My Daughters School Project

My apologies for the hiatus in posting.   I had to work in other media for a while – other than wood.   Had to go where the paying customers were!  :-)

Anyway, I wanted to bring up something that occurred to me when  my daughter brought home a school etching project.   The kids had created etch masks which were used to sandblast the designs into a piece of 2×4 lumber  (pine wood).  What I found interesting, when I saw it, was that the ridges created by the growth rings exhibited very little erosion, and the grooves were correspondingly quite deep.   In etching terms, this would be referred to as having “high selectivity.”  Here is the finished piece from the front:

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And here is a side view to demonstrate the ridges and grooves:

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After seeing this, it occurred to me that if the starting worpiece was only 1/4″ thick, the grooves could potentially go right through the whole piece (creating openings) while the ridges would still be intact.  This could be used to create a cool artistic effect.   So, I plan to try this out in the next few days and I will report back the results on this blog.  (If anyone else has tried this already, please feel free to post your results here.)

In the mean time – Happy Blasting!!

Wood Grain (Growth Rings) and Sandcarving

Unlike many other materials, when sandcarving wood there is a strong interaction between the material and the process. The growth rings in the wood (otherwise called the grain) comprise alternating softer and harder material.   The softer material behaves more like a blast mask and resists etching.   The harder material is more easily removed.   As a consequence of this, after sandblasting, the surface of the wood can exhibit ridges, corresponding to the grain pattern. The images below show a design etched into the lid of a myrtle wood box.  The etched areas exhibit a relief resulting from the wood grain.  The blasted areas of this box lid were stained with a dark walnut stain prior to removing the blast mask.

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While the ridges can in some cases be objectionable, they can also be used for effect.  How pronounced they are depends on the type of wood.  More on this in a subsequent blog …….