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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Like Sands Through the Hourglass.... !

Would you believe this beautiful tchochke is made entirely of trash?! With a little scrap wood, a couple of empty bottles, and a lot of imagination you can make a beautiful hourglass as a gift to remember a special time with someone, or for yourself, to time your eggs in the morning! Miss Ginger has spent some time perfecting this technique, and this example is her latest creation.  This one is pretty large, with the glass elements coming from 2 large magnum wine bottles.  Boy G created all of the pieces for her on his new lathe, but you could also adapt this technique to use precut discs from the craft store and some rescued spindles from a thrift store chair. Miss Ginger left this one plain, but you could also personalize it with nifty paint job or some etching on the glass. Her one regret on this design is that she used white sand from the craft store, and added blue and silver glitter to make it sparkly, and it kind of looks like she is counting the minutes with powdered laundry detergent! 

It's glued in there now, so there's no going back! Here's another one she made, with step-by-step instructions:

The first step is to find 2 matching bottles  and cut the bottoms off. Depending on the shape of your bottles, you may need to cut the neck back, as well.  These Zing-Zang bottles have served Miss G well, and now, they will be with her for eternity! 

To connect the bottles, Boy G made this little wooden piece by using a hole saw to cut a disc, and then used a forstner bit in the drill to make the indentations. Miss Ginger thinks you could probably find a napkin ring that would work if this is beyond your skills. 

Here are all of her parts, ready for assembly. In addition to the 2 bottles and the connector, she has 3 spindles and 2 discs that Boy G made on the lathe. The discs have a channel cut that the bottle fits into. You can cut out the discs with a large hole saw, and cut the channel with a smaller one. There are also holes drilled for the spindles, which required Miss Ginger to recall her high school geometry! Click here to learn how to find 3 equidistant points on the circumference of a circle! 

Beginning at the bottom, glue the glass element to the base by filling the channel with E6000 Adhesive, and then placing the glass. You'll need to let this dry before you move on. E6000 is the perfect adhesive for this because it bonds well to both glass and wood, levels itself and fills the void between the glass and the wood, and dries rock hard and crystal clear. And, it's made in the great state of Louisiana! 

The connector goes on next. Once that's dry, you can add the other bottle on top. Be sure that you don't get adhesive in the hole of your connector or your hourglass will be frozen in time! 

Use wood glue to set the spindles into holes on the base piece.  Let everything get good and dry at this point

Once all of the glue has dried, it's time to fill and calibrate your hourglass.  Miss Ginger used regular garden sand in this one, which she had sifted several times to get all the pebbles out of it. You can also use colored sand from the craft store or an aquarium supply store.  (Now that she has perfected the assembly technique, Miss Ginger is going to experiment with different types of filler and different size holes to see if she gets different run times!)

Start a stopwatch and begin pouring sand into the upper chamber.  As the sand runs through, keep adding sand until you get close to your desired time.  Miss G filled this one for 3 minutes.

Once you have filled it, flip the whole thing over into a bowl and let the sand run out, to double check your timing.  This also gives you the opportunity to remove some sand if you overpoured the first time.

Once you have the correct amount of sand, pour it back in and let it run to the bottom.  Fill the channel in the upper disc with adhesive, and apply wood glue to the holes for the spindles. Working quickly, place the top onto the glass, guiding the spindles into their holes.  Once the top is in place, flip the hourglass over to let the adhesive level out and harden.  (If you don't flip it over, the glue will slowly run down the glass and ruin your work.) Let it dry completely, and your heirloom is ready for giving or using! 

BTW, if your skills with wood and glass are limited, you can get a similar effect using plastic bottles and foam board. 


mrs.missalaineus said...

i always wondered how they timed a timer...

really neat!


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Unknown said...

thank you so much this was useful for school purposes


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