Thursday, December 16, 2021

A Couple More Gift Ideas

It's unlike me to be this crafty, but I had a few ideas this year.  First off, my wife is a swimmer and uses a swim cap in the pool.  Afterwards she soaks it and then hangs it on a shampoo bottle to dry.  I thought I might give her something custom made for that purpose.  Enter the palm tree swim cap rack.

The green paint was an afterthought, but looked good

Here are the five parts.  Post is 9" long.

Bottom of the 3/4" square post has crossed housings into which
fit the half lapped 5/8" tall feet

Same joinery at the top, except the "fronds" are 1 1/8" tall

And here it is, modeling with a swim cap

It's finished with two coats of poly.  I hope it's useful.  Even if she doesn't like it, it makes me happy to have made it.

The second thing I made uses wine bottle corks and small chunks of wood.  She recently mentioned that she didn't have a cap with a good seal on her soda bottles (she only drinks 1/2 to 1/3 of the bottle at a time and they can go flat).  So I thought I'd try to make something.  I got out the bungee lathe and formed a few bottle stopper caps.

Shaping the stoppers

After shaping on the lathe, I cut them off and smoothed over the top of the cap.  I needed to bore a hole in the bottom.  This was interesting, first because I was boring into end grain and second because the parts are small and I needed a good way to hold them.  I ended up making a jig to hold them - a 1 1/2" hole in a 1" thick piece of wood and a saw kerf extending from the end of the piece of wood to the hole.  This kerf allowed a clamp to be used to tighten the jig around the cap.  The diameter of my caps is just under 1 1/2", so a little piece of leather wrapped around the cap, stuffed into the hole in the piece of wood and a clamp to squeeze it tight did the trick.  And boring the 7/8" hole into the end grain was easier than I thought it would be.  Four of these are cherry and one is a mystery wood.

The corks are epoxied into the caps

I finished the wooden caps with several coats of shellac.  Time will tell if that was a good idea.  They might get wet from time to time.  And I don't know they'll seal well enough to keep the sodas from getting flat - we'll see.

Anyway, these were quite fun to make.  I didn't have a definite plan at the start.  It was just good to get in the shop and fool around.

Enjoy the holidays, everybody!

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