Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When Bad Things Happen to Good Projects

Let's face it. No matter how careful you try to be, sometimes a project can be damaged while it is being created, or sometimes the end results are not what you expected. The question then becomes "Can this project be saved?" Here are some examples from my recent projects. The pattern for the hound dog is from Snazzy Toys by Toymaker Press:

Here is the finished hound dog. Can you see what went wrong?

Yes, he is missing a chunk of his tail. The hound dog was cut from oak, which is notorious for breaking along the grain. I was using a piece of scrap, and therefore wasn't able to align the most fragile part, the tail, so the grain would run vertically and therefore be less likely to break. When it snapped during sanding, I could have scrapped the project, but decided instead to round the tail and go with it. The nice thing about scroll sawing is that once the pattern is removed, nobody else has to know if you strayed from the line.

Here is another example. I poured black epoxy for this rhinoceros and didn't like how it looked. There wasn't enough contrast with the dark wood, and the epoxy shrank a bit while curing, so it was not level with the wood. So, I decided to add some epoxy and used gray instead:

There are still hints of the black epoxy around the edges, which gives a unique and interesting look to the finished key chain.

Fused glass projects can be very challenging because the glass doesn't always snap along the score lines, color can change during the fusing process, and parts of the design can shift while fusing. The first fused glass bowl I sold was a salvaged accident. I broke the base circle for the bowl and tried to rejoin it during the fuse. It was mostly successful, but two small holes remained along the break. Fortunately, my mistake was another person's art. Here is a picture of a fused glass pendant which shifted during fusing. I sawed and ground the damaged areas and fire polished in the kiln, therefore saving it from the scrap pile:

Beaded jewelry design lends itself well to corrective action. If a project doesn't turn out as expected, or if it doesn't resonate with buyers, it can be reworked or most of the pieces can be reused in other projects. Here is a necklace I recently remade. I just didn't like how it turned out (first picture):

I am much happier with the reworked necklace:

I hope my examples will encourage you to try to save some of your own damaged or disappointing projects. The results are often quite satisfying.

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