Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday plans.

This whole blog writing doesn't come to me easily, it's not that I'm not making things in my garge, the thing is that I don't have a habit of taking pictures of the projects I'm making at the time and those as I finish. I'm not a kind of person who tends to make plans of a day or even any to-do list for the future. Every sticka has two ends, I would say every couple has two people - it's Julia who likes planning, so I don't have to bother of such things :)
But, I promise to take photos of my next project, only after I finish it. I thought about photographing it between some steps as I am making, but the problem is I don't want to keep my camera anywhere near dusty garage (I would have to keep Julia somewhere near as well, my photographing skills aren't so good).

The next project will be a chest. The most popular type - with rounded top and assembled only with nails. I could make some sophisticated joints to keep it really sturdy, but I heard about one big advantage of nail joints - they can keep up even couple hundred years due to the fact nails don't keep whole thing tight, they are elastic and as the wood expands and shrinks they can tilt and bend - they don't crack and don't cause wood to crack.
I've already built the chest box part and I am really happy of the work. It's made of 3 cm thick oak with a bottom made of 1 cm pine plywood - it's really sturdy. Now I see, or rather hear, that the whole only-nail-joints part is really doing it's job. Through a day, the chest makes cracking noises as the wood expands and it's only because the joints just rearrange. Someone would say 3 cm oak wood is much too much for a chest (which is by the way 60x40x35 cm), it is really heavy (about 20 kg) and the wood cost me much, but I would remind him of one thing, the thing people miss these days - 'authenticity'.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas gifts

After a long break I finally decided to write something about what I had lately done.
Of course it's not so hard to guess that the post will be about Christmas gifts.

Not so long ago I bought a small lathe and since then I am able to make much wider range of items in my workshop. Now I know why people tend to like lathes so much, they are quiet, so you can sit with the machine even in the evening and spend very relaxing time making something you can call art :)
But there's much more important advantage of the machine, it helps the user to make something symmetrical on the whole circumference - just HELPS, because rest of the work relies on you and your hands, you use casual hand-tools and you have all the power of decision which you have when you use a simple chisel.

I've always thought about power-tools as tools which need to use some coordinates and points of reference during their work. Look at the table saw, you need the piece of work to have at least two straight and parallel sides to be able to cut it safely and effectively.
Someone would ask where's the difficulty in making things straight and parallel ? First, you need to use a next machine - a planer or hand-plane and that's the greatest problem of all.
To plane things effectively you need to know at least two simple rules :
1. Your plane blades must be as sharp as possible.
2. You need to read the grain, plane with the grain, otherwise it will chip and leave a nasty surface.

The first rule will be the rule of almost every tool you use in a workshop, keep them sharp, it's not a real problem if you know how to sharpen and have some tools to do that. But the second rule of planing is the saddest limitation of the craft. The most beautiful wood lays in your cellar, it has annoyingly twisted grain, wormholes and it's often attacked by any kinds of colorful fungus - what makes it not usable in most projects due to the fact you can't plane it well.
But hey, do you remember the first cabinet I made ? So, do you think the problem go for a cup of tea with other life-problems when I was making the piece of furniture ? If you think it did, then it did it again.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cabinet no. 2

  Finally! I received photos of a cabinet I was supposed to finish some time ago. It is the second view on the subject of miniature furniture for storing miniature things.
  The cabinet was originally thought to be in our shop's offer and it is, of course, for sale as I 'promised'.
  I don't think I need to write the whole story once again. To make long story short - it's a project I made out of reused stock I've received for free in a lumberyard. After I realised how beautiful the wood was, I managed to make something special of it - the second cabinet I've ever built. This time, fully professionally and with a view of selling it - then, no compromises.
  Just watch.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Finally boarding.

  Hello! Here, in Poland, academic year just have started. It's the end of holidays for me and beginning of something new - my student career. Yep, I'm a freshman :) But it's not only a time of changes in my life, but changes in the blog as well. It will be less technical and more interesting for people not really enjoying working with wood.
  I managed to make something different this time - a project that would be practical and simple. Anyone could make it even with really basic tools, but as people become overgrown by all those screeching machines they seem not to derive pleasure from the simpliest one-step projects like this one.

  To kill my perversy of being too technical about the items I make, I won't really describe how to make your own cutting/serving boards. They are so simple that you don't really need any plans to make them.

  Yet I want to give you one good advice, choose the most crooked naturally-shaped boards to start with, they give the best results as you don't really want your tray to be too regular - it has to have a soul, it has to make people think about it not as a piece of houseware but as a natural organic piece of wood.
  These two items are just a beggining of my whole work on wooden boards. I am planning to launch a whole line of cutting boards/serving trays/cheese boards in our shop. It will be called 'Shapes' - meaning that there will be a lot of funny and interestingly shaped boards in our offer soon.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

A short discourse upon a style.

  It was a great month. For two first weeks I was in Tuscany, if you want to see some photos from the place please visit my girlfriend's blog (link is on the right-hand side). It is really beautiful place, the only thing is that when you just arrive and see the views you feel as if you were at home, in Poland. It's not so different. Then you begin to discover more and more differences as you have more contact with locals, their espresso-perversion, dining times, siesta, everything makes you more and more distant from the people there. It's because they act naturally and you just try to do it their way, that makes you a little overwhelmed then. But hey, the feeling is still great!
  I realised I have so much to make before my studies start. On top of that I wanted to sell something in our shop, it didn't come up well. Still patiently waiting for my first customer (Julia has already sold a set of 5 postcards, lucky she). I have much ideas to realise in my projects, so many inspirations back in Italy. When I've been seing all those big old buildings, like Sienese cathedral - really beautiful, or Florentine cathedral - that one is huge!, I wanted to memorise as much as I can to be able to incorporate their styles to my works. Although that sounds so pathetic as if I was a well-known designer or someone, I want to tell you I am not and I don't feel like. I use to think  in a very simple way about designing items. The look of the Florentine duomo is full of horizontal lines, line of cornice under it's windows lines up with cornices of side-chapels' domes, but the effect works only if you look at the cathedral from sides and from a distance. Look at a bell tower of the Sienese cathedral, count how many windows it has on every floor, then you'll see there is something odd with them.
  If you try to take designs to pieces, you learn a lot how to design your own items. How to do it from the very beggining still not using previously prepared styles and motives that would make your work unoriginal. Athough it's easy to design you own piece of art, it's far too easy to folow any of those hundreds of schemes created before. Then you must either choose one style or make your own one. Build your own brand.
  I don't have any experience to be able to learn people, but I have enough pride to show you how I see the world and how helpful it is. I hope I'm not only a theorist and will be able to show you some of my ideas incorporated to my works. And, what's more, I hope maybe someone will appreciate that.
  What do you think about the whole process of creating your own brand ? Have you found your own style, either as a person who makes things or someone who experiences art ?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Wine season 2011/2012 oficially closed!

Hello! Who said this blog is only about woodworking ? I'm afraid it was me who did that :) But, it's high time to change it.

Sorry in advance for the photos. They were taken by a mobile phone, because I didn't have any other camera when I was at my grandparent's today.

Last year, exactly in October, Julia and I (with a big help of my grand grandmother, yes, I still have grand grandmother) collected a lot of grapes from my grandparent's garden. It really grows twisting around the trees there, hangs like lianas over paths and it's creepers are so old that they are covered with bark. It makes the garden look amazing. I really liked the time I spent there harvesting fruits and I suppose Julia liked it as well.
We picked about 30 kg of grapes and then filled two big wine bulbs (I don't know how do you call it - a big bottle for wine-makers) with grape juice - the ancestor of our wine ^^
It really has been working since November, this wine was really 10 months old before bottling, that's amazing how sweet the grapes are that the wine needed so much time to calm down.

And, here they are. 30 bottles of 2012 red wine from Gran'papa Dzwończyk 'vineyard'.
In the photos you can see 6 bottles with red marks on the labels - that means the are yeast-free and ready to drink (I've bottled them two or three months ago); 24 bottles of the wine - made with a little help of wine-yeast; and two bottles of something I called black wine - bottled liquid from the bottom of the 'bulb', a suspension full of yeast, remnants of grapes and so one.

That's it, now they need to mature in a dark and calm place to get more tasty and less pungent.

I should thank Julia for designing and making the labels. They look really beautiful and make the bottles look much more elegant and professional. Thank you, Julia!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Step two.

  As I promised, I attach some photos and description of the step-stools I've already made.

  They are made of pale oak. Hand shaped and hand sanded. The concaves in the legs were firts cut with a handsaw, then roughly shaped with a rasp to be finally symmetrically cut by a router with a flush-trimming bit and a template. I wish I've done it fully by hand, but there's always a problem with symmetry when cutting in curved line. But, the seat was totally shaped by a handplane, I made it slightly rounded and sunken for extra comfort when used.
  I think I should write more about the design. I saw the original stool when Julia's mom used it in their garden. I liked it very much and managed to make my own. That step-stool was really rough and old, it was one of those which had been used in Polish households in XIX and XX century for peeling potatoes and any other house chores. On top of that, Julia's stool was really not-so-well looking, after those years it needed extra support for legs not to collapse. So, I realised I can make one especially for Julia and her mom. That's how it started. 
  It's dimensions and outline (basic design) are similar to those of the previous stool. Made of five parts, nothing complicated. And that made me even more creative, having to make a simple thing not simple and unique. If you read my blog, you know that I hate nails, and more than nails I hate screws. The stool is assembled only with beech dowels, which keep it really sturdy and tightly. No glue, no metal.

Then I made another one for our shop on Etsy. Dark rustic one, antiqued by using my simple secret method. Enjoy!

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