This episode is subtitled: ‘Woodwork by a complete beginner…’
Isn’t it lovely when you can get away from your normal life for a short time and do something completely different? Recently I swapped flowers for woodwork and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve wanted to learn how to do woodwork for ages so when I got the chance to travel south to spend the day with my friend, Mitch, and his jigsaw and sanding tools I was so excited, you wouldn’t believe it.
I really am in awe of people with the skill to turn a piece of wood into something with a purpose. I do realise it takes years of practice so my ambitions were modest for the day – I just wanted to learn a few basics and start using those power tools.
What tipped the balance for me was stumbling across a ‘jigsaw post’ from A Beautiful Mess. You may have seen this website if you’ve ever clicked on the tab ‘Jenny’s Top 10’ above. I love the things they do and this particular post convinced me to stop dreaming and get on with learning a bit of woodwork.
It was a lovely sunny day and I had my off-cut of wood that had been given to me by a gate-maker. He had been showing me the quality, hoping to make a sale, so I very obligingly took it from him and said I’d think about it, when actually all I could think about was what could I make with the off-cut? (I did, by the way, buy the gate eventually).
Mitch asked me what I wanted to make. Hearts are always good aren’t they? So off we set.
The piece of wood was about 25cm long and quite thick so it was destined to be a chunky heart.
I drew the shape on a piece of paper then transferred it to the piece of wood.
While it was clamped to the Black and Decker Workmate I was let loose with the Bosch jigsaw. Why haven’t I got a photo of that?! As you can see, I did manage to cut it into something recognisable.
Now time for sanding it into better shape.
One flat, chunky heart…
But what I really wanted was flat on the back and slightly domed on the front, so out came the electric sander……for the rest of the afternoon! I just wasn’t brave enough to have a really good go at the edges to leave the middle higher. It took a lot of timid sanding as I made my way slowly round (a lot of times!), taking care not to loose the heart shape. I got a slight domed effect – you can see how the markings of the grain have changed in relation to the image above.
I knew there was some finishing off to do with some finer sandpaper which we didn’t have on the day, but decided I should be able to do that at home, no problem. Anyway, what I couldn’t do at home as easily was drilling the hole in it. We used a pillar drill, which meant I didn’t have to hold the drill steady. Oops, no picture again, sorry (I was really focused on the woodwork!), but if you don’t know what I mean you can click on the link you’ll see.
Here it is with the hole and with a nice piece of rustic string supplied by Mitch. The first photo is the back, with the straight grain and the second is the front, showing the wavy lines created by the shaping.
Now, back at home, all I had to do was some light sanding with fine-grade sandpaper and add some wax.
It wasn’t so easy on my own – I seemed to be making more scratches. Maybe my sandpaper was still too coarse, maybe I didn’t have a light enough touch, maybe I was struggling to sand with the grain. I was missing my teacher!
I didn’t want to risk losing the dome which had taken me so long to achieve so I decided to cut my losses and stop sanding.
Now for the wax. It’s furniture wax that includes beeswax. I had two colours available so I tested both out on the back.
They both felt as though they’d provided a smooth finish with a slight sheen but I preferred the colour of the darker one so I applied it all over, according to the instructions.
Here it is buffed up. What do you think?
I put the rustic string back in and hung it in my sunroom.
- Wood off-cut
- Have a go!
This will always be my first attempt at woodwork, warts (scratches) and all. I love my chunky, slightly lopsided, slightly scratched wooden heart, and now that I’ve bought THESE I can practice to my heart’s content!