Saturday, January 28, 2012

Homemade Christmas Presents

Every Christmas, Lin makes a load of lovely presents for friends and family, and I run with the excuse that I'm too busy to make anything.  Well, this year, I thought it was about time I got off my arse and made a few presents for friends and family and not just sit around watching Lin make awesomeness.

We came up with a hunormous list of things we'd like to make for people and very quickly realised we'd have to think a little smaller - Delyth was only 4 months old and had regressed into bad sleeping patterns so Lin and I had to take turns holding her in the evening, which didn't leave much time for, well, anything really.

I'm enjoying a little bit of woodworking at the moment (I think I can blame the CNC build for that) & I liked the idea of making a few wooden toys for friends & family back in Blighty.  I found a scroll saw on sale at home depot one day & couldn't resist - so I've been playing with it (partly with the help of this book).  It came in pretty handy when making Carys' birthday present (which I'll blog about next since it turned out really well) and got some good usage making these Christmas presents.

A few of the presents were cut from patterns in this scroll saw bookwhich has a load of good ideas - I'm most fond of the ones that make something the kidlets can play with, so those are the things I chose to try first.   I particularly liked the interlocking/nested animal patterns & there were a couple of beginner ones that I could start  - a zebra/horse set and some elephants.

Here's the first set of horses I cut (out of poplar); Lin finished them off for me by whittling the sides and giving them a couple of coats of tung oil.

Since the horses turned out well, I used them as an excuse to pop down to my local woodcraft to pick up some more wood to experiment with.   The woodcraft in San Carlos stocks a load of interesting and beautiful wood. You can buy it by the board foot (a uniquely North American unit of measure), which means that you can pick up a small amount of a variety of wood to play with without it costing an arm and a leg.

After a long lunchtime looking at, feeling, and smelling all the interesting wood, I ended up buying some purple heart wood and some zebrawood (no prizes for guessing what that one is going to be used for).  The purple heart wood is just so visually striking!  I'd never seen a wood that was naturally purple!

I used the same horse/zebra pattern with the zebrawood and tried out an elephant pattern with the purple heart wood:


The last present I want to talk about was something we made for my nephew.  I have some very fond memories of receiving hand made gifts from my granddad around Christmas time; he made me and my brother a few cool things - school desks, go-karts and a wooden castle are the ones that I remember fondly (they all got a ton of use and play!).

My nephew is 19 months old and loves anything with wheels.  Lin came up with the idea of a truck made into the shape of his name; I'd had a different plan that I'd been trying out, but it was complicated, fiddly and a little frustrating - we were a little short on time at this point so it was a huge relief to have something more tractable to work on.  Also, we had all the necessary pieces on hand!

The truck was cut out of some 2x4 Douglas fir I had left over from building the CNC machine (If you're interested there are a few posts about that here: part1, part2, part3, update).   Here are a few gratuitous "in-progress" shots:

The wheels were from a bag of wooden shapes that LiEr (from ikatbag) sent to us when Delyth was born.  Thanks, LiEr!  That bag of wooden tidbits has been a life saver.

I really like how the truck turned out - It's personal, robust and simple. I think Harry liked it too, he certainly played with it a lot over Christmas :)


Alli said...

Those are awesome! Now I'm trying to figure out how to make sure my father-in-law sees your name car -- he has a scroll saw and my boys like cars, too... :D

LiEr said...

All gorgeous! I really like how the truck has a cab-head thing and trailer, rather than one stiff solid lump of vehicle. And you're welcome for the wood bits! It's interesting to see those wheels actually used as uh.. wheels! We've only ever used them as donuts in our house!

P.S. I hope D unregresses into a more considerate sleeping mode soon. Those are hard nights. We had the same with Kate, and we'd have to walk her in the pitch black basement and hum rock songs. Which only sometimes worked.

ITTS said...

I can't believe you only got two comments on this! It's just so beyond awesome! I love those wooden puzzles and the truck! Really great job...

needlekrafter said...

some really wondeful projects here; passing this site onto my husband! great work!