About Me

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I am an artist working in Water Color, Oils, Glass and wood in North Central Indiana. I enjoy Plein Aire work the most but often find myself in the studio during the winter when the weather is less than desirable for working on location. I have always been an artist, memories of drawing are some of my oldest. My early influence came from looking at old magazine covers done by Norman Rockwell. Later I discovered the photography of Edward Curtis as he had struggled to capture the American Indians of the Southwest before that culture completely disappeared. then I found Andrew Wyeth and knew what I wanted to paint. The Egg Tempera and Water Color Paintings of Andrew Wyeth were simply wonderful and I was forever committed to painting the rural landscape and those that live there. It was then I realized I would never again see the land as I had before I painted it. Soon after it was Winslow Homer and his Water Colors that kept feeding my interest in this medium and a traditional approach to my art. While I left the life as a professional artist for a time I find my return to it at this point in my life refreshing. Life is a journey and I am turning towards home. Mike Yazel

Monday, February 22, 2010

More Wood Working

   I know this isn't painting but I thought some of you might be interested in how century old wood working tools are used to do some pretty neat things.

Here is a "thumbnail" moulding plane that is used to put the edge on the lids for the boxes and run the moulding for around the base of the box too. Now a lot of people would see this as a job for a router but I can grab this plane and shoot the moulds on a box very quickly with no noise or sawdust as the plane just produces nice curly shavings. The two perpendicular lines on the front or toe of the plane are called spring lines and as you will see in the next photo are critical to keeping the plane in the right position to make a nice mould. The lid is about 7/8's of an inch thick. 

You can see from the previous shot that the bench I work on is an original old cabinet makers bench from the late 1800's with wood screw vices so my set up is not very high tech but I like it that way. Here you can see the plane as it is held to cut the profile. I am doing one end of the lid here so I am cutting across the grain which requires a very sharp tool to get a nice finish. the most critical aspect of working with traditional tools is the ability to sharpen them to a very fine edge. You can see that the "Spring" lines are such that the horizontal one is parallel to the surface of the top while the vertical line is perpendicular to that surface. The small block that can be seen against the bench dog in the previous photo is a sacrificial block to prevent the edge of the top from splintering when the plane crosses the edge. 

This is the finished top with the three sides profiled with the plane. As shown here you run the front which is the long grain side of the top last because it has no risk of tear out since there is no cross grain at the end of the cut. From plain lid to finished edges is about 15 to 20 minutes so you can see the old tool is still pretty efficient. You would make the moulding for around the base in the same manner except it would be ran on the edge of a longer straight grained board and then ripped off. You can then shoot the edge of the board with a jointer plane to true it up again and then run the moulder again until you run out of board if you are just "sticking" (making moulding) moulding.

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