Upcycling Old Jeans

During my first experiments with resin stabilized wood, I had a lot of dark brown leftover resin at the end of it. So I have decided to do a little experiment.

I took some old black jeans, cut them into squares of approximately the sizee of a hand palm, soaked the pieces in the resin, stacked them in a receptacle and I poured all the remaining resin all over them. I have tried my best to chase and push manually all the bubles out and let it harden.

The resulting material has an official name – micarta – and the results look quite well, I think.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The pieces were not too big, but big enough for four small scales for two of the badger knives that I had in production, so I have used them straightaway. The material works well, it is sufficiently hard to take decent polish, but not so hard as to be difficult to work with. It does heat up a bit and clogs up sanding belts, but reducing the belt speed and using only fresh belts did away with that problem.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

That the layers are not perfectly perpendicular and flat adds a bit more character to the material, which I like. I think it is a good way to use excess resin and these knives should now be extremely resistant to elements – the blades and fittings are all stainless steel, the handle scales are micarta and the sheaths are leather infused with beeswax. They would probably survive for a non-trivial duration in fog and rain outdoors. Not that I would do that to them.

I am also pleased that now that these knives are significantly less work than the bowie-type small hunting knivest that I was presenting previously. The goal is to have a mix of cheap(ish) and expensive items on offer in the future, I do not wish to only make luxury items that take weeks to months finish each, neither do I wish to destroy my enjoyment of the craft by bogging myself down in repetitive tasks o making the same thing over and over again.

Hallowe’en Photo Festival of Fun and Fundraising

Snakes. Some people love them, some people loath them. Whichever camp you’re in, you’ve got to admit that they’re an alpha predator with a taste for the blood of small, innocent creatures.

Thanks to Kestrel, for bravely snapping this danger noodle to share with us today.

©kestrel, all rights reserved

 

Jack’s Walk

© Voyager, all rights reserved

Jack and I see lots of chipmunks on our walks, and I often try to take a photo, but they dart away too quickly and in unpredictable directions. Today, though, this little guy literally darted into the spot where I was aiming my camera, and then he stopped for a moment. It was just long enough for me to grab a few shots before he darted off again.  Although this looks like a planned sort of chipmunk picture, I was actually trying to photograph the saddle of the log behind the chippie. In retrospect, that would have been boring, so thanks, little guy for the photobomb.

© Voyager, all rights reserved

 

 

The Art of …

… sculpture, by Joe Fafard.

This installation of life-sized cattle is in the heart of Toronto’s financial district, and I have been lucky enough to have seen it several times. Like magic, it always slows me down and makes me forget that I’m in the middle of a big city full of bustle and noise.

The Pasture, TD Centre Park Toronto, designed by artist Joe Fafard. Photo from O’Canada

The Pasture, TD Centre Park Toronto, designed by artist Joe Fafard. Photo from O’Canada

 

 

A Soap Opera, Part 2: Vanity and Hubris

Those are common elements of soap operas, right?

Now, the second batch turned out beautiful:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

I wrapped it tightly in old towels and for good measure stuck it in the oven at 80°C, because those small moulds will of course cool faster, but the “soaping” is a chemical reaction that feeds on its own heat. I could demould it the next day, no problem. The smell is rosemary, orange and lemon grass, with some ground rosemary and food colouring for the visual. Thus encouraged I decided to make that one soap I’d been thinking about: A marble cake soap: One part Vanilla soap, one part cocoa soap, blended in a cake mould and then cut into pieces.

Yeah…

For one thing, both batches experienced “soap seize” (in German it’s “Blitzbeton”, instant concrete): Instead of staying in a custard consistency for quite some time, it turned hard fast, so any attempt at making a marble cake was out of the window. Second, there’s a million recipes for making cocoa soap. Just stir the cocoa powder into your soap gloop. Looks and smells like chocolate, only if you think that chocolate smells vaguely like old fish. I wouldn’t have mixed it with the vanilla anyway, but I still did my best to put it into the cake moulds and let it set. So here’s the result:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

As you can see, because of the soap seize the moulds have not been properly filled. Second, the smells kinda, reversed? The chocolate soap smells now very mildly of chocolate, while the vanilla fragrance smells like cheap, over aged eau de cologne. They are not fit for giving away as gifts, but good enough around the house. At least the chocolate. Also, without the marble, the cake slices don’t look that nice. At least they look realistic enough that my beloved kid bit into one while I was shopping. I swear, she’s the dumbest smart kid I ever met…

Hallowe’en Photo Festival of Fun and Fundraising

Today, we have a pair of beautiful early-autumn landscapes by our very own Giliell.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

Hallowe’en is fast approaching, so don’t forget to send in your photos. Maybe you have some pictures of people in costumes or spooky decorations. Perhaps it’s photos of snakes, spiders, scorpions, or other creepy crawlies. If you’re not into any of those things, you could send us your pretty pictures of the fall landscape. Our address (affinitysubmissions@gmail.com) is always in the left sidebar underneath the colourful percolating head and if you click that link it will open up an email form for you to use.