It should be obvious to anyone reading this blog that I like to make things. Sometimes I have a long running project on the go, others I think of something during the week or weekend that I want to make.
But sometimes, I get to a lazy Sunday with the powerful urge to make *something* with no real direction as to what. Often this desire tends towards wanting to make something functional, rather than merely decorative.
Last Sunday was one such occasion. I spent a while staring at my sketch book, flicking through old ideas, desperately racking my brains for something that would ‘click’ with my mood and inspire me to action.
Eventually I decided to make a new light-pull for the bathroom. I actually made the previous one a long time ago, as one of my very early turned pieces.
The finish I chose that time was an acrylic spray that left a shiny surface on some fairly green oak. I had been ambitious and turned a cavity in the bottom, and a fitting end cap to hide the knot in the string.
In reality over a year or two the finish wore off in a fairly ugly way, the green wood warped, and the end cap wound up held in place with blue-tac as the fit didn’t remain tight. Also the whole thing was fairly short as my turning was limited to the depth of hole I could drill through for the string.
This time around I decided to try for something longer, by making two pieces which fit together, each drilled separately.
I chose to use a piece of cherry, it was relatively green in that it was given to me by a colleague several months ago. I had turned a section to round and left it in a paper bag to dry, but it had split terribly, leaving little still usable. In some ways this helped me settle on the idea of a light-pull, since I came across this split lump of wood, and tried to think of what I could salvage from it.
I turned what I could down to a cylinder, then drilled as deep as my drill bit allowed. Marked the depth and turned that much as one end first, with a spigot left to about 8mm that would then fit into the next section.
Here you can see I turned one end to shape, sanded and finished it. Then drilled an 8mm hold to take the spigot in the remaining wood. I drilled as deep as my bit would allow again, and set about turning the second half. I considered gluing the first piece in place at this point, but I wasn’t patient enough to let the glue dry, so figured I’d just turn and glue at the end.
All told it was maybe an hour or so of pottering in the garage to produce:
The finish I’m trying this time is the crystal coat I use on pens when I turn them. Since it is designed to be handled frequently, and leaves a nice natural looking finish.
I’m particularly pleased to retain some of the new growth lighter wood along with the darker heartwood to provide some interesting contrast.
All in all it was a pleasing project to undertake, and suited my desire to make something that I would actually use. Rather than just another trinket to gather dust.
One problem with light-pull projects is how insanely cheap it is to just buy them considering the time it takes to make them. For example amazon sells oak light-pulls for just £5.99
If anyone else has favourite ‘functional’ items they like to make in a pinch, or even just ideas for things that I might make. please let me have your suggestions, I’m going to try and make a list of things whenever I have ideas, so that I have a more obvious selection for next time I feel that compulsion to make something.