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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rough cutting the blank

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Last night I blew up our final sketch to full size and discovered our little dragon was, indeed little. Somehow in the email back and forths he had lost a measure of his grandure; indeed the entire drawing had somehow lost some of its width. To be clever, I redrew it and then, in the one sensible move of my day, forwarded it to Laura for her approval. She found a good half dozen errors I had made and with the resigned tone a teacher gets when she wants to tell her student he is an idiot but is far too professional to actually say it, simply told me that she would redraw it for me. With the job properly done, I headed back to the photocopier, taking my little copy off to check against our selected wood. As you can see, this piece of birch shows some real prospects but I wanted to make sure that I located the spoon to maximize the grain and figure.
I next roughly bandsaw the piece, being careful to avoid the knot which would have fallen into Laura's area of the spoon and would likely have earned me a thrashing had I included it. I did make an effort to capture as much of the spalting and swirling grain as I could though.

With the rough blank formed, I want to slightly dome the surface of the piece to add more visual 'zip' to the finished spoon. To do this I rough off some stock with the bandsaw...a dodgy move which should not be undertaken by children...at least not until they've had a few drinks......kidding! This is an extremely efficient and rapid way of removing stock, but it is a dicey move as things can go wrong in a hurry.

No disasters befell me in the bandsawing so I'm able to clean up the jaggy saw marks with a block plane and further refine the domed shape, aiming for a fair and consistant curve, equal on both sides of centre.

With the doming completed, I like to give the piece a good sanding with an orbital sander to make sure the piece is as smooth and tidy as possible. I then give it a light scraping with a cabinet scraper to clean away any embedded abrasive which may have come off the sander disc.

With all that completed, I have a really good idea of how our piece is going to look and am very confident that the spoon is going to be a dandy. Didn't I make exactly the same comment about last year's spoon too? Well, say what you like about my writing skills or my carving abilities...I DO have a good eye for a nice bit of wood!!

Before I sign off, I thought I would include this little close up shot showing the gentle dome have placed across the top (and which also tilts down a bit toward the crown of the spoon). This also gives a good look at the lovely figure present in this piece. Wooohoooo!!
- Dave

Wooohoooo indeed! Well, I feel compelled to add a couple cents here... Dave has done all the hard work, and he does have an eye for a very pretty board, too! Regarding the drawing, though, he is being too hard on himself. Tsk tsk tsk, Dave! I agreed with Dave's assessment that the dragon could use a little more beef, and that the overall design could use some more width/taper. For those of you who haven't tried to make part of a drawing wider before, I am here to tell you, it's no easy task. Moving everything around, ever so slightly, while keeping the integrity and flow of the previous drawing becomes very complicated. Dave did a fantastic job of that, and left only a few lines needing adjustment. I only re-drew it so Dave wouldn't have to. I assure you - I never had any critical thoughts towards Dave. :) Normally, I don't think either of us would have so many versions of a design, but that's the result of designing with two people, 3000 miles apart. At any rate, after Dave's last adjustments to the dragon, our design is REALLY final! Woo-hoo! Oh, and Dave, thank you for avoiding that knot! I'd been afraid of that, but I knew you'd spare me if you could! I can't wait to see more as the cutting and carving proceed!!!
- Laura

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