Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Care and Feeding

It occurs to me that the hooks i've made and sent out so far haven't been accompanied by any instructions. I should do that. But for those of you reading this who have one of my hooks, or you're considering buying one, please consider that these hooks is totally unique. Theres no other hook anywhere nor will there ever be another one like it in the future. Not that i'm in the business of making hook "snowflakes", its just that each piece of wood is different, has different grain character, and is made by hands that couldn't make a duplicate if there was a gun to the maker's head. Every time i make a hook i realize that what i'm making has not been touched by any other human hands, and it's made with YOU in mind and goes to you that way, just you, me and the tree. Intimate, huh. Well, there's a bit of poly oil finish there, between the tree and thee, but the thinking of that would sort of wreck the moment, eh?

Also, because the hooks are not lathe turned, the size might be a smidge off, though i make a serious effort to form them just right. They're like me... i'm a smidge off too.

Now, what all my hooks do have in common is that they're made of materials that are fragile, like a "delickate flar" as we say up on the crick... some more delickate than others. The fir hooks are to me the most fun to make because i love the honey color and the figure of the wood, and the way it comes off my knife; but i try only to do those in larger sizes because the wood is soft. And even hardwood hooks are susceptable to damage. Please keep this in mind when you use and store your hooks. Even though its coated with a pretty durable poly type surface, dents and scrapes can happen. Fingernails, storage touching other hooks, moisture, ball peen hammers, use as paint can openers, and abrasive yarns can cause premature wear or damage.
And by the above, i'm suggesting repair or correction of problems that affect the comfort or utility of the hook. Natural wear and discoloration from use i consider as patina, and should be left alone. If your hook becomes an heirloom and is handed down to another generation, that slight wear and discoloration will add unbelievable1 value to your heir. My most treasured things have patina, created by years of use by loved ones.
That said, if you see signs of wear, you might consider taking your hook to the hook spa, for a little rub down with a bit of "Minwax" brand polyoil to bring them back to life. Just hold the hook in one hand, put a dab of oil on a clean cloth and rub it on the hook with the other hand, gently at first, then hard, and harder, working to a frenzy of wild primal passion (woops.. this isn't a bodice ripper here) Just rub hard till you can feel the hook getting warm, hot even. Notice i mention holding the hook while you're rubbing.. if you set it down on a table or such, you'll likely do more harm than good. After the invigorating rub down, set the hook down and let it dry. Go have a glass of wine or cup of tea (you've earned it)contemplate the tree that donated your hook, swaying gently in the pristeen air up on the ranch, relax, ahhhhh. Ok, wake up, its time for the next step... when the surface feels dry to the touch pick'er up and wipe it hard again with a dry spot of the cloth. When its oh so smooth and glistening, you're done. Another glass of wine..cup of tea...contemplation.... ahhhhh.
Oh (i just woke up) if you start to feel a snag developing, a little sanding might be in order (not quite so romantic, sorry). You might want to use a bit of wet-dry 400 - 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper, especially on those hooks where a bit of bark has been left on for esthetics... bark has the unnerving tendency to separate from the wood on occasion, but the beauty of it and the character of the tree it came from is worth the extra care in my view. After any sanding, repeat the spa treatment above. Wine or tea, contemplation... ahhhhhh zzzzzzzzzz

Always, if you have any questions or concerns, be sure to contact me.
Ok... enough this time.. i'll try to think up something not quite so dull for my next entry.


Kari said...

Thanks a ton Jim! I am glad to have instructions on taking care of my baby!
The picture is beautiful too.

Jimbo said...

thanks Kari... and Lizbeth just emailed me about the counter.. wow is this thing cool or what!? You guys are too much! That picture is of the crick. One of my favorites.

vicki said...

JIMBO, question for you, i was wondering if you have thought about making yarn holders, i use mainly cone yarn and it is annoying as heck to have it bounce around the floor. i would be intereested if they were not to much as i am with a hook, but seeings as that your so far behind i will wait and order when you catch up. thanks jimbo in advance and hope we can work something out as i really need a yarn holder. if you don't plan on making any, do you have any suggestions for me???

Jimbo said...

hope you get this response Vicki. I'm a bit new to yarn holders, and a real greenhorn to cone yarn. If you have a link to something that shows a cone yarn holder, that would be nice. I saw the one that was made by Katchkan's husband, but that wasn't for cone yarn, was it? Would a tall spike on a flat base do the trick? If so, i could whip one up purty easy.
So if you can give me an idea of what one should look like and some dimensions, i'd be tickled to make you one.