I may end up getting philosophical on you with this blog as the title suggests! Having just completed the HDTV stand and getting it juried into the Design in Wood competition it’s like a big relief. After spending some 100 hours devoted to the design and construction of this piece it is now complete and I suppose “in the hands of the judges” to see how a jury of my peers feels about it. I used the word postpartum in the title because I have a feeling similar to what the literature says a mother has after the birth of a child. Not a totally foreign feeling though, as an ultra runner I would spend months training for an upcoming 50 or 100 mile race and just like building this piece of furniture it would consume me. Then you cross the finish line (or enter it in a competition) and it’s all over! It’s not really a let down but now it’s time to find something else to put your focus on and in that I’ve been a rambling man!
“Darn You Scott B.” Carving Knife
I mentioned that a new group formed here in Las Vegas called the Woodcarvers of Las Vegas. At our May meeting one of the experienced members, Scott B., was showing different styles of knifes and showed one he recently made from a Sawzall blade. Well, me being me thought that was pretty neat so set out to make one for myself. I had the need for a long, thin bladed knife. Here’s the result:
Now, allow me to tell you the back story of this thing! Scotts knife impressed me so decided to give it a shot. After grinding the tip and getting it almost sharp it was time to separate it from the rest of the blade (see picture at right). Well, guess what? you can’t cut hardened steel with a hacksaw! Never tried this before but took a cold chisel and struck on both sides where I wanted to cut the blade. Next, I placed it in a metal working vise, struck the edge and it snapped right off — cool! I wanted to drill it out and secure it to the handle with brass rods which could have been sanded flush with the wood — uh, uh! Can’t drill hardened steel easily either. So, cut a shallow mortise on one side of the handle blank which matched the taper of the blade and then used Gorilla glue to clamp the two pieces together. Shaped to fit my hand and then finished by sanding in my furniture top coat and I have a pretty nice little knife. Just need to get the final 1/2″ of the tip sharpened and it’ll do fine for me. Bottom line though, I did end up buying a knife from Lee Valley, a #8 by Beebe. After reading the reviews I’m sure the metal he uses for the blade is superior to my old Sawzall one! Oh yeah, why the “darn you Scott B.” title?, spent an awful lot of time making it but honestly it’s all about the process and not putting an hourly wage on my own time. Should probably thank him instead for introducing the process to me.
Slanted Dovetail Box
Another thing keeping me going is two boxes for the Etsy store inventory that are of the slanted dovetail series. I’m using the remaining pieces of Brazilian Satinwood for the end pieces. One has Black Limba for the sides and the other has Monkeypod wood. These dovetails are tricky to lay out because they’re so long. The new Czeck marking knife with the tungsten carbide blade is being used on it. I like the blade since it has less flex than the original but have to be careful to not angle it into the tail being scribed. It is so sharp it’ll remove the lower edge of that tail if you’re not careful. You can probably figure out how I know that! This is his Super Cadet II.
Here is a photo of the one I’m calling the YinYang box before the handle was designed. The idea behind the name comes from the design of the end pieces. These were cut from a single piece then flipped over. If you can picture the YinYang you’ll see it in them. My initial plan was to inlay the symbol in the lid but after doing a mock up decided it just didn’t look right. I chose to mortise in a simple, half round one instead. Here’s what that looks like after shellac but it still needs to be rubbed out. Leather will be used to line these boxes if I have enough of it before putting them on the Etsy store.
The way the Brazilian Satinwood shimmers is eye-catching! I enjoy the play of the end grain and face grain where they come together. Now I have to wait until Saturday to see how the judging went at the Design in Wood then it’s on to the next challenge!