Bye Jekyll back to wordpress

Jekyll was cool, it was fast, but it was too much of a pain to update so I never did. I couldn’t find a good solution to managing images or uploads, but it’s pretty easy with wordpress. Maybe I will add something more often.

Here’s a picture of my baby Simon

Simon eating carrots

Laser Cut Santa

In December, I made a laser cut stained wood Santa piece for a Christmas gift. I always have to wait to publish anything about gifts, and tend to wait too long.

I drew the image in Inkscape and laser cut it as a series of small shapes, stained each piece, glued them together and made a frame out of popular.

I think it turned out pretty well and like the 3d effect of the wood glued on top of other pieces.

Mallet Building

Last weekend I built a woodworking mallet out of oak.

I needed a mallet to help with assembling and banging on things without as much damage as a plain metal hammer would leave, so I built my own. Building a mallet is often used as a basic woodworking introductory project since it’s not very hard and is meant to be used.

I watched a few youtube videos to get the general idea and just went for it. Basically I cut a portion of an oak board in to three lengths for the head and made a handle of two longer pieces glued up together.

The center of the three head pieces was cut twice at 5 degree angles to leave an inside partial V shape, but not coming all the way to a point. These three layers, now four pieces, were glued up in a stack with some dowels drilled in to help align them. The dowels were not necessary, but help add a bit of visual candy, I will probably leave them off in the future.

The handle was made of two pieces glued together and then chiseled down and sanded to fit in the head. The handle is much more square than I expected, but works well for me and everyone’s preference will be different.

After glueing it all together, I attached the handle with some wedges made of scrap wood. I pounded these in with a board, since I hadn’t finished the mallet yet. After that I cut the excess off with a flush cut saw and added some wood glue to help keep the wedges in.

Next, I used a trim router to add the edging, which consisted of a chamfer on the head and a roundover on the handle. Then I sanded it all on a belt sander at 60grit before moving on to a random orbit sander progressively going up to 220grit.

I finished the piece by oiling it with two coats of Tung Oil which should help prevent some scars from usage and protect the wood.

Finishing Tree Cookies

Finished Decorative Wood Piece

Finished Decorative Wood Piece

For this project, I had some tree cookies from what might have been a Mesquite tree. I wanted to smooth them over and use one for a cake stand and maybe make a clock from another. I had 5 pieces originally in case some didn’t turn out, and one was used just for testing a tung oil finish.

Unfinished Wood Cookies

Unfinished Wood Cookies

The tree slices or cookies, were pretty rough to start with. They were covered in chainsaw marks and uneven. I tried sanding them smooth using a handheld random orbit sander and a belt sander with no luck. There was too much material to take off, and they were too big for the planer or any saw. I finally had good luck using an angle grinder with a 36grit sandflap attachment to take the chainsaw marks off.

Epoxy Drying

Epoxy Drying

After smoothing out the cookies, I wanted to use epoxy to the fill the cracks in. A couple of the pieces had holes that went all the way through and could look pretty neat after being filled. On two of the pieces, I just used plain clear epoxy and the other two I mixed in some gold colored powder hoping to add a neat effect. The plain epoxy never ended up curing correctly, but the gold was fine, though the bigger piece with gold didn’t look very good afterwards.

Gold Filler

Gold Filler

The tung oil finish looked pretty splotchy on the outter parts of the wood, so on the one I really liked, I just cut off the edges to leave a funky decorative piece instead.

Unpolished
Unpolished

Gold Picture Frames

Last weekend I worked on building some picture frames from scratch. They didn’t turn out the way I hoped, but I will probably still use them.

gold frames

Gold Frames

I wanted to make some custom sized frames to hold some photos and mats for the welcome table at our wedding, one will frame an 8×8 square photo, one an 11×14, and the last was for a 3 5×7 collage photo mat. Except for the 11×14+mat, the sizes I wanted are a little odd and hard to find. I want something like a 12×12, 12×23, and 15×18.

I started with just plain 1×2 cedar boards from the Home Depot and first went over the edges with my router. I cut a slot down the back to hold the glass and photo, and then chamfered the other two sides on the front.

After edging, I cut the boards to length on the mitre saw with a 45 degree angle for each corner. Next, I glued them up with some brad nails to hold the pieces while the glue set. The corners did not come out as clean and square as last time, but that is probably because of using less sturdy brad nails instead of corner clamps.

Unpainted Frames

Unpainted Frames

I sanded them using my random orbit sander and then spray painted them all in a makeshift paint box. The paint box was made from pvc with a plastic drop cloth taped over it. Nothing special, but it worked.

Paint Box

Paint Box

I used grey primer and then metallic gold spray paints. The shinyness of the gold was impressive and better than I expected. Unfortunately, it also showed off all the defects and rough patches.

In The Paint Box

In The Paint Box

They didn’t turn out as nice as last time. I’ll probably sand them down and repaint to a flat black or other color.