I had some spare time last week and I had just read someone’s post about wooden combs and how good they were and how they helped untangle his 4 year olds hair. Well, I have a four year old, and she has tangled hair, so this seemed like a great project.
I bought some purple heart especially for the project, I like to try new woods and my daughter loves purple, so this seemed like a perfect match. I was amazed at how hard the wood was, and the sanding left a purple mess! In the end, I was quite happy with how it turned out, and so is my daughter. I won’t be making any of these for sale as I wouldn’t be able to charge enough. A fun little project.
A friend of ours had a baby a while back and we wanted to make somethings special for her baby shower. My wife had the idea to make a wooden mobile and this is what came of it. All pieces are cut from baltic birch and hung by twine with gold foil. The edges of the clouds are painted white while the raindrop is turquoise. I’m very pleased with how it turned out and the gift was very well received.
Due to the praise it received I have made and posted another mobile for sale on Etsy.
52 Create – my weekly creative output for 2011… This week has flown by! Hence the reason my Tuesday post is appearing on a Friday. Well with the wealth of cutting boards and rifle stocks as of late, I thought I should mix things up and go big. This week’s creative output is a kids wooden push bike (also called a run bike or balance bike). These seem to be all the rage lately and you can spend as much as $300 on a designer model. They are basically a kids bike without pedals, so they use their feet to push themselves along, apparently it teaches the kids excellent balance and helps them to more easily progress to a real bike without training wheels.
There are suprisingly few diy wooden bikes on the net. There is one how-to with plans out there, but that seemed far too easy for me. So I look at a ton of pictures of these bikes on google images and sketched out my own design. As usual, the wheels were the tricky part. While you can buy a brand new kids bike for $30, to buy a pair of wheels/tires/tubes will run you $90!!! I found this set at a used bike shop for $20 total, they don’t match, but my 21 month old daughter couldn’t care less… The frame is made from my favourite – baltic birch (1/2″) with a wodden dowel for handle bars. I’ve had many comments about the small seat and lack of padding, but my daughter is still in diapers so she has her own “built-in” padding. I’ll cover it with some neoprene when she is older.
After about a week of use, she is quite comfortable on it, and can go short distances on her own. I think she’s likely a bit young for it, but she goes nuts every time she sees a bike anywhere, so I figured I owed it to her…
52 Create, my weekly creative outlet for 2011… My little (and only) niece is celebrating her first Easter, too young for chocolate, so how about her very own personalized book? I’ve had this idea in the back of my head for about a year, and I even cut the wooden blanks out for the pages at least a month ago, but it wasn’t until the last couple of days that I designed the page in illustrator and printed them out on t-shirt transfer paper. The wood is 1/8″ plywood and the designs are simply ironed on and covered with a thin coat of spray on lacquer (food safe of course!). I think these could be a real hit on Etsy as once the design is done, it’s fairly quick to assemble, and I could put a personalized name on each book. The only issue is I don’t feel the t-shirt transfer will be very durable. I’ll be keeping an eye on this book to see how well it holds up.
52 Create, my weekly creative challenge to make a new and wonderful item each week for the year of 2011. While I made a wooden ring a few weeks ago, that one was out of Baltic Birch plywood, and while I liked how it turned out, I wanted to use some more contrasting wood. You really need to laminate two pieces together with rings so that the grain is strong enough around the full circle.
So this week’s project is made out of two pieces of 1/4″ wood, walnut and maple, laminated with their grain at 90 degrees to each other. I made the thin ring first, curious at how thin I could make the wood, it’s quite strong considering it’s only about 1/16 of an inch thick. The second ring I went for a more “bulbous” look. Not exactly what I was hoping for but it’s certainly a different look than the first one.
52 Create, my weekly creative project for 2011. While I spent a lot of time on various projects this past week, I really don’t have much to show for it. I had many issues with the projects that pushed back their finish timeline by days, weeks, or even ever in some cases. So with all the bad luck (or lack of planning), I was quite happy for this little project to turn out so well.
In the picture you can see my latest creation, a man’s ring out of Baltic Birch plywood. Why plywood? Well I honestly didn’t have much for wood in the shop this past week, and due to issues with grain in making wooden rings, plywood is actually a pretty good choice. I picked the wood mainly because I had many scraps of it lying around, but I was very impressed with the way it turned out.
Wood has grain that runs in one direction, and that means that on a ring, parts of it would be very weak if you only used one solid piece of wood. The solution to this would be to laminate two pieces together, keeping the grain at right angles. I meant to do this, but in one of my many screw-ups, I managed to glue them with the grain parallel, which doesn’t really help with the strength much… I then realized that Baltic Birch plywood is basically many thin layers of Birch that is laminated at right angles to each other, making a very strong piece of wood for a ring. The only issue is that the layers are so thin that the outer ones have a tendency to chip off if you aren’t careful.
How did I make it? well I took a scrap of wood, drilled out a hole with a forstner bit (3/4″ fit my finger), then I went to the bandsaw and cut a circle around the hole. Then I took the beginnings of a ring back to the drill press, put a bit of masking tape on the forstner bit to widen it a little, and then forced the ring onto the bit. Turned the drill press on and proceeded to sand it round. I made the bevel with an old round file I had. I then sanded it up to 600 grit, although I had a large gap between 220 and 600… but you work with what you’ve got, and new sandpaper wasn’t in the budget this week.
I’ve never been a ring kind of guy, but I really like this ring and the way it feels. I’ve been wearing it almost daily, and it’s incredibly light and comfortable. It’s amazing how thin it is and yet is still strong (it’s less than 2mm at it’s thickest). When you hold it up to sunlight you can actually see light through the wood. I haven’t finished it yet, so I’ve been very careful not to soak it. I’ve read that Cyanoacrylate is the way to go for a durable waterproof finish. While this was only meant to be a trial run with scrap wood, I’m extremely pleased with how it went, and will try a few more out of Baltic Birch. I do now have a small piece of walnut and maple that I’ve laminated together, so I might post another version of the ring for next week, we’ll see.
52 Create, my year long project to create something new and home/hand made on a weekly basis throughout 2011. I’ve done several toys already, because really, making toys is fun to do, but not quite as fun as the reactions from my 17 month old daughter… I can assure you all the projects will not be toys (nor will they be all made of wood), but a good portion likely will be.
So as I was saying, many of these projects are inspired by my daughter. For some reason, she is fascinated by cell phones (mobiles). My wife hardly ever uses hers, and I don’t even have one, so where she got this fascination is beyond me. I had some scrap maple left over so I designed 4 different phones. One is the classic “original” cell phone like you saw in all those 80’s movies, the other three are variations on the “candy bar” phone. I used a wood burning pen to do the key pads, and the antennas are made from maple dowel that was burnt using a torch. I likely won’t finish them with anything as maple is a very safe wood to chew on (we do pour the sap all over pancakes…). I think I’ll put the original phone up on Etsy, not sure if I’m pleased with the wood burning on some of the others, but we’ll see.