Copper and oak

So, remember that ring clamp I started way back? Well, I found myself in need of one last week, and figured I’d better finish that thing up. The problem with the original plan and work is that the off-center positioning of the hinge, as well as the short span, made the tool fairly useless. Rather than start over, though, I looked at a couple of other varieties and decided to refit my original work for something I could actually use.

Notched for pad and band
Notched for pads and band
The bands
The bands
Test fitting the bands
Test fitting the bands

At this point I decide I stained the pieces and gave them a quick clear coat of polyurethane, polished up the copper, glued and trimmed the leather pads, and put the thing together:

Mostly finished ring clamp
Mostly finished

I’m working out a sweet copper knob to replace the wing nut, and I need to add a hinge to the bottom, but I can use this as it is.

30 Days of Creativity, Day 2: Sweet Moleskine Cover

So, yesterday’s plan to etch some stuff didn’t really work out. The toner didn’t stick well, and so I never even got anything into the etchant. Today, however, I have.

The original plan was/is to use a special paper that allows me to print my design, transfer it to the material to be etched, and drop it into the etching solution. It’s an awesome idea, but very tricky to get right. You can get a tool to help with the transfer($300), or you can use a laminator (which I don’t have), or you can try to use a regular househol iron. I tried the iron, and it just made a mes. Ultimately, you just need to have some material that will cover whatever you don’t want etched away. After a quick look around the garage, I decided to try some left over exterior latex paint.

First, I cleaned off the old toner with acetone (thanks, Mike), and cut a small piece to use for this test. I taped this down, added a quick couple of shapes, and cut through the tape with an exacto knife.

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Pulling of the “to be discarded” bits, I’m left with a mask that reveals the shape of the finished piece. I dig this feature of this approach, as it really gives a clear picture of the final piece, where other approaches require a bit more imagination.


I grabbed my left over paint, and painted in the front and back.

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While I let that dry, I mixed up my etching solution with muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide. Once that was done, I couldn’t resist dropping a little sliver of brass into the solution:


Neat! Once the paint was mostly dry, into the solution it goes


… and we wait


… and eventually I realize that the paint is not sticking. Crap. I pull it out of the solution and get it rinsed off.

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The thing is paper thin (the original material was only .005″ to start), but has some interesting colors and patterns from the paint. But what to do with it? A little spray adhesive later, and viola!


A sweet custom moleskin cover.

30 Days of Creativity, Day 1: Brass Bookmark

I don’t remember how I ended up at, but I remember thinking “Wow. What a neat idea. I’m going to do that.” Well, here I go…

I’m working on a project that involves etching thin sheets of brass, and I’m having a bit of trouble with the process. The result is that I have a bunch if very thin brass sheet with toner half fused to it. I can’t use it for etching (though I may look into chemically removing the toner), so it is essentially scrap.


One of the objects for the etching project is a pair of bookmarks for my kids. Simple, and a good test of the process… when it works. As it stands, It’s not really working, so I figured I’d use the scrap to whip up a little, shiny bookmark.



It is 100% effective at marking the page in the book I am reading, in spite of the crappy photo.