Rufdog.

Don’t back down

Archive for May 2009

Sun & Rain

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blue020
It’s been a while since I did a Blue update. As he has just passed his half year on this Earth, I thought a quick photo update was required. Recently the weather has been reminiscent of April, with the sun and showers. Blue doesn’t seem to care too much about the weather, he actually seems to have more ‘mental’ moments in the rain.

When he was much younger, I documented right here, that he had a bit of a commando nutter streak in him. He’d forgo the freshly cut and level lawn, opting instead to crash and bound his way through the undergrowth, weeds and deadwood at the edges of the garden. Well, as the Spring farmland crops have shot skywards, he has rekindled his talent for conquering tall fauna and flora.

Blue goes absolutely mental, running akin to a springbok in the tall grass and crops effortlessly. I tried to keep up with him in the tall wet grass during a downpour, and it was bloody hard work. He bounds through the green stuff with gusto, eventually landing, literally, at my feet exhausted, but always ready for more of the same with little encouragement.

Whether it’s rain or sun, he seems to thoroughly enjoy himself.

blue019Crashed out in the wet grass

blue021Soaked. The top of Blue’s snout is drenched

blue022On a sunnier day, Blue mid flight whilst ‘going nuts’

blue023Having a rest amongst the wheat crop

blue024How crop circles are made

blue025Sunny stroll down a driveway that forms part of a public right of way

blue026Blue is out of shot, but a beautiful English countryside scene nonetheless

blue027Gis a drink… I even carried with me a bottle of water and a small dish for the little fella

Written by rufdog

May 21, 2009 at 11:53 pm

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Project Hex: Building an Hexagonal Bird Table (Part 3)

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hex017
As you can see, the three tiers of tiled roof has been completed. I’m pretty pleased with the outcome, the slightly varying shades of the chopped up lollipop sticks give the roof a beautiful effect.

Below you can see the various build stages of getting this far. During the tiling stage, I gave some thought to what type of colouring, staining and protection I should apply to the roof. Part of me wanted to let the natural shades of the roof stay as they are, but after a little digging around online I decided that a deeper colour would be preferable.

I spent some time online researching ways of achieving a weathered darker colour, without losing the natural beauty of the wood. I found some interesting articles on how to naturally weather the wood.

hex014Second tier gets underway

hex015Another section of the second tier complete

hex016Second tier complete and the base of the final third tier is glued & screwed in place

hex018Roof cap section takes shape

I was simply going to fit a wooden finial to the top of the main roof, like a ball shape that are common on staircase banisters. Having failed to find an hexagonal finial for sale (that wasn’t extortionately priced), I decided to construct a ‘bell tower-like’ structure. I’m sure there is a technical name for this part of a building, dovecote maybe?

I decided against using wooden tiles on the ‘dovecote’ roof, as it would be near on impossible to get a truely waterproof cap. I entertained using copper sheet, but worried that the corrosive run-off of water would stain the wooden tiles on the main roof below. I tried creating a one-piece aluminium roof out of an inside out beer can, but the metal was so thin it simply split when folded. Eventually I settled on raiding the back of the garage and using a cut-off of self adhesive roofing felt, the sort with stone chips pressed into it.

hex019Testing fitment of ‘dovecote’

hex020Shot from above, showing the now felted ‘dovecote’

Next stage is sealing the ridge area, eves and applying a weathered effect & waterproofing.

Click here for Part 4 of ‘Project Hex’

Written by rufdog

May 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Driftwood Horses by Heather Jansch

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driftwoodhorse
Heather Jansch’s driftwood horse sculptures are stunning. As someone who loves naturally aged and weathered wood, this type of scupture appeals to me greatly. Driftwood has a beautiful feel to it. Anyone who has done a spot of beachcombing will know that it is very appealing to the eye and touch. Sun bleached and pounded smooth by the ocean, driftwood on it’s own is a work of (natures) art.

Jansch breathes more life into this extraordinary wood with her lifesized equestrian sculptures. Any artist will tell you that horses are notoriously difficult to capture in any medium, so my respect for the creativity and work that goes into these pieces has depth beyond a well painted canvas.

The artists background has some appeal too. Heather Jansch wasn’t a product of the usual high and mighty art colleges. She was asked to leave Goldsmith’s College due to her indifference to soulless modern art that was en vogue at her time of study. She went her own way and took on board teachings from the well respected artist and teacher Arthur Giadelli, whom she greatly admired. After some time making a living from painting equestrian commissions, Jansch found herself admiring some driftwood and a spark of creation crackled. She had found what she was looking for.

driftwoodfoulDriftwood Foul

driftwoodbear‘Natural’ Bear

As shown above, Jansch’s talent has successfully taken a sideways step into other natural materials and animals. I presume the bear is constructed from woodland material, which works a treat. What adds that extra touch of wonderment is that the materials used are relevant to the piece. I’m half tempted to have a go myself of creating a ‘shaggy’ version of my dog, as his resemblence to a shaggy bear cub is uncanny.

For more information, visit Heather Jansch’s Website

Written by rufdog

May 16, 2009 at 10:47 am

Bird of Paradise

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birdofparadise

Bird of Paradise – Strelitzia reginae
Shot taken outside our hotel on a recent business trip to San Diego.

The bird-of-paradise flower (Strelitzia reginae), or crane flower as it is sometimes known, is native to the southern and eastern parts of the Cape Province and northern Natal in South Africa, where it grows wild on river banks and in scrub clearings in coastal areas. It was first introduced into Britain in 1773 by Sir Joseph Banks, then the unofficial director of the Royal Gardens at Kew (as they were known at that time). He named the exotic-looking plant Strelitzia in honour of Queen Charlotte, wife of George III and Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who lived at Kew for many years.

Taken from the Kew Gardens website

Written by rufdog

May 15, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Project Hex: Building an Hexagonal Bird Table (Part 2)

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Having decided that the ’tiled’ route was definitely the best way forward, I forged on with tiling all six sides of the first tier. The cutting and sanding of each tile was getting laborious, so I cut and filed a dozen or so at a time, then glue them to the roof base. Mainly doing a row at a time.

Cutting the trianglar tiles for the ridge areas was the most difficult part. I had to cut against the wood grain in a specific direction, otherwise the tiny wood tiles would break up. I have to say, the gluing of the tiles was very therapeutic, and definitely the best part. The benefit of the slow drying glue is that it allowed for adjustment. The aligning of the tiles was most important, over the length of a section it was easy to be 5mm out vertically, so a constant check on levels and spacing was needed.

hex005Starting where I left off

hex006The entire first tier complete

hex007View from directly above

hex008I couldn’t get the tiles perfect along the ridges, but close enough

hex009With the first tier complete and dried, it was time for the second tier base to go on

hex010The six triangles of outdoor grade plywood go on, held in place with tape, to create the second tier.

hex012‘Birds eye view’… some shots of up inside the roof section

hex013The inside of the top of the roof… the staining is just oil that hasn’t dried.

Part 3 will follow soon…

Click here for Part 3 of ‘Project Hex’

Written by rufdog

May 15, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Project Hex: Building an Hexagonal Bird Table (Part 1)

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hex004

I’ve been meaning to document the build of ‘Project Hex’ for some time, since I began in the Autumn of 2008.
Yes, the above photo isn’t that inspiring, but it represents the start of this slightly oddball way of spending some of my weekends.
I guess it all started when I built a regular rectangular, pitched roof bird table a while back. I was quite pleased with the way it came out and it got me thinking.

I wanted to have a go at something more involved, more challenging. This isn’t so much as a hobby, as something to do when I was bored, or the weather was bad. Also, I had recently lost my faithful dog of 13 plus years and needed to keep my mind occupied, so I guess this is what I did.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos from the early stages of building the bare-bones structure of the table, so all the pics I have are from the beginning of the tiling stage. As you can see, it shows the start of tiling the roof with small wooden tiles. I originally planned to cover the bird table with some roof felt that was kicking around the garage. Although the felt looked OK, it didn’t really have a wow factor…. hence the wooden tiles idea.

I decided to rip the felt off and have a go at creating a tiled roof. I headed down to the local retail park and into a large ‘hobby’ store. I left clutching a jumbo sized bag of standard lollipop sticks. This is not as mad as it sounds, the white birch wood used for lollipop sticks is high quality as it is primarily used in food. So, no splinters, no weak wood with consistent quality and thickness.

I had cut each tile with some wire snips. Resulting in 4 tiles from each lollipop stick. Each tile was then filed smooth at one end and pencil marked accordingly. A flexible outdoor waterproof glue was used to mount the tiles on the triangular sections of outdoor grade plywood that make the base structure of the roof.

hex001The beginning of the tiling process

hex002One side of the first tier complete

hex003
With the now defunct roof felt removed, side two of the first tier gets underway.
Any gaps bordering the roof base where filled with black outdoor silicon sealant. The reason I have only tiled 1/3 of the way up the roof is that I intend to have a three tiered roof.

I have many more photographs to sort out, so further updates will be forthcoming.

Click here for Part 2 of ‘Project Hex’

Written by rufdog

May 13, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Quiet Motorway

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mway
I took this shot whilst on a long trek with the dog. I did have a fiddle with it in Photoshop as the original was shot with my awful camera phone. It was extensively grey and washed out.

Written by rufdog

May 12, 2009 at 3:44 pm