Friday, July 30, 2010

Some Random House Crap

Here a couple things that I built, but didn't really document the build.

This one, like so many of my projects, has its origin located in my cheapskatedness. This one was my first project in the new house. Teener wanted some ladder shelves for the living room, and she found some she liked from Crate and Barrel. Like everything from those homewares jerks, I thought it was incredibly overpriced for what was essentially flat pack furniture that I would end up having to assemble anyway. So I decided to show her that I could build things and save a little cash in the process. Here is the end result, complete with chachkies, whatnots and ephemera.

The nice thing about these is since they were custom built, they fit the space better than store bought. Also, these are considerably larger than the C&B models. We would have needed three of those. So, instead of spending $450 on prefab shelves, I spent about $70 bucks on materials, and $150 on a table saw. They aren't perfect, and there are definitely things I would do differently (the phrase "measure twice, cut once" comes to mind), but I think they look good, and I have received many compliments on them.

Another quick project is a key holder. Originally we had a brass key hook in the shape a row of cats, and their hooked tails held the keys (poorly). I hated it. Really hated it. Hated it so much that I don't even have a picture of it for the purpose of comparison. I threw this together as a test of concept. It has a bunch of strong magnets that I salvaged from a half dozen hard drives mounted behind a veneer and framed with some scrap cherry wood.

It works pretty well. There are things I like about it, and things I don't. I would like to make a better one, but until then this will hang by the door. I estimate it will hang there for another decade.

White Trash Artwork!*

I went to Lowes last week to buy a pint of paint for a bike project (future post). While there I have to check the discounted tool section, of course. And this is what I found:

Well, that is a savings that just can't be ignored, and shit, it's the last one! So what was going to be a $10 day at Lowes turned into a $100 day.

Now, I have no pressing reason to own this, but I figure it will prove useful in the future. But just because I don't need to use a tool doesn't mean that I don't need to use a tool. So I began looking for a project to play around with. After some quick Googling I came across this page:

One of the images popped out at me, it was of Waylon Jennings. A buddy of mine just had a son, and he named him Waylon Edgar, after Jennings and Poe. While a woodcut of Edgar Allan Poe would be classy, it wouldn't be nearly as sweet as a Waylon Jennings, so the decision was made. While I was at it, I decided to make a Hank Williams Jr cut for another friend.

I didn't start taking pics till I was half way through the Jennings woodcut, but the process is pretty simple. I started off by printing out the high contrast image, and spray gluing it to a piece of scrap plywood.

To get started, I would drill a small hole, then feed the blade through it and start cutting. I would like to point out that I have never before used a scroll saw, and this didn't come with a manual, and I couldn't have been bothered to look up any sort of tutorial or manual online, so there was definitely some trial and error. Overall it went smoothly and I am greatly impressed with this tool.

Doing the facial hair was a time consuming process, but since I was enjoying learning to use a new tool, it was pretty enjoyable. It took well over an hour to get to this point.

Due to some of the links being small, the cutouts were a little fragile. I am proud to say that I didn't break any while I was working on them, but I definitely didn't think they would last too long as they were, so I decided to mount them on another piece of plywood. One nice side benefit of this, I stained the back layer dark, and it really highlights the image. The Waylon cut was done before the Williams one, so I was still pretty green when I was working on it, and it shows in the letters. Although I think that the rougher character is fitting of the subject. Then again, maybe I am just rationalizing.

I decided to carry the rough look over into the frame, so I yanked an old piece of scrap down from the rafters and riped it into strips. I made a small rabbit style joint at each corner by eye on the scroll saw. They don't meet up perfectly, but they weren't exactly expected to. Everything is held together with glue and brads. Then I gave them a couple layers of Polyurethane.

In my humble opinion, these could be sold at any of the finer flea markets, and displayed in any of the more prestigious trailer parks in this great land of ours.

As far as learning the scroll saw, I would say these were worth making, but for me to truly consider these a success I will need my buddies to insist that they be allowed to display them in their homes. That should make both their wives very happy.

*I would like to clarify that I am not referring to the venerable pursuit of creating art with the scroll saw as a white trash hobby, I am just saying that hastily assembling a couple of drunken country stars on scrap plywood for distribution amongst drinking buddies could be construed as low-class.