Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Ply-Split Braided Linen Belt #2.


Ply-Split Braided Linen Belt #2.

(This item is now available to buy in my new Etsy store)
The Knotty Bear Etsy Store.

(Note: the colours of this belt are Cobalt Blue and Citrus Green, but due to the light the green colour looks washed out in the photos! however; the last photo here taken during the making shows the correct colours) 

Made with my own hand made Linen cords, total length 1100mm including buckle, width 42mm.
The buckle is a stainless steel roller buckle.

The braid is a 24 strand, 4 section SCOT (single course oblique twining) braid, a 6 strand, 2 section SCOT braid keeper loop, and the end of the belt is finished with a 2 section SCOT braid.

A perfec fit! also shown with one of my conquistadors braid belt loop watch straps, I hate wearing a watch on my wrist.

Close up showing the buckle detail, the SCOT (single course oblique twining)  keeper loop, which is spliced in to the belt itself, and the tip of the belt, of which the ends are all spliced back into the belt braid.


The belt can be pierced at any point along its length by pushing the prong through the braid. When you decide to change the length the old hole will close up with a simple wiggle of the braid.

Showing the very neat edge of the braid created by the Ply-Splitting process.

(This picture shows the correct colours of the belt)
Showing the Braiding process in progress, using one of my hand made Grip Fids, several strands are first split with the tool and then a single cord pulled back through. This process is repeated well over 1000 times in the making of this belt.

You can see more of my Ply Split work here:
Thanks for looking.
Take care,
Barry ;-)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Shekere / Sekere

Shekere / Sekere.

A few weeks ago I found a Shekere in a charity shop in Eton whilst out shopping in Windsor.
It was pretty grubby and the netting was a nice shade of nicotine and coffee brown, with the long ends of the net hanging in a frayed mess, urgh! 
But as I am interested in all things to do with net making, no matter how tatty looking I had to have it for interests sake. 
I only paid £2.00 for this item so in any state it was a real bargain.
(note: all pictures are of the refurbished Shekere, as I forgot to photograph it in its original state)

I took off the beaded skirt and soaked it in a concentrated stain remover for a few hours and then poured off the almost black liquid. I then soaked it over night in a strong biological washing liquid solution and gave it a  thorough rinsing.
The net came out a bright white just like new, and the beads also looked just like new.

I scrubbed the Gourd body with a mildly abrasive but non scratch citrus cleaner and the Gourd turned from a coffee stained brown to a nice orange brown colour. I also sanded the top of the opening smooth and straight as this had just been left ragged by the maker. 

There was a marble stuffed into the top of the opening which took an age and some ingenuity to remove without damaging the neck of the Gourd, and then also some loose debris inside which was left from the the Gourd not being cleaned out was removed.
It was amazing what a difference this made to the tone and resonance of the gourd which was actually quite good for its 8" diameter and small opening.


I polished the Gourd body with a quality wax polish, though I could have also oiled it with Danish oil or similar, some people use a Polyurethane coating on the outside but I think it looks too unnatural and plastic, just like the beads, but they seem to be the best thing for the job.

I replaced the netting, and decided to finish the bottom of the net off with an extra row of meshes and an adjustable cord rather than the long tail of knotted cords as was original, the tone of the gourd seemed to be dampened with the long tails when hitting the bottom with the heal of the hand, you can use either method and each has a slightly different playing style.
I could have completely replaced the net with my own but for the sake of it the original net was fine, if a little unevenly tied in a coupe of places, and for £2.00 I am not complaining as I have a nice little instrument now, which also sounds pretty good for its size.

Take care,
Barry ;-)