Weekend Project - Hyacinth Macaw Keyholder archive
Friday 14 February 2014
Fred and Julie Byrne help keep you keep organised with this charming scrollsaw project
The macaws are a flamboyant group of parrot species from Central and South America - with their bright colours they are amongst the most impressive of all tropical birds.The hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) is one of the most spectacular, both in size and colour. The vibrant ultramarine blue cannot fail to brighten any interior design, and the optional addition of hanging pegs makes it a useful key holder too.
STEP 1Enlarge the pattern to the size given, taping several sheets of paper together if necessary, and make six copies. Keep one copy for reference - you can write the numbers of the feather pieces on this to help identify them when all the pieces have been cut up. Note that the pattern falls into eight sections with different grain directions.
STEP 2Use the remaining five copies of the pattern to cut out these eight sections, leaving a border of approximately 10mm around each. Arrange the patterns on your pine, aligning the grain-direction arrows with the wood grain. If possible, choose a straight-grained part for the long tail feathers, and a more curved grain for the top of the wing and head. When happy with the layout of all the pieces, use a glue stick to fix each section firmly to the wood.
STEP 3It's a good idea to cut the wood into pieces of manageable size before cutting round the detailed outlines. Before you cut out the head piece, drill the hole for the eye, using an 8mm bit in the pillar drill.
STEP 4Fit the scrollsaw with a No.7 blade. It is important that the wood is flat and the blade straight and taut. Cut out the main body/wing piece first. De-burr this and every other piece after cutting with a piece of 120 grit sandpaper to ensure that all the pieces lie flat when they are assembled.
STEP 5Lay the newly cut piece over the next piece to be cut - in this case the longer wing feathers - and if necessary retrace the cut line onto the new piece. Check the fit of these two pieces before moving on to the next one.
STEP 6For the small feather pieces on the back of the macaw, cut to the point of the V-shape and move on to the next point, and so on to the end...
STEP 7... then return to cut out the waste.
STEP 8When all eight sections have been cut out, put them together to check the fit, and mark with a pencil all the places where one piece meets another.
STEP 9Next, cut up the eight sections into individual pieces, separating the feathers, the foot and claw, the eye, and the upper and lower parts of the beak. Mark the underside of each piece to ensure that you sand the right side. Number the feathers for easy location, and copy these numbers onto the sixth copy of the pattern for reference. Remove as much of the paper pattern as you can by hand - anything that is left will be easily sanded off at the next stage.
STEP 10Creating different levels of relief will give the macaw a 3D look. A disc sander fitted with an 80 grit sanding disc is great for rapid waste removal, but be careful - it's easy to take off too much, and you can't put it back on. Start with the lowest pieces, which will be the branches - lower both of these by 5mm.
STEP 11Mark the height of the branches on all adjacent pieces - claw, wing and tail feathers.
STEP 12Moving on to the claw, lower this by about 4mm. Next come the tail pieces, starting with the one closest to the smaller branch â€“ sand this down by 3.5mm, then lower the rest of the tail pieces by gradually decreasing amounts.
STEP 13The wing and body feathers will need very little sanding - some of the inner pieces will only need the paper pattern removed. Sand the head to approximately 1.5mm lower than the body.
STEP 14The drum and flexible-shaft sanders are very useful tools for rounding over the edges of the pieces, remembering always to sand with the grain to remove any imperfections left by the disc sander. As with the rough sanding, start with the lowest pieces - the branches and tail.
STEP 15Redraw your height marks as you sand each piece, and remember not to sand below these marks. Also, be mindful of your pencil lines showing where one piece meets another. Don't be afraid to go back and sand a little more from the previous piece, but take care not to take off too much, especially on the central wing pieces. Sand little and often, replacing each piece back in position to check it.
STEP 16The edge feathers can be more strongly rounded - again mark the height and shape of each feather onto the next piece.
STEP 17Thin down the beak and round it over. Place it back in position to mark the shape onto the head, then sand the head round and down to the line. The yellow highlight is cut from the beak at this stage.
STEP 18Place a length of 8mm dowel into the pre-drilled hole in the eye, mark the height with a pencil and cut to length on your scrollsaw so that it stands just a little proud of the eyeball. Next, round over one of the ends using 180