Annie [Pine]

 19th January 2014

 Scott Hampshire

I came about doing this piece as a Christmas Present for my manager at my 9-5. She has done quite a bit to make my transition into the real world of working the best it could be, so I figured that I should at least try to do something in return. She knew I had something coming along since I asked for her favorite color, but still had no clue what it could have been.

I'm running low on materials because I don't have the time or ready access to a vehicle that would be able to transport the materials I'd like. I'll probably continue working with the pieces I have left over until they get so small that I'll have no choice but to drive to NW Portland. Annie is such a short name that I had a spare piece of pine I was given in Provo that seemed like a perfect blank for the piece. I haven't worked with pine before, but the look of the grain is something that I've wanted to see. The size made this quite easy to carve, even if the uneven grain made it somewhat more difficult than bass or any other close-grained wood.

I haven't worked with pine before, but the look of the grain is something that I've wanted to see.

I'm always looking for ways to make the font I use in each sign unique. It would be easy to simply use the same design for every sign I make, but I'd like to think that every piece has something unique about it. Given the small size of the blank I had for Annie, I was somewhat limited with additions I could make to each letter, so I put the emphasis on the 'A'. I don't normally sketch before I start on the blank, but I didn't know what was going to work right away, so I took to pen and paper until I found something I liked. I liked the removal of the horizontal piece in the A, but I ended up removing the small serifs I placed on the Ns. I feel like simplicity was best for a piece of this size.

Despite the large knot that was in the middle of the blank, it was quite simple to rough out with the scroll saw. I was worried I might lose the core that remained in the body of the piece, but the finish should provide enough support that it won't just fall out. Carving was a slight change of pace from what I'm used to. The grain in pine is quite wide, which can make cutting with the knife difficult because you tend to get a washboard pattern as you have areas of high resistance followed by very low resistance. While I did encounter this, I was going to be sanding afterward and all such artifacts would be removed during the sanding process.

I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I cleaned up the knife marks and had the piece ready for finishing. I used a polyurethane coat with a high gloss finish. It took 4-5 coats to get a sheen that I was satisfied with. I also went ahead and painted my signature flowers as well. As I noted previously, I found out that Annie's favorite color is blue, so I went with a light blue petal and the green leaves.

I'm more than pleased with the final outcome of this piece. The grain is just what I wanted to make it a little more interesting with the natural finish. I will definitely be working with pine more in the future.