I find it difficult to just sit in the garden and just stare at plants. My idle hands need something to do. Some folks with that problem have tried various pastimes, like carving, etc., but that kind of work is a little messy. So what to do?
Take up Kolrosing of course! Roughly translated from Norwegian this means etching patterns into a wood surface.
Unlike mine shown below, some really beautiful work can be produced with this method. Just check out this link to see some really good examples of this type of work.
How to do it
You just need a flat wood surface. On the one above I used a little experimental mitred box I made from construction fir to try out using my router for mitering.
Work like this box at the beginner level is real easy to do and quick (this one took about 10min.), but with practice some really fine work can be produced, but it will be much more difficult and time consuming depending on the level of detail and expertise of the craftsman. For this motif I found a picture I liked on the net then traced the outlines to make a line drawing. I transferred the line drawing to the box lid using some graphite paper. Next I put some beeswax on the top of the lid. I’ll explain why later, then I simply cut the lines at 90 degrees and about 1/32" deep with a little knife. After that I rubbed in some nutmeg powder. You can also use cinnamon, chill powder, grill rub, instant coffee, etc. These powders should be dry when you rub them in. The next step is to rub some oil over the filled lines. The pre-waxed surface prevents the colouring and the oil from penetrating the grain around the cuts. Shellac sealer is much better for this purpose, but I used what I had. This kind of work is also pretty easy on the hands in case you have arthritis.
A tight grained white hardwood works best; Birch, Maple, etc.,
What to do with them after they’re finished
If you have made a little box like I did it would be great to give it to one of your children or grandchildren. In 40 years when asked why they took up woodworking they will probably say that their interest all started with this cool little box they got from a parent or grandparent. If you hate the result, as an alternative you can give it to your mother-in-law who will feel obligated to keep it on display in her living room. Just make sure to sign someone else’s name on it so they won’t believe her when she tells them that you made it. I might have to do that with this box. My children and grandchildren are all grown up now.
-- Mike, an American living in Norway