Monday, January 16, 2012

Yet Another Twentieth Anniversary…

Mayan Doomsday believers may choose to skip this post.  It contains blasphemy...

Although the Mayan calendar supposedly runs out in December, I am over the firm belief that nobody has thought of turning over the page, or stone tablet, in this case, to see that the world doesn’t really end but that there is yet another calendar underneath.

In a way, the same thing happened here.  I got back on January 2nd from an extended vacation over the holidays to discover that one of the employees was to celebrate his 20th anniversary with the company on January 4th, Ouch!  It seems with all of the hoopla associated with the end of the year, no one turned over December to see that there was an anniversary in January. 

A celebratory luncheon was quickly planned for today, January 16th.  Since I am the de facto woodcarving-laureate (is there really such a term?) of the company, I was left scrambling for time and a good idea for his anniversary award.  Actually, the time I had, the idea was the thing that was missing.  The real problem was that I had received too many suggestions.  Unfortunately none of them “jelled” into an overall design for me.  It wasn’t until late last weekend that I finally decided on the design and began madly hacking away at the Basswood.

As I worked on the train I quickly realized that I hadn’t left enough material for nose of the boiler or the cowcatcher, that is, the piece of wood wasn't really thick enough.  I turned a new boiler nose on the lathe and glued it on as well as another piece of wood for the cowcatcher.   

Jeff's Plaque - less Engraved Brass Plate
The engine is a very special one that can, apparently, belch out numbers.:-)

When I was done with the painting, I decided that the boiler looked a little blank, so I used PowerPoint to generate a circle with a number in it and glued it on.  That was just enough detail to break it up and make it look a little more realistic. But what number to put on it???  Why, his phone extension, what else?  So, you might ask, "What was his first question after receiving the plaque???

“What’s the 117 for?"...uhhh, so much for subtlety:-)

As if things weren’t hurried enough, I had a Doctor’s appointment this morning at 10:15.  That made getting here tight, but just doable if all of the Dominoes felt the right way...they didn't!  The Doctor's office was busy and I didn’t get in to see him until way after 11, I couldn’t leave until 11:35.  The party had started at 11:30, I was about 35 miles away and I still had the Plaque with me!  

I finally got here, fashionably late... just as things were starting to break up. :-(   

I had ordered the little engraved brass plate with his name and the date on it and had to run down to my office to get it while he held the, as yet, “naked” Plaque.

But finally, we could officially present the Plaque commemorating his now 20 years and 12 days of employment.

Me (inadvertently covering the brass plate with my big fat thumb), Harry and Jeff, "The Man of the Hour"
I’m too tired to add a “For the Bench” :-)

‘Til next time…Keep makin’ chips!

A Very Special Lovespoon!

My son “C” has been dating a lovely young lady who from Monchengladbach, Germany.  That is just west Dusseldorf and just east of the border with Holland.  “G” – her name for our purposes here -- was back home for the Holidays and “C” flew over to visit and popped the question.  So, it looks like we’re going to have a brand new Daughter in our family!  My wife and I are delighted!

Before he left, I carved a spoon for him to take along as a Christmas Present for her parents.  This one is not an original design – again, it is one that I have mined out of the Internet -- but I think is a very nice, delicate design.

“G” has already received a spoon from me so she “knows” my rules:  “Anyone who gets a spoon has to send back a picture of it hanging up.”  With typical Germany efficiency, she made sure that the spoon was promptly hung up and that “C” had the picture to bring back with him.  Good girl!

To “G’s Parents”: ”Fröhliche Weinachten!   We hope to meet you soon.”

The 4000th

 Well, we’ve made it.  Clear up to 4000 hits!  Thanks to all. 

The hit rate is still accelerating.  The last 1000 hits took just a tad over 2 months.  From what the site counter measures, it seems like Lovespoons are where it’s at.  

I hope to have more to show in the near future.

Thanks for “Tunin’ In” and keep makin’ chips!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I guess this piece really can’t be considered a “lovespoon” because it doesn’t have all of the normal lovespoon characteristics.  Instead, I’d have to categorize it as an “L’object D’art”, especially since I have introduced some color into the equation. (Note: the color is not quite as bold as it appears in the photo.)

Long ago, back in the dim, dark past, I found and saved a picture of this design with the intent to carve one for myself someday.  Back in November, I saw a spoon just like this (sans color) at the Dayton Woodcarver’s Show and resolved to make it my next project.  (By the way, if that was your spoon and I didn’t comment to you at the time, you did a really nice job!)

When I located my copy of the picture, I decided that, even though the leaves were good reproductions of actual maple leaves, they were “way too busy” for the rest of the spoon.  The original design also had one less leaf, leaving (IMHO) a big “hole” that detracted from the overall look.  I set out to modify the design.

I shopped around on Google Images and found a nice replacement leaf -- still a Maple but a different species -- one with broader points and smoother edges.  I incorporated the new leave and “plugged” the hole.

Recently, I have been trying to move in the direction of more delicate spoons.  While this one may not be super-delicate, I found that the section of the handle near the bowl was thin enough to flex slightly if I put too much pressure on it during the sanding process.  Easy does it there, Tom!

At one point, I thought it was “done”, but my living-in, home-decorating consultant indicated that the spoon needed some color to fully bring out the leaves and make it go better with the walls in the dining room.  I didn’t necessarily disagree with her opinion but using colored washes to blend colors together has never been one of my strengths.  So I approached the idea of painting my latest creation with just a “bit” of trepidation.  Then, I reminded myself that it was “just a piece of wood” that in the event that I ruined it by doing a crumby paint job, I could always carve a new one.  So I plunged ahead.  I’m glad now that I did.   

After all, it’s all about growth, isn’t it? :-)

I went back to Google Images and found some really nice shots of autumn leaves.  I spent the best part of two evenings applying wash after wash after wash.  Finally, the color blending seemed to work and I stopped.  There can be too much of a good thing.

I think that this “toe-in-the-water” into the realm spoon painting worked, so I’ll probably do some more.  Besides, I just learned that now we need another piece for the other side of the dining room window :-)

One for the Bench

"Don't get your knickers in a knot. Nothing is solved and it just makes you walk funny." - Kathryn Carpenter

‘Til Next time…Keep makin’ chips!