Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ear Ring Tree Christmas Present

Some time after I started creating my band saw boxes my eldest daughter hinted the would love me to make her a holder of sorts for her numerous collection of ear rings. At first I had to admit I had not clue one what an ear ring holder was but I did some research. The internet is a marvelous thing. Most of what I found was cheap plastic or metal displays but only a few wooden types. I did learn what features should be on the horizontal pieces however. The top of the bars should have vertical slots to allow brad type ear rings to drop onto. And of course a series of holes to slip the hooked type ear rings into.
I played around with the size on my Canvas program and made up some quick proto types. My wife quickly commented my first design was waaaaaaay too big. So after a edit or two I printed out my templates and began cutting out the pieces from a nice piece of red oak I had in the shop.

The display is made of 6 pieces; 3 cross bars that actually hold the ear rings, 2 posts with mortise holes spaced ~ 4" apart which the cross bars fit into and finally a solid base again with mortise joints the posts fit into.

I finished the piece with Tung Oil which gave it a nice luster and hue showing off the wonderful oak grain. So here is the finished Ear Ring Tree. Let's hope my daughter loves it as I probably spent of and on about two weeks working on it. I wanted to personalize it so I did some wood burning on the bottom of the base.

I'll wait until after Christmas to determine if there might be some design improvements but I learned I need more practice with my mortise and tendon joinery. The joints for the cross bar were pretty good but the main joints for the posts turned out rather loose. I am thinking of buying a mortise bit for my drill press. Another problem was from some still unknown reason my drill press did some walking when I was drilling the line of holes on the bars despite my pre-marking the hold locations with a punch. It happened on my prototypes and the final bars. I need to find out why that was happening.

But overall I am pretty happy with the display and it was really fun to be able to make a nice gift like this for my daughter.

I am thinking once I work out the problems I will probably make another one and list it on my E
TSY shop.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How I Got Started in Wood Crafting

Well here I go with my first blog. I started this blog mainly to document my journey as I learn the art of wood craftsmanship. I began this journey really as a kid watching my dad work on our house. He was always tinkering with some home improvement project and although I wasn't really interested at the time I couldn't help but learn by osmoses watching and occasionally helping. I had my own small projects back them, I build a dog house for my golden retriever that actually kept her warm and dry. I build a gun rack using a power tool for the very first time (jig saw) out one piece of plywood. It wasn't perfect but it was my design!

I pretty much left the world of wood crafting as I perused my career in electronics engineering until a few years ago when I got married and we bought our first home and now our second. As a home owner I was faced with either paying questionable contractors to make repairs or with the daunting task of learning how to fix them myself in order to save some money. I wish now I had learned more from my Dad. My wife found some super tool bargains at yard sales and I was on my way to becoming a Mr. Fixer.

A couple of years later we started our Sweet Lollipop Shop business and we needed some displays build. I gladly created shelfs, and lollipop stands. We came up with the idea to create a Lollipop Tree for Christmas sales. My design was unique and we sold a few at our craft shows.

This fall I had some stock options coming to me so I finally decided to invest in some better tools including a new router table and gulp a band saw. Both of those tools turned out to be a great investment for me. I was able to cut out the trees on the band saw like butter. So much so that I decided to improve upon my original design and came up with a new solid pine and solid oak lollipop tree. I even routed all the edges giving a hand carved appearance. My wife loved the natural finish.

While researching band saws I came across books and articles describing how to make "band saw boxes". The idea was intriguing to me so after I made my run of trees for this year I had an idea to create a ducky themed jewelery box as a Christmas gift for my youngest daughter. It came out better than I could have imagined. My wife loved it and wanted to add it to her store. My duck quickly ended up in a treasure page and had over 100 views in one day. Wow I felt like a success even if it didn't sell.

I wanted to learn more about making band saw boxes so I purchased "The Ultimate Band Saw Box Book" by Donna LaChance Menke. One of her designs was a small box in the shape of a baby chick. You are right as I had to try making that one. I made it in Red Oak with a lacquerer finish. This time my wife convinced me to start my own etsy site: Edwood's WoodCraft Creations shop and I listed the Red Oak Baby Chick Treasure Box. It sold!

So now I am hooked I have tons of ideas for my creations. I have lots to learn and experiment. Some will pan out some will end up being learning experiences. Perhaps some will tickle your fancy. I would love it you would occasionally check in on my progress........

more to follow...