The basswoods have leafed out, bracks, and the flowers to be, showing. And now, for something a little different:


The above was taken just at the end of civil twilight, lighted by a sodium vapor street light. I have my little camera set to use 1600 ISO if needs be. The high ISO has brightened the sky. The leaves to the right of the building are actually shadows, from the leaves near the center. I am quite impressed by the quality and capabilities of newer digital cameras, and though this is a relatively high end machine, it is still pocketable. Canon S110.

And, I like the picture; might be a fondness for yellow ochre?



Fret sawn ornaments

A design under the influence of the Middle East. "Scherezade". The ornament is a simple organic ribbon, repeating in and out. I use a fret saw to cut the basic shape, which is then glued to the frame, and carved.

The fret saw and an ornament block. I like spiral blades for this work, though I find they cut better with a straight approach, as though they were regular blades. Spiral blades, are in theory, omnidirectional. The saw is mounted on a small sheet of plywood, which is then clamped to the bench. When I can, my tools are hooked to dust collection, in this case to my shop vac.

The block is taped on both sides and then it is "bread sliced" into the thin ornaments. The tape is to hold the thin design together.


The corners being wasted for the ornaments. The cyanacrylate glue is for the sometimes "holiday" in the regular gluing, with hide glue.


Here, marking lines for the carving edges. I use my finger as a fence to draw the lines. And here, a finished version: Frame Notes: Fret Sawed Ornaments



Some more process photos.


Applying bole. Bole is a very fine clay, in various earth colors, that when mixed with hide glue becomes the base layer and adhesive for water gilt gold. The color above is a mix, to match the color on the original frame.


Water gilding. The surface is wet with the "gilding liquer", water and some alcohol to break the surface tension. The polished bole is wet thoroughly, and the gold leaf is applied by picking it up with the tip, that wide flat brush, and almost slapping it on to the wet surface. To make the tip grab the leaf, I rub a tiny amount of vaseline on the back of my left hand, then lightly brush the end of the tip over my hand before grabbing the edge of the leaf with the tip. Sounds simple enough.

When the gilt areas are dry, they are burnished using an agate tool. To test for dryness, the surface is tapped with the agate; when a hard click is heard, the surface is dry. Trying to burnish wet just destroys the leaf. Two different shaped burnishers on the bench.

Burnished gilding and stained wood, with the color sample to match to. Waiting for the finish coat.