My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #155: Time to Take a Stand

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 11-05-2010 10:00 AM 4526 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 154: Trees and Lighting Part 155 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 156: Last Trip to the Wood Store of the Season »

I am writing this blog last night because we decided to high tail it to Halifax in the morning for probably our last trip into the city before winter hits.

Today, we went to a new wood place that our friend Bernie recommended today and got some incredibly low priced and high quality hard woods. Among our finds were some nice ash at $2.00 per board foot, some flaming birch for $3.00 per board foot and some curly maple which was also only $3.00 per board foot. We didn’t get a lot because they are only ten minutes from us (we purchased one 1” board of each). They didn’t have the vast selection of exotics that we find in Halifax, and limited choices in the wider widths we needed, but it was a great source for us for our base wood that we will be using with lots of projects. The quality was really good and we did get to hand pick and the man who helped us was very nice and didn’t seem to mind that we were only small time buyers. Our bill was under $60. It is always nice to find a great source nearby for when we are in a pinch. And as I said, the prices can’t be beat.

Tomorrow we will go to our regular wood supplier (East Coast Hardwood) and also try the other hardwood supplier which I think is called Halifax hardwood. We have both price lists and are going to pick and choose as to which store we will get what from. I hope that the new store will be as good as the other (we hear it is) because they have some different woods and they are also lower on some of the pricing. In any case it will be a fun day. I will try to remember to bring my camera and get a couple of pictures. We plan on leaving at 5am, as Halifax is about 3 hours from where we live and we want an early start. We need to stop at Bernie’s in the morning and drop off today’s haul so we have room for the next load. (Such a good problem to have!) I will have a full report in tomorrow’s post (Saturday).

As for today, as soon as I returned from the lumber yard I worked on making the stands for the skating pond figures. As I said in the previous blog, I found the best way to stand them up was to use a product called “Creative Paper Clay” which is available at most Michale’s and other hobby and craft stores. It is a pulp-based air-dry clay that is lightweight and when dry can be painted and sealed and is actually quite durable. I felt this was the best way to stand the figures up.

The process is quite involved, so I took photographs as I did it so you would be able to see. Since each piece requires a different sized stand, it is important to keep things organized. I began by numbering each figure and using small adhesive price tags so I will be able to label each stand with the corresponding number:

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

When you take the clay out of the package, it is a bit dry and you need to work in some additional water to make it a doughy consistency so it is easy to work with. You also need to have a hard and flat surface to leave the clay dry on. If the surface is flat and smooth, such as with a cookie sheet, it will not stick and will release from the surface as it dries. I used a marble board because it is smooth and perfectly flat.

I begin by rolling a piece into a rope that is approximately 1/2” thick and as long as the longest part of the figure that will be sitting on the ground. For example the sleigh piece only has the runners of the sleigh touching the ground:

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

Next you flatten the rope with your fingers until it is about 1/4” and kind of taper the sides. I keep a small dish of clean water near by so that if the clay seems as if it is getting too dry and cracking when I am molding it, I dip it into the water and work it through until it is soft again. I wash my hands after only a couple of stands so they don’t get too sticky. Water works fine as it just dissolves the clay.

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

Next I placed the clay on the sheet where I will be leaving it to dry and I pushed the figure into the clay, making sure not to tilt it. You don’t want to move the clay after you make the impression in it, as it will distort it and then the figure will be loose or it won’t fit in the channel properly:

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

This picture shows the two channels for the piece I marked “A” – the one horse open sleigh with Sophie and Claude:

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

Some of the figures such as Sonja had only a small tab under her skate to embed in the clay. When I was designing the figures, I made sure that each one would balance properly in their respective positions:

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

Finishing all the pieces took me a couple of hours to do. You can see by the picture how important it is to keep things labeled and organized.

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

I then put the board into the oven that was set at about 200 degrees and shut it off and let it cool down and sit for about two hours. Things were dry enough for me to gently turn each piece upside down so that the bottoms would also dry thoroughly. I am going to just leave them there until probably Saturday to make sure they are completely dry. Patience is the key here.

When they are dry, I will paint them each the same Blue Mist paint color which is also the base color for all the snow in the scene, as well as the pond, and glue them to each figure. They will then have Sno-tex applied to them so they will look like little snow banks and blend in with the scene. They are surprisingly strong considering they are so light and they keep the pieces quite stable. I think it is a nice way to finish things off.

I won’t be able to work on them until Saturday, but I am getting closer to the finish line each day. I also base coated the pond piece today and I will be adding the silver metallic “ice” glaze on Saturday too. It will only be a short time until I will be ready to show you everything all finished. Stay tuned! :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

6 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18286 posts in 3700 days

#1 posted 11-05-2010 10:12 AM

Geez Shelia, you’re up posting before bedtime on the west coast ;-)) Migraines are minimal late a night, hate to go to bed and waste pain free hours.

Have a great day in Halifax!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View NH_Hermit's profile


394 posts in 3120 days

#2 posted 11-05-2010 12:39 PM

Have a great time in Halifax, Shelia. Isn’t it about this time a year when Halifax sends a Christmas tree to Boston? I keep looking at your work and wondering if I should purchase a scroll saw, but there are just so many things I want to learn.

-- John from Hampstead

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3060 days

#3 posted 11-05-2010 04:57 PM

Looking good, Sheila.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3149 days

#4 posted 11-05-2010 11:27 PM

Sheila, those are rally adorable. Great shapes and fabulous painting!


View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3139 days

#5 posted 11-06-2010 08:53 PM

huu the figurs realy look great together

hope you get some nice wood and other goodies you need to come thrugh the long winther
at your little trip to Halifax

take care

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2944 days

#6 posted 11-06-2010 09:35 PM

Thank you all. I did have a great time despite the weather. I am spending the day catching up on stuff here. Getting the stands painted and glued on today. :)

I will take some pictures along the way. I will also have better pictures of the wood when we go to Bernie’s to work on it on Tuesday.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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