More than ten years ago, my first bonsai teacher gave me some unfinished mahogany boards that had been used as shipping boxes from Central America. He said to me,
“Here ya’ go kid, I’m sure you’ll find a use for ’em one day”
The boards were probably ten years old or more at the time (I guess when it was cheaper down there to use mahogany to build shipping boxes than it was to use pine. Nowadays, mahogany is damn expensive to buy, anywhere from $7-24 a board foot)
Which is what I want. I could take this and run it through my surface planer, use the table saw and make it uniform. But the idea I’m going for, the style or paradigm, is what I’m going to call it Fancy American Rustic (my first foray into the style was in this post, check it out). You’ll see. It’ll work. Not everyone will appreciate it, but that’s fine. What a person likes or not doesn’t mean it’s not art. Kinda like the fact that I don’t like lamb myself, but many do. There is no accounting for taste.
Since this is a small piece, I’m going to use my mini angle grinder with a carbide burr wheel.
Or not. The wood is pretty hard. It’s a good rule of thumb that, as wood gets older, it gets harder (completely different than what happens to a man). For example, I have a hundred year old house made from pine (pine, the ultimate soft wood) that’s so hard, you can’t drive a nail through it.
Time for the big boy tools
It’s at this point that I will warn against not using the safety guard on your grinder. I know that I’ve removed it but I recommend you keep yours on.
Tis’ but a flesh wound.
You see, I’m willing to bleed for my art. Are you? I also recommend safety glasses and a dust mask of some kind.
Ok, I have feet.
Nice! Now to use an old carpenters trick: to get a smoother finish, you wet the board and then sand it. The moisture causes the grain to expand and, by sanding it then, when it dries and shrinks, the surface will be super smooth.
If you’ve been paying attention, that’s not what I want, I am trying to make it look old and used and rough (like A Keith Richards as opposed to a Barry Manilow). So instead of sanding it smooth, I’m using the wire brush to expand the spaces between the grain.
I like it.
Now, how do you display a stand? Do you put it on another stand?
I know, put a tree on it!
Keep an eye out for a series of these stands on the Facebook auction sites. There will be a limited supply because I only have so much wood and I’ll get bored soon enough. Once I exhaust the idea (like landscape painting) I tend to abandon it and move on to the next thing. I’m just not good at production work, which is maybe why I’ve kept up with bonsai, they are always changing and present the challenges I need to keep myself sane.