I've been working on the flag for a couple of days and I realize when I'm working on the blog that I need to take more photos. You may think that there are plenty.
Chip away at that star field! Carving out the stars takes a lot of chiseling and time. Above is what the entire union looks like after outlining the stars and going back through to remove material around the outlines.
This is what it looks like after going through again to remove more material and make the stars stand up higher than the background.
I guess I missed the photo of the union after all of the high spots in the background were removed. After removing the high spots, I take the piece outside and use the torch to give it some differences in color. It's going to get covered with paint, but the burning gives a natural shade to the blue in certain spots and keeps the piece from being one-dimensional.
Above is what it looks like after being painted. When I paint this, I do it by hand making sure to get paint into all of the little crevices around the stars. I then go back with a rag and wipe away most of the paint to make it translucent in some places. I've experimented using a water-based wood dye for this, but for the blue color, the dye looks too bright. I'm going for a more subdued look.
The stars are the highest parts of the union, so I take my random sander and run it across the entire surface to remove the paint from the stars. When I did this, there were a few weak star points that broke off. There were also some spots that were supposed to stay blue that got scuffed by the sand paper. Time for a repair job and some more painting!
To repair the broken tip, I basically chisel deeper into the wood and re-shape the tip. Nothing too difficult, but it's time consuming. There were two stars like this that I needed to repair.
This is what it looks like after being repaired and here's what the entire union looks like.
Meanwhile, I shaped and cut the maple and red oak for the stripes. Previous flags that I've built had smooth stripes. I jointed, planed and cut them to size. The red oak I had on hand had some really cool circular saw marks from the sawmill. The maple had bandsaw marks from the sawmill. I decided that I wanted to preserve these marks for this flag, but ran into a bit of an issue.
The rough cut oak was pretty flat, so I was able to joint one side and just plane the same side using the rough cut side as a reference surface. Basically, I thinned all the wood from one side and left the sawmill marks in tact.
The rough cut maple I decided to use was a pretty twisted board. I ended up using my standard "fine woodworking" method of shaping the board. I jointed two adjacent sides, then ran it through the planer until I got it to the thickness I wanted. I then cut the wide board into stripe-width pieces. Since the board was not smooth, I needed to make it look like it did before I took off the bandsaw marks from the sawmill. I did this with ... wait for it... my bandsaw. I ran the faces of the boards across the bandsaw to recreate the saw marks.
Next, I eased the edges of all 13 stripes using the carving chisels. Usually, I do this with a block plane, but I wanted to create some imperfections to match up with the rough-cut faces of the boards. Now all of the stripes were sized and shaped properly for the flag.
The last steps for the stripes is torching and finishing. The maple stripes just got torched and had spray polyurethane applied.
The oak stripes were burned and stained red.
I'll apply some poly to the red stripes tomorrow and try to get everything attached to a frame.
Thanks for reading!