Tuesday, July 16, 2013

All's Well That Ends Well

In a week that are filled with family commitments I managed to find a bit of time on Sunday afternoon and earlier today to finish the latch for the bone chest that I made in Bill Robertson's class at Guild school in June. The latch was certainly for me the most difficult part to make and it took four tries to get it right.

From left to right: the first one broke in Castine when I bent it, the second one I just couldn't get the last bend in the right place and eventually the bit where the lock is supposed to fit in broke off, on the third one the hinge barrel broke off. This caused me a bit of frustration as it was my last piece of metal or so I thought in any case until I found a piece on Sunday afternoon between all my left over bits of metal, at first I couldn't figure out why I had this last piece of metal and then I remembered making a new hinge piece after one of mine fell in class and a search proved fruitless. In the end though I am rather glad the third latch lost it's hinge barrel, I tried a bit of silver soldering on Sunday after I borrowed some solder paste and a decent butane torch from a local club member and it wasn't too difficult, although I did lose the tiny piece I was trying to solder, knowing how to solder opens up lots of new possibilities for future projects and this is something I want to practice doing. It was then that I found the leftover piece of metal when I searched to see if I had anything that I could use for the hinge barrel, for the rest of the afternoon everything worked out just perfectly and I had no problems and ended the day with a perfect latch!

This morning I had time to attach the lock and latch to the chest and here it is all finished and locked :-) The original chests dates from the 14th century, here is a link to one that sold in 2011 for $25000, gasp! And another carved little beauty, so much detail in such a tiny piece.

The back of the chest.

The bottom of the chest.

The inside of the chest.

And in case you were wondering how big the chest is, here it is with a small part of my huge blue and white porcelain collection in my kitchen and.......

gosh, are my thumb really that big? ;-)

I really enjoyed the class and learned so much. And oh yes, the broken hinges led to another discovery, a shop 20 minutes drive from me that sells all the tools that I can dream of, burs, escapement files, gravers, decent vices and the list goes on and on. On Friday I phoned around to find out if I could get some silver solder somewhere and one of the art shops referred me to this shop, now I have always kind of assumed that there are no such shops in my area because all my miniaturist friends here normally order from the USA or Cape Town, lesson learned, NEVER assume anything . I quickly stopped there yesterday morning on the way to my mom just to see what they stock and oh my goodness, I was in tool heaven, they have a huge selection of quality tools and they are all displayed on a huge pegboard on one wall and I have to say, it is a much neater and more organized shop than the one in New York, which rather surprised me as the shop is in a part of town where most people think twice about going now, crime is rather rife in the area and you have to watch your back. Fortunately there was a parkade close by, 30 years ago this was the main business area of Pretoria and as a teenager I knew this part of town like the back of my hand as we lived in an apartment in the area for most of my high school years, sad how things change, now I only go there if I have no other choice. I told the shop assistant that I am only having a quick look and will come back another day to buy, he was friendly enough to tell me that they are having a 25% discount sale on most of their stock for seven days from 31 July, well, I have already started to make my list and it is growing by the minute :-)

And just for fun, a few photos of my part of South Africa in midwinter, we have no rain in winter, just lots of sunny, mild days with cool mornings and evenings.

Most mornings my daughter and I take our little mutt, Anakin for a walk.

Passing a garden where the roses are still flowering, this was just after nine in the morning and already too warm for a sweater.

Our street, my house is hiding somewhere towards the back on the right side, our cat Yoda loves to play in the open piece of veld on the right side just after the house with the lions, it goes in quite deep. By the way, I have nothing to do with the animals Star Wars names!

And lastly, the view of my winter garden through my workroom window, almost pruning time as spring officially arrives on 1 September.

Have a great week!


Giac said...

Hello Elga,
Once again I am amazed at your work. I cannot even imagine how to make such tiny pieces. Fantastic! the chest is a real work of art.
I wish my yard looked like that in winter instead of 10 feet of snow!
Big hug,

Catherine said...

Ooooh Elga...You did a fantastic job making your French chest. :-) It is a bit smaller then I thought it was. I am sure you have to be very proud of it. It looks perfect! Congratulations on your silver soldering. It is a process I love. I can't tell you how many hours I have spent on the shop floor crawling around looking for a tiny piece of metal. They do seem to escape and vanish!

How wonderful you have found such a great place to shop for tools so close to you. Take care in that neighborhood. XXX

Isabel Ruiz Alonso said...

Has hecho un trabajo increible, precioso. Es tan bonito como el original

Dorien Litjes said...

Dear Elga,
What a beautiful chest. What a lot of work and patience.
It looks like the wintertime at your place is as the summertime at ours.
But you can know because you visit the Netherlands not long ago.
Greetings Dorien

PILAR6373 said...

Un trabajo increíble!!! Es tan perfecto que me gusta más que el original!!!

Steinworks said...

oh Elga
that is a fantastic piece, I also love your blue and white collection I think it's wonderful I wish I could see a bit more of it

marisa :)

Josje said...

I'm back from my tool hunt ;-) How wonderful to have found such a great tool shop close to where you live. Nothing like that here I'm afraid. Even in the professional silver smiths supply shop in Amsterdam they had a pityful choice of gravers (basically they had no choice). I'm glad Bill is bringing over a lot of tools we can borrow.

Your chest looks fantastic. Makes me a bit nervous to read about your problems with the metal work. I'm a slow worker so I hope I'll be able to keep up! I do look forward to learning all of those new techniques though!

Thanks for a lovely post!

John said...

Persistence really paid off with your latches! That little trunk is just a perfect work of art.

I'm glad you found a source for tools closer to home.

Thanks for sharing the photos of your lovely neighborhood, pets and home!


Ilona said...

Your chest is a beautiful precious piece of work, Elga, congrats!
Your summer weather looks like ours. It is getting hotter here now.
How lucky you found that tool shop nearby :D!!
Groete, Ilona

Raminhos de Pano said...

Oi Elga, seu trabalho é tão pequenino, como você consegue? Parabéns pelo baú minúsculo. Eu achei as louças lindas! E quanto as fotos muito legal.
Um abraço de Fernanda.

Gee said...

Hi Elga,
Your chest turned out wonderful!
Those hinges and other metal pieces are SO tiny, that must be difficult to keep straight when working on it.

Over here we are heading for a heat wave, it is fun to see what winter looks like over there :), and you sure live in a nice neighbourhood!

Nice to hear you have found a tool supplier near to where you live.
That is so much easier than ordering abroad.
Have a great weekend and thanks for showing the lovely pics

miraclechicken said...

Great work on a beautiful little chest! Oh I wish I could be at the tool shop, I got high just hearing about it :) :) And your neighborhood is gorgeous---

MelyMel said...

Elga your work is amazing, I love the attention to detail.
Thanks for the pictures of the beautiful place you live in,

Debora said...

Ha! You've finished! How wonderful and how lucky you've had enough pieces to learn from the setbacks and then finally make the latch. We just finished class yesterday and it has turned out just as marvelous as you described. Many things learned and like you, almost finished but not quite yet :)

The latch is the final piece to make, yet the most tricky one too. But Bill explained it all well so i'm eager to round it all off too. Unfortunately it is now round about 33º C and getting warmer still.

And i'm so happy to hear a fellow tool junky has found herself a local supplier! I smiled from ear to ear reading about how well stocked he seems to be, and then a discount pretty soon as well? Make a list!!! :)

Wonderful chest Elga, well done!

ps. if it's any consolation; in class all of us were on our fours at one time or another... looking for pieces that flew off, and then sometimes finding other persons pieces they had already remade ;)