Thursday, 19 November 2009
Saturday, 29 August 2009
Here are a few boxes I have made using wood that I found on the streets of Edinburgh.The Mahogany I used was found just outside my flat in the form of a discarded mantel 6 foot long,8 inches wide by 1 1/4 inch thick.The 22mm Baltic Birch Plywood I found in a skip outside a flat that I presume was getting underfloor heating considering the shape of the offcuts.Not sure how much I scored but it was enough to fill the boot of our Peugot 206.I’ve made loads of stuff with this from these boxes to jigs,sanding discs,new top for my beatup workbench & faceplates for my lathe/sander/grinder.The Oak came from some old kitchen doors & drawer fronts I found a couple of streets up from mine.Once the doors had been dismantled the stiles bore about 60 feet of 15mm by 50mm strips & the drawer fronts yielded 30some feet of 100mm by 20mm boards,perfect for boxmaking. They were glued together using p.v.a.,sanded to 600 grit then finished with Liberon finishing oil. There are a number of great things about using reclaimed wood. Firstly,its free meaning all the more money for tools. Secondly,you know the wood is well seasoned,especially if its the remnants of a home remodelling. Thirdly & lastly,as far as I’m aware,is you are slowing our ever increasing rubbish tips from becoming continents in their own rights. Oh,the suede that I take my pics on is also salvaged,this time from an old 3 seat sofa. The one at the front is 120mm long by 57mm high.
Sunday, 16 August 2009
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Yet again it's been 3 months since my last post,I really do suck at keeping a journal!
It's been a busy 3 months,along with the usual earrings,cufflinks & pendants I've made a replacement electrical component for my father in laws old Rolls Royce using a piece of copper tubing (free),a sandwich board (all materials scavenged from skips & the roadside,well,apart from the glue & panel pins)for my artist friend Deborah Cameron,she paints the most amazing seascapes,http://deborahcameron.com/,started work on a pair of Viking shoes & made a few more custom tools.
This little smoothing plane has to be my favourite tool so far.She's 130mm longs by 51mm wide with a blade width of 34mm.She is constructed primarily from African Blackwood,a stable timber as hard as bone that glues to itself with little or no seam & is capable of taking a mirror finish,my favourite wood by some margin.The wedge is curly Sycamore with a ring of Blackwood,Sycamore,Black Walnut,Turquoise resin & finally beef bone holding in a 13mm Lapis Lazuli cabochon.
Her mouth is quite wide at the moment,1.5mm with the bevel down,4mm with the bevel up (I modeled her on Karl Holteys 11-SA & although she is a little shorter the blade & bed geometry are the same).This will close up once I get round to replacing the 2mm thick stanley block plane blade with a 3.5-4mm 0-1 carbon steel blade of my own creation.I'm not too bothered at the minute as I've only had to plane some very sedate Oak & Mahogany & these particular timbers seem to cooperate without a fuss producing some very woolly shavings.I'm sure once I have to plane some African Padauk or pippy Yew I'll be looking for that smaller mouth.
I've made a couple of planes before but none of them turned out as well as this one,it seems to me that Blackwood is the wood of choice when planemaking.
You may have noticed I am refering to this plane as she?I tend to name my favourite tools/machines & I've named this little beauty Charlize...
Monday, 4 May 2009
There is a sense of satisfaction that comes from making things using tools you have made yourself that is difficult to put into words,it's just awesome!!
My latest tool creation is this lignum vitae mallet.
For years I have been using a 2.5 lb club hammer to drive my chisels but after seeing various beautiful examples of lignum mallets on the web I convinced myself that such a thing was essential.
Now,my first port of call whenever I'm looking to buy wood or supplies these days is,of course,eBay.
The first suitably sized piece of lignum listed (5"long cylinder by 5.5" diameter)seemed,at £27.50,a little too salty to me but 3 listings below it there was a set of 4 vintage lignum vitae lawn bowls,buy it now £10.
"Drat,pick up only,knew it was too good to be true!"
Click on it anyway -item location,City of Edinburgh
Send message to arrange pickup.
I have only ever worked small pieces of lignum in the past,small turned inlay & the sole of a tiny smoothing plane so to say I was unprepared for the edge destroying abilities of this ferocious timber is an understatement.I swear it felt like I was sharpening more than turning.
That said lignum vitae is a beautiful material to work taking a crisp,glossy finish.
I decided to use maple for the handle as it is a lovely creamy white which will contrast even better once the lignum oxidises to its eventual deep,leafy green.
The finished mallet is 275mm long & the head is 100mm at its widest.
Friday, 17 April 2009
Mokume Gane is a Japanese technique involving the lamination of 2 or more contrasting metals,in this case 8 layers of copper & sterling silver,then cutting into those layers to reveal a pattern then flattening into a sheet to create a smooth,uniform material.
As far as I'm aware Mokume was first used to decorate the hilt & scabbard of Samurai swords but now is mainly used in the manufacture of jewellery,most notably by James Binnion & Steve Midgett.If you Google either of them you will be amazed by the work of 2 modern masters of an ancient craft.
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Much of my work has a modular nature,earrings can become cufflinks or bracelet components or 2 bracelets become a necklace,you get the idea.
Now,because I have been looking at this piece for over a year I'm not sure what to make it into,a brooch or a pendant.
Of course the most likely reason it hasn't been completed is because I really,really like it & if I complete it then I have to sell it!
Woe is me...
The main body is Bocote which is inlayed with 17 different materials including organic cow bone,turquoise,lapis & malachite resins,African Blackwood,Pink Ivory,African Padauk,Cocobolo,Black Walnut,Boxwood & Yew.
It is 76mm long,15mm wide & 5mm thick.
Saturday, 11 April 2009
Sunday, 11 January 2009
Chances are if you find yourselves here it's because you know of my work as a designer/maker.
Chances are it's my work as a jeweller that brought you here as that is what I spend probably 75 % of my time making,although,as you will find out over the next few months (if i can hold your attention...),I feel inspired to make all manner of things.