Friday, March 18, 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Start to finish for Ghostly, Part IV

Now that the oil has set overnight, it's time for the CA coat application.

This part is really a two-handed job, hence no still images and one quick video. You can't fool around with CA. I apply nine layers of CA and again let it rest overnight.

The CA is now wet-sanded to make it shine. The water merely keeps it from getting hot. We'll go up to 12k grit.

Sometimes at this point in the process, it goes too far and the wood gets exposed. That was the case with this pen, and I had to re-apply more coats of CA and let them rest before continuing.

Now after cleaning up the ends it's the for assembly.

And here's a link to the final product!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Start to Finish for Ghostly, Part III

Sorry for the blurry image! It's dark in the workshop and the flash just washes out all the color, so I leave it turned off.

Anyway, here I am fine-tuning the shape with the last gouge I'll use before switching to sand paper. You can see the shape of the pen now.

I start with 100 grit sandpaper, bringing the wood down closer to the bushings. Between sandings, I'll also turn the lathe off and sand with the grain to remove any marks.

I do 100, 220, 320, 400, 600 & 800 grit successively. It's really the most boring part. Tedious, but worth it on the final product.

Now this pen in particular requires that a tenon be cut from the upper portion. Here I am with a parting tool doing that.

And so here's the sanded piece. Yes, that's Guns-N-Roses in the background. You're welcome. Check out the swirls on this burl!
And finally, this pen receives a coat of 100% pure tung oil to bring out the grain. Notice the difference in color when the oil is applied. This will truly be a gorgeous piece.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Start to finish for Ghostly, Part II

So the pen for Ghostly's friend is coming along nicely.

The adhesive dried overnight. Now the wood is trimmed down to be flush with the brass tubes.

In order to ensure that I'm able to match the grain on the CRAZY grain pattern of this piece, I mark the inside of the tubes where they'll meet on the assembled pen.

I trimmed the corners off to make it a little easier to get started on the lathe. And now, the fun part! Here is the wood transforming from a square to a cylinder before it can be shaped.

And here's the wood getting its rough shape.

Here's a link to Part III.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Start to Finish for Ghostly

So I have a client in Bahrain. It's a wonderful place and I've been there many times. The people were all very nice, despite the crazy hot temperature. She wrote me to say that a friend admired her pen -- part of a pen and letter opener set -- so much that she GAVE it to the friend.

 Can you imagine? So after ordering a replacement in the same wood, she tells me now the friend wants a similar pen.

She chose the same style of setting, but in gold with leaves, and she liked the wood on an image we found online. I happened to have something similar, a buckeye burl that's going to be gorgeous.

And now that the kit is here I can begin work. So here's part one of the journey!

First the blank is measured and cut. with lines carefully placed to re-match the grain when it's assembled.

Now the wood is drilled out at 8mm, the size of the tubes for this kit.

The tubes are scored to give the glue something to hold onto, coated in CA glue and slid into place. Now they'll wait overnight for the adhesive to set.

Here's a link to Part II.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Getting Crafty

So I meant to post an entry after the Fredericksburg Holiday Craft Fair back in December, but time and tide overcame my ambitions. We all now know I'm not the most frequent blogger!

All in all, I'm very glad I did the event. The margins were minimally in my favor (I actually made less than minimum wage by the end), but the intangible benefits really paid off.

This was my first big vendor event since returning to the States, not counting the one in Quantico which was fun but very small. And it was the largest one I've ever done as well. One lesson learned was to be next to peanut vendors. The ladies next to me made money hand over fist. There was a constant line of customers trying their samples and buying can after can of their delicious treats. All that attention spilled over to my table periodically, which was nice. Thanks, Plantation Peanuts!

There was also a huge learning curve when it comes to my presentation. I've read the blogs and tips, making several improvements from before, but this was an eye-opener. First thing I did after the fair was order a huge 8 x 3' banner from BuildASign.

BuildASign is the same company that provides FREE welcome-home banners to families of deployed troops. Brenda took advantage of their offer when I returned from deployment back in 2011. They're a great, patriotic company well-deserving of your patronage and mine. The banner they sent for Hope And Grace Pens is outstanding.

I also realized I've got to get my product UP off the table. The presentation was too flat, and passersby could only see my wares if they approached the table. So I've spent a little time and effort making some displays for my new wine bottle stoppers and have plans worked out for a pen display that will stand as well. Ikea had some nice, inexpensive shelves which we picked up to display some of the larger items. And I'll use S-hooks to hang up clocks and wall displays.

A few clients made custom orders during or after the event, which was nice. And my take-one pens were a big hit. So now I've got some improvements for the upcoming Spring Craft Fair and the Rites of Spring Wine Fest (if I'm sober enough afterwards to keep tally)!