Monday, September 26, 2011

A Ray of Hope

Yesterday, I just needed to whallup something. As I mentioned, we are in a crazy transition place and the tension has finally gotten to me, "Where's my sledge hammer!" So I went to JB Sawmill and got a white oak log for the rocker that I'll be making with Glen from Australia in a few weeks.

It's not the best log that I've gotten, but, white oak is a bit tougher to come by here and you know what they say about beggars and choosers. But when I split it open and stood over it, soaked with sweat and somewhat relieved of my anxiety, I saw this.

I've never seen a ray so large and perfect. To give more perspective than the wedge supplies, it's larger than an slice of rye bread. Very cool. So hopefully this is an omen, and will forever put to rest the question as to why the ray plane is easier to split and shave.

As promised, here are some detail shots of the Birdcage armchairs. I worked out a new scraping routine for the seats that yielded very nice results.

First I rough scraped the seat, trying of course to make it as even and fluid as possible. Then, I sanded with 180 grit sandpaper. Usually, this is coarser than I like, fearing that the sandpaper will eat through the compressed fibers from the scraping and make the grain "pop" look uneven or leave large scratches in the endgrain areas. But the 180 does a such a great job leveling the surface, so I simply scraped lightly afterwards. I know that this breaks the "no edge tools after sandpaper" rule, but I cleaned the surface with a microfiber cloth and a brush, besides, scrapers sharpen easily.

Then I sanded lightly with 220 grit and painted the first coat. As usual, I sanded the seat again very lightly after the paint hardened thoroughly. It seems like a lot of work, but the grain shining through looks great.

Besides the pine seat, I made all of the other parts out of oak. I really like the way that the texture of the grain shows through the paint.

On a sad note, my favorite chicken was killed by a neighbors dog the other day. Most of my chickens are, as you might expect, pretty dopey and lacking in personality, but Doris (the only chicken with a name) was a smart bird. Each day she would escape her enclosure (the only one with the Steve McQeen gene) and come over to the shop to be pet and lay an egg. At the end of the day, she'd just walk over and lay down so that I could put her back with the others. She had a great life.


Anonymous said...

May Doris rest in peace.So Sad!

Peter Galbert said...

Thanks Bill,
It's weird to say, but I miss her

Anonymous said...

Pete, that is one gnarly looking oak tree!


Tee said...

I'm so sorry about Doris. It make me very sad. I've mentioned I had a pet chicken as a child--Biddy was her name. A neighbor's dog attacked her in our yard, but it didn't kill her and I managed to doctor her back to health. However, my brother killed the dog with a .22 rifle. The police came, scared the daylights out of him, but my mom explained the situation and the police said not to fire a weapon in the city limits (of Atlanta) again. Now weapons are fired on a regular basis in the city of Atlanta.

Peter Galbert said...

Thanks Tee,
there is another bird that has stepped up to be noticed. She had her feathers plucked off her back by a rooster, which earned him a trip to the crock pot, and has a pretty wicked sunburn. But she keeps coming in the shop and likes to hang out, so the blow is softened.
It is surprising how these creatures can endure and charm!

Anonymous said...

i miss her

Anonymous said...

Pete: Sorry about Doris. Sounds as if she passed on her role to another-------how unconditional is that. Best Wishes. John, Woolwich, ME

Peter Galbert said...

Thanks for all the kind thoughts. Next spring I'm getting some new chicks!

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willia said...

Sorry to hear about Doris. Did you kick the dog?

Peter Galbert said...

I'd rather kick the owner!

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog and really like it!

So sorry to hear about your favorite chicken. You know, people in Asia eat dog meat. Your neighbor would have no right to complain :)