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More Work on Anniversary Gift

posted Feb 3, 2012, 10:40 AM by Michael Dekker   [ updated Mar 16, 2012, 6:12 AM ]
Well, my wife has been reluctant to let me work in the workshop these last few weeks, with the weather being beautiful on the weekends and my 23-month-old daughter itching to play outside with her daddy :)

But I finally had to tell her that if she wanted an anniversary present this year she would have to let me spend a few hours in the shop! This is only the second or third time I've had the time to work on my 5th anniversary gift, and if you missed it you can start at the beginning of the adventure.The traditional 5th anniversary gift is wood, and I wanted to make something special to celebrate this year. No, it's not going to find its way into the Louvres, but I always try to make my anniversary gifts sentimental, and never practical. Let me re-phrase that, practicality is not the reason for the gift, it's an added bonus.

So this year's gift was to be two larger bloodwood hearts, with a smaller bloodwood heart between and below the two, representing myself, my wife, and our daughter, all to be set on a backdrop of some wood (I'm leaning towards bird's eye maple for contrast), and framed with some curly makore I have.

Last session I detailed how I had cut out the hearts and had done the rough shaping with a plane and a variety of hand files. Now I needed to get the rough-hewn surface smooth, or at least smooth enough that I could see what the final sizes of the hearts would be.

Toolmarks are visible in the bloodwood

If you look closely at the top heart, you can clearly see deep gouges left by the files. The bloodwood is a very dense hardwood but it can be worked quite well with sharp tools. At this stage, I started to sand the hearts using a square-sheet palm sander and some 80-grit sandpaper. Because the curves I made were not too concave, I was able to sand the insides of the curves nicely. Overall, the most challenging part of this stage was to ensure I had removed all the tool marks, and that the taper towards the edge of the hearts was smooth and even all around the heart, on both sides. The hearts will be mounted in a later stage, and I wanted both front and back of the hearts to be presentable, and to let the hearts stand off from the background slightly. The larger heart at the bottom has already received some sanding with the 80-grit paper, but is not quite finished yet.

The finer sanding has been completed on this bloodwood project

And at this stage, the three hearts have been sanded to about 120-grit, and I will continue up to about 220-grit before declaring them ready for their finish. But I will not finish the pieces until just before I mount them, in case I need to make any last-minute adjustments.

What's next? After sanding the hearts, I will lay them out on a piece of paper to try to find out the most pleasing layout. I will then draw the inner and outer edges where I want the frame to be, and I will see how everything fits together. Once I find something I like, I will cut and shape the frame, then cut and veneer some plywood or hardboard stock for the background. But that will have to wait for another posting!