Gifts, Some Visible, and Purpleheart

Holiday Gifts

Rob asked what sort of gifts this season finds you crafting. Apparently, our readers are indeed a very crafty bunch. – Editor

“I have a couple that I’m working on. The first is a new play table for my two sons, which should be a suitable home for their train set that is currently strewn in pieces throughout our house. My second project is a poker chip box for my father-in-law with an inlaid Green Bay Packers logo on the lid. He is a diehard Packers fan. I grew up in Minnesota and bleed purple and gold as a Vikings fan. The process involved creating router templates for the logo and has allowed me to dust off my drafting pencils for measured drawings. Whether my father-in-law gets the beautiful inlaid chip box that I envision, or a box of sawdust and random-cut pieces of wood surrounded by a blue cloud of profanity, it’s still been a lot of fun so far just to put the effort into it.”- Robert Lammers

“I built a box, a two-foot cube, to raise up our tree. It also serves as a storage container when the tree comes down for the rest of the year.” – Joe Prieve

“Gifts are the primary product made in my shop. This year it was my idea to make pen and pencil sets for my family and friends. The common theme is that all of the pens are made from Bethlehem olive. My family is full of Christian believers, so they will treasure the product for another reason than it was handcrafted by me, although I like hearing that it is the reason. The pencils are all from various other species, but make a nice complement to the olive wood.” – Ray Curtis

“I had some zebrawood left over from a table project and decided to use it for coasters. I made the outer ring in walnut. I also made some coasters with maple and cherry. I used walnut and cherry for the boxes. I hope my relatives appreciate all of the time spent making these gifts!” – Carol Johnston

This reader got a wonderful present, and used his present to make presents for others. – Editor

“This year I spent the last three months building a new bedroom set for my wife as a Christmas present. I have not discovered how to make this a surprise since my wife frequently comes out to my backyard shop to see what I am doing. Also this year, I built a new workshop and have been replacing tools since my old workshop was destroyed by Katrina in 2005. Until building my new shop, I had to work under a carport with portable tools and store them in a 10 by 12 shed with my lawnmower. Just building my new workshop this year and getting new tools is the greatest Christmas present I have ever had in the 61 years I have been alive.” – Greg Little

Invisible Gifts?

One of our alert readers with a good sense of humor made this comment. – Editor

“The manufacturer’s information on the Leigh hold-downs says. They clamp boards from 0 to 3 inches in width.’ They must have some great clamps, but just what can you build from a board that is zero inches wide?”- Terry McGovern

We use zero width boards when making invisible repairs and hidden drawers. We’re told Wonder Woman’s invisible plane was also made of zero width boards. – Editor

Purpleheart Redux

“The purpleheart Q & A prompts this email to you. The book World Woods in Color by Wm. A. Lincoln  says, ‘Spirit finishes remove the purple colour; lacquer finishes preserve the colour.’ I’ve worked for a woodworking retail store for 11 years, and I’ve been passing this information on to our customers. I like to give them information they can count on. Have you found this to be true?” – Ruth Thomas

Nope, that’s not correct. Don’t get us wrong; we have the utmost respect for Mr. Lincoln’s book and feel it is one of the best wood identification tomes available, but clearly his field was not finishing. We suspect he is using the term spirit finish to mean oil varnish, though that term was also used for shellac in the past. Granted, most oil varnishes will immediately darken purpleheart, and almost any wood, more than will most shellac and lacquer formulations, which could be what he meant by “removing the purple colour,” but none of these finishes have the ability to prevent the purple color from fading. Fade resistance comes from the addition of UV blockers and absorbers, additives that are frequently put into exterior finishes but rarely put into interior ones of any type. – Editor

Typo Corner

This is supposed to be a happy time of year, but this typo inadvertently adds a more serious note. – Editor

“They want me to clean the cabinets of dirt and grim.”

Perhaps cleaning will make the cabinets happier, or at least less grim. – Editor

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