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Showing posts from 2013

How To Apply Varnish For Excellent Finishes

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Finishing can be fiddly. Sprayed lacquer is good, but spray guns are expensive and so is the stuff to put in them. Plus you can forget about breathing in your workshop for a few hours after each spray session. Applying a wax coat is quick and easy, does bring out some of the lustre of a wood, but it's easily damaged and needs reapplication regularly.

Somewhere in between is this technique for applying standard off-the-shelf varnish to get a tough, durable, glassy smooth finish. It takes a little time, but mostly just waiting for each coat to dry. If you have somewhere dust-free you can leave pieces to cure, you can get on with other things in the meantime. Like with most things, don't rush it, be careful, practice a bit and you'll be able to get awesome finishes every time.

Here is a piece of teak, which has been cut, shaped and sanded until perfectly smooth and ready to be finished. It's a nice shape, and it's pleasing to touch, but it doesn't look as good as …

Easy Vietnamese-style Coffee Ice-cream

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Not so much a jewellery or woodworking howto, this, but frankly my south-facing workshop has been insanely hot the last few weeks - over 40C on some days! - so personal cooling is important.

This is really, really easy. If you can make a cup of coffee, you can make this. You don't even need an ice-cream machine although it does make things easier if you do.

The 'secret' ingredient is fresh mint. Sounds daft, but roll with this one, it really works.

Gather some mint. Chuck it in your cafetiere or drip filter or espresso jug (so the coffee ends up on the mint, not in with the coffee grounds).  If you don't have any mint, don't sweat it, the end result will still be tasty. Luckily our garden has bushes of the stuff.


While that's brewing, nice and strong, pour a tin of sweetened condensed milk into a jug. Opening the lid of the tin is probably the hardest step of this whole recipe.

Add your coffee, stir well. You can go 50/50 milk to coffee, or more, or less, what…

How to Make a Wire-Inlaid Wooden Necklace

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I know in my last post I said I'd do some epoxy inlay stuff, but I just finished a run of epoxy inlay and have been doing some wire inlays recently instead. So, wire inlay it is today, epoxy inlays another time.

A simple wire inlay on a carefully chosen piece of wood can create a beautiful piece of jewellery which will last for years. This tutorial will cover a very simple, single wire inlay, but the principles for doing more complex things are the same.

First up, choose some wood. Lets assume we've gone through the standard rough-cut, shaping, sanding montage and go straight to selecting from some wooden pendant blanks.


Left to right I have Purpleheart, Padouk, Douglas Fir, more Purpleheart and the one I've chosen, a piece of American Black Walnut. It doesn't look too jazzy now, but when we're done it'll be really nice. Walnut is quite an understated wood, but it's definitely got class.

So, first things first - mark where you want your inlay to go in penci…

How to Make a Copper-Gilded Wooden Necklace

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This tutorial will show you the basics of how to make an attractive, modern, wooden necklace decorated with a layer of pure copper.  It's not too hard, but as always don't rush, be careful, check your details and always always always measure twice, cut once.

Things you will need
Some wood! Hardwoods are often more exciting than softwoods, check out your local timber yard or online to see what you can find. Because you don't need much, offcuts are good - and can be picked up very cheaply.

Tools. I use quite a few here, because I have them - but all you really need is a drill and a saw. You'll need a small drill bit so you can hang your pendant (I use 3mm) and a bigger one to make the hole for gilding.  A range of sandpapers is needed as well, you'll want to go quite fine to get the finish nice and smooth.

Gilding size and your choice of metal to gild. I use copper because I like the colour but you can use gold, silver, platinum, brass - whatever you want.  Many supp…
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Obligatory first post style first post.

Having a blog is a good idea if you sell on Etsy, people say.  I have found myself wanting to post longer form things with photos and so on a bit more.

So that's what I'm doing. I've got some ideas for potentially useful stuff to go on here - tutorials, backstories on some of my ideas, pieces and so on. Hopefully I'll manage to make more than one post!

Some links to stuff:

http://shinium.etsy.com
http://twitter.com/shinium_eu
http://facebook.com/BeautifulComputers (pre re-branding url, Facebook doesn't let you change them)