Tuesday, December 22, 2009

77 Problems, but sticking ain't one

For my self-promotion project, I wanted to keep it green...use repurposed, sustainable, and/or environmentally-friendly materials whenever possible. When it comes to certain materials, however, green alternatives aren't nearly as effective as the status quo. The 2 items I used that were definitely not environmentally-friendly were Krylon Sealer and 3M Super 77 Adhesive. Both items contain some serious health warnings on the back. Don't breathe it, don't touch it, wear goggles, ventilate the room, no open flames...and call a doctor if you decide to ignore any of these warnings.

In 2002, 3M reformulated super 77 to use an acetone solvent (not considered a VOC) instead of cyclohexane (an extra-nasty VOC). The big stink from the Krylon sealer is from toluene, the VOC in paint thinner that makes you light-headed. The sealer also has an acetone base. With all of these active ingredients, the biggest problem is with long-term exposure. Overexposure to solvents can cause permanent brain and nervous system damage. If you live near a production facility that stores/uses large quantities of these products, groundwater contamination can potentially be a concern.

Even with all that said, Super 77 sticks paper to other stuff better than any other product I know (besides maybe 3M Hi-Strength 90)...and Krylon Sealer seals and maintains the color of wood better than anything else I've tried.

I'm definitely open to suggestions. If you know a better way to seal wood or stick paper to things, contact me and I'll try it out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Self Promo Cover

I started production of the self-promotional project with a visit to Bring Recycling in Springfield. I knew that I wanted a large, thin board to use as a cover for the portfolio. After digging through rows of doors, shelves and furniture, I came across a shelf filled with random, discarded dresser drawers. I was looking for a big drawer with a nice, well-worn interior. I found an extra-ugly drawer for $3 that had a big, beautiful, dusty, crusty bottom piece.

I took the drawer home and extracted the nails and brads that held the bottom in place. I then looked around my garage and realized I didn't have any tools for cutting the board without it looking like a kindergartener chopped up some oak tag with safety scissors. I called my buddy Ames and traded a case of Sessions for the use of his table saw. We made the cuts, sanded the wood, then drank the beer and admired our craftsmanship.

I wanted it to look like my signature had been seared into the front cover with a cattle brand. It wasn't going to be practical for me to forge a metal brand, so I considered my alternatives. I visited Jeff Franklin at Refocus Engraving in Junction City to explore my options. I worked closely with Jeff on a piece of scrap wood from the drawer bottom to get the marks just right. He had to defocus the beam to make the lines look less exacting (and to char only the surface of the wood). The results exceeded my expectations.

scrap piece for test burn

video of the laser

cover after burn

After sealing the wood, I attached the piano hinge to the inside and the cover was good to go. Next up: the inside.

piano hinge

finished cover