|Project by swamps42||posted 06-21-2011 01:25 PM||3399 views||2 times favorited||5 comments|
I had no idea what I wanted to do for this challenge when I first heard about it. I just knew that I wanted to start participating more in the community so I’d feel more connected and less like a young person cut off from all the usual wild young person activities. I’m pretty new in general to woodworking and very new to LumberJocks. I had received my first scroll saw, a Harbor Freight special about a year and a half ago and knew I wanted to do more than it was capable of now. I upgraded in a big way, a 21” Excalibur.
I was very excited about picking up my new saw and added some thin boards, a variety pack of Abranet that a fellow from a local guild recommended, some 0000 steel wool, and Gorilla Wood Glue to my purchase at my local Woodcraft shop. The boards I bought were 1/8th of an inch thick. I ended up using only the birdseye maple and the walnut for these particular pendants. I didn’t know what I was going to make when I bought the supplies. I just knew something would come to me from those beautiful strips of wood. My wonderful, semi-retired service dog, Sketcher the Schnauzer, proved to be my inspiration. The other two dogs I made, the German Shepherd and Welsh Corgi, are dogs belonging to two of my friends in my chronic pain support group.
I first drew out patterns that I liked on the computer, two identical copies of each dog shape were printed in rectangles. On one version of each dog I penciled in a wiggly line that covered all the separations between light and dark. On the other pattern, I outlined just the finished dog body shape I wanted to cut.
I stacked rectangles of both walnut and maple for the first cut of each dog. I then covered the top board in painters tape so the spray adhesive on the pattern wouldn’t damage the wood. I then cut the squiggle.
After cutting the squiggle, I glued the desired walnut piece to the corresponding maple puzzle piece with the Gorilla Glue. I clamped these down quite tightly going both across and up and down to cinch up the thin gap created by the number 2 blade I used. Between the thickness of the glue, the thin blade, and the clamps, the inlay looks perfect. I have to admit, I’m quite impressed with the Gorilla Glue compared to the Titebond that is what guy pal keeps in our shared garage. I’d always just used his glue before because it was free for me to use. I can say for sure after this project it will be Gorilla Glue I stock in my new garage…just as soon as my parents and I are done building me a place to live! Boy do I miss having a place to call my own…and a garage for all my dollhouse building and other woodcrafts. Naturally, I also set up a scrap bin for all the wonderful leftover 1/8” thick scraps. Some of the scrap squiggles make great sunset/landscape type images too after being glued up to their corresponding squiggle.
Anyhow, after the 30 minutes of clamp time was up, I carefully sanded off excess glue. I hadn’t been able to wipe it off like I normally would because the clamps literally covered the small projects. Thankfully, the excess glue still came up relatively easily after 30 minutes. After a light sanding with my Abranet, I layered up the masking tape, spray adhesive, and printer paper again exactly like for the first squiggle cut. I repeated the cut process with the second copy of the pattern, this one with an outline cut.
It was really magical peeling off the tape after the second cut. Since the patterns were placed in exactly the same spot in each rectangle, the cuts lined up and the dogs came out exactly as I’d wanted. Having the flash line up between the Welsh Corgi’s eyes, the Miniature Schnauzer’s eyebrow placed just right, and the German Shepherd’s dark top of his tail all line up just right was amazing!
After sitting for a moment and taking in the excitement of a project actually coming out perfectly the first time, I set about carefully sanding each pendant up to 600 grit with the Abranet, blowing off the excess dust with guy pal’s compressor, and coating the finished pendants with my favorite finish, a beeswax, caranauba wax, and food-grade mineral oil blend. After the finish had soaked in for about 20 minutes, I wiped off the excess and rubbed out the final finish with some 0000 white plastic steel wool equivalent pads I’d picked up on the same very big trip to Woodcraft. Believe it or not, that trip was my second ever time in the store and my first ever purchase!
How cool is it that I actually got all the supplies right on the first shopping trip given that I didn’t know what I was going to make, AND that it came out right the first time? I’m still in awe every time I look at these pendants.
Ultimately, all these dog pendants will have holes drilled and be put onto necklaces for me to sell at craft fairs and dog shows. I’d also like to put together a book of all the dog breeds as a download on my website, the unfinished one I’m still building. Sadly, I’m not nearly as good at building websites as I am at creating with wood! Then of course, I’ll have to do cats, and farm animals, and trucks, and every other awesome necklace shape I can think of!
I’m very excited that my dabblings in woodworking have been so successful thus far. I’ve been worried for years now that after being disabled so young I’d never be able to support myself again, much less pay any of my medical bills. I’m not so worried anymore. This new scroll saw is hope more than anything else. I finally believe that my parents won’t be the ones paying for my physical therapy forever. I CAN do this and the orders people have started placing for dog necklaces are proof. :)
-- -Kim, Peyton, CO