Sunday, 5 December 2010

Christmas is coming....

I've started making a few items to give away as Christmas presents and, at the same time, clearing away some timber offcuts. I pulled out this nice lump of figured timber which is about 3" thick to make a kitchen chopping block from. As you can see it has some fairly deep Band saw marks on it so I set about flattening the surface with the number 7 jointing plane.

The nice figuring is becoming more visible now but there is still a low patch over near the top left corner. This is where you have to work hard even though it seems you have the surface nearly flat since you are removing lots of material from the whole of the surface to get down to the low spot rather than just working away a high spot.

well I got there and chamfered all the arises with a block plane to prevent splitting out of end grain. I also chopped away some hand holds with a chisel to make it easier to pick up. The finished block has had several coats of Cold Pressed Linseed Oil and will have more coats applied as it cures.

You can see the mark I have carved on the under side to indicate the timber species (refer back to blogpost: timber ID). This wood is ideal for chopping blocks as it is hard, close grained and is taint free, so ideal for food prep situation.

I've also finished the large Sycamore bowl I featured in a previous post. The wife decreed it would be a Christmas present for her sister ( who has a large house to accept it!! ), so I had to get a move on to complete it. Ideally I would have liked to produce something with a tooled finish, but because of the size, time constraints and the tricky grain I decided to sand finish this one. Again it is treated with Linseed oil then buffed. I may hard wax it too- haven't decided yet. I'm not sure whether or not I'm happy with the form, though visitors are impressed. What the picture cannot convey is the way the rippling shimmers and seems to move as you walk past the piece.

As the snow and ice has kept me indoors the last couple of weeks I have been catching up on little jobs like making some tool sharpening blocks. These are just strips of abrasive, of various grits, mounted on some MDF offcuts. I will illustrate how I sharpen edge tools with these in a subsequent blogpost, but it is a cheap and versatile way to get a good edge.

Finally I thought I'd show this Crotch Bowl I made recently to illustrate the interesting figuring that occurs in crotch timber. A crotch is where a branch splits from the main trunk or the trunk splits evenly into 2 branches. This one is Sycamore, you can see the other half of the crotch piece underneath the finished bowl. For this piece I sanded the inside and left the outside tooled- makes quite a nice quirky fruit bowl.

Cheers for now, John.

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