Sunday, June 12, 2016

Flute carrying bag

For her birthday this year, Mom pointed to a flute bag in the Crazy Crow catalogue and asked for one to fit hers (a concert flute somewhat too long to fit into the one they offer) for carrying to Market Day and other local vaguely Colonial events.

I made this one from a split, chrome-tanned garment buckskin with a dark red, hard-faced cotton twill lining to keep the weight from stretching and bulging the leather, and prevent too many shed leather fibers from getting into the instrument's workings.  The fringe is some large straps of leftover German-tanned buckskin.  The bag is folded and sewn inside-out with the fringe facing inward and the lining on the outside; when it's turned rightside-out, the fringe now sticks out and can be cut into strips.

The drawstring and shoulder strap are more German buckskin, but the small bits connecting the strap to the bag are a much denser, tougher chrome-tanned cowhide.  I handmade two pairs of soldered brass D-rings to attach the shoulder strap to the bag at the correct angle.  The cowhide bands are secured with tin rivets and steel washers; I would've preferred copper, but the hardware store didn't have any that were short enough.

One improvement I'd still like to make would be to line the shoulder strap with a smooth leather so it won't shed fibers into one's clothing.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Presentation box for my letter opener

Yesterday I finished up my fine woodworking fundamentals course.  There were exactly two projects in this class (aside from doing a practice set of dovetail joints), a picture frame and a box.  I'm not publishing the picture frame because it's very plain and uninteresting.

I made the box to fit the letter opener I finished in September.  The finger joints reminded me of masonry, so it's obviously inspired by West Asian architecture, particularly the palaces of Persepolis.

It consists of American or black walnut and soft maple.  Unfortunately, the walnut's color varied a lot through the plank.  For finishes I had a choice of boiled linseed oil, tung oil-based varnish or water-based polyurethane, but being short on time, I was forced to go with the polyurethane, so its finish is still a bit rough (the professor noted that polyurethane, in her words, "bubbles" a lot when brushed on; it requires repeated sanding to look good).

It has two brass-plated steel hinges.  Sadly, copper to match the letter opener's furniture seems to be unavailable.  I might try to fabricate my own in the future.  The letter opener and scabbard are supported by two inserts carved from rigid pink insulating foam and covered with epoxied polyester suede cloth.  A considerable amount of epoxy seeped through the cloth; clearly I should've found something with a non-porous back.

Because the box is so small and cut to fairly tight tolerances, it's feasible to have the upper insert rest on a pair of narrow shelves over the lower one so the box can be more compact.

This was a good class for learning the use of the major standing equipment and how to get the greatest precision in fit.  Most of the work is (if you do it correctly) done on the planer, table saw and routing table, machines with which I was totally unfamiliar before.  It also gave me a chance to get started on a handful of personal projects which I can finish up over the summer.