July 6, 2008

Russian Doll

Filed under: Wood Work — sarah @ 2:15 pm

Russian doll in half

Russian doll


I rather liked the idea of a russian doll. You know, the ones that open to reveal a smaller one inside. So I thought I might try making one.

I mooched out to my shed and scrabbled about in my box of bits of wood left over from other jobs until I found a nice piece of mahogany. Well yes it was a nice piece of wood even though it was a little on the thin side.

I attached it to the bowl turning plate of my lathe. That’s the gizmo, er plate, with the holes in to allow it to be screwed to the wood. Then I fitted it to the headstock, the bit attached to the motor that spins the wood, and tapped the tailstock into the centre of the wood and tightened it.

The large gouge is the best tool to make a square piece of timber into a round piece of timber. It’s the chisel with the half round blade. Then the skew chisel makes the round piece of timber into a smooth round piece of timber. That’s the flat chisel with the angled cutting edge.

Next I marked the workpiece with the measurements needed for the finished article. Nice and easy so far. Yes? Then I used the parting tool to cut the job in half, more or less. The parting tool is a chisel that is pointed if you look at it from the wide part of the blade so the narrow part of the blade has a fairly thin cutting edge.

Then came the interesting bit. Or the worrying bit. Or the frightening bit, depending on your point of view. Yes it was time to hollow out the doll. I moved the chisel-rest to the correct position and used the narrow gouge to make the hole and because it was the top of the doll I left the bottom of the hole curved. Then I used the parting tool to cut a recess on the inside of the doll to allow the top of the doll to be fitted to the lower part. I measured the recess with a ……… gauge.

I changed from the top to the bottom of the doll ie screwed it to the bowl turning plate and used the gouge to cut the hole. Then used the parting tool to make the bottom of the hole flat and the recess, on the outside this time, the same size as the top. Using the …….. gauge again.

Now the clever bit. I put the doll together and put the tailstock in place, making sure it was a tight fit. Then using the skew chisel I shaped the doll. When you make two parts of one finished article you find that when it is placed back in the lathe it will be out of line and the whole job will need to be reshaped. Allow extra diameter for the waste. It would probabably have been best if I had started with a thicker piece of tinber, as you will realise later.

When I achieved the shape I wanted, more or less, I used sandpaper to obtain a smooth finish. Then I used the skew chisel to cut the doll from the lathe.

Then all that was left to do was paint the rascal.

For the decoration I chose humbrol oil based model paint which is readily available almost anywhere. However most other types of model paint are also suitable for a job like this.

As a base coat I used yatch varnish which provides a really good surface for the model paint which is applied with an artists brush.

I started with the face, which is a vague face shape using a sort of beige colour quite close to the colour of my skin. Then I added the hair, eyes and nose in black, plus a line around the outside of the face. The mouth of course needed red.

The arms were simple black lines with the hands painted on the ends using the same colour as the face. The flower used green for the stem and leaves and red for the petals.

The bottom of the doll, or skirt if you want to be precise, I painted red.

Where did I get all the brilliant ideas for the clever and interesting style of decoration, heaped with the naive interpretation of the human form and the childlike simplicity of features such as the plain hardy face and the delicate detail of the flower.

Yeah, you guessed right, I copied my daughter’s russian doll.

Sadly, I made the thing a bit on the slim side. In other words, its a tad narrow to put another doll inside.

Never mind it can still be used to hold, needles, long pins, short cocktail sticks er um oh tooth picks.

Note : I actaully use it to store errant beads I find lurking about whilst cleaning etc…

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