Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Handmade Stone Coat Hooks

Finally! I have completed another step in my coat nook. I first started posting about this problem area right at the beginning of my blogging as I described my mitten dilemma. It has taken years but the functioning of this area has improved dramatically and it really didn't cost much or take much time. The latest addition has been stone coat hooks.

I had successfully solved the mitten problem with the ladder of baskets but we were still using a coat tree in the corner. Even though it was a beautiful handcrafted coat tree, the spacing was too tight and it didn't function well. The coat tree was moved to David's studio and we made a series of coat hooks from smooth ocean stones we'd collected from the Rhode Island shore.

This isn't an original idea but it is a perfect one for our home which combines nature with the decor in many interesting ways. This was just a natural addition. I epoxied a T nut on the back of each rock and screwed them onto their matching bolt inserted through piece of clear pine.

And I am thrilled with how much better the space functions. Now that the coat tree is out of the corner, I can center the mitten/hat ladder. Its side hooks work wonderfully for David's hat collection.

We have been using the mitten ladder for a year now. (Construction post here). It has been an excellent solution to storing and finding mittens, gloves and knit hats. One of the critical design elements is that the baskets are wire mesh so at a glance, you can see what is in the basket without having to dig through.  And it is easy to put your gloves away right as you take them off. 

Still need to cover the white cushion on the bench. Always another thing on the to-do list!

©2015 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Valentine Spiral Tree Tablescape

Have you thought about your next centerpiece for your table? After the holidays I like to do a winter scape but I have jumped ahead to Valentine's Day this year so others can see my idea and make it themselves.  I had a fun time learning the spiral tool in Illustrator and design a pattern for a  spiral heart which I then replicated into a Spiral Heart Tree.

And then I made a forest full in different sizes.....

These come from a pattern I designed for use on a cutting machine like a Silhouette or Cameo. The file is available here on 3dcuts.com. As I was cutting them out I noticed that the scraps were a terrific shape as well. I saved them and made these 3-d heart ornaments, too.

I like how the spiral design reflects some of the other artwork in my dining area. I have an unintentional theme going on here. There are spirals in the woodcut by Lynita Shimizu, spirals in the sculpture by my husband, David Roy, and spirals in the candelabra made by my grandfather, Conrad Carlson.

Still loving working in paper!

This cutting file is available along with others over at my 3dcuts.com store in SVG, PDF, and DXF formats. I also have a complete tutorial to help you in making these trees here.

©2015 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy, 3dcuts.com

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Handcrafted Stars from a Cherry Tree

Each Christmas I try to make one new handcrafted decoration. For the past few years I have worked on tree ornaments (here, here, and here) but this year inspiration struck in a different area. Stars!

It all started with a cherry tree toppling in our woods. This tree had been dead and need to come down and when it fell, a major part of the trunk was suspend off the ground.  This is important because when chain sawing, my husband hates it when the chain saw hits the dirt. It dulls the blade instantly. But with a trunk suspended I could request that he try and cut off some slices. And he did. He cut me a selection of cherry slices about 14" in diameter and from 3/4 to 3" thick.  I saved these in the top of the garage for the better part of a year and as they dried, they warped and cracked.  They gained charter but also became rather limited in how I could use them with out major sanding. That is when inspiration struck. I decided to not sand them but to leave them rough sawn and create rustic stars.

Using David's bandsaw I cut free form stars.

I cut lots of them, in all thicknesses.

I then I added them to my Christmas decor.

 This project combines lots of elements that I love - wood, rustic, and quick!

And, during the holiday season I found little Swedi3h Tomtens hanging out among the stars.

©2015 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Taylor's Titanic

We all know that Santa brings presents to good boys and girls on Christmas morning  - but in our family we also give gifts to each other. I knew my grandson Taylor was fascinated by the Titanic. He knows more about the Titanic than most adults never mind other 5 year olds. If you inquire, he'll tell you all he knows about it, and then continue onto the USS Arizona, and Captain Sully landing in the Hudson. He loves a good transportation disaster.  I decided to build him a Titanic like no other as his Christmas present from his Zee Zee (me ) and his Papa.

She is about 34 inches long and does float although there isn't much space left for Taylor in the bathtub!

This project was mainly mine as David was working to get his sculptures out, but he generally allowed me to work in his shop and several of the trickier tasks plus wonderful advice were all his.

This blog post is not meant to be a tutorial although if you want to build your own Titanic, it will help show you how we did it. This is more as a story for Taylor so he can see how his Titanic was built.

I started with a Google search of Titanic images. I knew I would need to simplify but I wanted the toy to have the essence of the Titanic. Working on the computer, in Illustrator, and at full scale, I drew up my plan. I had also reviewed my wood supply and knew what thicknesses of wood I could use. I made the hull from stacked 3/4" pine and the cabin stack is from 5/8" pine with routed edges.

I printed out the top view and glued that to the stack of pine which I had stacked and screwed together. The hull is four layers of pine.

I added another level and the bow and stern for the raised deck areas. Working on a band saw, I cut the outside contour.

I then shaped the stern on the band saw.

I spent a good amount of time hand shaping the hull using a belt sander. The sides were tapered and the bow and stern were sculpted.

After much sanding, I unscrewed the hull and decided how I would cut out the center of the middle layers. I knew if this boat was to stay upright it would need to hollow and ballast would need to be added. This Titanic has no keel on the bottom because it is a toy to be played with on the floor or in a tub. The bottom had to be flat. David and I knew we would need to experiment with ballast to make this ship float! Step one was hollowing out the hull. 

I cut out the center of the hull and screwed the layers back together. Meanwhile, David was helping with the upper decks. The upper decks are 3 more stacks of pine, each slightly smaller than the previous.

David routed the edge to create the over-hang at each level.

One of the important identifying features of the Titanic is the slant of the four smoke stacks. David created a jig on the drill press and drilled the holes for the stacks made from dowels.

Here is the Titanic with all basic construction completed. The hull is still only screwed together because we need to have float tests and determine how much weight needs to be added to the hull.

We wrapped the hull in plastic and tried the first float test. We started with just the hull and were thrilled because it floated!

We then added the upper decks and it was no longer stable. It wanted to tip over although still floated.

Back in the shop we started adding ballast to make the bottom heavier. We place a couple of brass rods in the hull and determined how much it would take to keep the boat upright. We then cut the brass rod into brass slugs and drilled holes into the hull bottom on the inside. Right up the center of this ship is a row of brass slugs.

After this step we again wrapped the ship in plastic and tried another float test. The Titanic continued to float and this time didn't capsize, but she was listing to one side. We added a series of smaller brass weight to the port side to offset the list. Once we had her floating well, we glued all the weights in place.

At some point I also made the life boats. Each was shaped using a belt sander from a small 1/2" dowel. All are held in place with a small dowel. The life boats can be lifted off and floated as well.

We had an additional series of float tests. We had to wrap the hull in plastic because the wood was still raw without finish. It would soak up the water.

Once the Titanic was floating well, it was time to glue her hull together. It all came apart and glue was added between all layers. The layers were placed together and the entire hull was clamped tight and allowed to dry. We had hollowed out the upper decks and glued those on as well.

Looking good.

We determined the angle of the smoke stacks to add the fore and aft masts. I took a little artistic license here and made these masts much heavier than on the original in hopes they would stand up to play.

Here she is with the masts added and all the smoke stacks glued in place.

I then moved the Titanic to the "paint shop".  She was going to need many, many coats of paint and be allowed to dry between each. I set her up in a location for painting.

First came 3 coats of white primer.

I then used Frog tape and taped off the bottom of the hull. That received 3 coats of shiny red paint.

The taped help create a nice clean line.

I again added more Frog Tape, this time to outline the black areas.

 And the Titanic got 3 coats of black paint.

I loved peeling off the tape because with each added color she looked more beautiful.

The last color added was the ochre of the smoke stacks. I wasn't exactly sure of the color of the smoke stacks because all the original photographs of the Titanic were black and white. The artist's drawings had a variety of yellow and orange shades for the smoke stacks. I choose a yellow orange.

The painting of the windows was time consuming. I made stencils in the Frog Tape using my Silhouette cutting machine. That helped but I also spent hours touching up the edges.

The last coats were 3 coats of polyurethane over all sides. The Titanic rested upside down as I coated the hull.

And here is her maiden voyage, complete with paint!

She then went back to the shop to have her rigging added.

Boxing her for Christmas wrapping was a challenge. Papa made a triangular box just the right size.

And it was waiting for Taylor Christmas morning under the tree along with all the gifts from Santa

Taylor started opening it and peaked in the front. Just from a quick peak of the bow he knew it was the Titanic and had to stop unwrapping to jump up and down with excitement. A little later Christmas morning Taylor showed us that there is plenty of space for both the Titanic and a five year old boy in the tub at the same time.

Merry Christmas, Taylor and Bon Voyage! 

©2015 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy