Down & Dirty. An Artisan life as it really is.

After not writing a blog for a while due to actually doing some work, something rather droll happened in the workshop the other day, that made me say I am going to have to turn this into a Blog.

Day to day work in the workshop is fairly repetitive and I never think anyone else is going to  want to know about it. Of course because what we do is  not what everyone does  sometimes people are interested in what we think is mostly boring namely; Make statues, bake statues, de-mould statues, rub down statues polish statues, felt statues & package statues.

However an Artisan's life is always full of surprises, right? 
This tale of a dust and dirt started last Sunday April 3rd with unseasonably cold& frosty weather, -2° in the morning. Howard says to me don't go down to the workshop today it's too cold. I am going to de-mould what I put though yesterday and then we can have a quiet day.
Ha never was a bloke more wrong!!
15 mins later, me showered with my  hair washed & dressed in proper clothes not workshop stuff. I am reading  posts and emails online with the 1st pot of tea poured out, up comes Howard  "You are going to have to come and look at this" he says.

Down to the workshop. Oh boy there's dust everywhere, and I mean everywhere. It's as if some tornado has swept through and  dropped fine wood dust over the whole of the finishing area and most specifically in the dark polishing tumbler which is filled with woodchip, normally impregnated with wax.

So, discussion takes place with Howard doing his practical attack of "Why has this happened?"  as if I know, & with me going "How can me fix this?" as if he's got the answer..... The joys of working together.



2 mins later we have stopped the machine and started emptying it out by the bucket load. I decide the answer is to use the compressor to blow the dust off  of the wood whips which has to be done  bucket load at a time and Howard sets to to clean the machine itself, not a small task.

The result of this is the lovely photo that I shared in Instagram of me looking like a dust covered yeti and  a photo of Howard looking like a member of the Black Hand Gang.

By the time we have blown the dust off it's now lunchtime. We return all the woodchip to the machine and turn it on. Dust flies everywhere again, but less than before. We decide to eat something and think about our next move.

Howard then comes up with the quite brilliant idea that we are going to have to wash every single chip. The weather has switched from bright and frosty by now, and it's spitting with rain outside. Oh joy.

An hour and a half of swishing later. and we have all the wood chip laid out on blue tarps to dry as best it can. It is much less dusty.

Somehow despite the weather we get it to dry and put it back in the machine. Start it off and add more wax to smooth it  out and replace the washed off wax. Big sigh what a nice quiet Sunday that was.  We leave the machine to rumble overnight.
5 am Monday morning Howard has just checked the machine. It's full of dust again!! You couldn't make this up.

There's nothing for it but to wash it all again, this time at least it's a sunny day and not as cold as yesterday, plus we have all day to get it dry unlike yesterday when we didn't start washing until after lunch.


Fast Forward several hours and it's washed dried and back in the machine. Phew. I decide this time we are going to be cautious.  We dose the chips with large quantities of wax,  and wait, and wait. 10pm we switch it off and at 5am Howard switches it on again, add more wax and wait. After 48 hours of gentle but persistent treatment we are finally convinced that we are back to normal.
Full steam ahead.

So you may ask what actually happened? Answer is; we don't really know.

However the best guess is that after a certain amount of time the wax that impregnates the woodchips either ran out and the chips without enough wax  crushed each other, or the wax became so old and brittle that it turned to  dust.
Who knows? At least all is now vaguely normal Chez Marble Art.

If it happens again we will know what to do I guess.
Here's the machine back in action.




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