After much deliberation, deep-thinking and hard work, I have eventually found a decent way of cutting up the large number of pencils for the Giant’s Causeway scenery!
My Dad has lent me a Gentleman’s Saw (I wouldn’t expect him to have any other type! 🙂 ). Now I’d never heard of one of these, but it appears to be a small back-saw (or Tenon Saw), 8″ in length, and 2″ deep (including brass back), with finer teeth and a turned wooden handle. I had previously considered a tenon saw, but considered the teeth to be too rough, and feared it would rip the wood too much, leaving a ragged end, and pull chunks of wood off.
Initial testing shows that it cuts through the slim pencils with ease, leaving a reasonably smooth surface. Yes, they need filing down, but this is easy enough. I have even experimented with cutting multiple pencils at once, and found that Three Is The Magic Number! Four pencils causes too much drag, and becomes hard to hold steady.
Rough-Cut Pencil Ends
And so, without further ado, on with the scenery! I shall hopefully, armed with my new saw, be posting regular updates on the Giant’s Causeway, and looking for design ideas for putting it all together!
Watch this space!
Several packs of pencils, a Dremel and some PVA later, I now have the basics of my Giant’s Causeway! There’s still a long way to go, but I can see how it will come together.
I have expanded each section so that it is just larger than a standard model base, and looked at how to include all the pencil points.
These pieces will fit together to form a larger piece, that will then be glued into place. It’s just going to take a lot of cutting up of pencils!
I did get some longer pencils, so I’ll have less points to deal with, as I’m not over happy with how they come out. Maybe a spray with rough-coat will take the edge off them?
Beginnings of a Causeway
Once I’ve got enough to cover a square (hex) foot or more , I’ll glue them all in place and paint them up. For now, more cutting. And filing down the rough edges. And clearing up all the sawdust. And finding somewhere to store them all.
Oh, the hardships of being a model-terrain builder!
To expand on the hexagonal buildings I have made, I picked up a bunch of cheap pencils. 48 for £1. Can’t say no, really.
Pencils. 48/£1. What’s not to like!
The first step was to cut them to various lengths. Harder than it looks, when you don’t have the right tools! Making do with a junior hacksaw, I managed to carve up a dozen or so:
I’m planning on incorporating the pointed ends, but to start with, I’ll just be making some hexes from the flat-ended pieces. The cuts needed sanding down, and my file is too small and too blunt (due to years of use and abuse), so I invested in a foam sanding block (£1.70 from Wilkos). This was a mistake. I have ripped most of the rough surface from it already! Not the right tool. I suggest a metal file.
But I now have a bunch of hexagonal bits of wood. Picking seven of roughly equal length, they are glued together into a larger hexagon. Rinse and repeat.
Hex of Hexes!
These hexagonal pieces can then be linked together to form a larger landscape. Some of the later pieces will have ‘spikes’ in them (sharp pencil-ends!), and hopefully it will stretch to at least a square foot (~300mm x 300mm in new money).
So there you have it! A Giant’s Causeway type effect, and the only real effort is cutting up the pencils. I’m not sure if power tools are the way to go for cutting them, as you could easily end up with them flying all over the place, or ripping sections off. So hand-saw it is.
Obviously, it will need a lick of paint, and some flock scattering about. More pics when I’ve got to that stage.