Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Funeral for a Friend Cremation Urn

   My friend's father died a short while back and his mother asked if I would build a nice urn for them.

I agreed. I would be honored. I liked Roger, he always had a kind word for me and a smile.

  Last I saw him he was at his cottage this past summer. We were up to go see a show in Calabogie that night and we were going to spend the night afterwards.

  Roger was getting ready to put some masking tape on his boat to touch up the paint. I offered to help. Roger had been battling cancer and tired easily. I could see how much he wanted to get this done. I am glad I helped out that day. That turned out to be the last time I spoke with him.

  The celebration of life is this weekend and I had been throwing around ideas for about a month.
Inspiration was not coming easy.

  I found a nice piece of flamed maple and cut some sides out of it and dovetailed them together a couple of weeks ago. Incidentally the wood comes from the maple we cut down a few years back in our yard. There were also some pieces with black colored spalting in the wood. Spalt is caused by fungus that invades the wood as is begins to decay. The spalting always leaves interesting patterns in the wood grain. I like to think they are the spirits in the tree that are exposed by the fungus. Some times they are ugly, sometimes beautiful.

  I was in need of some clear thought. I find classical music can help your mind quiet down and helps to arrange your train of thought. Apparently it has a lot to do with the symphonic. All the instruments working together to create harmonious sound. I cranked up the stereo and the room filled with music. My mind began to focus. Blocking out things like, is the mail here yet. What day is it? Will the Simpson's be on for another season? Maybe I should have a nap?

  I dug around in my box of resawn spalted wood and found a book matched pair that made something that looked like a moose head. After some planing of the wood the moose changed a bit but still had a spiritual look to it. I glued the two haves together and stared at it.

  While Beethoven Piano Sonata Opus 27, No.2 know as Clair de Lune in French wailed on the stereo the spirit panel flooded me with thought and placed the finished piece in my mind. I could see it. I drifted into the zone feeling the rush. Every move I make will bring me closer to the end result.

  I picked up some walnut. That will make a nice contrasting frame edge for the top panel and trim for the bottom. After some machining and hand work things really started to take shape. I love that feeling, right into a flow where the shop is my world. Nothing matters but here and now.

I shaped the spirit panel to best show it's composition. Oh ya, that'll do it.

  The dovetailed box gets a bottom put in, then the walnut trim goes around the base. The top frame accepts the spirit panel. Yes, were humming now. Next to make are the transition pieces between the spirit panel and the walnut frame.

  I spy some cherry burl in the corner. Oh I have been waiting for you cherry burl. This will make an excellent transition between the maple and walnut. The burl is very brittle but I am in the zone and I take care with it and coax it to yield.

  The tree spirit walks with me.

  I smooth the wild grain on the box sides with skill full strokes of the scraper cards. I let the wood lead me. Passing the card in any direction that doesn't give resistance. Soon it is smooth and ready for finish that will pop out the flame characteristics in the maple.

   A coat of oil varnish is applied to all parts of the urn. The wood comes to life. So much grain, colors, depth and chatoyancey. Time for dinner and let it dry. Enjoy the pictures. Click on them to make them bigger.

 Nice flaming on the sides.

All hand cut dovetails for strength and looks.

You can see the cherry burl transition surrounding the spirit panel.

The mitres on the lid have pieces of maple set into them to add strength and looks nice.

  When I returned to the shop after dinner I was shocked when I looked at the box. It was like I had just seen it for the first time. Maybe the tree spirit built this and I was just it's hands. Nah. Maybe?

Thanks for reading
Until next time

No comments:

Post a Comment