Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rainy Las Vegas

Rain and Las Vegas are not found in the same sentence except during our monsoon season but boy, it's been a steady rain for several days.  That means that fitting joints can become problematic due to the unusually high humidity.  I remember at San Francisco State people would fit a dovetail or tenon in the evening and then if they tried to assemble the next morning the fog/humidity made the wood swell up and no longer fit!  You almost had to fit and glue during the same time period.  Currently I'm working on making a chest for my carving chisels out of various pieces of wood I have left in the shop.  It's also going to be a practice piece where I can improve my dovetail cutting abilities. I know that I could use jigs, routers, tablesaws, etc. to do the joinery but there's just something about doing it the old ways.  At this point I'm preparing the stock.  The framework will be made of Alder which I had to buy.  The drawer fronts and lid will be made of Bloodwood that I had from another project.  The materials I have on hand dictated the size of the chest.  I also resawed a piece of Cherry which I plan to carve and use for the panel on the lid of this chest.  As soon as I get something that's worth photographing I'll share the progress on the blog.  Looking forward (with trepidation) to seeing how the Bloodwood will take to half blind dovetails!
In the meantime,here is a shot of the last series of picture frames that are now hung in the dining room:

They are the series of threes that Diane is currently working.  The upper set is called "Elegance" and she used classic ladies hats, pearls, and gloves of the time.  I particularly like the upper left painting that shows a cover shot on a magazine with the ladies eyes peeking out.  The lower series is unnamed as of now but maybe "Cafe auLait"  would be appropriate -- it's waiting on the center painting to be completed.
From a woodworking point of view I like the way the textures and details show on the wood.  The upper series were made of Beech and then dyed, French polished, and waxed. The lower series were made of Poplar, gessoed, textured, and sprayed with a red undercoat followed with a satin oil-bronze finish.  Although different the goal was to have the light pick up the textures and details of the frame without drawing attention away from the paintings.  I think we succeeded! 
Well, time to get out to the shop.  It's late enough where the neighbors should be awake and up by now, if not the planer will be their alarm clock.

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