Irritating tree stump -> cool gift idea
On a visit to Colorado, I came across this crystal in a "Rare Things" store. The funny thing about this particular crystal was the name- cavansite. My girlfriend at the time's last name was Cavin, originating from Cavan of Ireland.
Anywho, the name of the crystal comes from it being hydrated Calcium Vanadium Silicate. Ca-Van-Site.
You get the picture.
Well, I thought this would be an awesome gift for her, but it is EXTREMELY fragile. It was displayed on a bed of table salt in the store.
After some thought, I pieced this together when I got home.
I had recently cut a log of ebony from this stump-bush in the back yard that nobody likes. I also had saved some sand from Carmel Beach - some of the finest sand you may ever find, it actually squeaks when you kick it - from a trip to California ages ago.
Along with some plexiglass from the hardware store, access to a woodshop, and a dremel, this all came together.
Step 1: The Wood
I don't have a picture of the log this started out as, but it was about 2 feet long, and 10 inches in diameter more or less. I started off by making some rough cuts with the table saw, cutting a section about 6 x 6 x 4 with 3 smooth cut sides and the last (front) rough bark. I then cut the bottom flat and the top at an angle tilting forward.
Most of this was done on a feel, and was not really planned out too much.
The outlined score in the center of the top is where I would carve a basin to put the sand bed and crystal. The to scores along to back and left side were to mark where I wanted to trim more off later.
Step 2: The Basin
I used a drill to hollow out the basin by just drilling repeated holes to a depth that felt right.
The first attempt at this was drilling from the fornt and back to get that chunk out, then I went on to perfecting the bowl.
Leaving a ledge for a cover, I drilled out what looked like a decent cavity, then sanded it out with a sanding bit for the dremel.
Step 3: The Cover Plate
I wanted to cut a piece of glass for this, but lexan was just as clear (though not as resilient) and easier to work with.
To get the shape right, I laid a piece of paper over the top of the wood block, and traced the opening with a pencil.
I cut the general outline out of lexan (plexiglass) with a cut-off wheel on the dremel. After laying it on the basin's ledge to make sure it fit, I made a few adjustments to make it fit better, and then sanded down the edges.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
After sanding the basin smooth and fitting the lexan, I went back to the shop and cut the sides again as I wanted. I also sanded the sides, top, and bottom one last time.
Step 5: Assembly
I considered using the sawdust from the cutting as the bed since it was so soft, but the sand offered a better contrast to both the blue and the wood tone. The saw dust, of course, blended right in with the wood.
I also carved a little personal note into the side and stained the letters to show up. I did not stain any of the rest of the wood, because I wanted a real natural look with some slight modernization cut into it.
There is also a chunk missing near the ledge to provide a way to pick up the lexan.
This was mostly a personalized gift because of the name and all, but would work great for anyone I imagine. You can put whatever you want in it; I think uncut, natural looking gems and crystals and such would go best with the whole "nature theme" of it.