Friday, December 31, 2010

Precious Metal Nugget Blanks

I've come up with a cool new poly resin. Gold/Silver/Whatever Nugget.

It is made of shredded metal leaf mixed in polyester resin. Kind of a pain to get it mixed in without a bunch of bubbles and crap, but the end result is worth it.

I'm making enough to send to a retailer to see if they're marketable. Here are the first couple batches:

A close up of the blanks straight out of the molds as well. I'm currently only doing gold and silver, as they are the most obvious as well as being the easiest. I've made some copper ones too, but the copper is less cooperative. It tends to clump up. I just need to work out a technique because it's a really good looking material.

Below are some pens made with the various nugget blanks. Definitely worth the effort!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

As Hand Tool as I Wanna Be

Well, as hand tool as I *can* be anyway.

This project started out as a pine bunk bed bought from Al's Woodcraft in Huntington Beach, CA (I think) in the early 80's. My step-dad and I built it. Well, we bolted it together... Heh.

I'm not sure what it was finished with. I think it was done with Watco danish oil followed by lacquer. But I was like 12, so don't remember for sure. I *do* remember the Watco can left under the sink for years after we built this and the rest of the set - A desk and dresser, both of which I still use.

The bed was used by me, my baby brother, then by my son and my daughter. It was finally retired when my mother-in-law sent my daughter a bed from Disneyland that was used in one of the hotels. She works there, so has access to the employee store where cool stuff like that shows up.

Because of the history of the bunk bed, I didn't want to just toss it or give it away. So I chopped up the wood into usable chunks, tossing only the joinery. I waited for a project that would be suitable for some truly crappy pine, but that I'd be willing to keep as an heirloom and maybe pass on to one of the kids.

The opportunity finally came when I got an LCD TV for the living room, replacing the 27" CRT TV that's been there for many years. My daughter wanted the big TV. Her 14" LCD TV was too small for her room (to her anyway...) But the dresser holding her little LCD was too small and lightweight for the big TV. Aha! Those big sturdy pine boards would be perfect!

But I didn't want to just cut and glue and such. I took the opportunity to use my hand tools as much as possible. But I don't have many. A Stanley Bailey No. 5 plane and various saws are about it. But I could do much with those.

I used the plane to strip the varnish off the wood, and to flatten the glue-up of the top. I used my table saw to rip the boards for the glue-up. There was no way my hand sawing could make glue line joints, and I don't have a jointer plane. The rest of the cuts were done by hand. The edge treatments were done with my PC router, and the table saw did the dadoes to hold the shelves.

The shelves came from an old Ikea bookcase that got mangled during the move here to Colorado from California. They're crappy pine too, and matched well.

Finish is BLO rubbed in, followed by brush on lacquer.

Now I just need my son to get over the flu so we can put the TV on it!