Deciding what to get someone is the hard part; wrapping them up is usually easy… unless you’re trying to disguise a hockey stick. But don’t overlook the creative opportunities available to you in the wrapping process.
I’ve done some pretty crazy wrapping jobs in the past – some just awesome, others tacky but definitely fun. This year, I came up with the idea of using wooden ribbons and bows. I started with a 4′ board of straight-grained poplar. From this, I took a relatively coarse shaving from my low-angle jack with a 25-degree blade for the ribbons. I found that the low cutting angle was best for cutting ribbons without excessive spiralling though they still did end up looping. I was able to push the plane with one hand and receive the shaving with the other to keep them relatively straight. I wrapped them around the packages concave side in and cut and taped the ends to the underside.
For the ribbons I used the same material but switched to a bevel-down bench plane. My #4 is usually set to take a really thin shaving for final smoothing, however, I wanted the bow to have a little more substance to it so I increased the depth.
To produce the tight, wavy shavings I needed for the bow I modified my grip. My right hand pushed, but instead of holding the front knob with my left hand I cupped it over the mouth of the plane to restrict the escapement of the chips. Trapped, they had no choice to fold over on themselves. I found that skewing the plane at different angles also affected the shape of the shavings.
I took four passes for each bow and selected the three best shavings. Towards the end of each shaving it ended up zig-zagging back and forth. I cut off this part with scissors. Then, I gently tucked one end of each shaving under the ribbon and carefully twisted them together to make a homogenous bow. A couple snips here and there with a pair of scissors cleaned up the bow.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and lots of time to spend with those whom you love!
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After posting this, someone sent me this video, perhaps implying that I should wrap my presents with this next year.