Thursday, June 14, 2012

CTC - Spindle Whorl finished

With the whorls complete, I only need to add the wooden shafts so I started with this chunk of oak.  This particular chunk of oak has been stored in a garage for about 20 years or so.  I scavenged some scrap wood when I used to work on loading docs at a Big Box hardware store.  This was the scraps of some oak which was used to ship wooden cabinets.  

After cutting off a piece which was about the length that I wanted I proceeded to split the wood.  Rather than simply cut the wood on a saw, which would have been easier, I chose to split it.  As this particular chunk of wood, had a slight twist of grain to it, I wanted to try and follow the grain as much as possible.  I figured that I would be carving this shaft rather thin and I wanted the shaft to be as sturdy as possible, so following the grain was key.  I tried first splitting with a small hand held hatchet.

Here you can see what I mean by following the grain.  This grain had a slight twist in the center of the wood. I found that the hatchet didn't give me the control that I was after and so after this split I switched tools.

I put the hatchet down and proceeded to use my old military K-Bar to split the wood.  Very sharp and much easier to control I was able to split two pieces and rough them out to about the size of a large pencil in only minutes.

Here are the two rough cut pieces after the work with the big blade was complete.  I then proceeded to move onto slightly smaller tools to finish the job.

Here is the carving knife I used, one rough cut piece and the second slightly trimmed piece.

Oops.  Well, when dealing with crap would you scavenge for free, you get what you pay for.  There were a couple wholes in both pieces of wood and therefore I had to cut about 1.5 inches off the end.  The wholes appear to have been made by the staples used construct the protective pallet.  Oh well, I could start over right?  Nah.  The length looks just fine.

Here is the rough cut piece and the whorl that it is for together.  You can see the size of the wood is slightly larger than the whole.  I didn't want to carve off all the wood to fit because I knew that sanding and burnishing would also reduce the size a bit.  

To clean up and smooth out the piece I wanted to use a scraper.  Since this tool would be used with very thin fibers I didn't want any sort of snagging splinters possible.  I used a small piece of scrap copper which I had lying around.  Everyone has scrap copper lying about right?  I hammer the edge just slightly to sharpen it a bit and then used it as a scraper.  That process cleaned up all rough edges.   

After the scraping was complete I took a scrap piece of oak and burnished the shaft.  Rubbing very fast and pressing very hard compresses the wood fibers and brings the surface to a very nice sheen.  I didn't want to coat the wood with any sort of finish as I am not sure if that would affect the tools use.  Again, I have never used one of these before and until a week ago I never even knew what one was.  After I'm instructed on the proper use, perhaps some sort of oil finish will be in order?

Here are the two pieces about to be married together.

Voila!  The finished piece!

Couple close up photos before I begin on the next shaft.  You may noticed that there is no device to hold the two pieces together.  The wood is tapered ever so slightly so as to provide a nice compression fit.  After I snugged it up a bit the pieces were joined happily.

Beginning the same procedure with the second piece.  Less narrating this time.  BTW, this is the second of two knives used for this project.  This knife was made from an old barber's straight razor some years back, by my father. 

Different size whorl and slightly different shaped shaft this time.  I found various examples and so i experimented a bit.  Wondering how these two items will work in the hands of one who knows how to use them.

The final pair placed next to a modern American quarter for size reference.

My first Challenge the Champion task complete!