Friday, May 9, 2014

Shamrock 2014 Projects

Shamrock is the annual fundraising event put on by the parent organization at our parish school.This year I built two items that were included in the silent auction. A big thank you to those of you who purchased the items I built.

After 1st Coat of poly
In thinking about what I wanted to build for the auction, I knew one was a cross of some sort. I've made several in the past, and thought this would be a nice item. Looking around the shop for materials, I came across a slab of walnut that had been sitting in my storage rack for a while. The figuring of the grain is definitely very interesting and beautiful, due to there being a large knot in the middle. In furniture making, that makes for firewood. For wooden 'art', it makes for a conversation piece.

Finished Product
Since the walnut was nearly an inch thick, I decided to make two crosses, using the two thin pieces of walnut as a backdrop. The re-sawing process went about as well as I could have hoped for, given that my bandsaw blade is pretty dull. Since the boards were too wide for my jointer, I just ran them through the planer. I wasn't too worried about them being perfectly flat. Remember, this is art. I have to say I really enjoy having the Byrd SHELIX carbide cutter head in my planer (and jointer). It really brought out the beauty of the walnut without any tearout! To prevent the walnut slab from falling apart, I glued a piece of 1/4 inch hardboard to the back.

For the actual cross, after consulting my wife, I ended up doing a 3D type design, with a maple 'shadow' cross, and a purple heart cross on top. Fairly simple. The crosses were mounted offset from each other, and centered on the large knot in the walnut slab.

I finished the piece with several coats of wipe-on poly. The walnut really soaked up a lot of finish. After the first coat of polyurethane, I could barely tell there was a finish applied!

If I remember correctly, the price got up to $95 during the auction. Not bad for some pieces of scrapwood!

Oak Charging Station
Charging Station
My second item to donate for the auction was more practical. The middle school students are all issued iPads, and are required to keep them fully charged. So, the suggestion was made to create a charging station. As part of the item, I included a 5 port USB charger, capable of charging to iPads, and three smart phones. I based the design on images from Pinterest, and the dimensions for the size of the iPads in the school issued protective cases.

The entire piece was made from a single piece of reclaimed oak flooring. The USB charger is housed under the 'shelf'. The USB charging cables are fed into the charger via slots in the top and sides of the compartment.

As an added design feature, I transferred a copy of the school logo to the wood. The technique I used was one I learned from Jay Bates on YouTube. After staining, I transferred the logo using a woodburner, as described in the video. The logo image has color, but since I printed it using a laser printer, I figured it would work fine, and it did. Because oak has a very open grain, the logo image had a bit of a faded, worn look when transferred. But I think it actually worked out pretty well.

To prevent the logo from smearing when adding the finish, I used a spray polyurethane. I haven't used a spray finish before, but I think it worked pretty well. I still like wipe on finishes better, but overall, it worked fine.

I believe this item fetched a price of $100 at the auction.