Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tree stump for the workshop

We had a pretty big storm come through in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago.  The winds were crazy and trees were damaged all over town.  As people cleaned up their yards, tree limbs lined the streets awaiting pick up.  

After the major clean up efforts had already taken place, I mentioned to Lowell over a lunch break that I wished I would have tried to get a tree stump for metal work while all of those trees were being cut down.  

That evening, this is what our driveway looked like:

Apparently he saw someone cutting down a damaged tree on his way back to work and stopped to see if he could take some of the stumps.  

I picked through them to decide which I wanted to keep....the rest will go for firewood.

From what I've read about stump preparation, the general idea is to try to keep the stumps from drying out too quickly because that can lead to cracking.  

I got some latex paint to seal the ends of the stumps.  Any latex paint would work, so I found some clearance paint that someone must have decided they didn't want.   

Once the paint dried they went into giant, thick trash bags to keep any remaining moisture contained. I'll air them out every week to keep mold from forming and then seal them back up until I see very little moisture when I check. I don't look forward to opening the bags...I'm sure there will be bugs that come out of the bark and no matter what my self talk is about creepy crawly things I generally end up hopping around and squealing. Maybe I can talk Ben into helping me.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Timeline of a custom order

I love custom orders and I hate them.  Sometimes they push me to try techniques I haven't or otherwise wouldn't and it's a great feeling to make something special for a loved one. I'm happy I did it when it's done. But between the initial conversation about the idea for an item and the end product, there are typically some dark places and frustrations. Here's how the process pretty much always goes for me:

The most recent order like this was for a set of pins; shotgun shells set in sterling.  I hadn't made pin backs before but I'd read some tutorials and thought that I got how to do them well enough to give it a try.

I started with the shotgun shells, removing the plastic sleeve by melting it out.

I made the bezels and the pin pieces.  When I say it like that it seems like there were no problems, but there were.  Over and over again I melted pieces and didn't get good was sort of a nightmare.  I had to put them aside for a while and pull myself together.  

I finally finished three of them and then choked again on the fourth.  I stepped back and tried it a few days later.  That seemed to help - after what seemed like an eternity, they are done and shipped and I can start thinking about the next project.