I had planned on finishing up my drawings for the next design that I am sending to the magazine yesterday. But with that new saw sitting in the corner there just BECKONING to me, there was no way that I could NOT spend some time on it!
I suppose that one good thing about owning your own business is that you get to decide what needs to be done (and when!) So much of what we self-employed people do is self-goverened. (Humm . . . could that be why so many self-employed people aren’t successful? I wonder . . . ? ) I think the key to that is knowing when you can slide things around a bit and knowing when you can’t. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) we need to learn that for ourselves.
Speaking of keys . . .
I don’t know what my obsession is with scrolling keys lately. When I was looking at some antique and Steampunk things on Pinterest, I came across a bazillion (that actually came up as a word on spell check!) different kinds of incredibly beautiful antique style keys. Weren’t the old keys lovely? Each one is a work of art in itself. It kind of makes me want to start a collection. (Shhh! Don’t let Keith hear that! ;) )
Keys and scrolling seem to go hand in hand. I look at just about everything in terms of how it would be scrolled or painted – or both – and keys are a find candidate for some lovely fretwork.
With the next issue that I am looking to contribute for the magazine being February, I thought a lovely set of keys and matching locks would make a nice project. Not only would they make cool Valentine ornaments, but also (I think) lovely favors for weddings and wedding showers. Wouldn’t it be nice to take home a pretty scrolled key ornament as a wedding remembrance? It beats the heck out of those pastel almonds that you nearly break your teeth on!
So what I did was draw up six sets of keys and locks that had a heart theme that would make some nice favors.
With the new saw arriving just at the perfect time (right when they were ready to cut) I decided to give it a trial run using six different types of hard wood. I have a couple of SMALL boxes of hardwood pieces that are around 1/8 – 3/16” thick that Keith is always threatening to discard (EGADS!!! NO!!!) because he thinks the pieces are too small to use for anything (NEVER!!) I figured by using a variety of them, I would not only have an interesting presentation for my ornament set, but I would also quietly show him how much I NEED these scraps or my projects. (I think it worked! I didn’t say a word but made sure that I picked the different wood right in front of him so he could SEE how handy it was for me to have those scraps!)
What I did was stack cut each key with a layer of birch plywood underneath. This way I would have an additional set for (you guessed it!) painting and decorating, and I would have the hardwood set as well. Besides, the extra resistance that the plywood layer offers is something that makes the thin wood much easier to control and cut. I always recommended cutting layers when working with thin wood such as this. You get twice as many pieces in the same amount of time spent cutting as another bonus.
Usually you can use a couple of layers of plywood, but some of the wood that I used, such as the jatoba, was so hard and dense it only needed one layer beneath it. I also used a layer of packaging tape over the pieces, even though I stuck the pattern on using full sheet labels with the pattern printed on it. Typically, the adhesive in the labels is sufficient to prevent burning on hard wood, but with the dense wood that I was using, it didn’t hurt to take the extra precaution and add a layer of tape. Whether necessary or not, I will say that there is not one burn mark in the batch, and that I only used one Olson Mach blade for all twelve pieces. It pays to know how to set things up.
I have to say that cutting went very well. (Diana – the picture of me getting the saw dirty is for you!)
I will say that I am sure it is not my imagination that this saw was even smoother than my previous one. Perhaps it was because Ray had it fine tuned prior to shipping and even though we needed to readjust it and square it, it had virtually NO front to back movement on the blade, allowing pinpoint control. I did keep the saw at about 75% speed for most of the cutting. In the end, the last pieces I did was the rock hard jatoba, and I kicked the speed up a bit because my blade was at that point getting a bit dull. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had broken, but I wanted to see how far I could push it and it did not break. I did slow down my feed rate a bit though and I let the saw do the work. Patience is the key when at this point of cutting. (No pun intended!)
The results were near perfect!
The woods used for these keys were birch, padauk, yellow heart, walnut, cherry and jatoba. Each ornament will consist of two pieces – the key and matching lock – tethered together with a beautiful ribbon. I am pleased with them and I think they came out nice.
The pieces shown here are oiled, but not yet sprayed with lacquer. I needed to allow them to ‘dry’ overnight. You can still see the wonderful natural colors of the wood though.
The plywood set has also been sanded, and has had a couple of coats of acrylic paint applied. Today I will be adding some finishes and embellishments to them to make them look amazing. You know that I just can’t have one version of a project like these. It’s all about choices. :)
Besides finishing those up, I have two options to fill my day.
Option one is to continue to draw the next pieces, which will also be a submission for this issue. I have it mapped out, but need to continue to finish the drawings up before I can cut it.
Option two is to paint the rest of my little prim pull toys and enjoy the day. I had promised myself that I would take time to do my own thing at least once in the week and it has been a week since I worked on them. I am leaning toward that because I want to be true to myself and allow myself these days of non-work related fun. I think that in the long run it will make me happier and more productive.
Decisions, decisions . . .
I don’t think that can be a wrong answer to that one. Either way, I will be having fun and enjoying myself.
I am thrilled with the performance of the new saw and I can’t wait to cut the next project. Those of you who read often know that my days at the saw are among my favorite. Now it will be the case even more so. But painting is my favorite as well. And so is drawing. I guess I am in a good place.
I hope you all have a wonderful day today. Take some time to do something that you really enjoy. I hope you are lucky like me and have many choices of which way to have fun. It is a great problem to have.
Living creatively is really important to maintain throughout your life. And living creatively doesn’t mean only artistic creativity, although that’s part of it. It means being yourself, not just complying with the wishes of other people. -
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"