I quite often get an itchy back and have thought for ages that I must sort myself out with a decent back scratcher.
And so, at last, I made one!
This project was a particularly satisfying way to spend a weekend. It was good to use raw logs that I had scavanged, for all the wood used. It also involved lots of enjoyable carving using power tools.
The wood came from:
- A cast-off pruning from a tree surgeon's waste chip pile (cherry fork)
- The edge of a log from the woods (spalted beech). This was an off-cut from cutting planks for a table-building project about four years previously.
The finished back scratcher
Here it is. I like its organic bony look. It looks like some found limb, that has somehow become detached from a strange mythical woodland creature and decayed somewhat.
In this early evening low light, it looks a bit creepy...
Build part 1 - making a hand...
(albeit with a very branch-shaped mitten on it!)
You can really see the natural hand shape here.
This is the hollow between the palm of the hand (centre) and the curled fingers (top left block).
(from a mitten to a glove, so to speak)
Note the little finger (left) showing some grooves that need smoothing out.
Build part 2 - making a handle
I also considered using this Elm log, because it has irridescent grain, if cut in a certain direction.
This is an elm log, left over from my old dead elm tree in the garden.
It creates cross-lines in the wood from sanding across the grain, that need to be removed later and that is hard work and tedious.
Build part 3 - putting it all together
Now I had a scratchy hand and a bony appendage, the next job was to join the two together.
For this, I created a tenon on the end of the appendage-shaped handle. Here it is, roughed out
I then drilled a corresponding hole in the hand to receive the tendon.
I then used a tap to cut the internal thread to match the thread on the tenon.
This thread was actually a bit better than the one on the tenon of the handle.
Here is a test fit of the threaded tenon screwed into the threaded hole in the hand.
The thread was quite loose, so I added in a second metal pin to secure it to stop it rotating.
You can't see it in these shots.
Build part 4 - Final carving
Headphones, eye protection and a trusty leather apron are all advisable when doing this.
Build part 5 - strengthening the joint
By using sawdust, the joint was stronger than epoxy resign alone too. It forms a composite material that is equivalent to GRP (glass-reinforced plastic aka fibreglass) or papier mache.
It's subtle, but it did help blend one piece into the other, so the eye focuses more on the continuity of the shape, and less on the previous discontinuity of the colour when left unstained.