Friday, September 2, 2011

Moving in new directions ... Finally.

Finally. I’m finally moving in a forward direction. This time, it’s not with photography. It’s with wood. Redwood to be precise. I was gifted several small boxes of what amounts to scrap (2x6) pieces full of knots & knot holes. The lengths vary from 6 to 15 inches, with most falling in between there. My mind began racing with ideas the minute I was asked if I’d like to have them. That was early this year.

I tried to think of things to make that would be both functional & pretty. And not require too much work or work that was beyond my abilities. So far, I have 3 ideas that will finally see the light within a few weeks. One is to make trivets, focusing on the knot holes. Another will be altar tiles, again focusing on the knot holes, but adorned with tiny stones. The last (for now) idea is beautiful soap dishes. I’m excited to create all three. The only difference between 2 of them is marketing & a few stones.

left is dry, right is wet. look how gorgeous the grain is!
I have learned that this wood came from & was milled in Northern California over 20 years ago. It was all cast aside as scrap. Had my neighbor (who worked there at the saw mill) not saved it from there, it would have been ground up into chips & gone … who knows where. I am thankful to have this chance to breathe a new & artistic life into some of the pieces.

I have learned that to preserve the beauty of the wood, I need to seal it. Otherwise, left to weather, it will turn grey over time. The wood will not rot, just weather, as it is a long lasting wood, like cedar. I wanted to keep it natural but wet looking as the beauty of the grain would then be there for all to admire. But, purely natural finishes will wear off & need to be re-applied. That is not practical for items being sold. And for the soap dishes, I needed something that could withstand both water & commercial soaps since not everyone will place only all natural soaps on these. For the trivets, I need something that can withstand some heat. Looks like a nice clear polyurethane finish will do the job for all 3 items. I will have to double check the heat part this weekend.

My outside work area, doing the 1st rough sanding.
Cleaning these pieces up presents a few challenges. Redwood splinters are infectious & require immediate removal. Redwood sawdust is poisonous when ingested by humans & requires a mask be worn when sanding. Fun huh? I don’t’ mind taking the cautions tho, as I know the results will be more than worth it. Good thing about redwood? There are several types of bugs that hate it! I don’t have any around here, but if I did, I would have plenty of dust to shoo them away! Talk about getting an education!

So the creation process began with slicing the pieces in half so they are basically 1x6 instead of 2x6. I then get to sand each piece smooth. Next I will mark on each piece a nice square area around the knot (or knot hole). My hubby does the cutting but I’ve done all the sanding. When he cuts off all the extra ends, we’ll decide on 2 styles of soap dishes based on how much wood is left. We’ll also decide on what type of edge rounding we’ll do on the trivets & the soap dishes. Then will come assembly where needed & finally… a beautiful finish. I promise to take pictures as the process progresses.


Raige Creations said...

sounds like a fun project! have a great time.

Barbra said...

How wonderful to reuse the wood. How about picture frames also?

letamariedesigns said...

As one who is married to a professional woodworker I understand the different ways there are to handle wood. Nicole, if you lived near me I could give you so much scrap wood. I do enjoy looking at the different grains in the woods that we use when making custom cabinetry, moldings,etc... Wood is so beautiful. Congrats on your new venture.

Sunfire said...

Sounds like a fun project! If you need help, you know where to find me.