Wednesday, August 15, 2012


This morning I went down to my woodshop to make something for you.  As I went down the stairs, I pondered what wood to use.  Should I use oak?  I think the only oak I have is either strips of flooring that I salvaged from a dumpster or was given to me by some guy that I don't know any more.  

No, not oak, this should be special.

Here's a piece of maple...it's about the right width, length, kind of thin, but would work.  I can't remember where it came from, it's no good for this project.

Here's some walnut.  Heavy, thick, beautiful wood.  It's special, too, I got that log from my Grandpa's farm and had it sawn at the same time as that ash log. Oh, here's a piece of ash, the right size.  The ash came from the farm where I grew up....wish I had some mulberry...that's beautiful wood.  Crap in one hand, wish in the other, see which one fills up first.  Use the ash.

How to make a wooden object.  It's probably on youtube and wikipedia, but sometimes I like to make my own stuff, my plans, my rules, etc.  Choose which end for the handle, now...how big should the handle be?  I traced the outline of the handle of my favorite carving knife...that's woodcarving knife, not ham/roast beast carving knife...that's just slicing!

The board is thinner than the knife, so I draw it a little wider to make up for that.  I can always glue on some strips to make it thicker.  To the band saw, which is kind of sick, but still works.  I regret getting this size of saw, it's too small and limiting.  I persevere, and make it work, as I always do.  One side is always easier to cut out than the other side, but it looks ok.  I'll have to do a little more sanding.  

I take it to the router table, it's already got the roundover bit in it, so I check the thickness/depth level, and it's ok.  I round over each side of the paddle, but not the handle....I'm going to use my knife for that.  Hmmmm kind of splintered/tore out on that one corner...bit must be getting dull.  No big deal, I'll just trim it a tiny bit and sand it smooth....if she notices or comments it'll earn her an extra whack.

Where the hell is my sander?  Oh, yes, it's in the garage.  Exercise is good for me, right?  Right.  Start with 80, sand all sides, switch to 120, 150, 180 and finally 220.  I'm sanding nearly non stop for 90 minutes, the sander is hot and vibrating...I know some girls that would like to sit on this thing. Some guys will sand on up to 400 grit, but that's ridiculous, since we're going to be putting some varnish on this thing. 
 
What varnish to use?  Spray varnish, poly or lacquer?  Tung oil?  Brush on some varnish, poly or lacquer?  Gloss or semi gloss?  Water based?  Water white?  My old fashioned standby....spar varnish.  Used forever on boats, it's one of my favorite finishes.  Glossy and smooth, this thing will be beautiful.
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