Friday, August 26, 2011

of valentines, tattoos, and furniture

No sooner had I finished my Burnside Bridge bookcase than my wife Susan asked me if I'd make her a small bookshelf, very small in fact, something for bedside use.  I was happy to comply.  I chose to make her a bookcase and a valentine all in one.  This was on Tuesday.

By Wednesday morning I had the carcass glued up.  Made in select pine with no blemishes, the cutting, and assembley went like a dream.  As usual the screws were hidden with pegs and a cherry stain was applied overall.

As with all of the smaller bookcases I'm making this one has ergonomic hand-holds cut into the sides for ease in moving it about.

To personalize it I designed an old-school Sailor Jerry-style tattoo on the top surface.

First, I inked it in with a Rapidiograph pen,

the ink flows nicely even on the stained surface.

Then I added color, as usual using Prismacolor pencils which are always a pleasure to use, the colow seems to flow on, is very controllable, it saturates and blends like a dream.

The results were very gratifying, this is the valentine part I was referring to.

As usual, the unit was glued, clamped and screwed with pegs flush-cut to cover the screws.

I cut the hand-holds in more of a novel shape this time.

                                      Three coats of Spar varnish and it was ready for delivery.

                                         Two and a half days from concept to finished product,
                                                        The customer was very pleased!

Staying handy,


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Arsenal of Democracy

Those who know me are never surprised to learn of my ordnance collection; my artillery shells.

I've been collecting projectiles and shell casings since 1972 when I acquired my first one, a brass shell casing for a Naval 3" gun. I got it while it, and I, were still in the U.S. Navy. It's one of those things that "came home with me".

Shell casings and inert projectiles just seemed to gravitate toward me over the years, though more casings than projectiles. A few years ago, upon learning to operate a woodlathe, I began making the projectiles to go along with the empty casings.

Of my collection of twelve modern artillery shells (WWI to present) all of them are inert painted to appear active, and five of them are entirely made of wood.

Recently friends gave me a second empty three-inch shell casing. Last night I glued up five 5x14x5/8 inch boards as turning stock, and this morning I turned my latest projectile.

Here's my glued-up stock this morning.  I've just taken a mallet and driven in the headstock of my lathe into the center of the piece.  You can see that its just a big sandwich of glued and clamped boards.


I powered up my lathe and got to work making the chips fly...

and fly...

and fly.

I was using a profile that I had taken from an actual photograph of a 3" armor-piercing shell.

This profile served as my template for all measurements.

With my parting tool I dug down to a true 3-inch thickness as measured by calipers. 

Working from left to right, I turned the driving bands and, here, I'm roughing out the windshield - the lightweight steel cone that covers the nose of the armor-piercing projectile within.

Finish sanding as I went along, the piece is nearing completion.

Here is the blank, this morning at 8:00 a.m.

Primed, at 10:00 a.m.

Painted at 5:30 p.m.

And with it's shipmates this evening.

Can you guess which ones are wood?

Staying busy,