Monthly Archives: February 2017

Settlers of Catan #2

About 2 years ago, Jasmine made a laser cut Settlers of Catan game that we featured on this very site! We got a fair bit of use out of it, but didn’t bring it with us to NZ and, now that we have the game back, we decided to start playing again.

One thing that we were unhappy about was that there was no color on the board which made it hard to see the numbers and land types. Since I got into painting a while back, I decided to paint all of the pieces a different color and I think it turned out well.

Two comments. First, there are a lot of pieces, which makes it take a long time to paint. Second, water colours do a very nice job filling in laser cut wood; you can get some really nice highlights in the grooves and it doesn’t even run that bad down the grain.

The costs card does a nice job of showing all the different painting.

The costs card does a nice job showing the different icons.

And here is one of each land variety. I think it looks nice.

And here is one of each land variety. I think it looks nice.

Deception Pass State Park

On Whidbey Island there are a number of state parks, but the one we spent the most time at was Deception Pass. It was a nice little state park, a little lacking on the trails, but with really nice views and great beaches. If we had a boat, I would love to visit it again and check out all of the islands. Maybe someday!

I feel like I was transported to the 1800's English coast.

I feel like I was transported to the 1800’s English coast.

There was also a solitary raven enjoying the scenery.

There was also a solitary raven enjoying the scenery.

Pacific northwest trails are the nicest.

Pacific Northwest trails are the nicest.

The northern side of the park had some very pretty cliff views.

The northern side of the park had some very pretty cliff views.

New Cowl

As we now live somewhere with an actual winter (yay!), I decided I needed more cold weather gear. My first project was a second cowl, which I used as an excuse to try out the braided yarn we found in San Francisco. The pattern was the Akron Cowl from Everyday Lace.

Cowl

It turned out a bit stiff, but that will wear out. It’s a very warm cowl!

I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out and am definitely planning on making more cold weather gear in the future.

Whidbey Island

Over the weekend we took an extra day off and went up to check out Whidbey Island. One of the various islands in the Puget Sound, it is close enough that there is a bridge, at least from the northern Anacortes approach. We just had a really nice, relaxing weekend checking out many of the parks on the island, some of the restaurants, and a couple of the coffee shops.

I would highly recommend Whidbey Island and we are certainly going to go again. We saw a bald eagle! Actually two! The island seemed very chill and it is actually a fair bit easier to get to than the San Juans. Next time we will have to go in the spring or summer so we can enjoy ourselves some watersports.

Greenbank farm. Picturesque rustic. The kind of tourist trap I can appreciate..

Greenbank Farm. Picturesque rustic. The kind of tourist trap I can appreciate..

The beach at Fort Ebey. Every view on this beach was just yelling out for a panorama.

The beach at Fort Ebey. Every view on this beach was just yelling out for a panorama.

And a fort Ebey fortified view.

And a Fort Ebey fortified view.

Coupeville was also picturesque and touristy. They also had a dutch store with salted licorice!

Coupeville was also picturesque and touristy. They also had a dutch store with salted licorice!

And a walk through the Rhododendron Park. Note the rhododendrons :)

And a walk through the Rhododendron Park. Note the rhododendrons. :)

Inlay Carving Tools

One of the crafts that I have picked up is wood inlay, specifically metal wired inlay into wood. While I have used a variety of tools in the past for inlay, I determined a while ago that it is necessary to make my own tools. The groove cutter that I will show today is the basic tool for straight lines.

You need a saw blade, 1/2″ diameter wood dowel (I used poplar), and a saw blade for the raw materials. For the tools, you need diagonal cutter, wood saw, a rasp, a file, sandpaper, and a whetstone.

First, you cut a 6″ length of the dowel, then file one edge rounded. On the other end, use the rounded rasp to create a finger groove 1″ wide as shown below. Use the sandpaper down to 200 grit to create a smooth finish.

Jigger with the groove until it feels good in your hand.

Jigger with the groove until it feels good in your hand.

Then, cut a 3/16″ strip out of the saw blade using the diagonal cutters, bending the groove until it snaps. File off the saw blade, then file 1/2 of the blade length down to the cutting width desired. In this case, we want a 1/8″ strip for cutting straight grooves.

 Saw blade cut to size.

Saw blade cut to size.

Now, jam the wider end of the blade into the flat end of the handle. A small dab of wood glue help to hold the blade in place. Use the whetstone to carve a blade edge; I prefer a 30 degree angle equal on both ends. Finally, use some mineral oil to protect both the steel blade and the wood.

A shiny and functional tool!

A shiny and functional tool!

And below, the first practice cuts that I have done with the tool. It works well on the flats, but not very well for the sharp angles. I have a variety of length tools for various corners and pieces, which works pretty well.

A practice monogram.

A practice monogram.