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1  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Wooden Mini Dresser on: June 14, 2014 07:17:18 AM
At carving class with my dad this week we made bandsaw boxes.  Bandsaw boxes are, as the name implies, boxes that you cut out with a bandsaw.  They're generally made from a single piece of wood, with bits cut off and then glued back together so the grain matches up.  I came up with a slightly wonky two-drawer dresser design for mine.

Bandsaw boxes aren't technically difficult to make, but you have to do all the steps in the correct order - which, as it happens, I didn't.  I forgot the bit where you cut off the back and I went straight into cutting out the middle, which meant I had to make a new back out of a different piece of wood.  I used a thin bit of cedar planking.

The main wood I used is mahogany, which I think is an absolutely gorgeous material, although it doesn't look like much before you finish it.  The only in-progress picture I have of my box shows what a difference a little mineral oil makes.

I am not very good at making straight cuts with a band saw so the drawers turned out kind of slanty.  I was going for a whimsical look, though, so I'm all right with it.  Smiley

The box is about 5" by 2.5" by 2.25" and the top and bottom drawers are 1" and 1.5" deep, respectively.  I used bits cut from the drawer interiors to make the drawer pulls.

It took me a little over four hours to make this.  I wanted to finish it all in one go, while I was at my parents' house with bandsaw and belt sander and clamps at my disposal.  I ended up getting home around midnight but it was worth it.  Smiley

2  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Space! (with a secret message) on: June 07, 2014 01:51:21 PM
I've been playing around with Circular Gallifreyan recently and I thought it would be neat to try and incorporate a word or phrase written in the Gallifreyan alphabet into a picture of planets and stars and things.  Since this was my first go at it I used a simple design just to see how it would turn out.  What do you think?

Here's the Gallifreyan design I used (the pencil marks are just guidelines, what's in pen is the actual word).  I wanted the translation to be a quote from the Doctor so I picked the advice he seems to give most often.  It just says "Run!"  Grin

As a first try at this concept I think my drawing turned out okay, but I don't love the random shafts of light that I used to represent the lines in the Gallifreyan design.  Is there a different way I could have indicated lines that might have looked better?  Maybe comets or something?  I'd appreciate any suggestions, I want to make more of these.  Smiley
3  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / Gallifreyan quote shirt (Doctor Who/Serenity crossover) on: June 07, 2014 09:37:16 AM
I hope this is the right board...tracing counts as an image reproduction technique, right?

I've been on a Circular Gallifreyan kick lately, I love codes and different alphabets and I think anything written in Gallifreyan just looks cool.  I wanted to combine my two great science fiction loves, Doctor Who and Firefly/Serenity, so I picked my favorite Jayne quote from Serenity and wrote it out in Gallifreyan on a piece of cardboard.  Then I traced it with a fabric stain pen onto a T-shirt.

The quote is "Let's be bad guys."   Cheesy
4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Sneaky Geeky Polo Shirts on: May 29, 2014 08:52:33 PM
The dress code at my work is "business casual," which no one has ever been able to conclusively define, but one of the specific rules is that you aren't allowed to wear graphic T's except on Fridays.  Every Friday you may adorn your torso with any sort of (non-offensive) nerdy shirt your little geek heart desires, but Monday through Thursday you have to dress like a boring corporate drone.

...unless you get sneaky.

I bought some polo shirts and did little Doctor Who and Harry Potter themed embroideries on the left side, where your company logo would go if your company made polo shirts.  I used black thread and tried to come up with designs that wouldn't look like much of anything unless you were familiar with the fandom in question.

On the TARDIS-blue shirt, everyone's favorite time-travelling police box:

On the red shirt, circular Gallifreyan (the version from this website) which translates to "Allons-y!"

And on the sky-blue shirt, a stylized Snitch:

Despite their small size, each of these embroideries took me an embarrassingly long time to complete.  It was worth it, though, to be able to walk around on a Tuesday with a TARDIS on my chest without being sent home to change my shirt.
5  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Doodle Tree Embroidery on: May 25, 2014 06:40:39 AM

I made this for my partner in the Random Swap - she requested a doodle tree hoop done entirely in shades of green.  I used every shade of green thread I could find (some of which were more green than others...)

I didn't use a pattern for this, I just freehanded the whole thing, which meant there was quite a lot of unpicking when I would do a section then decide I didn't like the way it looked.  I'm pleased with the way it finally turned out, though.

Most of the stitches I used in this piece were ones I'd never even heard of before.  This website was an invaluable resource.  It has a picture dictionary of dozens of different stitches, with clear and easy-to-follow tutorials for each one.  (Many thanks to Acadian Driftwood for linking to the website in her fantastic Release the Kraken post!  I never would've found it otherwise.)

This is the first large-scale embroidery I've ever finished.  It took ages but I'm glad I did it, and I hope my partner likes it!

6  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Wooden Barnyard Animals on: May 22, 2014 07:27:14 PM

I made these wooden animals for gamemom42 in the Random Swap.  She requested wooden toys, and mentioned that she loves animals and has a donkey and a cow.  I figured barnyard animals would be a good theme so I made a donkey, a calf, and a chicken.

To make the patterns I found silhouettes I liked using Google Image Search, then modified them as necessary so they would be as sturdy as possible.  The calf, for example, I made by tracing the body of one silhouette (which had the legs mostly together) and the head of another (which had ears that didn't look likely to break off).

I made the animals from some scrap pine wood and I cut them out using a bandsaw and a scroll saw.  Then I sanded off the sharp edges, painted them with acrylics, and finished them with food-safe mineral oil so that small children can safely chew on them.

I was originally planning to just sand and finish them without painting, but I'm glad I changed my mind.  I really like how they turned out.  Smiley

7  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Mini Paper-Pieced Lamb on: April 18, 2014 07:30:55 PM
I made this for Belladune in the Dreaming of Spring swap.

I'd never done paper piecing before, so naturally I decided the best way to start was to make up my own pattern.  Roll Eyes  I traced a picture of a lamb from Belladune's Pinterest and fiddled with lines and angles until I had something I thought I could work with.  I ended up having to sew it in four separate pieces because I couldn't figure out how else to make all the bits go where they belonged.  The eyes and nose are embroidered and I used a strip of basswood for the hanging dowel.  The whole thing is about 4" square.
8  GLASS CRAFTS / Glass Crafts: Completed Projects / Blown Glass Ornament on: April 18, 2014 07:08:07 PM
For Christmas last year my girlfriend gave me a coupon for a glassblowing lesson, and I finally got the chance to use it.  I made this ornament (with a little help from the instructor).

When I picked out the colors I thought it would be all blue and clear, but the mix turned out to have yellow and pink and green in it as well.

I really like how it swirls together at the top.  Smiley

9  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Fairy Garden Altoid Tin on: April 17, 2014 06:37:55 AM
I made this for Belladune in the Dreaming of Spring swap.

Belladune had a garden in an altoid tin on her Pinterest, and according to her profile she likes fairy garden things, so I decided to combine the two.  I thought it would be neat if the garden extended beyond the confines of the tin, so I used basswood and a little hinge to make a fold-out garden path.

It flips back up so the tin can be closed.

I painted the base so you wouldn't be able to see bare wood between the stones of the path, and I used scraps of green fleece for moss.

Another in-progress shot.  Daisies are some of Belladune's favorite flowers, so I painted them in the background.  In this picture you can see where I cut holes in the fleece so I could glue the mushrooms directly to the wood rather than to the fleece, for stability.

I used more scraps of basswood to make a fairy door for the lid of the tin.  The mushrooms, door fixtures, and snail's body are made from Sculpey and painted.

The snail's shell is an actual snail shell that I found in my garden.

It was hard to let this go, but I think it went to a good home.  Smiley
10  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Wooden Chain *Tutorial added! Carve your own!* on: April 03, 2014 07:54:03 PM

I've been working on this carving off and on (mostly off, to be honest) since last December.  I had wanted to carve a wooden chain pretty much since I started taking my dad's carving classes, just to see if I could do it - and now I have so I never have to do it ever again.  I was getting thoroughly sick of carving on it by the end!  Tongue  I'm really glad I made it, though.  I like it a LOT more now that it's finally finished.  Smiley

I started with a piece of basswood that was 2" square by 12" long and used a table saw to remove all four corners (giving it a plus-sign shaped cross section).  Then I traced out my links with a cardboard template I had made and started roughing them out.

I decided to put a key on one end and a lock on the other, to give it a bit of visual interest.  Here's how it looked after working on it for one class (about two hours):

My first free link!

Taking out more unnecessary wood...

And then there was a lot more of that.  It stopped being exciting and turned into drudgery so I quit taking pictures until I got all my links free:

Then there was a lot of cleaning up and rounding of corners and other things that take a very long time but are not all that interesting to see.  Here's the end result!

When my dad makes wooden chains, he always sands them down nice and smooth, but I wanted it to be perfectly clear that this chain was painstakingly hand-carved out of wood so I left all the whittle marks and didn't sand it at all.  Grin  I finished my chain with a mix of linseed oil and mineral spirits to bring out the grain.

Oh, and the key fits in the keyhole.  Wink


1. Find some wood you like!  I like basswood.

2. Draw a plus sign on each end and connect them.  (You'll be cutting out the gray bits.)

3. Cut off all the corners so it looks like this:

4. Make templates!  Your links should be as wide as your wood.

5. Cut out what's between the red dotted lines, because you'll be putting the templates up against that plus sign shape.

6. Trace the templates onto all sides of your wood.  Make sure you leave enough room between the links!

7. Roughing out!  Cut up to the lines on the outside of your links.  Also cut off the unnecessary sticky-up bits on your lock and key.

8. Cut out the gray bits.  (V-shaped gouges are useful here.)  Work from both sides.

9. Draw in the missing parts of your links so you don't accidentally cut off the curved edges.

10. Here comes the tricky bit.  Using your smallest gouge and/or a knife with a thin blade, take out little nibbles of wood until you've separated each link from its neighbors.  Work from all sides and pay attention to where the back end of your knife blade is, it's easy to gouge something you're not supposed to while you're concentrating on where the point is going.

11. When your link is free, smooth off the inside and outside of the curve so it looks like your original template.  Try to carve with the grain rather than against it - so on the outside of your link, carve from the side toward the top or bottom, and on the inside of your link, carve from the top or bottom toward the side.

12. Repeat all the necessary steps until every link is free.  Yay!

13. Drill a hole in your lock with a 1/2" bit, and drill a hole in the head of your key with a 3/16" bit.  Use your knives and small gouges to carve out the rest of the key head and the bottom of the keyhole.

14. Round off all your links (keeping in mind the direction of the grain as you carve!), thin down the head of the key, make sure the key can fit in the keyhole, and just generally clean everything up.  Try to carve off any remaining sawed surfaces because they'll take a finish differently than your carved surfaces will.

15. OPTIONAL: Sand everything nice and smooth.  (I skipped this step 'cause I figured if I wanted a nice smooth chain I could just go to the hardware store and buy one.)

16. Finish your chain!  Stain it if you want, or paint it, or just put linseed oil on it like I did.  Marvel at how much it's stretched since you started.

17.  Show it off.  Grin

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