Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Build up Steam to bend wood

Chris from Canada wrote:
When I made my HS "rattan" furniture I was using chair caning which was to be softened either by steaming, or soaking for 24 hours followed by a dunk in boiling water. I didn't have the time to soak them, nor was their any way I was going to heat up my kitchen by using the stove let alone stand over a kettle of boiling water holding the cane pieces in the steam. So instead I placed 3-4 layers of wet paper towel in a glass cake pan, followed by a small plate and put the pieces of cane on that. Tightly covered with vented plastic wrap and "cooked" on high for a few minutes, the pan built up a good head of steam under the plastic wrap which made the cane moist and quite flexible, but didn't leave it dripping as the cane was not in contact with the wet towelling. I've used the same technique on basswood for some curved drawer fronts, and even gave it a second steaming (just to even out the curve a bit) while it was still strapped to the 3 pieces of dowel and scrap wood I had used as a form, without causing any problems.

BTW, this also often works to release something you have glued incorrectly without damaging the parts, even after the glue has cured for 4 weeks. It works for hot glue, carpenter's and wood glue, tacky and craft glues including WeldBond, Eileen's and Sobo, but NOT with Hypo-Cement, super glues, common plastic model glues, Gorilla Glue or rubber/contact cements. I haven't tried it on any other glues so far, as I tested only the glues I had on hand, gluing wood scraps together, labelling them, and then trying to steam them apart a month later. Not a truly scientific approach, but it was a good way to check what would work, so I would know in case I ever had to correct a gluing error. Not of course, that I would EVER glue a carved door panel on upside down or a chair arm inside out, let alone do something as dumb as gluing the middle floor of a 3-level house in backwards and not notice until 6 months later, when returning to the project and attempting to glue in the staircase. :-D

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Scrappy Savings

Chris from Canada wrote:
Don't trash a treasure you made from a laser-cut kit simply because the fancy trim, a leg or some other small part has broken or been damaged, for example by an e-vile cat like my sweet little Lucifer. :-D

Before starting a laser-cut kit, take the time to scan and print (or photocopy) any small parts at 100% before you remove them from the sheet of wood. Then make your kit up, saving all the pieces of the unused sheet. When the item has been completely assembled, place the bits of wood and the scan/photocopy in an envelope, write down what the wood came from, and place it in a safe place like a shoebox.

Now when the Victorian gingerbread trim on the peak of a roof is chewed up, your HS window planter brackets snap in half or a leg on your QS spinning wheel mysteriously vanishes, you can replicate it using the saved wood and your copy of the original piece as a template. HINT: If the bits you have are not large enough and you don't have any other wood that thickness, you can cut copies from thinner wood (if you have any) and glue them together so they are the right thickness OR make a few copies from cardstock and glue them together. Coat the cardstock replacement with some ModPodge, a brush-on sealer or even some glue thinned with a drop of water and, when dry completely and the part is rigid, apply whatever finish you used
on the original. (If it was stained wood like my spinning wheel, you'll have to replicate a woodgrain finish using markers or craft paint and the dry-brush technique to show the grain.) Glue the new part in place, and admire your handiwork.

You should also save larger bits from any house kit you assemble, even if it is for someone else, so you build up a stock of sheet wood in all sizes. You've paid for it, so use it. It's amazing the amount of furniture, window and door trim, picture frames, door panels, steps etc... you can make using the leftover wood from just one small house kit.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Smokin Needles Tatoo Parlour

Take a look at the unique project Chris from All Things Mini has created! The basic plan for the structure has been uploaded to the club so members can make up their own "room and a half'.

She said: These 2 give a fair representation of the whole thing. I actually won an online competition with this some years ago and these were the 2 photos submitted.
what gave you the idea for the project?
DH and I used to have a ceramic studio. In the early 90's part of our income came from attending tattoo conventions where we sold ceramic fighures that we made such as Native Americans, Wizards, Dragons etc. So, I got to know quite a bit about a tattooists setup. I had never since this theme before or since and so was inspired by the almost unique theme. It was my first full size project.
did you make all the items from sctatch?
Absolutely everything is made from scratch. Every page of every album is filled with tattoo artwork known as 'flash'.
which item is your pride and joy?
The whole scene because it was my very first full project. But, particularly the medical couch and stool. DH drew up the plans for these after studying lots of online photos. The stool can be raised and lowered by means of a screw.
I would eventually like to try to recreate this in smaller scales but it is something that will have to be put off until I retire.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Half Inch Garbage Can

Marjorie Wannamaker wrote:

This morning when I opened up a new bottle of Coffee Mate flavoring (large, hazelnut) there was a new sealed top. Instead of the foil which was difficult for me to pull back there was a plastic pull ring. When I pulled it off, the ring and the round part that sealed the bottle looked to me like a garbage can lid - small for one inch, about right for half inch. All you would have to do is make a tube of cardstock or use a dowel the right size, set the ring over the top and bingo - a garbage can. Since the round "lid" kind of sticks up, just stash a little bit of garbage under the lid. Perfect for any setting, kitchen, bedroom, kids room, whatever.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Clear food Covers

(see original pic here)

From Chris in Canada:
The Strepsils throat lozenges come in bubble packs which are
  1. flimsy
  2. and have a rounded top, so they're not any good for serving bowls.
BUT when used in pairs (one slipped inside the other) with an optional bead handle on top, they are perfect as clear covers for RL 9-10" plates of food for things like a counter display of fancy cakes or tarts. They are 3/4" tall so even work with a 2-layer cake or meringue pie. You don't have to double them up if you are gluing items in place, AND can promise you will never drop, squeeze or accidentally bump one with your tweezers or another plate. Being fumble-fingered on occasion, I chose to be safe rather than sorry, but it's your choice.