Monday, 7 January 2013

Christmas happenings

I took a week and a bit off over Christmas which was rather nice. We didn't go anywhere or do anything which was even better. I got a good amount of time to spend on my unfinished projects and start a few more. Some things I did:

Gutta practice on blue silk scrap.

I tensioned a scrap of blue silk on a small embroidery frame and decided to practice my gutta work. I attempted some paisley designs which look okay when photographed but I think the gutta is just too thick for designs this small (about 5cm long). I wanted to try bleaching the colour out of the silk to see if I could paint the inside of the paisleys red or something. I had read online somewhere not to use chlorine bleach as it destroys cellulose (silk) so I tried painting on 6% peroxide bleach. I left it to dry (about 5 minutes) and then rinsed it off.... no effect. The only thing that happened is the gutta softened and some of the thicker areas peeled off. I shall have to do some more bleaching experiments. Perhaps I could use the paste they use on hair so it doesn't dry so quickly.

Wooden chair slats after sanding and oiling with Walnut oil.

This is a project I've been 'working' on for years. It's moved house with me twice now and I believe I've lost a piece in the last move. No matter, it was a simple dowel rod that I can replace at need. This is a rocking chair I got at the Dandenong junk auction for $10?. It had a stamp on the bottom, imported by Euro Furniture in Scoresby, Made in Solvenia.

The chair was covered in crumbling varnish and had extensive sun damage. The main seat was also cracked and came apart into three pieces once I took the slats off. Not knowing anything about woodwork, I started by sanding the back slats you can see in the picture with 40 grit sandpaper. It took the varnish off nicely. Unfortunately, when I tried this with the turned pieces, I ended up leaving deep gouges in the wood. I spent every day over Christmas through to new year hand sanding this thing and I've brought the slats, the back, the arms and the upper turned bits down to 320 grit and then oiled them with Walnut oil. You can see the slat on the right hasn't been oiled yet and is a nice pale creamy colour. The seat and legs are harder as they're more sun damaged and I had to glue the seat back together. I decided not to sand the legs back to fresh wood as I'd have to cut too deep and had no way of sanding in the turned dinty bits. Instead I've brought it to 150 grit and oiled them. They look a little darker brown than the slats.

I'm currently at the reconstruction stage which is awkward as the legs don't want to fit back in the holes they came from.
I'm rather happy this UFO is getting done and will be very happy with the final result... once I get there.

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