Friday, December 24, 2010

The 'Crafting' Part of Handcrafted

The other day I made a visit to the workshop to cut out some more horse heads for custom orders.  There is so much involved in putting this part together!  I use Eastern White Pine, that was selectively harvested from a private lot in Maine.  I put it through the planer, to smooth both faces, then trace the design from the templates onto the wood.  Next, I use a band saw to define the shape and remove it from the board.  Next comes sanding....oh, so much sanding! First, a horizontal belt sander that is bigger than our diningroom table, then a table-top vertical belt sander, after that, two different sized spindles on the spindle sander, a palm sander, and a little hand sanding for the tiny nooks and crannies.  Then, off to the router, to curve the corners and give a softer effect to the wood.  And then, a final light hand sanding, to make the wood smooth and consistent for the paint job.  Wow!  My hands go numb from the vibrating of the machines, and it can be hypnotizing by hour number five.  You forget that you are working with spinning blades and sandpaper that can remove your hand completely of skin!  But I love the sounds and smells, it reminds me of growing up around my Dad's sawmill.  Fond memories :)

Next, the heads get transported to my private workshop (a.k.a. our tiny 12'x12' spare bedroom/office/music room/storage area) for the special secret process of painting, decorating, accessorizing, and personalizing.  I never know what is going to happen next in that room, it is always an adventure!  I have a tiny vintage Singer sewing machine and an antique Singer foot pump sewing table, which I love to death.  And I'm always surrounded by horses in different stages of creation, so there's a never-ending list of things to accomplish.  My happy place!

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