Misc. Christmas Projects.

Here’s a bunch of projects make for Christmas, but I can’t for the life of me remember the exact dates.

Ah, yes, the wooden toad project. For Christmas 2000, I made half a dozen of these things. Each involves about 30 parts cut out on the scrollsaw, and then put together. When the mouth is opened, the tongue flops out with a great “clack” sound! The rear legs pump up and down as the toad is pushed along. A big hit, and a tough act to follow!

This is a carving of a puma made from mahogany and finished with tung oil. Surprisingly (at least to me), the oil didn’t really change the colour of the wood, but added “depth” to it. Rather than using a solid block of wood, the designer (not me!) suggested using three 3/4-inch pieces glued together. This allowed each section to be scrollsawed to rough shape prior to carving. Clever idea!

Here is pair of wooden train engines I made for a couple of my co-workers, in 2002. There are a number of plans out there, but I rather liked the look of this one. Not too simple, not too hard. The original plans called for a half a dozen cars, but all I had time to do was the engine. I made it out of fir (the boiler), pine, and baltic birch, and painted it using acrylic paints (the original was stained hardwood). Sorry for the poor picture quality … it was done using my webcam. The black thingie in the foreground is a floppy disk.

Here is a closer view of a single engine. The “cowcatcher” at the front is actually formed on the solid base with a compound mitre cut. Tricky … I ruined the first one. The black thingie to the right is a floppy disk.

Another widely distributed gift in 2002 was the oil lamp candle. Each was turned on my little Taig lathe. It was a lot of fun, but something of a challange since I’ve never turned anything like this before, and it pretty much maxed out the capacity of the little lathe! I made up several of these, each made from maple, finished with tung oil. Time consuming, but enjoyable. Almost makes me lust after a larger wood lathe.

I’m rather pleased with this gift, since I developed the design myself. It’s a business card holder, with the word “duh” scrollsawed at the top. The card holder is my own design, and I got the idea for the “duh” from a magazine that featured it as a large, standalone project. The card holder is made from 1/2-inch baltic birch plywood, and consists of 2 parts. The base has a couple of 1/2-inch dadoes, and has is shaped to have 6 sides for esthetics. I finished each of the several I made in a different colour of acrylic paint. The “Get Out of Hell Free” cards were something I picked up off the web. From 2002.

I got into making pens for a few years. The big trick was coming up with a nice box to present them properly. I adapted a design I saw in a magazine to lift up the pen when the box top was raised. Fiddly to make, but the end result was nice.

Here’s a simpler pen box. It’s got a hinged top that swings open. Not as fiddly as the fancier box shown above, but had challenges of its own.

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