Comfortably Warm

I have spent the majority of this week, either outside with the camera, taking commissioned shots, or in the workshop on the lathe or cutting and assembling frames.
The only time I have been truly warm is during the evenings.
I now understand why we do not see glamour photos of Eskimo ladies:-D
Given that the forecast is for a snowbound weekend, I have been to the shops and bought sufficient milk, and a loaf of bread, to ensure that there should be no further need to venture out again until well into next week.
And I will not be deprived of tea and toast. :-)

So, having been cold all week; today, when the snow appears to have arrived in earnest, I am safely, and warmly esconced indoors.
Sorting out artwork.
Producing mounts for a variety of pieces of art.
Hand-finishing some framing profiles.

Grand !!!!

1Kpx 1801 04 
the start  1Kpx 1801 012 silly crow
1Kpx 1801 07 
Mum, we need to get out in the snow – Pleeease
1Kpx 1801 017 
this looks as if it’s in for the duration
1Kpx 1801 Dx02 
with a ‘Landscape’ Menu setting – to try to make it look less grey and dismal than it really is.  The first four shots are on a ‘Neutral’ Menu setting, which is actually more accurate in terms of tone & colour.

1Kpx 1801 Dx03 
my workshop roof
taken from the comfort of the ‘clean workshop’ window.
  :oops: :-)

A client who is presently out in the States and due to arrive home on Sunday, suggested that he may call round to collect his finished articles as soon as he arrives back in the country.  Unless it is anything like this on the eastern seaboard, I suspect that by Sunday, having travelled from New York, via Heathrow, to Northampton, he may be happier just to get his feet in front of the fire.  Maybe he is made of much sterner stuff than I am: or can imagine.
We could, though I sincerely hope not, be knee-deep in snow by Sunday evening.

Suddenly,
PCs and laptops take precedence over lathes, Morsos or carving benches.

As the daylight faded, I took some bread to the lake, to feed the ducks.
There was not one in sight when I arrived on the bank.
I clicked my tongue, twice, and magically mallards appeared from everywhere.
Almost instantly my feet were surrounded by at least fifteen ducks (and drakes).  When I dropped small pieces of bread into the snow for them, they couldn’t find the pieces. So I threw the bread pieces into the lake – it appears that fowl find food by sight or feel, rather than by smell   :lol:
For just those few moments I was as popular as I can ever remember having been.  :-D
It wasn’t much of a meal for them:   3 slices of bread between 15 ducks;  but they did behave as if that was all they had eaten all day.
And up to their waists in cold water too.   :-(

Do have a comfortably warm weekend folks  :lol:

Material Stock

I may have related the story of the source of some of my wood-turning and bench joinery material on here.     If you have heard this before, I apologise, in advance.      Please allow your mind to wander freely.

Earlier in the year, a local Conservative club closed because it was no longer profitable for it to remain open, given that it was within a mile of the central Conservative club in Northampton; and subject to dwindling patronage.
Prior to the premises being a club, it was an hotel.  And when it was built in the late 19th century, to provide overnight accommodation for the jockeys performing upon the local racecourse, two professional sized snooker tables were installed in the recreation rooms, on the 1st floor.

With the club in the process of closing, I was offered the two tables, in their entirety, for the purpose of  woodturning the sixteen very substantial mahogany legs, twelve mahogany bounce cushion edges, and all of the associated unseen structural timber, used to construct the tables in the late 1800′s.
So, yes you are quite right, all of the timber is well in excess of 100 years old and was probably felled in the middle of Queen Victoria’s reign as monarch.
Oh, plus, there were as many as 60 quality snooker cues too, belonging either to the club or past members; many now deceased.
Many of these cues, which are made from a significant variety of hardwood species, once cut to length, will finish up as light-pulls, or pens; samples of which are available to view, under the Turning tab on the Home page.
It took me, with the assistance of a valuable friend, three days to strip down the tables and remove everything from the premises. And it required a considerable amount of space at my premises, to store all of the timber.
These three items are just a sample of pieces turned from one of the mahogany legs.
The top one -  a presentation bowl.
The middle – a school trophy & pupils minatures.
The bowl on the left  has an arrow piercing it which itself is turned from one of the snooker cues.
click on an image to enlarge – select the ‘back’ arrow to return

Well, yesterday I got some of the framework timber out of stock, believing it to be softwood, with the intention of making some stretcher bars. (I have a couple of 36″ x 24″ canvases to stretch, for a client)
You may imagine my surprise when I discovered that, upon running the first length of timber through the rip saw, it turned out to be not softwood at all, but obeché – a west African mahogany.  Fairly soft, close grained, light in weight, but still adequately sturdy, in a framework, to do the job it was intended for – to support the slate top sections of the table.

Obeché is, however, one of the preferential timbers for picture framing.
Because of its light weight, its close-grained composition, which takes finishes very well, and its ease of use and stability.  And I’ve got almost forty (yes 40) 6″ &  8″ x 2½” x 6′-0″  planks of the stuff in stock: which I thought was just standard European redwood (deal), and would be used for general purpose, low cost, bench joinery.
In my defence, I should point out that the timber used to construct the underside of the tables was darkened with a what I assume the Victorian joiners used for mahogany stain.  (I have heard tales that they stained timber with the shredded tea-leaf dregs from the tea-pot ~ how true that is, I have no idea :roll: )   Plus it was coated in a century old residue of tobacco smoke and human drink – community laden dust.
Or at least, that is my excuse: and I’m sticking to it:lol: :lol:

So now I can use this stock, not for mundane joinery, but to produce my own profile-designed, hand-finished, one-off, client commissioned, frames.
It feels as if several of my Christmases have arrived at once.  :-D

Note:  I won’t be making any more stretcher bars out of the obeché either. 
I’ll buy some general purpose softwood deal in for that.
  :lol:

Heat Failure #

I had an interesting telephone call yesterday; from a ‘senior’ and very genteel lady whose picture had fallen off the wall, which had shattered the glass as well as causing severe damage to one of the corners of her frame.  Would I please be so kind as to call round and sort everything out for her?
I duly went to the address provided, to find, on being admitted to the lounge, that the picture in question had been hanging upon the centre of a chimney breast above an open fireplace, with what seemed to me to be a very moderate width of mantel above it.

Now for those belonging to a modern generation, and not familiar with the presence of an open fireplace in a living area, allow me explain some possibly historically unknown domestic facts to you.
The first fact is that the majority (anything up to 80%) of the heat produced by an open fossil burning fire disappears up the chimney, thus making the facing brickwork and plaster of the chimney breast very hot: and the relatively small remainder of the heat produced is radiated into the room.  And because the radiating effect is quite small, almost as soon as the heat (accompanied by a significant amount of residual smoke) leaves the proximity of the fireplace, it disperses upwards.
The purpose of the mantel, traditionally a slate, stone or timber shelf, positioned above the fireplace, is to divert the heated air (smokey and soot impregnatedhence the necessity for the annual ‘spring-clean’ :evil: ) into the room and away from the decorated chimney breast wall area immediately above the fireplace.
(this explains the alacrity with which the comparatively clean, silent and efficient first central heating systems were embraced during the 1960 -70s:lol:

What had happened with my lady customer was that because the mantel was so narrow as to be ineffective in its purpose of diverting hot air, combined with the tendency of the ‘senior’ lady in question to have the fire lit more often than perhaps most of us would consider strictly necessary, was that the cord from which the now displaced picture had been hanging, had become smoke and soot impregnated, brittle and correspondingly weaker as time went by, until it could no longer sustain the weight of the picture and its frame.
Down it came, bouncing on one of its corners onto the mantel, before crashing to the hearth of the fireplace.

So, it came back to workshop with me.
The cord was replaced with a stainless steel wire and crimped ferrules; which should easily outlast my lady customer.  The damaged corner of the frame was cut away and two new pieces of wood spliced into position.  Today I have refinished the spliced corner, re-glazed the frame, reassembled everything and it looks as good as new.
I’m quietly confident that my customer will be pleased with the result: and I’m not going to tell her why her hanging cord snapped.  She’ll be very happy just to have the picture back on the wall.  (she doesn’t read blogs, because she doesn’t have a PC) :lol:

For us who frame however, it may be worth bearing in mind that some of the old natural cords, as well as the modern nylon ones, don’t perform indefinitely, or even as may be anticipated, when subjected to relatively intense heat.
Wire is an infinitely better proposition, in such situations. :-D

Bare Hockey Sticks

In the morning I will be in the [dirty] workshop, complete with apron, plenty of paper towel and a bowl of cold water.  The bowl of cold water?  Well, I’m going to do some hand finishing on a selection of natural (ash) hockey moulding, for two frames to be made up for a client, next weeek.  And to keep the process moving along at a reasonable pace, between coats, I use a paint stripping gun, on the low heat setting, to dry the applications of whatever I’m finishing the frame moulding with.  Lots of people use hair driers.  I don’t have a hair drier. The fact is, that I don’t have a lot of hair, so ….. no requirement for a hair drier.  However, whatever I use, I’ll guarantee that I’ll burn my hand, or at least a finger with it.  Often not from the stream of hot air, rather from the hot plastic or metal that the hot air passes through.  So the bowl of cold water is there to plunge whichever part of my extremities gets burned, into. It does nothing to reduce the flamboyant language, but it does mean that the pain goes away slightly more quickly.    I’m not very good with pain.  :-x

When I’ve completed the frames, I’ll upload some pictures, and describe the procedures.