Friday, November 30, 2012

A Lovely Surprise Gift!!!

Oh, I love days like today, I went to the post office today, hoping that a parcel I have been waiting for would be there. There was a parcel, but not the one I was thinking of, this one was huge and I wasn't expecting a huge parcel from anybody. As soon as I saw that it came from Natalia, my curiosity was awakened, I was expecting a small piece of silk gauze from her, she was looking for some 112 count and couldn't find any, so I agreed to give her some in exchange for some 72 count, but this parcel was way too big and heavy for just a piece of gauze.

And look what I found inside!!! Christmas came early this year :-))))))

A 1923 book on furniture in the Metropolitan museum of art! I absolutely love old books, so this is a real treasure.

The inside covers.

The front page showing the 1923 date.

A chair that I would like to make.

And a lovely dresser, thank you so much Natalia, this was a wonderful surprise gift and I really appreciate it.

And here is a little something for you all, I found this book to download on-line, original copies are quite rare, so enjoy and do look at the rest of the website, it looks as if there are quite a few interesting books, etc to download.

Have a wonderful weekend

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Working SAFELY with small pieces of wood.

After Ilona's comment on my post yesterday, I thought I would show you how I work with these tiny pieces of wood on my table saw and drill press.

Rule no 1 and 2 and 3 and..... (You get the idea) NEVER, NEVER work with power tools when you are tired, sick or enjoyed the party too much. Okay, with that said, let's move on to some photos and how to's.

First of all, I use a very thin saw blade with lots of tiny teeth when working with such thin woods, I buy mine from Micro-Mark.

Here I am ripping wood into long strips, the blade is only sticking up a little bit above the wood and I am using a scrap piece of wood to hold the wood down while sawing.

For cross cutting I use my home made table slide, the base is made from Perspex, in case you are wondering :-). The pieces that I am cutting here are only about 3/32" big. I use a small piece of scrap wood to hold the strip down while cutting.

Here you can see where my finger is in relation to the blade, I always tell myself that the blade can't move out of position but my fingers can, so don't move the fingers. And I always switch off the saw between each cut to pick up that tiny piece before cutting the next one.

Some of my 3/16" pieces needed a groove in them, it is impossible to do that on the drill press after cutting it,  there is nothing to hold on to, so I first put in a groove on each end of my strip wood before sawing it to size on the table saw.

This piece needed 2 grooves, one on each end, here I am using a small piece of scrap wood to help me push the tiny piece of wood squarely through the cutter on the drill press. Oh, yes, in all these photos I am working with 1/64" thick plywood.

I am sure there might be even better and safer methods out there on doing some of these steps, all I can say is never use a tool if you are not sure on how to use it or don't feel confident enough to use it, fingers just don't grow back.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Casket: The removable ink tray

Today I built the tiny tray that fits into the center front of the top compartment of the casket. Ha, this was the most difficult part so far to build, no surprises there, and you dare not sneeze or breathe too hard, guess I don't have to explain that one. I won't say anything about sawing the little pieces, except believe it or not, I am actually using my table saw for it.

Here you can see the little tray outside of the casket, the two small compartments on either side are meant for ink containers, you can see it clearly in this photo of the original casket, click on fullscreen and roll your mouse over the image and you can see all the fine details of the casket. I think I have an idea for adding the little lids, I will probably glue them permanently in place.

And the tray in place in the casket, I also made an envelope to put in the letter slot.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

All Framed Up

Yesterday it rained most of the day and I finally had time to make a frame for my Victorian sampler.

I will probably hang the sampler in the bedroom of my dollhouse, so I photographed it against the William Morris wall paper that I plan to use in the bedroom. I made the molding from South African candlewood, I love it because of the wonderful grain and color.

I hope you can see the grain better in this photo, it is not easy to take photos of it.

To make the molding, I first used the big cutter on the left to cut a rebate in the back of the molding, I then turned the molding over and used the same cutter to cut a wider shallow rebate on the inside edge of the molding. Next I used the cutter that you can see on the right to give the inside edge that nice hollowed out curve and lastly I used the small round over router bit for the outside edge of the molding.

Enjoy your Sunday

Friday, November 23, 2012

Casket Progress

I just want to say thank you to everyone who so regularly leaves comments on my posts and for cheering me on. The Chippendale chairs has arrived safely at their destination I am pleased to say.

In the mean time I have been working on the caskets and here are a few photos. I have decided to build them finished in batches of two, of course the first two will take longer as I am cutting the parts for all twenty at the same time. So far each casket has a total of 21 pieces.

Here the sliding panel lying on the left is finished now on the inside and I have started to work on the inside of the top compartment. The back is already glued in and the sides, base paper and front is ready to be glued into place. The real caskets had no joints and was held together with glue and the paper, but to put the paper into the miniature one after gluing together would be almost impossible, so the mini one does have grooves everywhere and the paper is glued in place first. The squares on my cutting mat are one inch square, so that gives you a pretty good idea on the size of the caskets.

The sides and fronts of the top compartment glued into place, the blue casket has the sliding panel in place and the pink casket shows you what is going on behind the sliding panel.

The back of the caskets, the sides and back of the top compartment rises slightly above the casket itself, the lid will fit around here, the antique ones were made like this.

The top compartment finished, well almost, it will still get a few more pieces that will be removable to reveal a secret compartment and a secret drawer. In front of the blue casket you can see all the pieces that makes up the top compartment as it looks now. The small slot in the back behind the hollowed out divider is meant for keeping that special love letter.

Top view of the casket, if you look carefully, you can see two small pieces of wood covered with paper on the long sides of the center front compartment, a lift out box will rest on the wood pieces and create a secret hidey hole beneath.

Have a great weekend everybody

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chippendale chairs: Finished!!!!

Wow, after 4 months, the 6 Chippendale chairs are finished and on their way to their final destination in England. Here are a few photos of them in my dollhouse, sometime next year I want to make a set of chairs for my dining room and a table, but not the same as these ones.

The six chairs.

Around the table.

This was the first time that I put the Stokesay dinnerware on the table since I bought them earlier this year, I need a few more wine glasses and a few other things.

The bottom of one of the chairs, showing the little brass plates with my name that my husband makes for me to sign my work with.

And a few photos of my Spring Garden, although summer has definitely started these last few days with very hot temperatures.

You can see my workroom's window on the right side of the tree, on the left of the tree is a huge outdoor room that we call a "stoep" in South Africa. We eat many suppers here on hot summer days and all festive days like Christmas and so on are celebrated on the "stoep".

We had an unusual amount of rain this spring and my iceberg roses rewarded me with an amazing display of roses.

Have a wonderful week.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Casket construction has begun.

After working through a few difficulties on the prototype of the casket, construction on the final caskets has begun. I am making 20 of them, cutting the wooden parts are quick, putting them together however.....,lots of patience will be required.

These are just some of the parts for the casket, 40 sides, 20 bases and backs, a whopping 60 drawer dividers, and not in the photo, 40 partitions and 20 sliding panels. All the sides and backs has been grooved where the drawer dividers fit in, as well as the bottom and back edges of the sides where they fit into the base and back. Plus the drawer dividers has grooves for the upright partitions between the drawers.

The first step is to line the inside of the casket with paper. At first I wasn't sure if I should seal the paper or not, but realizing that in the process of putting them together the parts will be handled a lot, I decided that it would be better to seal the paper. Now the next question arrived, with what should I seal it, I didn't want to use a water based sealer as those seem to stay tacky forever and neither did I want to use a normal varnish, and these caskets will end up in different parts of the world, some places extremely hot and dry and others damp and cold. So off I went to the art shop and was introduced to a product I have never heard of before, Japan Gold Size from Windsor and Newton and I just love it. It puts on easy, it dries quick and no visible layer, I bought the antiquing one and love how it deepens the color of the paper. The sealer is quite oily while it is wet and seeps right through the paper, so to prevent any problems with gluing the paper to the casket, I first sealed one side of the paper with thinned white glue (this side is the side that gets glued to the casket) and once that was dry I used the Japan gold size on the other side. Once the sealer is dry there is no sign of oiliness. I apply the paper before putting the casket together and made a cardboard template for each shape to speed up cutting time.

One of the processes that were changed from the prototype was the silvering of the edges of the drawer dividers. For the prototype I used aluminium leaf but didn't like it as it was too shiny and the gold size was lumpy and took forever to dry. In the end I tried a silver permanent marker and once again it proved easy to put on. I simply just draw on each front of the drawer divider before assembly, then the silver also covers the  cut paper edge. The pen is also too shiny, but by immediately going over the line with a Q-tip, the excess ink is removed and the silver gets a nice matte look.

With the sliding panel in place. Now my goal is to get all twenty to this place, which I guess is going to take the rest of the month. This is not difficult to make but incredibly small and fiddly to handle.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Gluing a chair together

Well, here is the promised step by step photo tutorial on how to glue a chair together, for more information on how I made the parts, go to my side bar and click on Gothic Chippendale chair under the labels heading.

 I always start with the back leg assembly, I made a jig by cutting a piece of scrap wood to the inside shape between the back legs to help keep the angle of the legs correct while gluing. I then cut two pieces of wood and glued them in place horizontally to help keep the back seat rail and the stretcher 90 degrees with the legs.

A side view.

Once the glue was dry, I moved the back leg assembly over to another jig, here I am gluing the crest rail to the back splat. There are pieces of scrap wood under the bottom part of the back splat to lift it up to the same level as the seat rail. Next to the jig you can see one finished. Now was the time to do all the carving on the back splat and crest rail.

I then put the back legs back into the first jig and glued in the shoe where the back splat fits into.

After all the carving were finished I glued the back splat into the shoe and the crest rail to the top of the legs, a few rubber bands are keeping it together while the glue dries, remember these joints are all mortise and tenon joints.

Next I moved on to the front leg assembly and here are the only two straight forward 90 degree joints in the whole chair. I cut a scrap piece of wood to keep the front legs at a proper 90 degrees while the glue dried.

Here I am gluing the side seat rails into the front legs at an angle, the legs are butting up to the front of the jig to keep it square in relation to the seat rails.

I then put the front legs in place on the back legs and glued in the support piece where the upholstery fits in. This is the bottom view.

Because the sides of the chair is very thin and there is no place for the clamps to really hold, I cut another piece of scrap wood to fill in the space where the cushion will eventually go in to give the clamps a firm hold. This piece of scrap was used in the rest of the gluing process.

The next step was to glue in all the stretchers, in order to ensure that the stretchers were glued in exactly the same distance from both the floor and the seat rails I once again (yes, you guessed right) cut another piece of scrap wood to keep the spacing correct.

View from the bottom, I glued this in two steps, first just one of the sides stretchers and once that was dry the middle stretcher and the second side stretcher. At this stage I am only gluing the stretchers into the front legs as I still wanted to be able to have the back legs free for cutting the slots for the arm rests.

A set of arm stumps and arm rests pinned into place on the pattern while the glue dries.

And finally the front leg assembly and back legs are glued together. The same spacer woods are used again, here you can see there is a thinner piece just under the seat rails, this is to keep the back and side seat rails at the same level all around, if it goes slightly out in this step, your whole chair will be sloping over to one side.

Lastly the arm rests were glued onto the two carver chairs, here a few Lego blocks with a piece of scrap wood keeps the arm rests leaning out at the correct angle. And how do I keep the bottom of the arm stumps in place against the seat rail, holding it with my fingers for a few minutes, there is just no place for any clamps.

Now the arm rests just need a nice bit of shaping and all the chairs a finish. Stay tuned for the last post on these chairs sometime early next week.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Stitching for the Casket

After a month of first truck driver strikes and then postal strikes that halted postal delivery for more than 3 weeks, some long awaited parcels are slowly trickling in. Last Friday brought one that I really was longing for, 90 count silk gauze that I was hoping to use for stitching the casket panels, depending on whether I could see it. The good news is that I can see the gauze or more importantly the holes quite well with my combination of glasses and magnifier lamp.

I spend the last few days stitching a small piece from the chart just to see which combination of threads would work the best and I am pretty pleased with the results.

Believe it or not but there are 930 stitches in that tiny piece, I am thinking of making a small trinket box and putting this little piece in a recess on the lid. The eyes are French knots and the mouth a back-stitch that I added after the petit point was finished. And in case you can't figure it out, it is a lady in her tent, actually to be precise Potifpar's wife from the Old Testament story of Josef, I have always liked that story and decided to stitch it as close as possible to the original casket in the MET museum, you can see the full scale casket back here.

And here you can see where it will be more less in the final piece of stitching on the back of the casket. I was pleasantly surprised that it took me only about 6 hours to stitch, that is 150 stitches per hour, I thought it would take much longer.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Arm Rests for the Chippendale Chair

When I made the first batch of chairs I never showed you how I made the arm rests, I am almost finished with an order of six of them and thought I would show you how I made the arm rests.

First of all 5 of the chairs, at this stage the front leg assembly is still not glued into the back legs.

Here you can see the jig for the arm stumps, the tricky part was cutting away the wood on the blank where it  joins onto the side of the chair rail, it needed to be at an angle and cut away before I pin-routed the final shape. I marked the line on the jig with a permanent marker and then worked out the angle.

I then cut a scrap piece of wood with that angle and placed it in the back of my drill press, I positioned the cutter for the final length of the cut out and then cut away little slivers at a time until the wood hit the stop in the groove on the drill press table. In the photo you can see the blackwood piece is still being cut while the mopane one in the front has been cut all the way.

Of course half of the arms needed to be a mirror image, so after I cut half of my blanks I flipped the angled piece of wood over and positioned it in the left corner of the drill press.

Next I pin-routed out the shapes, forgetting to take photos, oh well, here is one finished and glued to the arm rest just to show you how the line I drew on the jig lines up with the cutout on the arm stump. One thing I had to remember to do, was to cut half of the blanks with the cutout facing up and the other half with the cutout facing down in order to get a left and a right arm stump.

And in this photo you can see why I kept those funny little ears on the crest rail of the chair, I needed them so that I could put the chair back squarely onto the table of the drill press while cutting the slot in the back legs where the arm rest fits in.

The funny little ears are gone now! I am planning on scrutinizing my carving on the back again, sanding the back where needed, then gluing in the front leg assembly and then do the final fitting of the arm rest, it needs a bit of fine-tuning. Sometime next week I will do a step by step post on gluing this chair together which needed careful thinking out because of all the angles, there are only two 90 degree joints in this chair.

Enjoy the weekend.