A friend of the family runs an Etsy shop called Lily and Maze and was getting ready to do a local craft fair a while back. She asked if I could make her a necklace display, gave me the approximate dimensions and let me at it. I didn’t really ask how she wanted it done and she didn’t say so for some reason my mind went right to FIRE!
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The design I settled on was a wooden panel about 18-inches tall, 12-inches wide attached to a 2-inch thick base with tapered supports. Looking around my shop, I had quite a bit of alder left over from my recent barn door and metal inlay project and decided that was going to be the material of choice. I recently finished a tapering jig and used that to taper the supports that were later screwed to the base and display panel.
Some wooden hand screw clamps helped to pair up individual boards in the panel where I planed two at a time to ensure a perfect glue up. If you want to see more about this method and the use of wooden hand screw clamps in place of a traditional bench vise, check out my latest Monkey Moment. I also went the extra mile with some biscuits to help with alignment during glue up. After the panel was assembled and dried, I routed an ogee design around the sides and hand planed the back to help get a flush mount to the base. I didn’t worry too much about smoothing out the front because the biscuits helped keep that straight and my finishing method would help with the rest.
For assembly, I used an assortment of pocket and countersunk screws for pretty much the entire thing. All fasteners would be hidden in the end and it’s not much of a fine piece of furniture sort of thing.
I pulled out the big boy torch and burnt the whole thing to a crisp to the point that I had to spray it down with water before it finished burning up. The fire did a nice job of blending the ogee routed edges and the slightly not flattened front into something that looked well-worn and well toasted. I’ve learned from experience that you can’t just spray on clear coat due to the charred brittle surface but after a little sanding, you can apply a clear coat and the beautifully black color shows right back up.
After sanding but before applying a clear coat, I applied multiple coats of a dark blue paint. The fire blackened surface soaked up the color but turned it into one of those effects of changing color as you walk past. I used an awl to mark holes for the necklaces before applying a few coats of danish oil as a finish and completing it with 16 brad nails as hangers.
If you want to find out more about more about finishing with fire, check out my article where I burnt in a wolf design in a matter of minutes. Also, you can see my friends Etsy store at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LilyandMaze.