Burn………Baby……….Burn

WARNING: The following presentation discusses a form of wood finishing which involves the use of an open flame, a torch to be more specific. Please be familiar with your particular device and read all cautions and warnings for said device. The Sting Of The Scorpion Blog nor myself will not be held responsible for any errors in your judgement. The information provided in this post is educational under the assumption that the person attempting this particular technique has a certain degree of common sense. Therefore, if YOU fuck it up YOU yourself is responsible for fucking it up, not me or this blog. One needs to be aware of the dangers involved when using an open flame. In the end, practice first, practice again, and be extremely fucking careful. Again, I will not be held responsible for YOUR errors or victories. The following information is based on my personal experience and knowledge. Got it?

img_20160218_115032817_hdr.jpg

When I lived in Japan I was very lucky to have stumbled upon an older gentleman who was willing to teach me a wood finishing technique called Yaki-Matsu (burnt pine). Since then I have practiced and somewhat perfected my own personal version of this wood finishing technique. I cannot stress enough, seriously, that this can turn into a disaster in a blink of an eye since wood burns, but with a little practice one can tame the flame to make a very unique look on anything made of wood. Also, let me just state that I have 30 plus years experience in woodworking and cabinetry. Therefore, I hate to call this a DIY style post. My intent is to share a technique of wood finishing that others can try on small to large projects. Before you try any of this at home be sure you are aware of what you are doing and be responsible enough to know your personal limits and skills.

img_20160218_115010541_hdr.jpg

In reality this post won’t be an all inclusive do it yourself post on how to burn the grain of the wood to get this special look. Basically, I’m just answering all the questions in advance since it might be hard to grasp the concept and design of my project personally. As one can see from the pictures, my project was to create an island space in a rustic nature to blend in with the cedar woodwork in my sister’s 100+ year old farm house. Also, before all of y’all self appointed experts try to get in my ass for not doing it your way just feel free to hold those opinions. Like any “tradition”, I have taken this technique and made it my own. Trust me, I’ve ruined more than one piece of wood over the years. As mentioned, my sister wanted something unique, not the typical look, not something out of the box, and something that had a ” wow factor”. Overall, it was a very tall order to fill, and not to mention that this has been a time consuming project to say the absolute very least. So let’s begin the highlight reel.

img_20160218_105358827_hdr.jpg

Where y’all see an island used to be a wall with a pass through hole in it. First step, demo the wall and support the second floor. Then to create bar height seating as well as an island that is kitchen counter height. The secondary purpose of the island was for storage. Once the construction portion was complete it was time to talk finishing it all off. I chose to “antique” and distress everything except for the two cedar posts and the actual counter and bar surfaces. Antiquing this much area, to include the ceiling features took a great deal of time. I remind everyone that everything you see was created, from the tongue and groove beaded boards to all the trim, the cabinet doors, and so forth. I left my treatment of the top a secret, a surprise that was either going to make or break this project. By now I can assume that many of y’all have Googled the term “Yaki-Matsu” so I can simply tell y’all it is a technique in which the grain of the wood is kissed with the open flame of a torch. I chose this instead of staining or leaving it natural because of its true uniqueness, as no two boards look the same. When the time came to mount the wood I used square headed barn nails that I liberated from a 147 year old barn we tore down last summer. Yes, I have hundreds and hundreds of feet of barn lumber and no it is not for sale. At the time of these pictures I had not applied the varathane yet. After burning the one all that needs to be done is rubbing the wood down with a dry, clean, soft cloth.

img_20160218_105442713_hdr.jpg

I will post more pictures when I’m 100% done. Hell, the purpose of this post was to let some concerned individuals know what I’ve been up to because they think I have quit blogging or that I’m dead. So far I have around 200 hours invested into it, I probably have at least 20 to go. Just know this, as a final warning, one will come across occasions when using the torch in the house becomes necessary to touch up edges and so forth, remember that most things in our houses don’t react well with open flames, I’m just saying. I guess as I look back over what has been written I can see this wasn’t much of a tutorial at all, which is fitting because I such giving instructions for the most part. If nothing else maybe y’all learned that there is yet another way to beautifully treat wood without stain or paint. I suppose, in the end, I’ll just share some pictures with y’all and call it good.

Troubles With Being Troubled

IMG_20160204_161813510_HDR

It troubles me a great deal that I have spent the last month cleaning out my storage unit and moving what we wanted to keep in what is now a spare bedroom since my daughter got married and moved out. The overall goal was to eliminate 90% of the shit we had in storage, keeping only what truly necessary. I did well, I reduced a 20′ X 20′ unit, packed to the gills floor to ceiling and wall to wall to a stack 3′ deep, 7′ wide, and 7′ or so tall. Also giving plenty of room for my bowflex and Arachnid arcade coin operated bar style dart board. The intent was to keep shit handier than 5 miles away. But I’ll be damned if it hasn’t already happened, I couldn’t find one thing I kept out to assist me in hanging some new shelves I recently built.

But no, it was MIA, until after 3 hours of searching, then to find out that even with a brand spanking new battery, my fucking stud finder has taken it’s final shit. Yes, I know I could have bought one and been done in the time it took me to locate this dead one, but it was the principal of it, I had one, and I’m a cheap bastard. Hence why I’ve depended on the same one for some 15 years or so. My shit must be broken before I replace it. Only this time duct tape and bailing wire cannot make this work. So, how did I lose it to begin with? Beats the crap out of me. I went from having a well equipped woodworking shop to 2 roller/stacker craftsman toolboxes, 4 tool chests, 4 tool boxes, and three 20MM ammo cans. Now that I write that out it seems a bit excessive, but the only tools I sold during the foreclosure 7 years ago were power tools like a table saw, lathe, router set up, 2 air compressors, a handful or air tools, and my 10′ clamps. I didn’t get rid of one hand tool or smaller electric tools. What I still have is my little gold mine. Figures the one Stanley product I own is the one that took a shit.

Eventhough I know where each of my tools are located, the stud finder found its way into a box with miscalanious shit my wife wanted off the dining room table, she didn’t know it was a “tool” when it was put away. Know something else? I have quite a large collection of knives come to find out, all of them in one place now makes it look a bit excessive, just saying. But, when one downsizes and condenses one’s belongings, one finds out he has some weird collection habits. So, in the end, I was forced to do things the old fashioned way. As a result, my shelf was hung without the aid of my elusive stud finder, and now that this little project is done its time to find more trouble to play with to keep me busy. Made me wonder tho, made me think back when I was being educated, that this occasion gave me an opportunity to share my knowledge with my son. Moral to this little story is that there is always more than one way to skin the cat. Sometimes one must rely on tried and true ways instead of technology and convenience. This entire episode taught me a valuable lesson, sometimes shortcuts fail and we have to rely on experience as well as being able to adapt to a changing environment, if we don’t know more than one way to do something then we are screwed. Too deep this early in the day? Anyway, on to the next project.