Sunday, February 24, 2013

Getting A Jump On Christmas 2013 With Wood

Since committing to a handmade Christmas this year, my brain has been in overdrive coming up with ideas.  After some quality time on the Internet, I find a plan is forming.  One thing I know for sure is that I am making something with wood from my yard.  Some of the oaks have been shedding their branches so Breck loaded some smaller ones (2 1/2 ro 4 inch diameter limbs) into the car and we headed to Houston to my dad's wood shop (a.k.a. garage).

I used his band saw to make slices about 1/4 inch  thick.

I also wanted some slices with holes in the centers.  After a little trial and error we opted to use the drill press to create the holes before slicing.

Worked like a charm.

After loading up the cuts into a bag and sharing a wonderful meal (more on that tomorrow), Breck and I headed home.

This morning, though, I was ready to try out a new product I bought on all my little slices.  This is a wood stabilizer that will help keep the wood from cracking when it dries.  It's part of the reason why I am working on this particular Christmas present so early.  The trees are dormant so the sap is not running, so these green cuts will dry nicely and hopefully not lose their bark.

One thing I really like about Pentacryl is that it is non-toxic so I can work inside without fumes.  I poured a little into a recycled plastic food cover and let my slice soak for 5 minutes.

 Cool, huh?

I used some old ice tongs to take the slice out and allowed it to drip for a few seconds.

After testing one, I decided 3 at a time would be way more efficient since I had about 55 to soak.

I hung the ones with the holes on twine in a box so the air would circulate all around them.

The others I stood up loosely in a cardboard box to dry.  I placed them all in a dark closet and won't work with them again for a few months when they will be thoroughly dry and ready to sand and stain (or paint and varnish).

And how far did my 32 ounces go?  A long way.  I only used about 5.

Plenty left for the next project.

I want to add a special thanks to my dad for all his help and the use of his tools, Breck for jumping in and taking pictures, and my mom for the wonderful dinner.