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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Special Request Frame

One of my sons recently got married. He and his new bride wanted their license and the garter frame in a nice frame. A good friend of theirs done the matting. He asked me to build them a nice frame though.
I have built many frames. I tried coming up with something extra nice though for my son. I have seen splines on the outside edges of frames before for strength and started to go for that. While laying everything out though, I thought of moving the splines to the front face instead and using a contrasting wood for a dramatic look. After gluing those in and sanding them smooth, they looked so good I wanted to add more. Then I had an idea to add the two other splines in opposite corner, actually crossing over the glass. I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out, but I knew if it didn't look good I would have some real nice firewood. After seeing it though, I don't think this will be the last time I use this technique. I really like it. As a matter of fact, my wife has already said she wants some frame just like it.
I do want to discuss this "original" idea I had with this frame. I cannot remember ever seeing this exact style before. I am sure it has been done though. I've probably seen it and just don't remember it. I have several times came up with something that seemed original, only to remember later where I'd seen the idea before. People have been working wood for thousands of years. It is rare for any of us to really come up with something that has never been done before. Usually, my original ideas are something I have seen in the past, or some combination of different things I've seen thrown together into one project. It is satisfying though to come up with something on a project that you haven't done before. It gives you a sense of accomplishment.

"The Coast" Wall Hanging

Some time ago, I built a coffee table for my Mom. The top of that table had a three dimensional coast scene that is built up in layers. My wife loved that top. The problem is, having multiple sons, coffee tables at my house usually wind up either destroyed, or the instrument with which one of them gets hurt. So we do not keep a coffee table in our living room. Instead, I decided to make my wife a wall hanging using the pattern for the coffee table top.
If you'd like to see the coffee table, you can see it here. If you'd like to order the pattern I used for the coffee table, and this project, you can order it here.
To make the scene, it is built up in five layers. The first layer is the backer board. I just used Minwax water based stain that is tinted blue on a three quarter inch thick piece of cottonwood that measures twenty inches tall and forty inches long.
The second layer consist of oak for the rocky cliffs, pine for the sun and the sun's reflection off the water, sycamore for the other water waves, box elder for the clouds, and cottonwood stained pearl grey for the lighthouse.
The third layer is cottonwood for the birds, cottonwood stained green tea for the tree, cottonwood stained china red for the sailboat, and oak for the rest of the cliffs.
The fourth layer is sapelle for the posts, and cottonwood for the bird's bodies.
The fifth layer is the ropes around the posts, which is made of cottonwood.
This photo shows the frame. I was going for a shadowbox look. So I used two inch wide finger jointed oak. That is overlaid with one inch thick mahogany.
The portrait part of the project is finished with a single application of Minwax Gloss polyurethane. Then the frame got two coats of the same polyurethane and two coats of Johnson's Paste Wax.
The most nerve racking part of this project, for me, was getting the piece of plate glass that large home, and into the frame without disaster. I just do not have good luck with large sheets of glass. Luckily, I did not have issues with this one. Keep your fingers crossed though. I still have not hung it for my wife. So there's still a chance for disaster.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Boat Shelves

I've done these before, but my wife wanted a set, done in purple.
They are not hard to make at all with the plans. You can get the plans for all four of them here.
It is a four piece set of boat shaped bookshelves. I painted the hull of these boats purple. The smallest one is curio shelf that hangs on the wall. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Bell Tower Clock

This one is called the Bell Tower Clock. It is from the Berry Basket Collection. I apologize. I normally provide a link to where I purchase plans from on any project. The Berry Basket site seems to be down for the last couple of days though.
I built this one with cottonwood and a sapelle overlay. It was meant to be sapelle with just a cottonwood backer on all the fretwork. For some reason though, during the building process, I decided to go with cottonwood floor material on each level, and for the roof. It seemed to me to break it up into a two colored project and makes it look more lively.
It took me about a week to build it. It stands nineteen inches high, is twenty three inches wide, and eight inches deep. It does not have a finish. I sometimes decide to leave certain projects unfinished for personal reasons. For this one, I feel a finish will not look right on it on close inspection because it’s going to be near impossible to get it even in some of the crevices that you’d have to dive off into. Also, my wife, who is getting this clock for Christmas, has informed me that NO, I cannot have the Victorian Queen Clock back to put finish on. She likes it as is. Since this clock will be displayed on the mantle right next to that one, I think I’d better leave this one alone as well. I asked her about this idea, and she says she does not want a finish on this one either. She likes the plain wood look without a shine of a finish. If she’s happy, I’m happy.
I enjoyed building this one, as usual. I do love building clocks. This is the first clock pattern I’ve had in a long while though that I was not happy with. The bottom level, with the angles on it, does not look pleasing to me at all. My wife likes it, but she doesn’t understand my distaste for it. The pattern looks nice, but was impossible to cut as well as the pattern shows. Even with a #2/0 blade, the smallest I have ever used, the nose and mouth details could not be cut. There is just no way. So the facial details that look so nice in the pattern, do not come out as nice on the wood. Because of this, I would rate this pattern lower than most of the other clock patterns I have cut from.
You can look at the last photo to see a close up of the front panel of the area I’m talking about.