Thursday, May 25, 2006

Handmade antique Kittinger baby cradle ~ Part 2

YEAH! The cradle is done! Folks, we have lift-off! To everyone who commented and gave their 2 cents worth, Thank You ~ and now, enough talk, here it is ~

This is the snasty joint issue that gave us so many headaches; turns out, he ended up using a dovetail after-all, just one that is 3 times larger in every way.

This is the set-up for the bearings, you can see he even made two wooden jackets, so that a bare minimum of metal was visible. These rocker bearings, along with the screws and giant washers on the base of the uprights (helps to stabalize the uprights) are the only metal used in the entire piece.

Here you can see ( sorta ) the dovetail work on the ribs.

Here you can see the spreader bar, finials, and upright.

And here is a dinky shot of the unfinished finished cradle!

TaDahhhhh!!! Now, notice the legs off to the left, how they dangle from the workbench, almost as if ~ yes ~

as if somebody just couldn't stay up any longer!

Well, afterall, 200+ hours IS a long time to be working away on something, he earned it! ( check out how even in the absolute deepest throes of sleep, he manages to maintain a death-like state, so very still, that his glasses are still perched atop his non-moving chest ~ and he wonders why I tried to rescusitate him ever so forcefully once, early on in the marriage, ~ actually ~ I really thought he was dead, so I balled my two fists together and slammed them down on his chest to re-start that unmoving heart ~ actually scared the livin' daylights out of him, woke him up with a start, he said "What, what'd I do to you?" ~ We can laugh about it now :-D )

Sorta looks like he's on a coroner's table to me ~

Hubby and I worked for hours, rubbing this hard paste wax in, buffing, rebuffing, another coat, another coat, another coat ~ argh~

Here's that joint again, looks better, eh? can you see where he actually *grew* another dovetail?

Here you can see how nicely many many coats of paste wax shine up, looks almost high-gloss, only without the ugliness of highgloss. Well, to me high gloss usually looks a little gauche. There are situations where it's the right application, but not many.

Check out those dovetailed ribs, spoke-shaved rim, and hand-rubbed finish!

And finally ~ VOILA ~
here it is ~

Still debating whether to hang the curtains from little loops, with the fabric hanging beneath the spreader bar ( thus the spreader bar is visible, for the most part) or somewhat like it's pinned, with the fabric hanging over the top of the spreader bar ( hangs better, but can't see the bar, and the bar IS gorgeous.)


Well, the loopy's won out, and I think it turned out all right ~ what do you think?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Handmade Antique Kittinger baby cradle repro = arrgghhhhh

For the past 3 weeks, we have endured the singular joys of a man with a MISSION! Of course, this is far better than zombie-man, so we all bite our lips and feed him well.

Have you ever met a man on a MISSION? He has a particularly Tim Allen-esque approach to ~the project~. Well, to be fair, Hubby's better looking, and not near so disastrous, although I DO feel a little Al-ish from time to time, minus the flannel button down. ~ :-D.

First, lets detail the project in question ~

This is a Kittinger antique. It is a baby cradle that I suspect was more along the size of a bassinette than a true cradle. Either that or babies were a heck of a lot smaller back in the day. And of course, that is a very real possibility. Unfortunately, this is the only existing picture that we could find of said cradle, making it extremely difficult to take proportion off of it. So naturally, Hubby has a tremendous desire to make it. Something about the challenge, the hunt, the fact that the kid is now 5 weeks old and is still sleeping in a portable playpen, because (and I quote) "it took a little longer than I thought it might." ( All I can say is, my sister had better appreciate this thing, it has taken him almost 200 hours, and it isn't even stained or finished yet, that's my job, along with the custom-made cushion, waterproof cover, custom-made sheets, and hanging drapery off of the spreader bar.)

All said, the handcut dovetailed ribs, the spokeshaved basket rim, even the custom-designed bearings have not been the hold up on this piece. Believe it or not, it has been, and still is,( will post finished pics when it's done) the joinery on the legs that has been an absolute nightmare to construct with the proper amount of strength.

This design broke slightly out from the dovetailed joint FOUR times! ( hehe, WHAT"S the definition of insanity?? ;-P ).

The only thing that we can think of is that the width and depth of the dovetail is not deep enough.

These are the roughed-out finials that will hold the piece together up through the spreader bar on top.

This is the basket, spreader bar and both of the uprights.
Notice how thick the basket rim is, and how heavy the ribs look.

Now check that out! A little edging on the ribs and some well-done spoke-shaving, and of course, the endless SANDDDDDIIIIINNGGGG. Notice the lightened appearance, and the gorgeous dovetailed detailing on the ribs to rim joinery.

This is a rough version of how it will look upon completion. (obviously taken before any edging or spokshaving took place, makes a big difference, eh?)

This has been one of those staying up till 5 am for 3 weeks straight projects.
If anyone out there knows of any better joinery for the legs in this application, please DO be forthcoming ~ oh how we'll ALL grin in relief!

And now for the little ditty ~
(sing it to Mellencamp's "Little ditty 'bout Jack & Diane")

Hubby & Red

Little ditty, about Hubby & Red
2 American kids hangin out, makin a bed.
Hubby gonna be a woodworkin' star,
Red's big ideas--in Hubby's garage, right on par ~

Suckin' up paint fumes outside the garage door.
Drawing up antiques, doin' repro's, custom, and more.
Hubby say, "Hey Red, let's do a Kittinger one - off,
So what if there's only one view, hey baby, don't scoff "~

Hubby says, oh yeah life goes on
This'll be an heirloom piece,Long after you & I's gone
Say uh, oh yeah , one of a kind, Long after you & I's gone.
They work on.

Hubby sits back, collects his thoughts for the moment
Scratches his head and remakes the leg joint
"Well then there Red, why the heck ain't this workin? "
Red, she says "Baby, you been missin the point"

Hubby says oh yeah, Life goes on
This'll be an heirloom piece, Long after I'm gone
Say uh, oh yeah, Long after I'm gone.
He works on.

Gonna let it rock, let it roll
Let the bearings run true, without any pull.
Clamp down the joints, as long as you can,
Spokeshave and sanding, and carving by hand.

Oh yeah, life goes on,
this'll be an heirloom piece long after we're gone
Oh yeah, this'll be an heirloom piece long after we're gone.

Little ditty, about Hubby and Red
2 American kids just makin' a bed.


Friday, May 12, 2006

the sun is shining, & life is good

Well, spring has sprung, and I guess I should update my happenin' life every once in a while, eh.

Cool news #1 ~ hubby is now self-employed! (has been for about 3 wks now, you were right FMC, he just had to clear his head of all the corporate poopy.)

Yeah, he loves it, makes furniture in the garage, and does chainsaw carvings on the side. Cannot believe the lack of stress ~ it's a good thing, to not be totally humped up over some dorky boss who doesn't have a clue what you do to benefit the company, even if you WERE one of the original 10 employees who happened to help keep the company up and running in its first 12 yrs. ( I still harbor a bit of resentment over this action. It's dumb, because I am glad he no longer works there, but I feel like they were buttheads, and should have recognized him more. Oh well, if they had, he would still be there, I guess.)

Cool news #2 ~ I lost 7 1/2 pounds! Now, 7.5 lbs may not seem like a lot, but when you are only 5 ft nuthin, it IS a lot. I think stress DEFINITELY adds pounds, cuz I am living proof that LACK of it takes weight away.

Cool news #3 ~ School has only about 2 weeks left, and then that crazy hectic young beautiful, and all too short time known as *SUMMER* starts. I love summer. I love everything about it, even the broiling hot days. When it gets too hot, my kids and I pick out a nice long book, and head down to the basement, where I read to them in the dank cooler air down there. Sometimes, we all just take naps ( I tell them that in Mexico, everyone takes a siesta, and it's cool, so they think they are being all chicano to take a siesta in the middle of a hot day ~ :-D .)

I love putting up the pool, and running through the sprinkler and water fights and yellow yellow yellow sunshine, walking the greenbelt, and the annual ant-scapades. (You know, that tireless battle between you and hoards of ants trying to invade every crack in the sidewalk, every hole in the driveway, every little shady spot you might want to sit down in.)

I love the 4th of July ~ we have the most AWESOME fireworks show here, put on by the owner of Melaleuca ~ the dude is a little self-agrandizing, but the entire city benefits from it on the 4th of July ~ people come from 4 states around just to see it. And of course, the 4th just wouldn't be the 4th, without the parade, a huge bbq with friends and family, and staying up past midnight lighting off a whole arsenal of goodies, along with the entire neighborhood. We make up pies and everyone brings tons of icecream, and the whole neighborhood goes out in the street and lets off fireworks after the big show. Since we live close to the greenbelt, where the show is held, we just walk down to it, with all of the neighbors, but people coming from out of state and across town park literally ANYWHERE they can, and neighborhood kids set up signs in their yards and charge folks $10 just to park. Other kids will stay down at the greenbelt, peddling cans of pop or water for $1, and $1-store stuff for $5. Then you have all the lemonade stands set up, and the food vendors and such, and people go down the day before, staking their claim, stringing off huge 4-blanket-sized lots each, so they will have a ~saved~ spot for when the crowds start coming in. Neat thing about this town, too, is people respect the markers. if you didn't mark it off, you certainly don't hone in on the space.

I love being able to backpack with my hubby into some remote area, pick some of the wild berries for oatmeal in the morning, take photographs of all the beautiful things, and camp where no-one else is. I especially love the evenings and mornings of those backpacking trips, with nothing to do but sit and watch the sun go up or down, and then crawl into the tent and make a little ( or a lot ;-D) ruckus.

Cool News #4 ~ I have finally decided what to do with this blog ~ since I love photography, and I love poetry, I am going to start taking pics of things ( like the 4th of July, backpacking trips, ants, a project or two of hubby's, and maybe even a skinny butt or two) and writing something up about it, with haiku or poetry. Lately I have noticed a sad lack on my part to update my blog regularly, and it stems from a) spending too much time reading everyone else's blogs, and the b) lacking any genuine creativity because I have their blogs on my mind. So I think if I just knuckle down & post my own BEFORE looking at anyone else's, I might actually get a few more posts in. It's just so tempting to immediately check everyone else's blogs, and then forget my own. :-D