Monday, 13 January 2014

Lincoln chairs and clock Karen Carey - All change

Those who know me won't be surprised to see me back here after saying a fond farewell for the winter.  If you follow my Quarter Life Blog as well as this one you may have seen a post saying I have given up on the the lovely little American houses which were supposed to occupy my time on the other side of the pond.  So.... here I am back with the Gate House until it is finished.

The building itself can't begin until I am back in the UK about mid-March but in the meanwhile I can have a go at making the furniture for it.  Apologies for Quarter Life readers as I am about to repeat (indeed steal from) a post in that Blog as it now really belongs here.

Here is my first go at making a 48th.......

......... and I am not a happy bunny for all sorts of reasons.

First handy tip is not to mess about with teeny stuff the day before the cleaners arrive.  When I opened the packet to start work I discovered I had lost an arm from the pair of chairs that I intended to work on. I must have dropped it when I was putting stuff back in their packets after messing around with them a couple of days before. There might have been a chance of finding it had not two ladies scrubbed our apartment to within an inch of its life.  I can't find a speck of dust never mind a chair arm.

So the day began with a slightly grumpy me as I now have to buy a pair of chairs just to get the one I need.  Hey ho.

This is one of a pair of Lincoln chairs in a kit made by Karen Carey - apologies to her for what is about to follow.

They are lovely kits made from a really thin wood so the scale is great.  The pieces are utterly easy to remove from their 'frame' - just have to nip a single tab with a sharp knife.  They aren't all sooty everywhere like some kits, though the cut edge is darker than the face.  I can't see how laser cut wood could be anything else, so that's not to their detriment.  I was happy to set off with great components and very clear and detailed instructions.

In my wisdom I somehow thought that building tiny things must take less kit than building large things so I only hauled half a dozen tools across the Atlantic with me.  I was determined not to duplicate tools on each side of the pond.  

Firstly, did I bring the absolutely  basic thing, a knife?  No!  Conceded and bought one of those, problem solved.  

Onwards and upwards.  During the build I very soon discovered I needed my magnifying glass on a stand with the little extra hand thingies like I have never needed it when doing 1/12ths.  I flat refuse to duplicate that so I shall remain a frustrated, half blind, contortionist whilst assembling this stuff. [that didn't last long, I soon bought one]

I didn't bring tiny sharp scissors and no way am I going to be able to manage with small sewing scissors and curved nail scissors so that's something I need to get.  [sorted that]  As for a couple of paintbrushes from my huge collection in the UK? - nope, they are still in the UK. [bought some of those too] What did I bring you might be asking - me too!

I deliberately didn't bring glue as the prospect of those bursting and  filling my suitcase was too horrible to imagine so, on my trip to Michaels, I bought two lots of glue: both Aleene's, the ever-useful tacky and the wood glue.  They both proved to be fairly useless but I bought them because Michaels didn't sell my favourite Deluxe glue and I was too lazy to find a store that does.  [still haven't found one; now hoping I can get it at the show next weekend]  Yet another thing to go on my ever-growing shopping list.

So discovery number one - the basic tools needed are:
  • Cutting board/work surface
  • Sharp knife
  • Paint brushes
  • Small sharp scissors
  • Magnifying glass on stand with helping hands
  • Deluxe R/C modellers glue - love it for everything
  • Small right hand jig (did bring that)
I wanted a cream painted chair with pink silk, padded seating.  In my infinite wisdom I had decided that acrylic paint would be too thick for such fine pieces so I went on a hunt at Michaels for paint pens, stains, even markers but I couldn't find the colour I wanted.  I bought something called Distress Paint by Rangers paints.  It looks and smells like a thin acrylic but is no where near opaque enough.  It soaks into the wood like a stain which is good, but barely changes the colour and didn't make the slightest impact on the dark edges.

Over to plan two - use a wood stain.  As an experiment to compare two makes of wood stain pens I bought a Min-wax Golden oak for one set of furniture and a Marvy Woodstain marker in dark walnut.  I thought the walnut would be good in this case as it should cover a multitude of sins.  Wrong!  Over the base coat of cream it produced a rather patchy mauve/purple colour and there is no way of buffing this combination to a silky sheen.

My chair now is totally the wrong colour and probably no use for the bathroom in The Gate House.

If  I use my usual glue I can stick any material I have ever used  to anything and it doesn't matter if it is painted or stained before or after; the glue allows for that.  Not so with wood glues and tacky glues. I used both on the chair but they both stayed resolutely slightly rubbery.  I suppose it won't matter because once the chair is in place somewhere it won't be getting moved much.

Here is the end result, not a thing of beauty but mine own!  I assure you the frame is a funny grey/purple colour and the silk is a lovely pale pink slub.

Here it is sulking.....

High resolution cameras do not do justice to tiny objects - they work far too well and magnify every little blemish.  It is actually much better looking than this when reduced to the 7/8ths of an
inch it occupies in real space.

I went on to add a bunka piping but that was much too chunky.  I knew I should have pulled it thinner as I applied it but I found it difficult enough to do as it was.  I might just strip the fabric parts off and redo - all good experience and learned a lot about what not to do next time!

My second make was another Karen Carey kit - her grandfather clock.  Hard to believe it has eleven pieces.

I am spoiled for choice as to what to do next as I have quite a lot of things to choose from.... and probably even more after next weekend.  (Sarasota Show) If you want to see what I have bought so far click on the Purchases photo album link over in the left hand column.

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