Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day 135: New Years Eve

I buttoned up the 2nd version of my woodburner this afternoon/evening.  I'm really happy with this one so far, I'm just hoping it doesn't end up burning out like the last one did.  The 10 amp charger from Sears may be headed back to Sears this weekend.

I labeled the dial from 0 to 100, between 50 and 60 seems to work best for the gauge of wire I have at the moment. 

I also had a visitor for the evening.  Jeff is a member of the local woodturners association and found a link to my blog on their website.  We stood around and talked for a bit before getting down to business.  He's relatively new to turning, < 1 year, but seems to be hooked.  I turned a multi axis twisted lidded box in Walnut while he watched and asked questions. 

I'm sure Jeff will be back.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day 134: Take two and three

I bought a Diehard 10/2 Amp charger at Sears on the way home from lunch today.  I was a little more careful taking it apart because it's new and might want to restore it to the original function or to return it if things don't work out.  I hooked everything up and immediately melted one of my burning tips.  Even on the 2 amp setting with the dimmer all the way down the tip was nearly melting.

I also received a a 6 Amp charger from my Grandfather and hooked it up tonight.  I think I'll end up going with this one for the time being.  It seems to be a little more controlable and seems to have plenty of power but we'll see when I get some heavier guage nichrome.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day 133: Nothing

No photos tonight.  I did spend a fair amount of time working but don't have much to show for it.  I signed 4 pieces and buffed out the finish of another.  Then I sat down to do a bit of burning and *nothing*.  My charger was plugged in, then pen was plugged in, *nothing*.  I verified that the outlet I was using still had power and double checked all of the internal connections and *nothing*.  I now believe that it's completely dead and there's no resurrecting it so I'm in the market for another charger.  I checked Autozone, Walmart, and Harbor Freight tonight and I'm checking Ebay Criagslist and other websites tonight. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day 132: I'm thinking of taking up smoking

I finished turning the olive peppermill tonight.  I'm going to hold off on final assembly until I finish the burning I'm planning to do.

I did take the time tonight to burn all of the cracks.  Once the smoke cleared I was pleasantly surprised with the results.  The other option was to fill the cracks with coffee grounds and epoxy, I think I prefer this option and will consider it on projects.  I'm still planning to do more burning on this piece, I'm playing around with several possible designs and placements.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 131: Hell or high water

I started to work on a peppermill this evening after spending a couple hours cleaning and organizing earlier in the day.

It's olive and stands about 8" tall.  I still have to finish the base and assemble the mechanism but I've already decided that come hell or high water I'm going to do some burning on this piece.  I'm still debating what to burn and where to put it but I will be doing some burning on this piece one way or another.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day 130: Boxing day

I worked on and finished the box elder hollow form I started yesterday. 

Side view showing the huge void in the side of the piece.  This made it easy to hollow as I could check the wall thickness and the shavings emptied themselves.

Bottom view.  The base is about 1 1/2" diameter.

I also played around with another technique for the first time.  I applied silver leaf to the Jacaranda piece to the left.  It's not perfect but i'm still happy with the results.   

Friday, December 25, 2009

Day 129: Christmas day

I started working on another hollow form tonight after all of the Christmas stuff was done and the kids were (supposed to be) in bed for the night.

This is Box Elder Burl and will have a natural edge around the opening and a large void on one side where there was a large bark pocket.  This should make it easier to hollow as I'll be able to see the wall thickness as I go.

The overall shape will change significantly as this progresses.  It should end up with a base no larger than 2" diameter.  At this point I have just started to establish the wall thickness at the opening and have drilled a 1 1/4" hole down to what should be the finished depth.  I'll work on hollowing it tomorrow.

Song of the night:
Radiohead, Wish You Were Here.
One of my favorite bands covering one of my favorite bands

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day 128: Santa's workshop

I spent some time in Santa's workshop tonight.  This was my first time turning a top in this style and I ran into several problems but I was able to work around them for the most part.

It's still not done and nowhere near perfect but I think it's pretty good for a first try and for working without any plans.  It's Cherry with a bit of Holly and a tiny piece of copper.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day 127: Still undecided

I finished the Mesquite hollow form I started yesterday.  It's thicker and heavier than I wanted but I have a couple of reasons for that.  First it's Mesquite which is rather dense and second because my laser died half way through hollowing and I didn't want to push my luck and ruin the piece.

The color in these photos isn't correct.  These have a green tint to them that the wood doesn't have.  It's actually a light chocolate brown with tan/yellow sapwood around the opening and on one side.  I still may end up burning on this one, I'm not sure yet.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 126: Decisions decisions

I decided to work on a piece I intend to burn tonight.  I've had this piece of Mesquite on the shelf for quite a while and never really found the right project for it.

I shaped the outside tonight and I'm really happy with the shape and the grain.  There's a ring of sapwood around the opening and it has a fair amount of very fine curl.

But now I'm torn.  I think the combination of the shape and the grain make this piece too nice to experiment with.  I think I'm going to have to find another piece of wood to try my burning on.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Day 125: Sketchpad

Nothing fancy tonight, just a couple quick sketches for a design I'm working on.  The shape on the hollow form will end up significantly different but I plan to incorporate buckskin strips around the piece and then burn kokopellis in some of the open spaces.  I also want to play around with a slightly modified version of Molly Winton's basket work.  She does a 2 vertical &2 horizontal design, I want to try doing it as a herringbone pattern.  The disadvantage of a herringbone is that I'll need 2 tips to get it done, one full height and another half height as the top and the bottom of the design require half blocks every 3rd imprint.

I'm also playing around with the idea of creating a silhouette of a handprint in negative space.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 124: It's Alive!

It's alive!  My project from last night is up and running.  I adapted the batter charger into a high powered woodburning unit.  The last piece I needed was a small piece of Nichrome wire for the actual burning tip.  I bought a blow drier from Goodwill this morning (Thanks Bernie for the tip) to salvage one of the coils in order to test my unit.

Good news is that it works, bad news is that it works too well.

The nichrome wire in the blow drier is fairly fine and softens and bends too easily when heated (even after I adjusted the power down via the dimmer switch).  I'm going to order some heavier Nichrome wire off of the internet later today.  Once that arrives the real fun begins.

I also turned and assembled another handle and made a slight adjustment to the dimmer switch so that the on/off function (push to turn on, push again to turn off) is working.  I also played around with the charger and found that the switch on the front to select either a 6V or 12V battery is reducing the output by 1/2, meaning I will have even finer control over temperature and intensity than I expected.  Finally I also switched out the dial on the dimmer switch.  I went with the cream colored on rather than the white one, the cream fits in better with the 1970s color scheme on my charger.  I'm still a little concerned that at only 4 amps the charger won't be powerful enough to heat a heavier gauge wire, I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

So far my investment (other than the battery charger and a few misc items already on hand) is:
Home Depot: (wire nuts, JB weld, dimmer switch, 6' 16/2 indoor extension cord) $13.88
Radio Shack (1/4" headphone jack, 1/4" headphone plug, mini European wire connectors) $10.66
Goodwill (blow drier) $6.99
Nichrome supplier $12.95
Total : $44.48

Song of the night:
The Raconteurs, Steady as She Goes

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day 123: Before and After



Alternate view.

Business end.

Stay tuned.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Day 122: Holly

Tomorrow is our annual club holiday party.  I did the ornament on the right a couple weeks back and decided I wanted to redo it tonight.  The piece on the left is tonight's work and will be the one going into the ornament exchange tomorrow.  It's Holly with a copper wire topper.  The Box Elder on the left looks quite a bit bigger but they're almost exactly the same size.

Song of the night:
Charlie Daniels  Band, The Devil Went Down to Georgia

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day 121: Pine

Another 2 piece hollow form tonight, this one in some Pine someone left in the desert behind our house.  I'm undecided if I'm going to paint this one or not, It still needs sanded and the foot removed.

Song of the night:
Taking Back Sunday, Liar

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day 120: Jacaranda (V)

It was almost inevitable that after my wife saw the other piece of Jacaranda that she'd want one of her own. 

This isn't perfect and still needs sanded, finished, and probably painted.  These are fairly easy to do and don't take much time, 50 minutes from the log to exactly what you see here. 

Song of the night:
Live, Lakini's Juice

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 119: Jacaranda (IV)

More work on the Jacaranda today, it took 2 trips to the microwave (35 seconds on high, about 2 hours apart) before heading back out to the shop tonight to be sanded and finished.  I thought the wood was very plain once sanded so I decided to experiment with color.  It was airbrushed using a mix of Magenta and Black airbrush inks (Dr. Ph Martin's I've had for about 15 years).  I then put it back on the lathe and turned away the ink right around the neck.  It's not perfect and it still needs another couple coats of oil but I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.  I'm sure if it wasn't already promised to the friend I got the wood from my wife would have claimed it herself.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day 118: Jacaranda (III)

Another piece of Jacaranda today.  I needed a break from work so I did this on my lunch break today.  It's about 7" tall and 4" diameter.  The neck was parted off.  The basic outside shape of the body was established and hollowed to about 1/4" thick, the neck was then attached and then the outside shape was finalized.  There is a 3/8" hole through the middle of the neck so it can be used for dried flowers or something similar.

No sanding or finish on this one yet, it's still VERY green.  

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day 117: Jacaranda (II)

I started working on a piece of Jacaranda tonight.  6" diameter and 8" tall.

Unfortunately I had a pretty bad catch on the outside that required extensive reshaping and I ended up making it too thin at the joint between the body and the neck.

I cut the body in half to see how I did on the hollowing.  Other than the thin area right at the neck and the dimple in the bottom I'm really happy with the wall thickness.  Not too thick or too thin.

Day 116: Jacaranda (I)

I've been a day behind on my postings for the last couple of days but I'm still doing something every day.

Yesterday I unloaded 3 medium Jacaranda logs I got from a friend on Friday night after the tree blew over earlier this week.  I've promised them a piece from the logs and sketched out a few ideas last night.  Not sure which I'll end up doing, maybe one of each.  I'll probably also play around with some texture and/or color as the wood appears to be fairly plain.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Day 115: Pendant

A fairly simple project yesterday that I didn't have a chance to post until this morning.  An off center pendant in Desert Ironwood Burl.

Turning the piece on the main center.

Moved off center to turn the hole and give the face a little contour.

Finished piece.  I gave this as an early Christmas gift to my mother.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day 114: Collaboration

I first turned this piece at least a year ago, tonight I had it given back to me as an early Christmas present, with a few modifications.

It's mesquite, 5-6" diameter and 4-5" tall.  My mother asked me to turn several hollow forms for her that she then planned to carve.  I left them plenty thick as her previous attempts are carving were flowers, vines, and grapes rather than pierced work like this.  This made the piercing much more difficult and time consuming as she had to pierce through 3/8 - 1/2" of dry Mesquite rather than the 1/16 - 1/8" that the walls   should have been.

Song of the night:
Better than Ezra, Still life with Cooley

I couldn't find a video.

Day 113: Better late than never

I worked a bit on the Walnut combination box yesterday but didn't get a chance to post it until today.

As it turns out I did get the lines too close together and a  sizable chunk broke off.

Several lessons were learned.  1)  I may need to use harder and denser woods.  Walnut is fairly light and soft.  2)  I can get around this issue by not carving all the way through.  I only need a path for the pin to follow, using a shorter pin will allow me to cut a groove rather than cutting all the way through.  This should allow everything to stay structurally sound.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day 112: combination box

I started work on a new box tonight.  This one is intended to have a combination built into the locking mechanism like the pair I laid out back on day 106.  As this is still a prototype the cuts aren't the cleanest and I did next to no sanding.  The pin and the indexing mark are both copper.  The pin has been made but has not been inserted in these images.

Plenty of area to be creative with the combination on this one.  It should be fun, I just need to be careful not to make any of the paths too close together or I may weaken the are and cause it to break.

Song of the night:
Muse, Starlight (MTV European Music Awards)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day 111: Success

Ornament success tonight.  I left it a little thicker tonight and took my time making the offset cuts.  I'm pleased with the results and hope that the recipient will be too.

This was turned on 3 different axes, a total of 8 times.  The copper eyelet on the top is hand made from a short piece of copper wire I took from a lenght of romex I had laying around.

Inside view with base.  The "trunk" on the base was drilled out to reduce weight even further. 

I almost always have my MP3 player on the stereo in the shop.  Sometimes it's music, other times it's an audio book. Starting tonight I'm going to try to feature something I listened to while working on today's project.. 

Song of the night:
Dave Matthews, Tripping Billies

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 110: Ornament

I haven't felt well all weekend, our family has a head cold going around and it was my turn so my shop time was limited yet again.

What little time I did have I decided to use on the Christmas tree ornament I'm planning to do for our club's holiday party.  This stylized Christmas tree is hollowed and turned on 3 centers.

Unfortunately it snapped off when I was almost complete.  I'll have to start over again one of these nights.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 109: Finished

I finished the Sumac bowl I've been working on today.  I'm pretty happy with the way it came out, it's a little thinner in the bottom than I would have liked but it has a nice weight thanks to the thick rim.

A quick shot of the bottom.  There's a 3" flat spot on the bottom for it to rest on but no real foot.  This piece now needs a couple of days in the sun to change colors.