As I mentioned the other day, on Friday I received an email from my editor inquiring about the next project I was to be submitting for the magazine. The holiday issue was heading out to the printer and she was looking ahead to the next issue and beginning to map it out.
This took me a bit by surprise (it should not have, but I have been busy in so many directions that I just wasn’t thinking about what to do next for the magazine!) Keith had asked me the week before if I was going to have my project done soon, as his has been done for a bit now and we like to ship them together to New Jersey. It just made sense. I had thought about it for the second he had asked me and I will be honest in saying that after that my mind went elsewhere and I pushed the idea of the next project to the back of my mind. I had too much else I wanted to do and I was anxious to get the little bird cage ornaments (finally) accomplished.
But now with my editor asking me, I knew my time was up and I needed to start thinking about what I would be making. She had told me that the issue would still have a fall theme to it, as even though it was the November issue, it came out in September. Since autumn is my favorite season, I didn’t think it would be difficult to come up with something quickly to submit.
I spent the remainder of the day going through my many lists of things that I wanted to get done and I came up with a project idea that I had some time ago and never really implemented. Thank goodness that I keep lists and write these ‘crazy’ ideas down when I think of them! I have learned over the years that even though I may feel that my ideas are goofy or not able to be made into reality, there are many times when all it takes is a tiny spark in a certain direction and depending on the day and where my head is, I am sometimes able to make something that didn’t work into a fun new project that does work. It happened to be the case with this.
I had planned to go to the lumber store yesterday to pick a thicker piece of maple, but I was happy to say that in our stash of wood, I found a piece that was beautiful and enough to do the project several times over. I spent the early part of the day drawing the design up and refining the line work. While the design wasn’t as complex as the bird cage ornaments, it still has some details that need careful attention in order to look good.
By dinner time I was ready to cut, and I was almost going to wait until today to do so, but I was anxious to see how things would translate to cutting so I began cutting it out just after 8pm. It didn’t take very long to complete – just an hour and a half or so – and things went pretty smooth.
It took me trying three different blades to feel settled into one that I felt was best suited for both the thickness of the wood as well as the density and the complexity of the design. You would think I would know that by now, but with all the new blades I have been trying, it was a good opportunity for me to experiment with several different ones and see what would work best. In the end, I chose the Olson Mach blades in size #3 reverse. Initially I had started with a PGT (precision ground) size 9 reverse because I thought with the hardness of the maple that would be the best choice. However, I found that while the #9 did fine for rip cutting the pieces apart, when trying to maneuver through the design, it was much too large and the teeth caught and cause a lot of chattering (slamming the piece up and down on the table) which wasn’t fun.
I dropped down to a PGT #5 and it was still too large for the work. While I didn’t think a smaller blade would go through the 5/8” thickness of the maple very well, that Mach #3 did the job perfectly. I was able to cut precise and still have sharp, crisp turns and it didn’t lag or burn. Granted I had to have a bit of respect and couldn’t fly through the cutting as I would have been able to do with the larger blades, but by allowing the blade to do the work and taking my time and doing things at a pace that was determined by the wood and blade, things went without a hitch and I was soon finished.
Here is a picture of one of the pieces that I cut:
I am not going to show the entire project now because I want it to be presented first in the magazine. My readership on the blog is growing and I think that the magazine should be the first to show the project in its entirety. But this little teaser can give you an idea of what it is all about.
I am going to offer two versions of this project, I think. I am cutting another one today and I am going to stain that one using the DecoArt acrylics and the gel Staining and Antiquing Medium. I think that this project cries out for just a touch of color, although the maple on its own is quite beautiful. I feel like I have plenty of time to recreate the piece(s) today and offer both versions. Everything should be able to be shipped tomorrow.
What is good about this project is that it seems to have been a springboard for several other similar seasonal projects that I can do along these lines. I am very excited about them and they will be quick and easy yet I think they are really cool looking and attractive.
I love woodworking and the huge scope of possibilities that are available to use when creating. One of the reasons that I love the scroll saw so much is that using it you can create any range of projects from very simple to very complex. With few other tools, it is a great starting point for introducing people to the many aspects of woodworking.
The sun is shining today and I hope to have a wonderful day. Besides finishing up this project, I hope to get out a bit and enjoy the day. I hope you all do too.
Have a great Sunday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"