Two steps forward, one back

I’ve been making steady progress on the table, albeit with a few setbacks. For example, I’m now on my third set of brackets, and I’m not even 100% sure these are right. The first set, as I’d written about previously, were too narrow, destroying the optical illusion of a continuous piece of wood extending through to the rails. The second set I measured and cut, only to realize after that – D’oh! – the grain was running the wrong way! The grain needs to run horizontally (again, for the sense of continuous wood). A 90-degree turn in the grain breaks the illusion. Even with stain, it would be noticeable. Oh well. This third set is looking promising. Now I just have to hope I can fit them to the appropriate pieces with no gaps. Stay tuned.

The main rails are just about done, too. I just glued in some faux tenons to the leg uprights tonight, and tomorrow I’ll detail them and stain them. At that point (and after confirming the fit of the brackets) I can join the two halves of the pedestle together and move it upstairs into my dining room. The first third of the project will be done!

Not much else to write about – just the usual trials and errors. I’ve uploaded a couple of photos of the “wrong way” to glue up two planks and the “right way.” The “wrong way” involved sandwiching them together and driving the front wheel of my car on top of them for pressure, letting them sit over night. It seemed like a really good idea at the time! It might have worked if I’d paid a little more attention to the cupping of the boards. As it turned out, the center got plenty of pressure, but the edges had nasty gaps – the pressure just wasn’t distributed well to the edges of the boards. So the “right way” was to clamp them up with several clamps, distributing the pressure more evenly. Worked like a champ.

I’m also starting to push the envelope in my pen turning (see picture on this blog entry). I want to start moving into more fancy, artistic sculpting, and that’s a whole new challenge. This first effort isn’t bad (again, don’t look at the beads too closely or you’ll see the asymmetries). Production-wise, it takes 3-4 times longer than a standard pen, because of the pain-staking work around the details. As I get better and more confident I’m sure that time ratio will shrink. But one false move with the skew chisel around those beads and wham! you’ve got a gouge tearing down the pen. I came close.

I’m thinking ahead to this craft show at work. I’m wondering what would happen if at the booth I had some modeling clay and some standard Bic plastic cylinder pens. I’m thinking of having folks (if they wish) mold their own pens to the curves and thickness that feels good in their own hand, and then I’ll turn one from their mold. Could be fun and “interactive”, or a nightmare of trying to match curves. I’ll have to try a few on my own first. 🙂

The down side to my steady progress is that I’m not getting out to exercise enough. Sure, the evenings are pretty toasty nowadays anyway, but I’m starting to miss my evening runs and rides. Balance, balance…

Nothing profound tonight – just an update. Till later!


One thought on “Two steps forward, one back

  1. It's so hard to get out and exercise when you work all day and have your hobbies at night. It appears that you are doing some beautiful work. Very intricate craftmanship. Very few peolpe could do that which is impressive. Good job, Larry!


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