French Polishing Meditation

French Polishing Meditation

Posted by on Dec 15, 2012 in Blog | No Comments
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Polishing a set of four different boxes.

Today I have been French polishing some jewellery and cuff link boxes ready for delivery before Christmas.

Most finishes rely on the repeated application of many thin layers, thus building a “body” to the finish. French polishing is the extreme example of this, rather than being a finish in itself it’s a procedure for laying repeated thin coats of shellac finish using a cloth rubber charged with the polish. This builds up a layer of polish on the surface that gives a rich luster to the wood which is difficult to achieve with any other finishing technique.

The polish consists of shellac flakes dissolved in alcohol. Shellac comes in different colours, button gives a golden brown tone while garnet is rich dark brown. I’m using garnet on the burr walnut boxes and button on the lighter thuya burr, both bring out the quality of the burr beautifully.

French polishing takes a while to get the hang of, but it’s a bit like riding a bike, once you’ve got the hang of it you never lose the knack.  

The craft of mindfulness

The craft of mindfulness

Posted by on Jun 21, 2012 in Blog | No Comments
Mindfulness or what?

Mindfulness or what?

I have talked about being in the zone in another blog. By being in the zone I mean a state of concentration on a task to the exclusion of other concerns. In the craft field this is an important state of mind, as it is when you are in the zone that you do your best work.

Recently I have become interested in the concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being aware of the present moment, in tune with our senses and connected with the world. The way we live now discourages this way of living, automation means we do not have to concentrate on many daily processes and modern media means we have constant distractions from the real world. Consequently we tend to run on automatic pilot, divorced from what is going on around us. The idea of mindfulness is to bring yourself back to bodily sensations and immediate stimuli so you interact more meaningfully with the world

The idea for this blog came to me on Sunday when I was running a marquetry session during North Yorkshire Open Studios.