Again - another non-knifemaking project. Somewhat similar to what I did in Project #14, but this time a bit more complicated - with a shaped base. After all - we are talking $500 stone which deserves to be mounted properly :)
This project proved considerably more involved that I expected - partially because after 2 hours of work I realised that I needed to start from scratch.
Disclaimer: I am even less of a woodworker than I am a knifemaker. Those who have experience with woodworking will probably shake their head when reading this I assume. Those, who like me do not have that experience should consider this article to be at most an inspiration, not a How To instruction.
- Wood No. 1: Peruvian nutmeg
- Wood No.2: Brazilwood (Pernambuco tree).
- G/flex epoxy (lot's of it)
- Shellac (1:5 weight parts with ethanol)
- water-based lacquer from 330mate_com (apparently not available since several months), but it is really great and 100% water resistant once dry.
I wanted to do something a little nicer that just a rectangular piece of wood and then I got a very nice (about 100 years old) mounted on a nicely shaped (but otherwise very simple and roughly finished) base that I took for inspiration. So after working on the design ... for about 10 minutes, I came up with the following:
|The profile of the holder|
Nothing fancy. What is not shown is that I decided to embed the stone some 2-3 mm into the wood for a more secure attachment.
The basic idea was:
- cut the board to shape
- shape the board with rasps and files
- remove about 3 mm of material (with a chisel) so that the stone can 'sink in'
- finish the board with sand paper, coat with Shellac
- coat the bottom and sides of the stone with a lacquer
- fill-in low spot on the bottom side of the stone with epoxy
- glue the stone to the board
Simple and easy, right? Nope :)
The first step was to cut out a pice of board that had the right dimensions. It turned out to be a rather decent upper body training to make one long (28 cm) and one shorter (9 cm) cut into a 4 cm thick hard wood.
|Note-to-self: get a bandsaw|
|It is all straight forward.|
|About to start shaping (rounding) one of the ends|
|Well, not quite finished yet|
|After about 5 minutes on belt sander.|
Before doing any more finishing work I turned to the next task - cutting /chiseling out the groove for the stone. The idea was:
- Draw the profile (from the top of course) of the stone on the wood
- Cut along the profile line with some thin blade (to keep chipping the wood outside the area in check)
- Use a special 'curved upwards' chisel (also known as Saya Nomi) made by Robin Dalmann to slowly remove the material.
|At this stage I abandoned this piece of wood.|
|Yep, the wood chipped very easily. In retrospect it was not maybe quite|
as bad, but I did not come to think about the Proxxon.
Attempt No.2Since I was not too impressed by the behaviour of the wood, I have decided - before doing any more work - to switch to the board which I originally bought for the purpose - a lovely piece of Brazilwood. The reason I did not use it in the first place was that the surface was very rough and about 2 - 3 mm of material needed to be removed to flatten it and since I did not have an idea how to get that done, I just put it aside.
But since the brilliant idea of using the belt grinder (which I have for about a year and use for all possible tasks) I now had the means to do it in a reasonable time.
|Board that I originally bought for the purpose|
But first of course the board had to be cut to shape, so ....
|Anyone finding this familiar?|
|This time much faster.|
|Rough shaping finished, the wood has a lovely figure.|
|The wood is really lovely.|
|Did I say to wood looks lovely?|
|After #400 grit.|
First step as already mentioned was to draw the shape of the stone on top of the board. Just before I did that I noticed that the board did not have the same thickness on the long sides (say left-and-right). I felt stupid for not noticing sooner, so I wend to check the stone and ... found out that it was also tilted to one side - lucky me :) So I only needed to orient the stone such that the two tilts would mostly cancel. You need to have a lucky day from time to time.
|Yes, this is the stone. The feel does not compare to synthetic stones.|
Just fantastic :)
|Cutting the groove - the blue line indicates the depth I was after.|
|Just a few minutes later. The little Proxxon is definitely worth the cash.|
|Yep, the chisel is really is "bent".|
|And again, this is a hard wood ...|
... and I was not getting nowhere. The fact that I basically did not work before with a chisel was not of much help either. So I turned to Proxxon and a milling bit and decided to do it the crude way.
|Now this seems to work.|
|About half-way done.|
|Sanded to #1000 grit and ready for Shellac.|
|About to start coating the base with Shellac|
|First coat of Shellac is drying.|
The steel wool makes the overly glossy and not to even (in particular around edges) looking finish more even and less 'flashy'. See below.
|After second round of 3 Shellac coats but BEFORE|
sanding with a steel wool
|After second round of 3 Shellac coats and AFTER|
sanding with steel wool
The stoneIn the mean time I needed to test the following:
- water-based stone lacquer on a piece of natural stone I had lying around from making fingerstones
- Once cured a bit see whether G/flex epoxy actually attaches to it
- Test whether the G/flex could be removed from the sticky part of 2 different scotch tapes - this was necessary as I needed to fill-in one corner of the stone and wanted to use the tape to outline the shape
|Coating the testing piece of stone with the stone lacquer.|
I would use a simple hair brus to apply a thin coat to the stone surface. On places which are uneven (and thus a more lacquer would collect there) one could see 'white spots', but after drying you are left with nearly perfectly transparend, slightly glossy surface. Even after 5+coats you do not change the look of the stone. I really like that.
|G/flex on both tapes and stone (after coating). Right - the|
bottom side of the stone getting the lacquer.
The reason to do this was to have the complete bottom part of the stone having contact with the wooden support and not to have one corner 'sticking out' and asking for trouble.
|The top-left corner has a depression going down to the edge|
that I wanted to fill with epoxy
|Working side of the stone - covered with Tesa tape|
with 'leveling sticks' attached to it.
I have mixed 15g of G/flex and filled the corner and a few low spots along a strong, but shallow iron line. I took my time to do this as well as I could. G/flegavex was great for this job as it gave me enough working time plus its lower viscosity made it easier to spread it evenly.
|The top-left corner and all the low spots filled with G/flex|
|Low spots filled with epoxy|
|The repaired corner of the stone.|
|Seems that I actually managed to get it level rather well.|
Once the re-modeling of the bottom part of the stone was done I have carefully removed the tape. Still - on several places it managed to remove the applied lacquer, so I had to re-apply it. This was however rather quick job.
|Remnants of the lacquer on the tape.|
|Applying first layer of the lacquer after the tape was removed - the darker places|
are where the stone absorbed the lacquer.
Bellow are a few photos of the finished base before the stone was glued on it. It can be clearly seen that my hand slipped a few times when working with the Proxxon. I will be more careful next time.
|Bottom side - the curves show the grain of the wood|
|Detail of the milled depression.|
|Next to off-cut piece - shows the difference with and without|
|Next to off-cut piece - shows the difference with and without|
Mounting the stone
Since I had to model one corne of the stone I needed to to some light adjustment to it so that it would fit will the base. I used a sharp knife to do that. Also the edges of the stone needed slight sanding to get a proper fit. This also meant that I had to apply a few coats of the stone lacquer to cover them
Once I was happy with the fit I have prepared 30g of G/flex epoxy, spread it evenly on the base and attached the stone. I would mention here that for this kind of job you do NOT want to use a 5 minutes epoxy - as it takes some time to spread it over the base, put in the stone, if necessary do some adjustments and finally wipe the excess - while the epoxy is still flowing. I have spent about 30 minutes wiping out the excess glue MANY single movement wipes. You can not cheap out using acetone as you would probably damage the Shellac, so just dry wiping.
|Stone is in place - now is the wiping time!|
|Filling in the corner was probably a good idea, it would otherwise been |
in a risk of breaking off.
And done! :) Lets have a look how it looks in a kitchen environment
This was a new kind of project for me, so naturally it was a lot of discovering and making mistakes. But here it comes:
- If you have never worked with a high quality chisel (means hard and easy to chip), than starting with a hard wood is not going to be too successful and in particular - do not expect removing material fast.
- If you want Shellac not to be uneven (mean uneven thickness after applying), than you need to make it thin (at least 1:5 if not thinner). Still - you can improve a lot with 0000 steel wool.
- Do not sand after first coat of Shellac - the layer is too thin and you will just remove what you applied (though that may depend on what kind of finish you want). Applying around 3 layers will give you enough thickness so you will not go down to bare wood while sanding (lightly!) with the steel wool.
- Once you turn to powered tools like Proxxon (or Dremel or similar), you need to be careful as you can very quickly dent or chip your work. I tried to be fast and the result shows this.
- Always test new materials (glue, lacquer, wood, etc) or processes (sanding, filing, rasping, polishing, gluing of different materials, etc.) before you start to work on the actual piece. It can save you a lot of trouble.
- That little 1x30" belt sander is really very helpful when working around wood :)
Let's splash some water on the stone to see the Aka Renge pattern