Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fuming! and dog sweatshirts...

We're having some of the coldest weather in years here in Las Vegas. Of course, it comes right as I need a warm day to fume some picture frames. What is fuming, you ask?

Fuming wood is a technique for darkening wood by exposing it to ammonia fumes. This technique works particularly well with woods rich in tannins,
like white oak. This process was commonly used in early Arts and Crafts furniture, and was discovered when people noticed that the wood in horse barns turned a lovely deep brown color. The change was occurring from the horse urine reacting with the wood.

Luckily, today you don't need a horse to get these results, just some very high strength ammonia.

Here are some photos of two white oak tables I made and fumed years ago. That is the color that the white oak will achieve.

So a couple of weeks ago, we all made white oak frames in a picture frame class I was teaching. I took everyone's unfinished frame home, so I could put them into a fuming tent and monitor the darkening process.

Of course, every single day - it's been too cold to do it! The process is greatly hastened by the addition of warmth, so I'll just have to wait for the next sunny day to attempt it.

Stella, the shop mascot, doesn't really like this cold weather either. So as I was making a few sweatshirts for her to wear in the shop, I thought it might make an interesting blog post.

My buddy Helen showed me how to do this many years ago, and it's a perfect way to re-purpose old sweatshirts. I don't know about you, but I always have old, stained sweatshirts laying around the house.

First, cut the sleeves off of an old sweatshirt, up near the shoulder.

Try to measure the circumference of your pet's neck. Or just hold the sleeve up next to their neck, to know where to cut the sleeve to length. Then - cut a few arm holes. Remember - the holes aren't completely on opposite sides, they're located more toward the front of the body.

Finally - cut the sleeve to length. I like to taper it a little, so it covers her body on top, but not on the underside.

As you can see, I left the sleeve a little long, to make a turtleneck out of this sleeve. Just fold it over, it's looks amazing.

She's such a ham, I put the sweatshirt on her, and asked her to tilt her head back, so I could get a nice photo of it.

Stay warm, and stay tuned... I'll have some images of the fumed picture frames as soon as we have a warm day here. Meanwhile, I'm heading to the shop with silk underwear under my jeans. BBBBBbbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

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