Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Pyrography Patterns

Hi All,
Sorry this post has been so long in the writing but I've been taking advantage of the good weather to try and sort out our new garden. Anyway, in my last post I said I would show you how I got on with the trinket pot that I was doing some pyrography on and here it is.
If you read my last post you will have seen my advice on how to break the pot up into sections to help me keep the thing symmetrical. Once I had divided the main pot into 4 sections it was just a matter of choosing a pattern that would suit pyrography. Drawing the checker board was quite simple because I just followed the same lines that divided the box into 4 sections. I used a pencil first then when I was happy I went in with the pyrography iron on a medium heat setting.

The weave pattern may look difficult but it was very easy. All you have to do is draw 4 short straight lines in one direction and then repeat the process in another direction. Try it out on a bit of scrap paper and you will be amazed how easy it is to create this pattern.

I was very pleased with the way the main pot came out but doing the lid was more difficult. I had decided to use the same two patterns that I'd used on the main pot, but had difficulty dividing the area on the lid into a suitable shape. I used the lid as a template to draw several circles on a drawing pad and then had several attempts at coming up with something that was pleasing to the eye. In the end I chose a swirling pattern after dividing the pot lid into 8 sections.
Again I was pleased with the way the pyrography turned out. If you have a go at this sort of pattern I would recommend using a spoon tip in the inverted position because it is perfect for dealing with the curve that comes on these little pots. The other thing to watch out for, is the method used to fill in the dark diamonds on the checker pattern; using short lines is easier than trying to use the back of the spoon. You will find it more accurate and you will avoid over burn which will destroy the crispness of the lighter sections.

In my next post, I will tell you how I finished the box off and reveal why using that horrible sticky backed felt is something I will never have to get involved with ever again.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

New Toy

Hi All,
In my last post I mentioned my new toy which I will reveal to you today. Recently, I became interested in making bandsaw boxes with my scroll saw and here is the first one I made.
I have mentioned bandsaws and scroll saws, but because these boxes are enhanced by their sculptured lines perhaps they should be called sanded boxes. Much more time is spent sanding the wood to shape than is spent cutting with either saw.

Anyway, I managed to do quite a bit of sanding on the above box using my belt and disc sander. This is a great sander for sanding surfaces that need to be flat but for graceful curves it is not so good. I spent more than a few hours hand sanding this box to the desired shape and it played havoc with my carpal tunnel, so I decided to invest in an oscillating spindle sander. It comes with various sized drums and moves up and down while it sands. It now sits next to my disc and belt sander; its the big orange one in the photo below.
I haven't used it in anger yet, but should be able to give you a full report in my next post because I have just finished designing a new bandsaw box with two draws. I will show you that in my next post too.

Regarding pyrography, my intention is to decorate the boxes I make with pyrography patterns and that is something I'm looking forward to. In fact I have made a start on a small trinket pot that I purchased a while ago. I have divided the pot into quadrants and will fill each one with a different abstract pattern.

 Dividing the pot into quadrants with a curved line may look like a difficult thing to do, but it can be made easier if you break the task down into small chunks. The away I do it is to place four pencil spots on the top rim of the box as if they were compass points, north, south, east and west. Then do the same on the bottom. Then, looking from the top, all you have to do is join top south to bottom west and carry on like that around the pot.
To aid getting the curved line symmetrical, I put a pencil dot half way between the top point and the bottom point and then just drew a simple curve between the two.Here is a picture with red spots to illustrate where I put the pencil dots before drawing the line.

 Lots of drawing tasks involved in pyrography can be made a lot easier if they are broken down. Anyway, in my next post I will show you the finished pot after I've attacked it with my pyrography iron.


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Snake

Hi all,
 Sorry for the delays between my posts, but after moving house there are hundreds of jobs waiting to be done and there aren't enough hours in the day. For almost eight weeks I've dedicated all my time to the house even though I keep telling myself that I need to have a better balance between work and play.

I will have a day off every week to do some writing I say to myself, and I will make time for pyrography and scroll sawing, but then I look at the list of jobs that need doing and I'm back to square one. However, I feel a slight shift in the air and I'm determined to put more priority into writing, pyrography, and scroll sawing. A couple of days ago I made a step in this direction whilst gaining some brownie points off my good lady wife by curing one of her problems.

Since we moved into the new house our washing machine is now in the kitchen instead of the utility room, this is a peril that comes with down sizing. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the knob on the front of her washing machine protrudes in such a way that she kept bumping it with various bits of her anatomy as she went about her daily tasks. On wash days, utterances of vile nature would pour from the kitchen as she yet again nudged the button and sent the machine into a crazy cycle that usually meant the washing would need to be started again from scratch.

She was not best pleased with this state of affairs and asked for my help regarding the solution she'd come up with. "What I need is something that I can jamb between the top of the washing machine and work surface, that protrudes further out than the knob, " she said.

Seeing an opportunity to do a bit of craft work I set about cutting a piece of wood that would do the trick. I wanted it to be slightly bulbous at one end so that it didn't have any sharp corners and I wanted a slight taper on it so that she could push it under the work surface until it gripped. I cut a piece out on my scroll saw and sanded it roughly to the shape I desire. I tried it in situ and after a few tweaks to the thickness it worked just as my wife thought it would.

However, it looked boring so I grabbed the chance to do a bit of pyrography on it. To me, the stick looked a bit like a snake, so I modified the end of it with my new sander, which I will tell you about in my next post, and then did some pyrography on it. Because time wasn't on my side, I drew what I thought a snake's head looked like on the end of the stick and burnt it in with my pyrography iron. I then gave it two coats of varnish and presented to my wife. She was chuffed and my snake now comes out at least once a week and all is well with the world.


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Almost There

Hi all sorry there hasn't been any pyrography or scroll sawing posts recently, but hopefully things are about to change.

It is almost five weeks since we moved house and I have been working like a beaver every day. The bungalow we moved too is small than the previous property and getting all our belongings into it has been a mammoth task, a bit like trying to get a size 9 foot into a size 4 boot. The place as been bulging at the seams despite numerous trips to the tip (our local recycling centre) and the charity shops with stuff that my wife finds is now unsuitable for our new place

Here is a photo or the garage, that will one day soon become my new workshop. I took on the day we moved in. To be honest, this was pretty much how the whole house looked for a few days at least.

Anyway, things are looking a lot better and I hope to post a picture of my workshop soon. I can't wait to get back to the pyrography and scroll sawing so I hope it will happen in the near future. 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Moved at Last

Hi all,
sorry that there hasn't been any post pyrography or scroll sawing posts recently, after five months of waiting we finally managed to move house. That's the good news; the bad news is that there are still boxes everywhere and list of jobs to do which is longer than the M6.

I don't think I will be doing any pyrography or scroll sawing in the near future but I will start my posts again as soon as possible.

The move itself was a disaster because we didn't manage to get the keys until 3:40 pm and had to pay the removals people a van load of money for waiting time. Needless to say the boxes came off the vans very quickly and we lost control of the situation and boxes ended up everywhere despite our preparation.

Still we are in now and although we have a lot of work ahead we are pleased with the house and the fact that we have moved to a better area.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Band Saw Box

Hi all,
We are still waiting to move house, so once again this post is coming from a precarious hot spot.
In my last post, I showed you a drawing of a band saw box that I was going to attempt. Well I've finished it and I'm very pleased with the result.

Until recently I'd never heard of a band saw box, so I looked it up on Google. I was quite amazed by what I saw, so I watched a few being made on You Tube.

These boxes are supposed to be made, as the name suggests, on a band saw because it has a much greater depth of cut than a scroll saw. Anyway, I wanted to make a band saw box but there was no way I was going to lash out on a band saw because a decent one costs serious money. So, I would have to do it with my scroll saw which according to some people couldn't be done.

Well here is a picture of my finished box. It could have probably taken a little more time on the finish, but seeing as this was my first attempt at a band saw box and that I'd used


 a cheap piece of pine from B&Q and there is a limit to how much sanding I wanted to do. Now, if you are wondering why there is a difference between making a band saw box on a band saw and making one on a scroll saw, here are the differences.

To make a band saw box on a band saw, you first laminate or stick several pieces of wood together to form a block onto a which design is stuck and then the box it cut out in several piece.

Doing it on a scroll saw is different in as much as the design is stuck onto several pieces of wood which are then cut out and then stuck together. Greater care needs to be taken when doing on a scroll saw because each cut needs to be identical. Having said that a lot of the skill comes in the sanding because it here that band saw box takes on a look of its own.

If you own a scroll saw it is worth giving it a go because the results can be spectacular.
If you need more information on how it is done please let me know and I will get back to you when a hotspot allows. Who knows, by the time I make my next post I might even have moved, but that would probably be too much to hope for after 18 weeks of waiting.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Band Saw Boxes

Hi all,
We still haven't moved house, so this post is coming via a hot spot again. The signal is poor, so it will be a quick one. Over the Christmas period my wife Terry decided to try and forget her woes by doing a bit of pyrography. Here is a photo of what she did. It is a nice autumnal scene and at the rate we are going that's when we'll move house.

As you can see she did a great job with the pyrography but she then wanted to add some colour. She painted the leaves with watercolour paint, which she says gives her a more delicate tone on the wood. Acrylics have many good properties but they do tend to be a bit garish. The plaque was fined with spray lacquer because the brush on stuff would make the paint run.

I think she did a good job, but has now gone back into moving mode. To that end her days are split between planning what she is going to do in the new house, deciding what she can buy for it and shouting a solicitors.

I on the other hand decided to use the time to work on my new book and I am pleased to tell you that I have written 16,000 words and it is going well. Target day for publication is April.

I haven't managed to do any pyrography during the last few days, but I have been working on a design for a band saw box, which you can see below. They are made on a band saw, I reckon I could do just as well on my scroll saw; perhaps I'm deluded, but we'll see.

If you've never heard of a band saw box, you are in good company because neither had I until a few weeks ago and they are quite interesting.

In my next post I hope to show you how I made a band saw box on my scroll saw and that should prove to be interesting.

By the way, I'm sorry if you find any spelling or grammer issues in this posts but I haven't brought my prooofreader (the wife) with me. She said something about wasting time sitting about in a cold car when she could be giving an estate agent or solicitor a bit of verbal encouragement.