Monday, February 16, 2009

New Listing - Gunstock Wine Bottle Holder

Smile Moon Woodworks - Walnut Gunstock Balancing Wine Bottle Holder
Walnut Gunstock Balancing Wine Bottle Holder

While working on trying to complete some pillboxes that seem to be taking for just about ever, a friend of mine asked if he could 'borrow' my bandsaw to cut up some walnut he had on hand so he could replace the gunstock on his old 1908 Ithaca 12-gauge side-by-side shotgun. He showed me the original wood from the gun, and its 100-plus years of wear were abundantly in evidence. Sections of wood were missing, and bolts were being used to hold some of it together - not at all a safe condition for actually wanting to use the gun.

He traced the general shape onto his walnut and proceeded to coax the block into shape. The woodblock itself was almost twice as thick as what he needed to complete his gunstock, and since the remainder was too thin to make another gunstock, I inherited it and set it aside til I could figure out what to do with it.

This weekend, inspiration finally struck me while I was waiting for the glue to dry on one of those pillboxes. Why not a bottle holder? When I laid out where the hole would have to go in a block of wood the general shape and size of a gunstock, it all just fell into place for me.

Smile Moon Woodworks - Walnut Gunstock Balancing Wine Bottle Holder
Gunstock Bottle Holder Layout

I planed down the wood to a consistent thickness, cut the angled bottom, smoothed out all the rough cuts my friend had made (while being true to the intended shape of the piece), then drilled the angled hole through the wood. Keeping the piece steady while the hole was bored out was a bit more of a challenge due to the fact that it didn't fit in my usual jig for making these bottle holders. Once all the cuts had been made, though, I sanded the piece down to a P-320 grit (very fine), used a charged cheesecloth to suck up the dust stuck in the open pores, and applied 5 or 6 coats of clear lacquer to bring out the grain structure and to protect the wood.

Smile Moon Woodworks - Walnut Gunstock Balancing Wine Bottle Holder
Closeup of Gunstock Bottle Holder, showing woodgrain

I listed the bottle holder for sale this afternoon in my Etsy shop, then updated my google base data feed to include it so it can be found in the search engines. Hope you like it!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

UPDATES: Finger's healing, Theo's growing, and I listed some new Etsy Items!

The past few days have been busy, for sure. Thanks for checking in - here's what we've got:

New Etsy Items

Smile Moon Woodworks - Red Valentine Heart Tea Light Candle Holder
I've had an idea for making some tea light candle holders similar to the snowflake and holiday star candle holders I'd made in December, but my finger injury last weekend had put me out of commission for a while. I was itching to get out to my workshop on Friday, so I found a couple slabs of wood to experiment with. After finding a valentine graphic on the internet with pleasing proportions, I scaled it up to accommodate a tea light in its middle, then traced it onto my first piece of wood, a small piece of pine. Long story short, I liked the way it turned out well enough to finish it up with some bright red paint, and the result is what you see above.

Smile Moon Woodworks - Valentine Heart Tea Light Candle Holder in MahoganyI found a scrap of mahogany leftover from the snowflake and holiday candle holders, so repeated the process on it, yielding the three candle holders shown above and below:

Smile Moon Woodworks - Valentine Heart Tea Light Candle Holder in MahoganyI'm even more fond of the way these turned out. The woodgrain of the mahogany is so intricate (click on the above photo for a good view of the woodgrain), I figured it'd be a shame to paint them, so I finished these with several applications of danish tung oil, and polished them with a mixture of beeswax, carnauba wax and orange oil. If I do say so myself, I think I'm getting much better at wood finishing, a process which I'm slowly starting to de-mystify for myself.

The really neat thing about the mahogany candle holders in particular is that because I used a non-encapsulating finish on them, you won't have to worry about them getting wet in the long run. Why is that so cool? Because you can float them in the bathtub for some atmosphere during your romantic little rendezvous!

Theo Update

Theo sleeping on IndyIt's starting to look like Theo's not going to grow into a large dog at all. When Mrs SmileMoon had him checked out at the vet's office, she was told he'd be maybe around 40 pounds, which is pretty good because we were looking for a medium sized dog. Of course, that'd be downright minuscule if Theo was a full-blooded lab, but we're starting to think he's mostly terrier with lab added only for coloring and shaping. He'd be a bit large for a terrier too, so I guess he's a happy medium. He and Indy exhaust each other with their puppy shenanigans, and the photo above captured a rare daylight moment of rest.

My Finger's Getting Better

What - no picture?!! Keep dreaming, sicko. It's bad enough I have to look at it when I redress it. Actually, it seems to be healing rather nicely. There's very little opportunity for the wound to be transmitting any pain to my brain, except for when I bump it while driving (for whatever reason, that's the place most likely for that sort of thing to happen). Then I make up a whole bunch of new swear words I wish I could remember afterward. The dressing still looks huge to me, even in comparison to the injury. It just kinda calls attention to itself. [Yes, I know that's not unlike me just writing about it here.] With all the questions I've been getting about it, I've got my story down to about three sentences, and still manage to get that "Ewww!" face from everyone who asks. Hopefully by this time next week, it'll just be in a regular looking Band-Aid or something.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Doctor Says I Can Keep My Finger!

Well, I took a good look at my finger when I was at the good doctor's office yesterday. Both he and the nurse were giving me looks for the sheer stupidity of what I did to cause the injury, but I've been doing that to myself since it happened, anyway.

In short, it was a good clean injury, in that there was no contaminants in there to pull out. I remember bleeding like a stuck pig for many hours when it happened, so I don't see where anything could've stayed in there anyhow.

I was correct about the depth of the injury (a couple millimeters shy of the bone), which was good in that we won't have to worry about infection getting into the bone. Of course the downside is that I'm pretty much assured that I will not get full feeling back to that part of my finger. It won't be as nerve-wrackingly numb as it is now (anybody who's ever lost total feeling in a part of their body knows exactly how unsettling and hard to get used to that is), but there will be a nice little divot at the end of my finger to commemorate my stupidity.

While I'm in the process of healing, I'd like to thank all of you who've left your kind comments lately, and the many more of you who have just been sending me your good healing vibes. It's all been very helpful. As soon as this sawdust-absorbing gauze comes off, I'll be back in the workshop again. These projects aren't exactly completing themselves!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

"Oh, boy. I've done it good this time."

Today, I'm put in mind of a classic Jerky Boys skit, in which our protagonist makes a prank call to a hospital emergency room to seek advice. Why? Because his hand is all "numb & sting-y" after the firecracker he was holding went off in his hand. Said firecracker being about the size of the cardboard tube in a roll of toilet paper. Once the emergency room staff has finally convinced our caller to get to the emergency room ASAP, he lets slip with the coup de grace before hanging up with: "honestly, I'm not even seeing any fingers here!"

It plays out pretty funny on the old tape I've got, but it sucked when I hurt my hand in the workshop this morning. And it wasn't quite as bad as all that, thank God, but I was pretty upset for how stupid and preventable it was. Suffice it to say that one should never attempt to clear out a suspected clog of shavings from the ejection port of a wood planer when it's under power. It was so similar to injuries you always hear about this time of year with snow blowers, that I kicked myself as soon as I had my wits about me for letting it happen at all. Stupid stupid stupid.

I won't put any photos of the injury here to protect the squeamish (namely, me) and the lovely and venerable Mrs SmileMoon was very kind and wiped down the work area after the event so I wouldn't have to deal with it, not to mention that she's the one who cleaned and dressed the injury for me in the first place. I know, I know, I'm a great big baby. [Our unspoken agreement is that I'll always take care of the barf in the house, and she takes care of all the blood. I would've wiped down my own, but she got to it before I could.]

This probably won't effect the day job very much, except that I may take a couple hours to consult with the good doctor regarding some sort of follow up. The blade definitely got to within a couple millimeters of the bone, so it looks like there'll be permanent nerve damage, but at least it's just the tip. In the long run, I've spent time with woodworkers with much worse to show for their workshop accidents.

Oh, and in case anyone was keeping track at home, it was indeed the same hand with the carpal tunnel syndrome. Aye carumba!