Sunday, August 30, 2015

Chancellorsville, Start to Finish, Part 2

Now that the wood's been cut and drilled, it is immersed in liquid acrylic and weighed down to keep it immersed. It then goes in a vacuum chamber to draw air out of voids in the wood, replacing the air with acrylic.

After a good, thorough vacuuming and overnight soaking, the wood is wrapped in aluminum foil and baked at about 200 degrees for an hour and a half. By the way, this is all done in the workshop, which has no air conditioning, and at the height of summer adding a little heat doesn't help!

And here are the results! They sat overnight to cool (actually because I went to bed). You can see the natural color of the wood remains for the most part in the colored version and that the acrylic has penetrated the cracks and weak points.

They're just about ready for turning!

Here's a link to Part 3.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Chancellorsville, Start to Finish, Part 1

Last year during a visit to the Chancellorsville Battlefield, I surreptitiously smuggled out a short branch of unknown, semi-rotten wood from the spot where General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson was mistakenly shot and mortally wounded by his own men.

I knew this wood was special and have been saving it for some time. Ok, actually, I'm just lazy and have finally gotten around to working it. ;)

But since the wood is in quite bad shape, having sat rotting on the ground for a long, long time, it has to be stabilized before it can be turned. I'm making one or two "clear" stabilized blanks from it which will be the normal wood color as well as some blue and red stabilized versions.

Picked up a couple of "Civil War Bullet Pens" this wood is destined for. Here are the first two steps in the process, cutting the wood to size and drilling out the spot for the brass tube. Stabilization is next.

Here's a link to Part 2.

I want to know!
Are you a history or Civili War buff? What history do you find most interesting?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sharing means caring

Am I the most infrequent blogger or what?

It's been two months since my last post! Been busy completing some custom orders lately. I'm also working on another "Start to Finish" photo diary, this time with stabilizing wood gathered from where Stonewall Jackson was shot! Coming soon.
In the meantime, I've also shared my love of pen turning with two of my Marines. When I brought pens in to work for a couple guys to look over, these Marines showed interest. But, let's face it, junior Marines don't make a lot of money. They wanted pens, but what I had was really out of their disposable income range.

I suggested they come over and make their own.

First to take me up on the offer was (then) Corporal Martinez. He wanted a bolt action bullet pen done with an American flag motif. I did the prep work on the acrylic, but he drilled, turned and mounted the pen himself. It looks great and he enjoyed doing it.

Next, Sergeant Fang came by this past weekend. He wanted wood, knowing full well that the work was more in-depth. He chose cocobolo in a magnetic vertex gun metal setting. He did the entire thing himself, from cutting to drilling to shaping, polishing, adding the cyanoacrylate and coming back the next day to polish and assemble.

I admit I did the woodburn of his family name in Chinese character on the side, but that was just a cosmetic touch. Best of all, when he assembled his pen, he was so excited, he stayed to help me work on some other orders. Now he's got a list of things he wants to make as gifts for his family.

I think he's hooked. I know the feeling.

I want to know!
What knowledge, skills and experience do you share with friends and family?