days


#8 posted 02-08-2007 11:44 PM

ha ha Dick.. that’s funny!!! :)

Thanks Don. I’m not sure if you can see it in the pix that I posted but one of the rings that goes around the core actually shoots upwards into the leaf. Yah it is pretty cool :)

I have sanded it; the flipside looks cleaner (but I didn’t get the Depth of field right in the photo). I wiped the apple with a non-toxic finishing oil (the only stuff I have at the moment).

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2987 days


#9 posted 02-09-2007 12:09 AM

Thats what they call a woody tasting apple.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2848 days


#10 posted 02-09-2007 12:11 AM

maybe I’ll have to make some wooden teeth in order to eat it !!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Don's profile

Don

2600 posts in 2865 days


#11 posted 02-09-2007 01:14 AM

Quote Debbie: “I wiped the apple with a non-toxic finishing oil (the only stuff I have at the moment.”

I’m not referring to your piece here, but in general, Debbie, finishing is at least half the result. I’ve seen some perfectly good woodworking let down by the finish. You may have noticed that in many of my comments on projects, I often asked the artist what finished was used.

The first hurdle is to get the piece ready for finishing. With most woodworking, the objective is to get the surface as smooth as possible. For me, this is usually accomplished with either a scraper, and/or sandpaper. My Festool Rotex sander works magic here. My final step in surface preparation is alway to use what some call (including me) a sanding sealer. This is a shellac based solution highly diluted with mentholated spirits. This is either brushed or rubbed onto the surface of the wood with a cloth. It dries quickly. The purpose is to stand the long grain fiber of the wood up and to make it brittle. Then a light rub with sandpaper, or better, a scraper will knock off this grain. If you fail to do this step, your finish will almost always feel like someone sprinkled grit onto your finish after it was applied. Nothing is worse than to be let down by the feel of grit on the wood after you’ve gone to so much trouble to produce that perfect finish.

I use two finishes that work great and are fairly easy to apply. The first is shellac. I use a shellac with a hardener that is available in Australia. The trick with shellac is to put on thin layers, using fine wet/dry sandpaper (you can get really fine grit at an automotive supply) between coats. The objective with the wet/dry is to give the dried surface of the finish a surface that the next coat can grab onto. You can also use ‘0000’ steel wool for this. After the final coat has been applied (minimum of three) I ‘rub out’ the surface with some traditional wax mixed with a little tripoli powder mixed in. This gets away from that ‘plastic look’;

The second finish I’ve had a lot of success with is MinWax’s Wipe-on Poly. This is a great finish, very easy to apply and almost fool-proof. It’s a combination Tung Oil and polyurethane and comes in a matt or gloss finish.

Hope you find this helpful, Debbie.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3015 days


#12 posted 02-09-2007 01:18 AM

Akin to your kokopelli – I’d swear this piece was a photoshop job. You’ve got quite an eye for using woodgrain effectively.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2848 days


#13 posted 02-09-2007 01:54 AM

Don, it’s very helpful. Yes, I’ve noticed your questions—and I’ve paid attention to the answers.

This will really give me something to work on for my contest submission (look out Scott—I’m sure my project is going to dazzle you!!!)

here’s where I stand at the moment with finishing:
1. I give it a good sanding with the Ridgid sander (not sure what grit of paper came with the machine /what I’m using)
2. Hand sand it with 320 grit paper. I’ve just purchased some other paper but haven’t used them yet. (100 – ?)
3. (this is where that sanding sealer fits in—I’ll have to keep my eyes open for some of this on my next shopping trip)
4. (and here is your where your tip re: shellac comes in)
5. I rub in the finishing oil that I have.

I do have a finishing wax that I could be using. I guess that would go between # 4 and #5 ??

Scott—- thanks re: the photoshop comment again :) I was going to say that it was just pure luck but when I thought back to the Kokopelli I remember that I did try and work with the lines of the wood somewhat—it was a start anyway.
As for the apple, well it was all based on the woodgrain so I can’t take any credit for planning on this one, just “seeing”.

PS. I love my little apple … it has been sitting in front of me all day long. I don’t think it is going to go anywhere! I find it very soothing (the texture), very peaceful (the woodgrain), and very rewarding (the apple), (knowing that I “saw” this AND created it!!! )

thanks again everyone for the feedback

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Don's profile

Don

2600 posts in 2865 days


#14 posted 02-09-2007 07:48 AM

Quote Debbie: “I guess that would go between # 4 and #5 ??”

I’m not sure that yu have it right, Debbie.

1. Sand up through the grades from the coarsest to the finest (that you decide to use). I tend to start with a relatively fine grade as I get a fairly smooth surface with my scrapers – but you might want to skip scrapers until you have more experience. I would avoid going too coarse, because these grits leave fairly deep scratches that are hard to remove. I suggest that you start with 180 grit. (I know some will disagree with this recommendation.) Wherever you start, don’t skip a grit between one grade and the next that you use. This just makes more work for yourself and tends to leave scratches that you don’t see until you apply the finish.

2. When you have it as smooth as you want it, then apply the sanding sealer. You can make this up yourself by diluting shellac until it only has 20% shellac to 80% methylated spirits. Ask your supplier for his recommendation on meth. Let this dry – only takes a a minute or two. Lightly sand with your last used grade of sandpaper. You are not trying to remove new surface just the fiber that is standing up. I didn’t mention this previously, but if you are applying a stain, this step will also prepare the wood so that the stain absorbs more evenly.

3. Apply any stain at this stage. Remember the effect of stain is cumulative. On coat will dry lighter than two, and two lighter than three. Only apply one coat at a time and wait for it to dry. Don’t be impatient at this stage. I have applied a rule of thumb to all of my finishing – no more than one coat per day of any finishing material. [Make sure that you follow the manufacturers recommendations for applying finishes vis-a-vis room temperatures.] I know that this seems tedious, but you will obtain better and more consistent results if you do.

4. When you have obtain the color you are after with the stain, or if you decide not to stain, now apply the finish material. This may be shellac, oil, polyurethane, or any other finish you decide to use. (Note my suggestions above to obtain a good finish easily.) Apply the rule of thumb noted in the previous step.) I never do less than three coats of any finish. Here’s where you lightly cut the surface between coats with ultra-fine sandpaper or steel wool.

5. When you have obtained the finish and surface that you want, sprinkle a little tripoli powder or finishing talc onto the surface then apply your wax coat. Most commercially available waxes are a combination of bees wax and Carnauba. Buff with a clean cotton cloth to the shine you want. If you want a high gloss, leave out the tripoli/talc. If you want a deeper, low gloss finish add it. You should be able to restore the finish at any time in the future to the original finish by a light buffing.

Sorry to be so pedantic here – but I’m hoping that you find this helpful.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2848 days


#15 posted 02-09-2007 01:05 PM

thank you so much for taking the time to write this.

I now have the information I need for my future projects!!

You are the best, “eh!” :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

showing 1 through 15 of 21 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase