Yesterday was a busy, yet positive day. Mondays are always busy because we have the trip to the post office, the bank, shopping and the gym. I like getting these things out of the way though and it puts me on a good track for the rest of the week.
I was really anxious to get home though, as I couldn't wait to begin cutting out my new designs. Because of all the errands though, I didn't get started until mid afternoon.
I decided to do the sleighs using maple for the sleigh beds and the runners would be done in different hard woods, as well as stack cut using 1/8" plywood for another version. (You will need to come back later in the week to see what I am doing with that.)
Over the years, I have accumulated quite a collection of scraps of beautiful hardwood pieces. Keith keeps trying to get me to throw them out, saying they are 'too small' to do anything with, but I save them especially for times like these when I want a variety of colors and grains. The wood that I used for these pieces is sepele mahogany, padauk, and I believe hickory. I still have some walnut and an unknown pretty brownish wood that will be used for the additional pieces. By making all the sleigh beds in maple, it pulls together all the pieces and makes them look like a set, even though the styles are quite a bit different. I finished with cutting seven of the thirteen pieces. Here is a photo of how they look, but I want you to be aware that while I did sand the pieces, there is still no finish on them. The colors of the wood will not be as washed out and will look much deeper and richer once I apply the shellac to them:
I must say that I am pretty happy with them. I tried to make the set of the sleighs in a wide range of both levels of difficulties and styles. I had initially intended to make the set six piece, but my creative floodgates seemed to burst open after my dry spell and I could have easily made twenty. I will probably make another set later on for next year.
Some of the sleighs were admittedly more difficult than others, as you can probably guess by looking at the photo. I think my favorite so far is the sleigh in the middle. I loved the beautiful curves and lines of the runners, as well as the sleigh bed. It was pure pleasure cutting it out!
I had cut the runner from sepele, and I think that I would recommend a wood that is harder, denser and has less open grain. The runner is quite fragile although once it is glued to the sleigh bed, it will be much stronger. You can see the open grain in the photo and imagine how it could weaken the piece.
The other woods, such as the jatoba were both beautiful and a bit stronger. Their color was also amazing against the light maple.
The maple was the perfect choice for the sleigh beds, as the tight, hard grain did will with the intricate details.
I haven't quite decided which sleigh I will offer as the free pattern. I am leaning toward my favorite – the one in the middle of the picture. My only reservation is that it may be a little difficult for someone newer to cut and I don't want to discourage anyone. While I would like to give away something that represents my best work, I may opt for a mid-level sleigh instead so that everyone can be successful. I still need to think about it.
Today I will be cutting the remaining six sleighs and runners. They took a bit of time to do these so far – probably about four hours – but with the help of good music, beautiful materials, and wonderful tools, it was a fun and pleasurable experience.
I can't wait to do the rest! I should have more to show you tomorrow. The patterns will be available later this week, when we complete our next update to the site.
It is cool here, but sunny. Yesterday was the first hint of snow flurries. The trees are mostly bare now except a few stubborn leaves that refuse to let go. While many are complaining, I really don't mind the colder weather. Each time of year has its purpose and place. I choose to enjoy them all.
Have a wonderful Tuesday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"