Category Archives: finishing

Fulfilling an Order

boldt Act copperI like doing antler pens that represent the .30 cal. take down means. The reasons are many. In my part of the world white tail deer are abundant and if not harvested destroy lots of browse, cause property damage, and are a major contributor to auto accidents. What is more, many are harvested and the sportsmen donate the highly preferred meat to many who would not otherwise have such delicacies on their tables.

The antlers themselves are easily obtained as they fall off each year and it is common to come upon them on deer trails in the woods. I do not buy them by the pound or otherwise as I feel this might tempt poachers to violate the principles of sportsmanship for a few extra “bucks.” (for give the pun).

3 boldts antler
Gun metal,copper,and bronze finishes

This order was generated by partnering in a craft sale several months ago. At that time I had made several of the same which sold out. I then had a client contact me for a custom order for Christmas gifts. Time passed and then most recently another client came forward through an email requesting that I make a set of 3 similar but different “bolt action deer pens” as she called them. She hoped that my prices had not gone up ($45 ea.). They have not! So we reached an agreement and I went into production. The results are pictured here.

The only finish on these real antler bodies is renaissance wax applied with soft paper towel and polished at a very high speed. They look and feel great.  I’ll put them in presentation boxes as part of my standard practice and they should be ready to go.  Have a great day, stay safe, and “God Bless!”



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Trees of the Nativity

Easing into Summer!

“Please, oh, please, Don’t throw me in the briar Patch!”  Such was the plea of Bra’er Rabbit.  It was, however, just exactly what he hoped would happen.

There is no doubt in my mind that sometimes we get ourselves into situations that we wish we hadn’t . For me that may be completely different than for you, but I think that it must happen to everyone some time or another.

My most recent situation was in my wood shop as I was finishing up on a presentation bowl. I had shaped the outside, reversed the chucking and was well into the hollowing process. Actually, I got pretty much done with the inside, and then it happened! A corner of the chisel I was using caught the curve as I was blending the bottom with the side of the bowl. My chisel jumped in my hands, I heard a distinct crack and my heart sank. I turned off the lathe and sure enough there it was a major crack that would all but have rendered the piece worthless.

KwikKrystal 6 set
KwickKrystal CA 6 set

I was grumbling about my careless mishap when it occurred to me that I had just been thrown into the briar patch.  This crack would have been the worst place to be if it wasn’t for the fact that I had on my shelf some  KwickKrystal CA … just what the doctor ordered.

What to do? Well I had boasted to the club that my super glue was better than others, and now, I was going to see if I would have to eat my words or end up salvaging a wonderful piece of handy work.

The CA offered by me has the brand name : KwickKrystal CA because I had originally asked the chemist at the lab who mixes the formula to make the viscosity suitable for finishing wooden objects such as pens, bobbins, medallions, and small bowls. The finish achieved is glass like so the name Krystal.

At the same time it serves as a superb super glue. It bonds very quickly and permanently even without using an accelerator. If, however, one should want to use quick setting enhancer we have one formulated to be compatible with KwickKrystal CA. It is available in 2oz. pump spray containers and can be purchased as a part of the set pictured above or independently.  A debonder is also available as well as med, thick, and flex formulas. For those with special needs it comes in the colors brown, black, blue, and red colors. KwickKrystal is packaged in 1oz., 2oz., 8.5oz., and 16oz. bottles. For pricing and shipping costs please drop me a note and I’ll get back to you with a price quote.

Mini bowlBack to the briar patch. I was able to glue the cracked bowl as well as finish it with KwickKrystal CA thin.

Until next time stay safe and “God Bless!”

 



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The Nativity Trees

Forest of the Nativity 3
The Nativity Trees

Greetings everyone. I have been working in my shop to create small turnings that I call “Seasonal Trees.”  Included is a set I refer to as: “The Nativity Trees”. I have been working with various wood types and sizes in many colors that have been in my shop for some time. The trees you see here are part of a collection made this Fall and as a group called “The Nativity Trees.”

Some materials for the “forest” include pine, spalted birch, cocobolo, aromatic red cedar, oak, ash, and boxelder. In addition, I have used several different colors including “strata-board” variations that have been used to turn pens, bottle stoppers and engraved medallions.

Each tree that I turn is “custom”, that is, there are no exact copies. This is by design so that I may stay interested in the process, and, so those who might want to collect them will have, in each case, a signed, dated, and unique addition to their ‘forest’.

Patriot's Christmas Tree
Patriot’s Christmas Tree

Although basic turning is rather simple, a more challenging part in the process is to impart a high gloss permanent finish that will withstand the much handling that these trees invite.  I sand each tree with 14 different sandpaper grits, apply 9 coats of CA Kwick Krystal(TM) finish and finally use a very durable high gloss polish to complete the custom tree. Even though each tree is wood, the finished product looks and feels like polished glass.

Each tree is topped with either a Swarovski crystal, a glass or metal star, or an Hungarian furnishing. The tree sizes vary from 1.5″ – 4.5″ and come in a presentation box that is stamped with the “Needles of the North” logo.  These trees make excellent hostess gifts, stocking stuffers, or special occasion mementos.

First offered at a shop in Bigfork, Minnesota Timber Rose Floral and Gifts they have found a high acceptance level and there are individuals who have begun to collect them to be displayed all year round. If you are interested pleased send me an email or contact me through Facebook.Facebook .



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From Plywood to Pen

Today I was in an experimental mood. Things had gone well during the first part of the week in spite of a major snow event in my part of the woods. Up to 12″ in the area! In Minnesota we have, however, grown used to such things, and so have the folks in the MHD. They have some of the biggest snow plows and best heavy equipment operators in the nation. So we simply let them do their thing and we get back on the roads in no time. Its a pretty impressive thing to see a phalanx of heavy duties moving along at almost the posted leaving behind them a slick but clean roadway. A little salt or brine and in a couple of hours we’re busy as bees again.DSC_0015

I was happy to get into my shop for my usual “Turning Time” right on schedule and pretty well caught up on the duties of the week. I had been thinking about a couple of variations to the usual pen blank prep, coloration, and a corroborative style to go along with my American made shop apron my youngest gave me recently. So, here’s what I came up with. I chose a Wall Street II kit from Woodcraft. For the blank I selected a piece of 11 ply balsamic birch plywood. I ripped several sticks 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 20.5″ and then chopped them into 5″ blanks. I drilled the blanks and super glued the burnished brass tubes in place. I squared the ends with a pen mill attached to my handheld drill and I was good to go. Turning plywood was something I’d thought about and so I increased the speed of my little JET, selected my razor sharp carbide tipped chisel and had at it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had no problems at all!

For the finishing process there were at least two things I wanted to do: give it some color; and give it a durable high gloss finish. I wanted to see if I could match it up with the shop apron fabric I wear, so I had to get some unnatural color into the process. For that I selected an interior Martha Stewart custom mix sampler that I picked up at Home Depot. The sanding process was the hardest part for me. Why? Because I’m so impatient! So I sanded for a while, then I took a lunch break with my oldest daughter. We talked about, taxes, travel plans, and the weather out East. The dow was up at noon, the plot was getting thicker on the soap she watches and after my lunch break I went back to the project and sanding. I hope the enclosed pictures give you an idea of how things turned out. If you have any suggestions, I’d be glad to hear from you. I carefully screen all the comments that are sent, however, so don’t just add something in the hopes of seeing your perspective…If its in the interest of the common good of fellow turners it’ll be posted and responded to for sure.DSC_0016



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Pens – the basic stuff

I suppose a library of printed books could be filled with a discussion about pens, pencils, and the many different forms of writing instruments used by mankind throughout the ages. In all the cases that I know they are an extension of the human hand that allows the user to make some kind of mark. Those markings are different than those made with a brush in that most pens have only one point at which they touch the surface upon which the mark is to be made and left behind. Brushes on the other hand have many bristles and together are used to carry the medium that is being used to make a mark. A fountain pen comes close by using the two parts of a nib between which the ink flows to make its mark.

From charcoal, cunieform styli, quills, lead pencils, and many other different forms and instruments loaded with or carrying some sort of stained liquid an individual was and is able to convey by pictures, doodles, or complex symbol set, the ideas their minds have conceived and learned to portray in some form of writing. It is fairly amazing how the human brain can be trained to transfer ideas to graphics or things that can be seen and understood by others. As a student of languages, whether it be singular or multiple, to be able to read and write is a very important part of education, socialization, communication and interpersonal interaction. Although the keypad upon which my fingers are pressing to write these words does that and much more, there is an enduring quality to hand writing that makes it preferred in so many contexts.

As a pen maker I try to imagine how and for what the writing instruments that I craft will be used and by whom they will become an extension. From the time that I have been able to write I have been aware that when you see my hand writing you see something unique and special. My signature is mine, my letters are easily distinguished from those of others, and the style itself tells a trained observer many things about me in addition to the word or marks I have written. This is mostly true for everyone.  At the same time I have always been aware of the differences in the pens and pencils that I have used because I am left handed and hold my hand in a way that is different from most of the other people that I have watched as they have left their mark. When I add my signature to something, I do it very carefully and with purpose.  Unless I agree to what is being signed or written I will not add my signature.

It is with that same care and attention to detail I like to believe that I make my pens and those pens I might make for others. I hope that the pens that come from my hands become an extension of that person’s self. That’s why I can call my pens "signature" pens. They are all unique and specially made to my standards and according to the ability that I have at this point in my life. If you should want one, please let me know and I will make one for you.



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