The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the tag “craftsmen”

How to Cure Wood

Curing wood you’ve felled or found (drying ‘green’ wood in a controlled fashion) is essential if you want to use it for construction, woodworking, or even just for use in your woodstove or fireplace.

You can read Curing Wood in 5 Steps here.

Curing the wood keeps it from cracking, splitting and distorting after you’ve already created/built something with it.

Artificial drying – over a fire or in an oven also risks splitting or otherwise damaging your wood.

“Cabinet maker Jeff Segal shows how he’ll store and cure the freshly milled plane tree, using bearers or stickers [square dowels] to separate the wood and allow the air to circulate.”

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How to Make Wood Shingles

WoodlandsTV from the UK shows us how to make oak shingles with hand tools. He notes that the oak shingles should last about 70 years untreated due to their high tannin content:

So You Want to Be A Blacksmith

“how to get started in blacksmithing.”

Using ‘Natural’ Clay to Make Pottery

These videos were eye-openers for me, because I hadn’t really thought of clay in the soil as anything other than a nuisance and certainly hadn’t thought of using it for anything.

Here we learn how to find and clean clay found in a river bank. There seem to be two methods of cleaning ‘natural’ clay. One is to dry the clay and then powder it and put it through a sifter screen, the other is to put a slurry of wet clay through a sieve. I haven’t tried either, though the wet method looks easier.

“Is mixing your clay economical. I hear arguments on both sides. But I think it’s important that you know how.”

Here wildmudpottery finds clay in a trench dug for a pipeline and uses the second wet method of cleaning the clay.

Making Oak Gall Ink/Dye Using Acorns

Larry Vienneau shows us how to make oak gall ink using the more readily available acorns. This is a dark-brown-black ink. He writes:

“Iron Oak Gall Ink was used for hundreds of years until modern archival inks arrived. This is the same ink used to sign the Declaration of Independence and to write most Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts.”

He notes that a similar ink was also used as a dye by Native Americans.

What you’ll need: clean whole acorns (no other debris), vinegar, gum arabic (or honey, which he says works just as well as a binder), a slow cooker, a wide-mouthed funnel, cheesecloth, a strainer, iron (rusty nails, steel wool, etc. or iron tablets from the health food store), a preservative (he uses solvent alcohol).

It can take up to a week to make the ink.

Making Walnut Ink/Stain/Dye

The black walnut has a long history of being used to produce a dark stain that can be used as ink, leather making dye, wood and grass stain and textile dye. It’s lightfast, colorfast and doesn’t respond to most solvents, so difficult to get out in general. Scrapbookers now also use walnut ink to give paper an antique look.

To make the ink you will need unhulled walnuts, water, a pot (it helps if it is rusty cast iron as the iron deepens the color), a sieve or cheesecloth and a stirrer. Some people also add rusty metal to the mix to darken the color and vinegar to help preserve the liquid.

Here is Annamarie Malik making a large batch of ink:

She sells bottles of walnut ink from her website http://annamalik.com/

Make Your Own Small Blacksmith’s Forge

From the TeenWoodWorker, who sees blacksmithing as complementary to woodworking. He notes how you can then make your own handles and fixtures for your woodwork.

Saving Tools

Skip Brack talks about his work salvaging tools from all over New England in order to support craftsmen (who can otherwise find it difficult to find certain handtools) and the local economy.

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