Saturday, May 16, 2015

Maori Hei Matau Finished

Here are the pictures of the Finished Maori Hei Matau. I enjoyed working with the Brazilian Rosewood. It is a medium hard, close grained wood. It will take fine detailed carving. I plan on more projects with what I have left. I did struggle with the lashing. The links I found on the subject weren't detailed enough for me, so tied and retied until I felt pleased with the results.

 I used brown and cream un-waxed linen cord for the necklace with brown for the lashing.

I used black marble stone beads for the slide and keepers.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Maori Hei Matau Gets a Finish

After completing the carving of the Maori Hei Matau or Fish Hook I spent time carefully sanding it with progressively finer sand paper, then with 000 steel wool. 

 As you can see this wood is dense enough give a nice glow even without a finish applied. We wouldn't want it to get unintentional staining, so I will give it a few coats of Tung Oil. Tung Oil adds a little color to any wood you apply it too, this can enhance or detract from the natural colors. In this case I want it to darken the wood and add it's golden tones. This should help it look closer to the Koa wood. When applying it to the wood the first coat is the most important one. It is the layer that penetrates deepest. To make sure it goes as deeply as it can I warm it up and then soak the wood in it overnight. I place it in a sealable bag and press all the air out so it doesn't dry. The next morning I then let it dry 15 to 20 minutes before buffing it all off.

Let it dry overnight before applying subsequent coats. Every coat now will help fill the in surface and add to the final luster.

 With three coats I achieved the desired effect. It's now ready for the lashing.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Maori Style Hei Matau Continues

Now it's time to give the hook a rounded shape and smoother contours. To help ensure that I don't remove too much from either side making it lopsided I drew a line at the half thickness point all the way around the hook.

I can now shape to this line from both sides and keep the cross section even. I used a combination of carving chisels and files to shape it.

I used an offset chisel and a parting chisel to remove the bulk of the undesired wood, stopping frequently to strop them on a two sided strop. It's important to strop frequently so you don't have to resharpen then saving you both effort when carving and saving your chisel. The strop finely polishes to keep an extremely keen edge. This strop has a linen side and a dense leather side, with a stropping paste applied.
After the carving I do final shaping with files. I use a cross cut bastard file, a cross cut fine, a combination half round rasp, and fine needle files.

More of the Maori Style Hei Matau

More of the Maori Style Hei Matau
Next I cut it out using a fine tooth hand saw (Jeweler's) and a table mounted V-block. I'm not familiar with this wood so I am using hand tools rather than power tools to get the feel of it. This only took a few minutes.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Maori Style Fish Hook or Hei Matau

I had some time off work while recuperating from a medical procedure, so I was looking at some sites online. I saw a beautiful Hei Matau (Maori Fish Hook). There are many great examples to view thanks to the internet. I chose one I would like to make. It was made of cow bone that was charred black. You can find them carved out of bone, wood and a combination of the two. Old pieces were made of whale bone, which is regulated and protected. I don't have any bone right now and if I got some from a butcher it would take too long to prepare. With that in mind I decided to make mine from wood. The favorite wood is Koa which is a gorgeous wood from the pacific islands. It has rich brown and gold coloring with nice density. Once again I didn't have any Koa handy, so we took a trip to the wood store. They didn't have any Koa, either. That was a big let down. I really wanted to make this, so I browsed through the slabs. I found a great piece of Brazilian Rosewood. It's not Koa, but it has a beautiful figure and color similar to Koa. I will order some Koa and make a second later, but I wanted to make one now so I bought the Brazilian Rosewood.

 I drew a pattern with a red pen then refined it with a black pen. After getting a pattern I liked I flipped it over and marked it heavily with an HB pencil in preparation of transfering it to the wood.
I then flip it back over, lay it onto the wood, and retrace the picture pressing hard to transfer the image to the wood.
If you're not real good at making a pattern but find a good printable picture then all is not lost. download the picture and in an edit program (such as Paint, or Photoshop) flip the picture to a mirror image and adjust the size til it prints the image to the full size you what. Print it on a laser printer or copy it on a laser copier. Don't use a color jet type, because we want the waxy hard ink produced by the laser print/copy process to use in our transfer. Take this printout and lay it face down on the wood and use a hot iron to melt the ink onto the wood.