This is a “special segment” that I just had to post because I had an amazing emotional roller coaster day in the shop today. After spending my life in woodworking I had something happen in front of my eyes today that I’m still not sure I believe. My task for the day was to have been dying the leaf segments and top pentagon parts and getting the center segment glued up so that tomorrow I could accurately align the other segments to it and get them glued up also.
Things were progressing along nicely and I had the leaf looking really good with subtly changing tones and little details like veins and such appearing very “natural”. I won’t get into showing you that just yet because that’s all gone now and will have to be redone later.
Soooooo, here’s the story, When I “watercolor” dye these things it is necessary to get them quite wet. That’s been OK in the past (one project with smaller pieces) because when dried with a hairdryer, they returned to size and shape nicely. These pieces were bigger and maybe got wetter and certainly got dried dryer because when I went to fit the leaf segments into the pentagon pieces, where they had been perfect fits, I found them to be not only about 1/8” too small but way out of shape due to the multi-directional grain orientations. I was almost physically sick.They appeared to be miles beyond repair in any way I could think of. Since at this point there was nothing to lose I decided to spray them down with water on both sides (hence the necessity to re-do the dye details) and see what happened.
This is what happened. They rolled up in little balls and came apart at several joints.
When I got the moisture balanced out so that they were sort of flat, unbelievably (to me anyway) they were over 1/4” too big!
Still nothing to lose and an opportunity to learn something at hand, I thought I would see if I could finese them back down to size with the hairdryer. This photo was taken one minute after the last one. About 1/2 of that time was hairdryer time.
Encouraged by this I repeated the process, again about 30 seconds of heat. What had been over a quarter inch two minutes ago was only a sixteenth now!
I was on a roll and went for another half minute with the following results. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I flat out would not believe it. There will certainly be a lot more sleeping going on around here than there would have been if I had left it where I told myself I should, sprayed down. (But I just can’t seem to leave things alone)
The Bottom line is that no matter how long you’ve been around there will always be something new you can learn about wood that will amaze you.
Thanks for coming along on the ride. Next time I hope I will be able to give you the dying segment I meant to be doing today.
-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/