h3nry

Dressing Table Build

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3 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

H3nry, does that sapan wood work well with your hand tools? You certainly get great results, but that grain reminds me of wenge that's been bleached. I just wondered if it was splintery like wenge.

Well I'm getting used to it now ... and it's ok to work with, but not perfect. It's quite a hard brittle wood, and yes very splintery if you go against the grain. The closest I've worked with before is Jatoba, but the grain is more squirrely than Jatoba. I've never worked with wenge.

I couldn't hand-pick my boards when I bought them, and a few of them arrived almost quarter sawn, I've used some of these boards for the case sides. In this orientation the reversing grain directions is at its worst on the faces and my cheapo smoothing plane will tear-out all the time, so the vintage scraper plane that I have has really earned its keep here. The flat-sawn boards aren't too much of a problem, I just have to be careful on the edges. But once a face is properly planed and scraped it has a beautiful smooth glossy look, certainly no sandpaper needed.

Despite its problems, I'm starting to like working with it.

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It's a long weekend here, so I can get a bit more done today...

Like a true cyclist it's time to shave the legs ... First putting on a taper:

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Then the foot needs some work - So I cut it into a spiral. I'm not completely happy with what I have so far, so it may get a bit more shape somewhere:

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THen added some fluting on the bit between the knee and the foot (the shin?) Sorry for the poor photos:

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Still pondering on what else needs doing before I tackle the knees. Maybe a taper from front to back? Maybe continue the fluting over the top of the foot?

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I was kind of learning as I went on this leg, so I didn't take many pics. I might take some more when I get to leg-4, I might know what I'm doing by then.

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Nice work!  I built one of these legs the other day (without the carving) and can honestly say that there's definitely a learning curve to getting it the way you want.  If I were in your shoes, I'd definitely do a mock up in some cheap material to narrow your final vision.

 

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On 2016-07-02 at 11:04 PM, wtnhighlander said:

 Is that a traditional design for the legs, or something you came up with? I'm no furniture historian, I just know it looks cool!

Nope, I'm pretty much making this up - although probably re-inventing the wheel. I couldn't get any 12/4 stock to make traditional cabriole legs, and I didn't want laminated legs, so I thought I'd be able to get something similar doing it this way. There's still time to mess up but so far so good.

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Before I commit to carving the legs I thought I'd better practise with this wood on something that I wouldn't cry over if I really messed up. So I started on some appliqu­é details.

Gluing a piece of paper between the carving blank and a plywood board that can be held to the bench worked really well. Held it rock solid while I was carving. Then at the end a gentle tap with a chisel and the paper fibres tore apart releasing the carving.

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Nice carvings, H3nry! In these photos, the wood surface appears very "fuzzy", as if the softer grain fiber tear easily. Is this the case, or just an illusion in the image?

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1 hour ago, wtnhighlander said:

Nice carvings, H3nry! In these photos, the wood surface appears very "fuzzy", as if the softer grain fiber tear easily. Is this the case, or just an illusion in the image?

No, that's an illusion, or bad photography. The wood carves quite nicely, but it is a little bit brittle, so it is quite possible to snap off details be accident - My carving skills still aren't good enough to leave perfect surfaces, but it's not "fuzzy".

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Nice work h3nry!

Where do you get the patterns you're going to carve? Are you drawing them up or using templates of some sort?

How do you transfer your paper pattern to the work surface?

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I google around looking for inspiration from other peoples carvings ... then decide I like this part of one design and that part of another. Then I copy the images into drawing software, and trace over the parts of the design I want, and move them around until I have a design that fills the size and shape that I need. Then I print it out at the scale I need.

To trace it onto the wood - carbon paper - believe it or not carbon paper didn't die with the manual typewriter, and it can still be bought.

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Thanks h3nry.

Oh drat! Computer shenanigans are not my forte. I never took the time to learn what a computer can do besides email and googling.

I have some carbon paper for doing inlays. I have seen where some will poke holes in the pattern with a stylus and then connect the dots with a pencil. I was just trying to get some insight into your process.

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I'm just catching up with the journal.. Loved the ripping boards with a hand saw - been there done that.

Great work so far and the legs are looking interesting. Are you out in Bogota long term?

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The alternative is the old fashioned way - seeing something you like, and then copying down freehand with pencil and paper. Might take a few attempts to get the proportions correct, but I expect it would be a quicker path to developing the eye needed to design your own patterns.

That's pretty much what I'm going to have to do for the carving on the knees which aren't flat, so tracing from paper won't be possible. Maybe that's why I'm still procrastinating over getting started on that.

9 minutes ago, TerryMcK said:

I'm just catching up with the journal.. Loved the ripping boards with a hand saw - been there done that.

Great work so far and the legs are looking interesting. Are you out in Bogota long term?

Thanks Terry,

I plan on staying here for another few years, but job security isn't part of the game at the moment, so who knows, maybe I'll end up back in Blighty.

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1 hour ago, h3nry said:

The alternative is the old fashioned way - seeing something you like, and then copying down freehand with pencil and paper. Might take a few attempts to get the proportions correct, but I expect it would be a quicker path to developing the eye needed to design your own patterns.

That's pretty much what I'm going to have to do for the carving on the knees which aren't flat, so tracing from paper won't be possible. Maybe that's why I'm still procrastinating over getting started on that.

 

 

That's exactly why I was asking. I'm thinking of a shell or acanthus carving on the knee of some legs and the transfer of the pattern sounds challenging.

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Started carving the knees. Got one of them done...

Although this is still a relief carving, it's amazing how much more difficult it is having a rounded surface to carve rather than a flat surface, especially all that end-grain on the top of the knee as well as having to move the workpiece around to get it at the right angle.

The first problem was finding creative ways to hold the leg so that I could get tools at what I was carving in the correct grain direction.

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Well it sure doesn't look like the leaves on the acanthus plant growing outside my neighbour's house but I think it will do. Hopefully the other three will go a bit faster now that I've successfully done one.

And don't drop your tools. With a 15 degree bevel on them these blades are a bit fragile ... lots of work on the stones even to buff this little chip out.

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Ouch! I have to fight the urge to try catching a falling chisel with my foot when it slips.

Great work.

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knees all carved ...

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They're none of them identical to each other and have a little bit more of that "hand carved" look than I'd like. But I'll never improve without practice.

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I think they look great with slight variations.  Are those applied carvings on what I am guessing will be the front legs ?

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Beautiful!

I didn't notice it earlier but I see you added two concave channels on the front of the leg too. That's a nice detail. I didn't see that coming.

 

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