Since I just wrote about wood graining, I thought it would be appropriate to share this passage written by Nathaniel Whittock back in 1828 on the subject:
It is of great consequence in imitating oak that the joiner’s work should be represented naturally as well as the wood. The practitioner in graining who resides in any large town, will have ample opportunities in observing the work of others, and improving from their beauties, and even from their defects. If a new oak door is to be formed, the joiner is solicitous to select wood as finely flowered and free from knots as it can be procured; and if a join is made in a panel he is anxious that the wood should be of the same colour, and if possible that the grain and flower should match, as nothing would look worse in his eye than knotty wood and difference of colour.
And yet it is the constant practice of the painter, in order to shew his skill in graining, to make both those faults show as glaringly as possible. Nothing can be more offensive to the eye of taste than to see the panels of a door joined at all; but if the painter chooses to shew his skill, let the joint appear neatly put together, and shew the joint by combing the grain in opposite directions. The common error is to form the joint by glazing part of the panel with a glaze of vandyke brown, leaving the other part the natural color of newly cut oak. This certainly shews a joint, but shews it much in the same way that a tailor would shew his skill in patching a hole in a black coat with a piece of scarlet cloth.
Oak panel door
Editor’s note: The word “shew” used here is simply an older spelling variation for the word “show”. Originally published in The Decorative Painters’ and Glaziers’ Guide, by Nathaniel Whittock. London: Isaac Taylor Hinton, 1828, pp 24-25.
Dug North has started a series on working with brass, and in the first installment, he shows several ways to cut brass. Whether it’s brass rod, tube or sheets, he knows the tools to use.
This is pretty great: the “Women in Leadership” column at the Guardian has highlighted Hayley Gibbs, a prop maker in the UK. It’s heartening to see a news outlet acknowledge that people who work with their hands and make things can be leaders too.
Our first show of the calendar year at Triad was Anna Christie. One challenge that arose was the need for a realistic lager beer. The first scene takes place in a bar, and the bartender pours several beers from a keg onstage. We couldn’t use real beer, because the amount the actress had to actually consume would have laid her on the floor before the scene was through. So I needed a self-contained and consistent means to produce several glasses of a fake frothy beverage on a bar which entered at the beginning of the scene and was struck a vista at the end. I shot a little video showing how I did it:
Though a few years old, this tutorial on making paper clay is pretty useful. Paper clay is a great sculpting material if you are working with kids, or otherwise need a cheap and non-toxic medium.
I always enjoy when Lost Art Press posts 19th century texts about workmanship. This recent one on “Good Workmen and Good Tools” is such a post. Take care of your tools!
Designing a vinyl toy with Joe Ledbetter is a bit different than what most of us do. He steps us through the many procedures one goes through when one designs a vinyl toy and works with a factory to put it into production. It’s kind of fascinating.