Sunday, 21 September 2008

Painting and writing

Sorry to have abandoned the blog. I've been busy in my spare time writing a new novel, called Catch a Falling Star. (The link will take you to a site where you can read the start.) EDIT: now called Remix.

It's about a young woman, called Caz, who is startled to discover a strange man asleep on her roof terrace.

There's a rocking horse connection - my heroine restores and carves rocking horses for a living.

Back to poor, neglected Zaphod. I've given him three coats of paint - two in the wrong colour. For some reason, however careful I was with tests, I kept painting him blue. He's been very patient about it. I do hope I've got it right this time.

Then I can get on to the dappling.

Friday, 9 May 2008

A little Ayres!

I'm so excited - I've just bought this little Ayres rocking horse on eBay for £231. It's only 32 inches high, and plain carved, but it's my first Ayres! There are many lovely rocking horses, but Ayres are special; the Rolls Royces of the rocking horse world. This horse is most beautifully and delicately carved; small but perfect. (Click on the photo to see it bigger).

I think perhaps not everyone realized what it was, as Ayres used different, three bolt brackets, different pillars and stands more like Lines for their tiny horses. I looked it up in Patricia Mullins' The Rocking Horse.

You may wonder when I will have time to restore it, given that I've not been able to work on Zaphod lately; but the start of this year was a bit difficult, and I am confident I will get back to my horses soon.

Which will be nice.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Zaphod's first coats of gesso

After a long gap when I've been busy with other things (silver and writing mainly) I'm back working on poor neglected Zaphod.

The photo shows him with his first coats of gesso on. I use Anthony Dew's recipe, except I find I have to add a lot more whiting than he says, else it's way too watery. I don't put on a coat of size first either, as it seems to make the horse wet to no purpose.

It looks good in the picture, but in the daylight on the balcony I saw loads of little dents and gaps that I will have to fill with gesso. Surprising, as I thought I'd done a thorough job of filling and sanding.

The gesso is over the edge of his eyes (now fixed in with filler) and I will clean it off when the gesso layer is complete.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Loose leg joints

Wiggly, but won't come out

So what do you do? Get advice from Tony Jackson is what. He recommends using an offset syringe to inject glue between the surfaces of the joint, drilling a careful hole first.

He doesn't use a needle, but before he told me this I'd bought one from my local chemist. It's not possible to fill the syringe with wood glue through the needle; but if you fill it, then add the needle, the glue will come out all right. This is good, as you can get glue deep into small cracks.

It's a delicate job. I'm sure experience helps, but alas I have none.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Zaphod's stand finished (almost)

At last...

I cleaned the swing irons, brackets and original bolts with emery paper, and painted them with two coats of Hammerite smooth gloss black paint, as some rust in the crevices was impossible to remove.

The wood that supported the swing irons was very worn, so I made two polished steel plates, and used Unibond Repair Wood for Good filler underneath them. Then I assembled the whole, putting grease on the moving parts.

I had engraved LF andLB (left front, left back) on the swing irons so everything went back to where it came from, including each bracket and their individual bolts.

Tried Zaphod on his stand; he went on perfectly, and doesn't the stand look nice! It seems to rock smoothly, although the irons are quite loose in the brackets.