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September 2010

17 posts from August 2010

I'm boring

I'm not quite sure what to blog about when I can't show you the surprise that I'm working on.  How about links to a couple of artists I recently discovered that I like...Doktor A and Kari Byron (that would be this Kari Byron).

What I'm working on is going great, by the way.  It's moving along slowly, as the portion I'm working on now needs to be hand-tooled, but I am making progress.  I didn't get as much done this weekend as I wanted to, because I was busy being a mom on Saturday (Kate had her driving test), and a daughter on Sunday (celebrating my Dad's 70th birthday).  I had hopes of being a lot further along with the project by now than I am, so I'm feeling disappointed with myself.  I've got all the time in the world to get it done, really, but I'd like to meet my self-imposed deadline of September 30th.

How about if you give me a break and show us what you're working on, Susan?

odds and ends of stuff to say

Good stuff...

I've been working a lot of extra hours at work the last six weeks or so...we acquired another company that's just as big as ours is.  I've been putting in nine or ten hours days six days a week, and am getting further and further behind and worn out.  I had a discussion with the big boss last Friday and now my job is turning into a two person job.  Whew!  I'll pass on the old company to the new girl and I'll take the new one.   Which brings me to more good news...I called a gal I used to work with at my previous employer (she's not there anymore either) and she was glad to trade the contract work she's doing now for the stability of a full time position with benefits...she starts in a week.  It's a great relief to know I'm getting help, and that I'm getting someone knowledgeable and smart who I know I can work with, instead of having to spend time weeding through the not-so-bright people the employment agency tends to send us.

Hopefully soon I'll get my weekends back so that I can spend more time in my studio.

Not so good stuff...

Susan's project took a turn for the worse...the wood I stained dark blue is black.  It's nothing I can either fix or scrap to make new, so I'm going to have to make black work.

More good stuff...

Casey of Casey's minis gave me a blog award that celebrates my strangeness, and Brae at seconded it.  Awww, shucks, I'm blushing.  I'll officially collect the award in a couple of days, because I'm headed out of town today, which brings me to...

Really cool awesome stuff...

I'm going to see my favorite band in concert tonight.

I love my saw

P8220005I'm not so keen on my geeky vintage safety glasses, but my new saw is fantastic.  I've got sawdust in my hair, sawdust up my nose, sawdust in my underwear...and I'm loving it.

I got so excited to finally get started on my project that I skipped a couple of steps, then had to backtrack, which cost me some wasted material, but I'm back on track again.

It is so nice to, when I need a piece of wood a certain size, bzzzt, have much faster, easier and neater than cutting everything with my little hand saw and miter box.

whoo hoo!

Hello Keli,

A note to let you know your Table Saw order is on its way.  Jim shipped UPS Ground Tuesday, 17 August.  I checked the UPS website and your package is scheduled for delivery on Friday, 20 August.

Thank you for your order Keli and please let us know if you have any questions or problems.  Jim and I are heading to Annapolis this weekend for the 2010 Nautical Research Guild Conference and will not be back in the shop till Tuesday 31 August, but we will be checking our e-mails remotely.  Any questions, please e-mail.
Donna Byrnes
Model Machines

I did some more staining experimentation. Proper one to one dilution of Testors with turpentine makes a great stain. I stained the oak that will be part of the final build a gorgeous shade of blue...I'd post a picture, but I don't trust Susan not to peek.

The finish is deeper and richer looking than just painting it blue would have been, and blue stain is much more vibrant than a stained wood tone would have been. I'm loving this new technique...and since Testors comes in hundreds of colors the possibilities are endless.

experiments in staining

Since I've already said that I'm buying a saw, it won't ruin the surprise to say that I'm staining wood on part of the surprise project.  I want to stain it gray, but discovered when I went to the hardware store that I can't buy gray stain in a can smaller than a gallon.  That's too expensive for something I definitely won't use all of eventually, so I spent a little time on the internet and discovered two common methods for staining wood gray.

Soak a small piece of steel wool in white vinegar overnight, then dilute the vinegar solution one to one with water...vary the color by varying the dilution of the solution.  The color also varies depending on the type of wood it's used on.

This first method is recommended to give an aged, weathered barnwood effect. It's also recommended not for use on high quality pieces, because it's very acidic, and the finished piece needs to be either buffered or sealed.

The second method I found is to mix oil based paint one to one with turpentine to make stain.

Since the second method sounds easier and doesn't come with warnings it's what I decided to try.

I took some Winton's oil paint (Payne's Gray), diluted it one to one with turpentine, then painted it on a scrap piece of balsa...looked good!  Then I painted it on a scrap piece of didn't soak in very well, so I figured it was going to need a second coat.  The color on the balsa looked even better after it quickly dried, so I went ahead and stained one of the pieces  of oak, I'm using in the didn't go onto the oak very well...was all blotchy and the color was black.  While I let the oak dry I brushed a second coat on the birch, but that only seemed to be brushing the first coat off, not another coat I applied it liberally to get another coat to sit on top, then let it soak in while I gave the balsa and oak a second coat.  The awesome gray color I had on the balsa after the first coat turned into ugly black after the second coat dried.  I had three black, blotchy, stained pieces of wood.  Then, after they all dried completely, I wiped them down with a rag to make sure I got any excess color off and to buff them....and most of the color wiped right off.  I had to wipe them down a few times in order to be able to handle them without discoloring my hands.   They looked a lot better when I was done...the color evened out and they feel silky smooth...but too much of the wood tone shows through the finish. 

After I cleaned my brush and was straightening my worktable my line of sight drifted over the bottles of Testors paint sitting on a shelf.  Since Testors is an oil based paint, and I have a bottle of flat gray, I decided to give it a try.  I dipped my brush into turpentine, swirled it around in the top of the paint bottle lid to thin the paint sitting there, then brushed it on another scrap piece of balsa. The finish was even, the color was what I wanted, and it didn't wipe off after it dried.  It looked like a much better solution.

But this morning, looking at the results with a fresh perspective, I like the pieces stained with the Winton solution better than the the Testors solution.  The Testors doesn't seem to have soaked in, the color seems to be sitting on the surface instead, making the wood look painted instead of stained.  The wood coated with the Winton solution looked stained instead of painted, and when held up against the black surface of my printer instead of the white surface of my table, the color of the wood is obviously gray, not black, even though it's a darker gray than what I intended.

I'm going to have to experiment some more this evening, I'd like to give the Testors another try...measured dilutions this time.