Monday, December 24, 2012

From Sea To Tree

So, gentle reader, we come to day twenty-four in this epic trawl through a blogger's desperate quest for topics. Didn't think I'd manage it, did you?

Me neither.

Anyway, to finish, I sorta refer back to the post from the 11th, for two reasons. Firstly, it reminded me, and thus I meant to remind you, that for most excellent, clear, and fascinating pencil drawings of wood-related labours that I reckon anyone interested in woodwork would enjoy, can I recommend "From Tree To Sea" by Ted Frost. It's unlikely that anyone reading this hankers to build an East Coast Steam Drifter, but I think you could take a good shot at doing so after reading this. But the real joy is in the drawings; both tools and techniques as well as the shipwright's finished work. Throw in the anecdotes and so forth, and yeah. Well worth seeking out. (Oh, except I just looked for the current availability, and ouch, some of those prices... Well, mayhap the local library may have a copy...?)

Secondly, also in the sketch book wherein there was much sea, I also found a tree.

Yeah, that's the actual size. I was always drawn to miniatures. "Drawn" to... Hah. Yeah, okay, moving on.

I'm mildly amazed it does actually look vaguely tree-like and not a green blob-onna-stick, which was the usual lot of trees suffering for my art. Done, I recall, in coloured inks, of which I was particularly fond. Which prodded my memory and lead to my digging out some virtually prehistoric wood-torture of mine.

An 'ickle box for 'ickle ink bottles.

This is the point where I should confess that in my youth I was more dangerous in an art shop than I am now in a tool shop. Yes, that bad. Scary thought, huh? Totally addicted to those beautifully presented Winsor & Newton inks, I was. Sigh. Time has lead to the pigment rather separating from the liquid, so I doubt they're of much practical use any more, unfortunately.

Under the compartment for pens and brushes, another small box for the nibs, and, for a reason that now escapes me, a cut-down matchbox for some paperclips. It's a bit like finding a stranger's box, to be honest, because I remember so little about it.

A flap in the lid pivots down on what appear to be bits of paper clip wire, to reveal a mixing wotsit, and a couple of pieces of elastic to hold the thing securely for travel.

Behold, the secret of successful joinery in Balsa wood when you're only tools are straight edge and scalpel. It ain't pretty, is it? Built up rebates using two layers of 1/8", reliance on an awful lot of UHU glue to hold it all together, and finally slap varnish over the whole lot in a bid to make it act more like wood and less like a dent magnet.

Amazingly it works. Still. The box is in one piece, the lid is a snug fit, the lid compartment flap doesn't come down until you pull it, etc. Could I do it now? Not a chance. No idea how I did it then. Ignorance is an extraordinarily helpful thing sometimes.

Mind you, looking back, I kinda wish my ignorance hadn't included the humble square. That would have saved some trouble.

With that, I bid you all Seasonal Felicitations. See you next year.


  1. Have a great Christmas, Alf.

    Cheers ;-)

    Paul Chapman

  2. Congrats on completing the blogging marathon, and a Merry Christmas from me, too.

  3. Well blogged, Alf! Outstanding!

    All the best for Christmas and 2013


  4. "Ignorance is an extraordinarily helpful thing sometimes."

    So true - many times I think back on some of my original creations and think this exact thought. Now I'm creating much less! (Paralysis of analysis I think).

  5. Your ink storage box is a fine piece of work. Success isn't being admired for your work. It happens when you are willing to try again after being criticized for not being perfect. I've kept my sons first effort at a box because it was successful despite the flaws.


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