Sometimes good planning really does pay off. I am not saying that everything went 'without a hitch', but in the end, the build on my new Christmas sleigh worked out pretty well. I am really pleased with it.
When 'building' three dimensional pieces such as these, to me it seems like there is so much more involved than just cutting fretwork. While the fretwork design is a really important part of the piece, on something like this, it is just that – a part – and getting the pieces to work together can be the biggest challenge.
Not only do they need to work well together and fit properly, but what I always try to do is to make things work using minimal tools. I want this project to be something that someone with just a scroll saw, drill press and hand sander can accomplish easily. Because of this desire, I need to have a little "wiggle room" for those who may not be able to cut things absolutely perfectly. Lord knows I don't always do so! But I think I hit the nail on the head this time and everything went pretty much according to plan.
That didn't mean that I didn't have to cut two sets of runners. My first set, while cut and fit properly, looked "bad" with the sleigh bed. They weren't long enough and the curls of the runners were hidden by the sides of the sleigh, making the piece look messy and ill-planned.
Back to the computer and drawing board it was. But not before I made some pretty firewood.
I am often asked by others if I want someone to cut my designs for me. While I appreciate the offers, I graciously refuse because I feel that I need to know everything about the builds and implementations of my patterns, and the only way I can learn that is by cutting each one myself. If some lines are a little closer than I am comfortable with, I may leave them on my sample (as I don't want to waste perfectly good pieces) but I will go back on the computer and 'tweak' them so that the 'average' person can accomplish them without difficulty. To me it is part of the process and a huge reason that I can sell my patterns with the confidence that they are excellent quality. I always say that I am still learning and these last several pieces support that statement. I have learned a lot.
But at the end of the day, everything WORKED!
The sleigh went together beautifully, with no 'teetering' at all. The size was perfect to go with the reindeer and I do believe that the WAY I put it together allowed for some small imperfections in cutting. I was really, really proud.
So without further babbling on, here is the finished sleigh:
It is made of MAPLE with WALNUT runners. :) I love the contrast and I am pretty pleased with it.
Here is a photo of it with the two reindeer:
As you can see, it is a good size to go with the deer. Today I will be making the additional reindeer to complete the set.
My sleigh here is three inches wide, but I am also going to include pattern pieces to make it four inches wide for those who want the sleigh alone – perhaps to hold small ornaments or candy. I liked the slender size though for my sample, as I think it would fit better on a mantle or similar shelf at the thinner width.
I hope you like it.
The pattern for this and also the reindeer will be available at our next site update, sometime mid-week. I know people will ask me anyway, but I will state it here nonetheless. ;)
From the many inquiries I received, I think this will be a really popular set for me. I surely appreciate that very much, as a lot of thought went into it. I was so happy that everything pretty much fell into place as I hoped it would.
Don't you love when that happens?
I wish you all a wonderful weekend. It is sunny and calm and a bit cool here in Nova Scotia. Autumn is definitely approaching very quickly. There is so much yet for me to do!
I had a beautiful day yesterday of not only making the sleigh, but I cooked up a wonderful batch of red sauce using some awesome fresh produce. I used tomatoes, zucchini, garlic and a bit of celery and herbs and spices to make a wonderful, healthy sauce. I didn't have the chance to eat it though, as we had other things planned for dinner. Today I think I will make a Chicago style deep dish pizza using the sauce. It will be a masterpiece, I am sure. ;)
Have a beautiful Saturday! :)
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"