Monday, June 15, 2015

Glass Nativity

I have done a few of these over the years (actually six).  These will be the last.  They are not as difficult as they were time consuming.  There was also a lot of take away lessons from doing glass etchings.
My dad did the original and several others for other people several years back.  I wanted one about ten years ago.  He had lost the pattern so with a light and paper I copied it.  His was done on tinted glass.  I was told that tinted glass made the etchings look better and the image stand out.  So I went and picked up my glass, etching solution and contact paper.  First lesson: NEVER use easy remove contact paper.  The etching solution lifted the contact paper and I was left with a completely etched glass.  That alone should have been enough to deter me but I had more etching solution left, so I tried it on a much cheaper mirror with the correct contact paper and it worked.  I made two this time because I cut down a full length mirror from Walmart.  I have one and the other is at my in-laws. 
A few years back the one my father did at my parents home broke.  I decided to replace it with a framed mirror one.  Put the contact paper and made all the cut outs and then let it sit.  I found it last year and finished it.  Lesson two: The longer contact paper sits on a surface the more adhesive sticks to the surface.  I think I peeled off pure vinyl and all the adhesive stuck to the mirror.  I used a quart of goof off to remove all the adhesive.  It was given as a Christmas present last year to my parents. My siblings all wanted one.
I had enough etching cream for three more.  I was not going  to buy any more because the stuff is expensive and I really do not like working with glass.  So learning from past experiences I used the contact paper I had left over and did three more in about two weeks.  Lesson Three: As contact paper gets older, the adhesive does not stick well to the vinyl.  This is a little different than lesson two.  As I was cutting out the contact paper for the etched sections not all the glue came off with the vinyl.  leaving a little bit of residue.  I cleaned most of this residue up.  The etching solution did not etch the mirror where there was glue left.  Most of these are small little dots, so to appear to be beauty marks of a handmade piece. 
I also made all the frames for these nativities.  These are beech, stained ebony with a coat of shellac.  The frames came out nice even though I hate to make miter stuff.  I only had one of the three frames be a problem.  So in conclusion, lesson learned:  No more glass etchings.

Tower of Blocks

This was a fun little weekend project that took me a couple of weeks to do.  I actually finished the blocks several months ago but decided I needed a carrying case for them.  So that is what I did last week. 

My kids are more interested in knocking the tower down then building a tower.  The blocks are made out of poplar and the box is cherry.  Simple build and did not take that long.  It was also a good way to use the rest of the Shellac that I had before it went bad.

Monday, June 1, 2015

No truck, not a huge problem

Wood Talk recently did a podcast on how they personally get lumber to their workshops.  Surprisingly, only one had a truck.  I thought it was fitting in what I was trying to figure out.  A couple of years ago I needed to trade in my truck for a minivan.  Our family has been growing and I needed a little more economical car for my day job commute.  So my wife got the minivan and I got her car.  We did not get the minivan that could fit a sheet of ply.  So the question comes up how do I do it.  I did not have to figure out that question until recently.  I just received and order for more tiles, which requires a sheet of MDF.  So I figured I would hope that the lumber yard would be able to cut it down for me, but I had a backup plan if they could not.  I "borrowed" my father's cordless circular saw and brought it with me with some clamps.  (I don't think my dad realizes it is missing yet.)  The lumber yard did not have the ability to cut down the sheets so with a straight edge and the circular saw the board was knocked down to a more manageable pieces.  The lumberyard was happy to provide some assistance and it seemed like this was not the first time a customer has asked to do this.  My dad might get is saw back one of these days.  The only suggestion I have is to bring an extra battery.  They saw does no good with a dead battery.
Now onto the joys of MDF.  I do not typically use MDF in my projects because they are toys.  However MDF is stable, flat and consistent.  My biggest issue working with MDF is the dust that it produces.  I take all the precautions I can when machining it.  My shop vac is hooked up to the saw and running, I have a respirator on and plenty of ventilation.  Still everything was coated in a layer of dust and I was just cutting the parts out.  I think when I do the routing I will do it outside.  It is very messy to work with.