Weekend summary: pigeon bead necklace done and other things in progress

Helpful hint: Misplacing your prototypes is not a good idea. Forgetting which opaque container they’ve been stored in counts as “misplacing.” (And of course the container was literally right in front of me.)

This among other things has emphasized the importance of getting some better storage going for the beads and jewelry stuff and small tools and etc. etc. I think the old metal tool chest is going to be my jewelry/small tool storage, so now that I know what it will be good for, I have even more reason to get back to that project.

And now I see I haven’t uploaded any photos of the tool chest. After some extensive searching, it appears that is because I hadn’t taken any pictures. I could have sworn I did!  Well, I do now:

Old tool chest

Needs some work.

(Things needing doing to the chest: finishing cleaning out drawers. Reline with felt? felt over cardboard? velveteen? Possibly repaint the exterior. Would delay getting it into useful state, because it would be better to paint before putting in nice new lining. Unless the lining was easy to remove; see: gluing the fabric to thin cardstock so the liners could be lifted out intact. I’d have to sand it all down before painting, and working around the drawer pulls and the decorative bits would be a real pain; ditto painting around them. But it would be really pretty; I’m imagining a rich metallic green.)

Speaking of photos languishing, I have finally finished uploading all my abused/abandoned bicycle pics, including a few brand spankin’ new ones (but mostly they are old ones, the pictures I first took when I started collecting them). This is the first photo of the latest uploads; go forward from there.

Bicycle without wheels, seat, or handlebars, sinking into the ground.

One of my favorite ruins: Bicycle without wheels, seat, or handlebars, sinking into the ground.

Finished remaking the pigeon bead necklace – after comparing different looks, I went with the metal link style:

Comparing beads on a string to beads on wire

Comparing two different arrangements of beads on a string to beads on wire

Completed pigeon bead necklace

The finished pigeon bead necklace.

I also made some good attempts at some new styles of ear cuffs, and made a couple of jigs to try and make some of the shaping easier. It turns out that, in at least one case, the jig is actually not that helpful. What was really useful was to carefully wrap some string along the curves of the ear cuff, and mark the string at each place the wire bends. Then lay the string out straight, transfer the marks to paper, and note what each mark means.

When it came to trying to duplicate the shapes, it was much easier to hold a length of wire against that straight template, and grab the wire with my pliers at the given places. Since I ended up doing a couple of variations on this particular pattern, the template came in even handier than the jig, since the template made it easier to place some of the shapes at different places along the curve of the ear cuff. This would all make more sense with pictures, I know, but I’m not done yet, and it really deserves an entire post of documentation on its own.

A few of my fingers are rather sore from bending wire. They can do things my pliers can’t, and sometimes I have pliers in one hand, holding the wire firmly, and I need to shape it. I suppose if I spend enough time doing this, I’ll build up calluses. Or figure out how to do things with other tools, not my fingers!

Also: I was thinking about how to document some of my other techniques, and thinking about how much time it takes to take photos of every step, and write out text to explain every step, I realized I do actually have the technology to record video. And that might be better than still images and text. Setting up the camera to get a good look at what I am doing may be a bit tricky, though; I would like to set it so that the point of view is the same as MY point of view, which means the camera would probably have to be between me and my hands. Could be awkward. We shall see; now that I’ve thought about it, I want to do it. If nothing else, I need to know how it will work!

Another to-do, needing doing since I moved from blogspot to this site: figuring out which tags need to be converted into categories, and properly categorizing the old posts.


Progress on the tool chest

Saturday afternoon (no, really; this blog is choosing its dates in a way that is wrong) I hauled the chest outside and set up under the ever-watchful wisteria.

It was a nice day, except for being attacked by blood-sucking monsters (mosquitos; I won those battles. mostly) and by the blasted wisteria. I think HP Lovecraft must have been inspired by a wisteria. Nothing else with tentacles could possibly be more savage and treacherous. Every time I walked through the yard, I risked losing an eye to one of this year’s new vines.

Anyway. I set up beneath the baleful plant, smashed a few mosquitoes that had apparently been awakened by my presence (it was the middle of the afternoon! I thought those damn things were nocturnal), and got to work with rubbing alcohol and a big pile of cotton balls. And a really nice 6-in-1 paint scraper thing.

Rubbing alcohol doesn’t smell nearly as bad when you use it outdoors.

I got most of the adhesive removed, and then I ran out of alcohol. But it all went pretty quickly, faster than I had hoped, even, so it really shouldn’t be too long before I can sand down the rusted areas and repaint.

On Sunday I pruned the wisteria.


Tool chest renovation

I recently acquired an old Craftsman tool chest. A small one, with small drawers for small tools. All the drawers were lined with felt. A lot of the felt was pretty worn in spots, down to the metal, and the top most part of the chest had been visited by rodents, so there was that kind of mess, too. Plus, the outside of the case has some large rust patches.

So the whole thing is really in need of a good sanding and repainting, plus felt removal and replacement.

It turns out rubbing alcohol does a number on the adhesive used to glue the felt down.

It also turns out that that quantity of rubbing alcohol should NOT be used in a closed, poorly ventilated basement, so I shall be taking the tool chest OUTSIDE to remove the remaining 95% of adhesive and felt (most of the felt came up pretty easily when I pried the edges loose and pulled).

I haven’t quite decided what to do about repainting the tool chest. On the one hand, I like the old paint, because I like the way old stuff looks. But it’s not in good enough condition to leave as-is. I don’t want it to keep rusting, nor do I want rust to get all over me/other things.

I’ve been toying with the idea of painting it all black, or blue, and then painting a viney jungley sort of scene all over the outside, with trees and flowers and screeching birds and that sort of thing.

I’m also pondering giving it a coat of primer, and then covering it with interesting paper or fabric.

It’s a surprisingly heavy thing for its size. When I first decided that yes, I did want to take it, I removed most of the contents, hoping that would make it a little easier to haul away. It did not. So it might be kind of amusing to put fabric on the outside, because of the contrast between the softness and lightness of fabric, and actual heaviness of the metal.

Upholstered tool chest? Sure, why not.