Thursday, 24 May 2012

Going with the grain

There has been a lack of posting here as the past few weeks have been busy around the workshop.
Bec a Kyneton local, came to make a birthday present for her husband Simon's birthday. A birthday which has not come around yet so I can't show too much of what she made ( or say too much ) but suffice to say part of it was the most spectacular piece of Huon Pine I've seen in a long time. I've had the Huon sitting around for a long while now, and this was the ideal project for a slice off the end.

On average Huon Pine trees grow 1mm per year, but as you can see with this pic of the end grain, there are areas where there must be two or three ( or more ) growth rings per mm. Yep, that's one old tree.

And here is Bec putting the finishing touches to that piece of Huon, with 'said item' seriously cropped from the image! The finished product was brilliant and it was great couple of days. When the birthday boy gets his present I'll post some more pics.

Then this week I had Soren from Melbourne come up to make a Perch. I met Soren while demonstrating at the Wood Steam and Steel Festival in Wandin a few months back and it was good to see him arrive with his tools ready to go. With a good few years of turning experience behind him, short work was made of the Pin Oak legs and stretchers and they came up a treat.

After lunch we started with the seat, and had the whole lot drilled reamed and ready for carving the next morning.

And that's when another beautiful grain pattern showed itself. No, they aren't a quarter of a millimetre thick but what a great symmetrical seat. You couldn't have drawn it better!

And here is Soren paring the wedges and legs flush. Given Soren's height, we added a good 34mm
( 1 1/4" ) to the legs to put the seat at exactly the right height. That's another very enjoyable aspect of making chairs by hand, being able to truly make a bespoke piece of furniture, tailored to the individual.

I was pleased that he also decided to take my advice and paint his perch with milk paint. Originally we were going to do the whole thing, but with that grain in the seat, Soren decided to oil that and paint the Pin Oak legs with Barn Red.

Here's Soren's Perch with the first coat of oil on the seat and milk paint on the legs. I'm looking forward to seeing the legs with a few more coats of barn red and a top coat of oil or two. Great result Soren.

But that's not where the grain runs out, as this weekend I have Erin and Tim arriving to make two more perches, again with different timbers and maybe different finishes too. Looking forward to seeing what that grain has in stall for us too.

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