Thursday, 5 May 2011

Update: Ferns, Sticks, Trinity Tar

Here's some breaking news on subjects I've broached in the past, of no particular internal relevance and in no particular order.

Fiddleheads

In Hermitcraft: Fiddleheads I discussed the differences between Pteridium (bracken) shoots and those of other ferns, such as those pictured in the article. Here then is a photo of one such Pteridium shoot, for those who want to taste (or avoid) them. (Click to enlarge.) Where they occur, they typically occur en masse; one spring I took a walk during a 10 minute break in a community college course I was teaching, and came back with a mighty fistful of these.

Walking Stick

In A Brief History of the Stick I mentioned that I'd whipped the end of my walking stick and coated the cord with PVC cement. It didn't work, though it probably would have if I'd used urethane varnish. (The glue was an experiment.) I've since stripped off the whipping and replaced it with this brass plumbing fitting from the hardware store. The balance of the stick has changed a bit, but all in all it's working very nicely.

Trinity Tar

Here are few more examples of projects I finished after I wrote Hermitcraft: Trinity Tar. To the left is an outdoor stair banister I reconditioned this winter, made of very well-weathered pine. I sanded it smooth and applied lebenty-leben coats of my standard outdoor recipe, to wit, 1 part linseed oil, 1 part paint thinner, 1 part white vinegar, and half a part of bitumen tar. It's a little darker than the indoor version, on account of the marine tar, and much more mould-resistant, on account of that and the paint thinner, instead of turpentine.

Here's another banister, this one of equally weathered
hemlock. I sanded this one equally smooth and stacked on equal coats of marine-grade trinity tar. Hemlock mildews more than pine, so it was still pretty grey when I started laying on the oil. It soon darkened to a deep walnut, almost ebony, finish, with swirling, interesting grain.

And for those who missed it, there's also a photo of a hawthorn gong beater finished in marine-grade trinity tar in Hermitcraft: Ancestor Gong.
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