Saturday, August 23, 2008

Maru dai completed, now I have three!

It feels like such a long time since I last posted when it has really only been a couple of weeks. I took a week long hiatus from doing any craft type activities for a couple of reasons. First, my wrist was hurting and I thought a rest would be good for it. Second, I just started a new job and wanted to focus my energy on work.

Now it is almost time for school to start again. For me that means back to the woodshop and starting a new project. In order to be ready for new things it is time to finish off the old things. This week I finally finished these maru dai (stands to use for making kumihimo cord). I have been using them in their unfinished state and they worked fine, but it is good to have them done.

I chose three different heights as an experiment to see how it would feel to work with different sizes. The shortest one has 12 inch posts. It is convenient to use when sitting although I do have to tie up the cord coming out the bottom more frequently. The middle one has 17 inch posts. It was the first stand I made so the one I have used the most. It is not convenient to use with the tables I have at home but it is a good height when I set it on a low stool or when I am standing. The third stand is 24 inches high and is my favorite. It sits on the floor when I am sitting to weave or on a coffee table if I want to stand. Because it is tall I don't have to worry as much about tying up the cord. The drawbacks are that it takes up more space to store and was expensive to make, especially because I used walnut.

The tall and short stands are walnut and the middle height stand is red oak. The walnut is so beautiful but so much more expensive than other woods. I probably spent over $30 just for the wood in the tall stand and $18 for the short one. The oak was about half as expensive. I used a gel stain on all the wood, rubbed in by hand. This went on much better and more controlled than the liquid stain although it was harder to find a store that carried it. The walnut is stained with a dark walnut stain, the oak with a color called "Provincial" (a light-medium golden brown). All the stands are finished with multiple coats of Mylands wax, a blend of beeswax, carnuaba wax and other stuff not mentioned on the label. The wax gives a nice low sheen and doesn't make to wood too slick and cause the threads to slide around too much when in use.

Each time I make something new in wood I learn a new lesson. This time the lesson was: don't skimp on sanding with the low grit sandpaper to get the big scratches and flaws out. The finer grade sandpaper won't do it the flaws really show up when the piece is finished.

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