Thursday, February 4, 2016

Year 16, Week 03, Day One (week 837)

Year 16, Week 03, Day One (week 837)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
01-30-16 Saturday

50 degrees early morning, 78 late after noon. High light feathers early morning, becoming feathers and milk with low puffs in the late morning, The puffs mostly disappeared in the late afternoon. A light breeze made it kind of nice. The cold of the morning, well below the 56 degree frost temperatures made the roads slick, but most of the people on the road has already had experience on the slick roads over the past weeks so it was safe driving. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism. 

After breakfast we went to what can be called a rummage sale called Auntie Annie’s Attic. I think they have it twice a year and it a great place to find things that cannot be found elsewhere and at a good price. It is fun to walk around and look. Most of the items I found today was here. The most expensive purchase was a king sized blanket in flannel. Mom said it was another material but I cannot remember what it was so flannel is close enough.  They had a lot of really cute stuffed animals. All of them were screaming for me to bring them home. I half considered some small ones. I reached out and touched them, and their cute little paws wrapped lovingly around my fingers, but forced myself to walk away that time. Later, someone moved the box so I was able to stay away from them easier, especially after my hearing recovered from their begging.. 
After that, we hit three yard sales and while my hands reached for several items. I find that the most interesting items I run across are the ones I already have too many of. At the rummage sale and at another sale we stopped at, there were stainless steel bowls. I already have 19 of them and have no need for any more (it could well have been five more). They were tempting though. I think I have 3 or 4 coffee grinders. I saw an old style one and forced myself to ignore it. I think there is a reason you have many of something. 
At a condo yard sale, I came away with a latch-hook, five metal crochet hooks and a pair of knitting needles. No I did not need any of them. Especially the needles, but they had to come with me. We hit some yard sales on the way home from the condo yard sale.
One yard sale, I forgot which one, had an old leather bellows. It puffed a little air. It would have been kind of nice to have, but for anything I wanted to use it for, it was way too small. I don’t have room for decorations at this moment. 
I actually did pretty good over all. I kept myself under SOME control.

At home, I photographed my finds, and then got to work. During the week, I picked up some silver spray paint. After some clean-up on the angels, I spray painted them silver. The silver looks good. You can still see the wood grain beneath it so you know it is wood. Later, I touched their halos with yellow paint. Mom wants to have faces on them, but the paint was not dry enough for the markers to stick. I still have to add eye hooks to them also. These are easy to make and I might concentrate on a bunch of these next week. 

I tried to do a video with my camera and it decided to act up after I deleted my horrible first attempt at the video. I gave up after a while. Videos are not as easy as they look.

I worked some on my frog carving. I ran into a very tiny problem. I had forgotten about how easy the different angles of the wood are to cut. 
Wood growing in the tree has different levels of strength and splitting power depending on whether you are cutting the grains of the wood are going up and down which splits easy, around the perimeter, or center to outside. Some directions cut or split easier than others. There have been scientific tests with select woods on how they split. I cannot remember what the articles said. I forgot them right after I had read it. 
Cutting across the grain, like cutting a tree down, is the toughest way to cut wood. That is why, when you cut with an ax, they have you cut out wedges rather than just hacking straight across. The more you cut with down grain, the easier it is to split, but harder to actually cut. 
When you position your figure within the wood, you take the direction of the wood grain into account so that you care cutting into the end grain as little as possible. If you have a standing figure, you have the body go the way the tree grew so only the head and feet are end-grain cutting. Even with a squat figure, one tends to have the grain run up and down. This also give the work strength, as wood will break easily with the grain, but not across it. An arm hanging out will snap off if the wood grain is wrong. Wood splits with the grain, not across it.
One can think of wood grain as a bundle of straws glued together. The straws bend easier than breaking, but you can run a blade down them and separate them. (Something tells me I confused myself, let alone you, but I will go with what I wrote)

Now different woods have different tendencies. One has the hardness of the grain, the length of the grain, and the strength of the binding material between the grain. Woods like Basswood have short grain, that is bound by material the same strength as the grain. It can be cut in almost any direction with limited effort. 
Cedar has long, strong grains bound together extremely weakly. Cedar splits easily. I have done a couple carvings in cedar and have lost key pieces because of a slight twist of the knife. 
Ash is a wood with strong grains and bound with a very strong material. It does not cut or split as easy as a lot of other woods. 
Sea Grape has fairly short grains, but a very strong binding material. I found that Sea Grape pushes back on the knife blade (almost rubbery) so it does not cut well. It turns nicely though.
Most of my carving is with white pine or whitewood. It is much like basswood, except the grains are longer so it splits easier. I have had many carvings where I would pop off a nose or an ear and then have to hunt for it to glue it back on. There are different versions of the whitewood or white pine and they have different levels of hardness. One has to look carefully to find the right versions of the woods to carve. 

So back to my story, I designed this frog to have the grain run end to end. Most of my cuts are on the ends and they are resisting me. I am struggling bad with this frog. I am tempted to drag out the dremmel and grind away the wood quickly. I likely will do that, but for now I am using the knife.

I should note that if I were using chisels rather than a knife, this would be easier to carve. The knife basically has a side to side cut, while chisels are straight in. This frog would be much easier to cut by pushing the blade through it. The knife cannot get in to push through the length of the wood. 

I messed around with a few other things while out back, replacing a nose piece on a pair of glasses, measuring a board to be cut later, just to name a few while waiting paint to dry. 
I misread the clock early this morning and got up a whole hour early, so I decided to call it a day in the early afternoon and napped for a couple hours. 

I am not sure what I will do tomorrow. I have a few ideas but as of late, Sundays have not been great days to get much done. 

Year 16, Week 03, Day Two (week 837)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
01-31-16 Sunday

63 degrees early morning 78 in the afternoon. Light breeze, mostly sunny, light feathers and some heavier clouds. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism. 

Over the past few weeks, I gathered up a bunch of stuff I had no need for, or that I just did not want. I dropped them off at a friend’s house. She goes to the Big flea market and also does yard sales. I told her that she has my permission to fill her dumpster as much as she desires....  It is kind of fun to unload stuff I have accumulated. I will have more at some other time. It is a matter of picking through the stuff before I put them away.

My brother and I mostly talked. I took the angels and sanded the paint off the bottoms so I can sign them. 
I had gotten two Colman gas stoves and one was having problems getting going. My brother checked a few items and got it working again. I now know what to do if I have the problem again. He also told me that I should be able to get the gas at Home Depot. He said he saw it in the section that has paint thinners. I shall soon be ready for Hurricane season. 

I had some particle board I had picked up some time ago. I realized I needed to replace a shelf in one of my closets so I got it from Mom’s house where I kept it. I turned out to be the right size and fits nicely. I intended to trim it to match another shelf I had, but decided not to, figuring I could make small adjustments when actually fitting it. It went in all right. I had assumed that board was a whole lot bigger than it really came out to be. I was thinking I might get a couple shelves out of it. Before I went to look for the board, I was trying to decide the best and easiest way to cut it to the right size. I now realized it was a sheet of plywood I was thinking as the board I was going to use.

Talking with my brother and parents was actually more fun than doing real work. 

I hope to do some turning next weekend. I will see what I actually accomplish.


those are metal crochet hooks, latch hook and knitting needles up front.

almost finished angels

Frog to this point. I handed it to my brother and he guessed right.

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