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Monday, July 27, 2009

Unicorns Of Color

After doing the Pegases with various colored backgrounds, I wanted to do the Unicorns as well. So here they are too, with the black, blue and red backgrounds. They also have mahogany custom frames. Also, they too are for sale for forty dollars each. In the future, I am thinking of working with some other colors. If you have a past cutting of mine that you think would look exceptionally nice with a certain color, click on the comment link below and leave a suggestion. You may just see your suggestion done in the near future.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Handcut Proof

I am asked so often these days if my art is cut with lasers. At a recent show I was even asked if it was cut with a water jet. I really can't figure out how you could cut wood with water without ruining the wood, but that's not the subject if this post. I fully understand why I get this question so often these days though. In these modern times, so many things are mass produced and assembled or painted in sweatshops in some country that you and I can't even pronounce. Then these items are sold so cheap in what I call "box stores" that some people are shocked by the price when they do happen across true hand made crafts or arts. Then, because these same items are made so cheaply, they don't last, fall apart, fade, or disappoint the customer in one way or another and the customer is hesitant about trusting anyone, even the craftsman, enough to pay any amount for an item, no matter the quality.

To answer the question in short, no and never will be. Every item you see by me is hand made, by me. The only exception is that sometimes my wife or kids want to help me some. I let them help do some sanding. Sometimes one of my older sons may even help apply some stain. I do buy my patterns. I can't draw a straight line without a ruler. Every now and then there are things I design myself. A lot of the clock faces youo see on my clocks are designed by me. The words on the sides of the bottom level of the Patriot Clock were made using simple stencils that were bought at the dollar store. Everything is handmade though. Cuts are made by saws in my shop. My Delta scroll saw is the saw that gets the most use, but I also own a band saw, table saw, skilsaw, and a jig saw. Other tools I use regularly are the router, cordless drill, and several different types of sanders. I have never though, and never will use, a laser.

These days, there are several different machines that you can use to create the same kind of work that I do in mass produce fashion. One of these methods is a machine that cuts wood in a predetermined pattern using laser. That's where that laser question comes from. Using this machine, certain companies from all over the world cuts similar pieces to mine by the thousands. To improve even more on that, they have set up mass production style factories that can be run with the minimum amount of workers to turn out these products as fast as possible. There's a catch though. With anything that is produced in that quantity, it never gets handled by humans long enough to even notice what kind of quality is being thrown into boxes and shipped out all over the world. As a matter of fact, many of these companies have quit using wood for their products. They get more uniformity from plastic that is textured to look like wood.

All this being said, quality comes from hard work and care. Every item I make has time and personal touches put into it. When a project is completed, if I'm not happy with it, it is never sold. A while back I built a cradle. After completing it and staining it, I wasn't happy with it. I set it on fire in front of my shop and started over from scratch. If I'm not happy, I know my customer won't be happy. Also, each item is personally cared for from a block of wood to the finished project. Nothing is automated.

So for this rant about lack of quality in our modern world to connect with the post title. Once you get any project of mine into your home, careful inspection can prove that it is handcut. Whether it be a portrait or a candle holder, inspect the cut lines carefully. I make sure to leave just enough "fuzzies" to prove it is handcut, but not enough to interfere with the beauty of the project. "Fuzzies" is that little fuzzy looking splinters that appear on some of my projects, like on the inside edges of portraits or on the undersides of some of my rocking toys. Lasers do not leave this type of byproduct. Also, lasers leave tiny burn marks in tight corners. You will not find that on my projects.

So, if you buy any of my projects, look for the handcut proof. Show that proof to others because you now own a piece of a dying art. As time goes by, there are less and less people in the world that do this type art. Before we know it, it will be gone. Then all the world will have left is mass produced stuff that will fill up more landfill area while consumers go out and buy more stuff. You though, or your children, can own a piece of art that has quality and can last for generations if taken care of.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pegasus Of Different Colors

I decided to play around with some different colors. I thought about it and decided that this pegasus pattern would be perfect for this little experiment. So, in the end, we wind up with three pegasus portraits, one with the usual black background, one blue, one red.
The frame is custom made of mahogany with keyhole slots for hanging. A similar portrait is listed on my Estsy site at . These are for sale for forty dollars.

Christ Ascending

This is a Jeff Zaffino pattern. His website is listed in the links section. He creates some very detailed patterns. Most of them are a challenge to even expert scrollers. This one is called Christ Ascending. It has around three hundred inside cuts. I've actually cut this one before, but it was before I started making mitered frames, so I thought it was time to cut it again.

It is framed in a custom made mahogany frame with keyhole slots at the back to hang it with. The cutting is luan. The backing painted plywood.

The original cutting I done is lited on Estsy for a hundred dollars. It's higher because it is completly encased with mahogany backer and all. This newer cutting was done with cheaper woods so I could get the price down to seventy five. I think it still looks just as nice.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jesus's 2nd Fall

As promised, here's my latest cutting. After my last post, I just had to hurry up and get a new cutting to post. I finished the Last Supper order and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to do another religious themed portrait. So I remembered a pattern I had downloaded a while back from Scrollsaw Village. This portrait is called Jesus's 2nd Fall. It was designed by Cathy, a Scrollsaw Village member's wife. I think she did a great design job.

The frame is custom made of mahogany. I always cut keyhole slots in the back to hang them with. I tried something a little different on this cutting though. The portait is cut from luan plywood. It's a beautiful plywood that is used a lot by cabinet makers. Then, contrary to my hate for paint, the background is spray painted black. I think it gave a more consistant color than my usual stain. I may do some more portraits in this style.

As always, until I get this listed on Etsy, anyone wishing to purchase it can contact me at .

Anyone looking for a great online scrollsaw community should definately check out Scrollsaw Village at . It's a very friendly site and we are always thankful to have new scrollers join. It doesn't matter if you've been scrolling for years or are only considering buying a saw. Go check them out. Sign up and make some new friends.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Out Of The Shop And My Mind

I'd like to apologize. I've been out of the shop for a couple of weeks now. Therefore, I haven't had any new projects to post. It's been driving me crazy. A some of you know now, my health isn't very good. I get down sometimes, as I have lately, and jst can't get to the shop to work on anything. I got back to work about two days ago. I've been working on some more Last Supper portraits. I have more sold than what I had cut, so that was a priority.

As soon as something is done, I will be posting more items. Until then though, please feel free to check out all the archived posts. Most contain different projects. A lot of them I have on hand now. For the ones I don't, I' always happy to do custom orders. Don't forget to click on "older posts" at the bottom of the page.

Any of my projects you see on this blog are for sale. Some are listed on Etsy at . For the ones not listed there, please contact me at . Also, feel free to comment on any project you like, or dislike for that matter. I can't improve my work or know what people really like if noone gives me any feedback. Under every post is a "comment" link. You do not need to be a member of blogspot to comment.

Last, but definately not least, thanks so much for all who are interested in my work. It means so much to me that you are willing to take the time to look at my work.