Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 104: Yet more olive

Another quick Olive hollow form rough out tonight.  I'm putting in lots of hours at work lately (and will continue to do so for at least the next 3 months) so my shop time has been limited. 

This piece is about 6" diameter and 7" tall and was roughed to about 1/2" thick.  The cuts on the outside aren't very clean and the overall shape will change quite a bit before it's finished.

I decided to apply a quick coat of oil to help slow the drying process a bit.  It also darkned the colors so they appear much like they'll appear on the finished piece.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 103: Variety

A variety of projects today, first is an Olive hollow form roughout.  This was hollowed to about 1/2" thick and has been bagged to dry for an extended period.

  Next I played with making a Christmas ornament.  I played with this a little bit last night but decided that it was too heavy.  I decided to try to do one that's been hollowed.  The "branches" are turned on 4 different axes making a total of 5.  The bottom has been plugged with a matching piece of wood with a small "trunk".

Next I worked on a hollow form I roughed out a while back (days 45 and 46).  I intended to do a square neck on this one but the rim cracked and I had to scrap that plan.  This was the mate to the piece below.

Unfortunately I took this piece back out to the shop to sign it tonight and it fell off of the lathe onto the concrete floor and sustained major damage.  It already had several minor cracks around the opening and when it hit the floor it broke in multiple pieces around the top 1/4 of the piece.  The opening went from 1 1/4" to close to 4" instantly.  I haven't decided whether to try and save it or if I should scrap it completely.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 102: Olea Euroaea

Another piece of Olive tonight.  This one is fairly large, approx 11 X 4.  I left it plenty thick so it can be properly dried and turned a second time.  I'll probably end up cutting the rim down a bit or putting some kind of profile on the rim so more of the heart wood shows up, there only 1 tiny spot on the rim with any heart wood at the moment.

This was turned from a whole log as the overall shape of the log was similar to what I would start out with after cutting a round log in half.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day 101: Visitors

I had a couple of visitors in the shop tonight, a pair of LDS (Mormon) missionaries.  The were absolutely fascinated by what I was doing and talked my ear off for about an hour with all kinds of questions about wood and my projects.

I told them they're welcome to come back and we'd turn a pen or something but I won't discuss religion with them.  The one on the right is likely leaving the area on Wednesday and as a result didn't think he'd be back so I sent him on his way with the small olive bowl he's holding.

A closer look at the bowl he took home.  In the interest of time I didn't sand the inside and barely sanded the outside.  They have a 9 PM curfew.

After they left I roughed out another olive bowl.  The pith on this one is way off center, it's the black line in the bottom of this photo.  The small area to the outside of the pith was dead and dry, the rest was freshly cut less than a week ago.

Another view.  Again, the pith is the dark streak at the bottom of the photo.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 100: Oops

I decided to turn another small piece of olive tonight.  it was going to be a nice thin hollow form that I was going to let warp.  And then disaster struck.  I set my laser to the proper thickness but I set it for the 10 o'clock position on the scraper but used the 7 o'clock position to clean up the side wall and without a way to tell the thickness I cut through the side.

Unfortunately this piece had some burl figure to it, fortunately it was all sap wood so it wasn't a huge loss.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 99: Olive II

I spent the afternoon cutting up the olive log my friend dropped off on Monday night.  The trunk was very irregularly shaped and I ended up cutting quite a bit of it into smaller pieces and getting rid of some of the sap wood.  There was a nice crotch at the top and I should get a couple of nice bowl out of that and the next section down.

 I did take the time to turn a small bowl from one of the pieces.  It's very green and I was just messing around so I didn't bother to sand the inside.

Tool marks are evident on the inside.  I may take it back out and put it on a vacuum chuck, to sand and finish the inside.  I haven't decided yet.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 98: Prototype 1A

I made my prototype tonight in Box Elder.  It came out remarkably like a sketch I drew a couple of days ago but never posted (photo below).  It's supposed to be a snowflake but my son says it looks like a cracker.  He's probably right.  I'm going to go back to the drawing board a bit.  I think that while it resembles my sketch it's not exactly what I'm looking for.  If I move the 10 centers around the outside further from the center of the piece I can make the holes on the outside bigger which will lead to points on the edges rather than flats.

The rough sketch from a couple of days ago.  I was really surprised how closely the prototype matched this VERY rough sketch.  The number of holes around the outside isn't correct but it was just to get a rough idea of what I planned.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 97: Preview

I didn't get a ton of shop time tonight, It's nearly 10:30PM as I write this and I'm still working on my day job.

What little I did get done is for an idea I had a couple of nights ago.  I don't want to give away too much but it's a very small project but also very ambitious.  In total it will be turned on 16 centers and should only be at most 3-4" diameter.

The layout marks for the 16 centers are to the left.

And here are the same centers drilled out of the melamine backer board I plan to use.

I may end up doing this over as I'm not completely happy with the spacing of the holes, I think the drill bit may have wandered slightly on some of the holes but this may not matter in the end.  I'll probably work on a prototype out of Box Elder before I break out the Holly that I plan to use on the finished piece.  If the Box Elder works out I may end up using this one again, if not I'll make another one before I break out the Holly.

I also received a call from a fellow woodturner tonight, he was on his way back home and wanted to know if I wanted a fresh cut olive log.  Of course I do.  He dropped off a nice heavy olive log and I sent him on his way with one of the shoestring acacia logs I got 2 weeks ago.  I think I got the better end of the deal.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 96: The show must go on

I really didn't feel like turning or doing anything else turning related tonight.  One of our dogs hasn't been feeling well for a couple of days, we're pretty sure she was miscarrying but we didn't think it was anything serious.  We spent a good portion of the day out at my grandparents house but when we returned home this evening we found her lying motionless.  Needless to say we're all pretty devastated.  She was my daughter's dog so my daughter and I took her out to the desert behind our house and buried her underneath a Desert Ironwood tree.

We'll miss you Daisy.

As the say, the show must go on.  This is a piece of Sissoo from Boyce Thompson Arboretum.  I roughed out back on day 67 ( with a couple of photos on day 69 (

Tonight I sanded it inside and out using my vacuum chuck before applying a coat of oil. 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 95: Good golly miss Molly

The Arizona Woodturners Assoc. had Molly Winton in town today for an all day demonstration.  I've known of Molly's work for a long time and was lucky enough to receive 2 of her pieces in an anonymous gift exchange back in early 2007 (picture below).

When I was elected Vice President of the AWA I knew one of my duties was going to be booking our demonstrators and I knew that Molly was near the top of my list.  It took almost a year to bring everything together but today was the big day.

The piece on the left is Osage Orange, 2 3/4" X 3 3/4" and the piece on the right is Cherry 1 3/4" X 1 1/2".  The smaller piece features Molly's signature branding which is one of the things she demonstrated today.

Turning a small hollow form in Box Elder which she will then use to demonstrate several different surface enhancement techniques, including carving and texture.

Carving on another piece that has had black  Gesso applied.  The carving reveals the color of the wood underneath the wood.  I believe she said this was Cherry.

Burning in one of her signature Mustangs on a piece.  The Basket weave pattern shown is also done with a wood burner and will eventually cover the entire bottom of this piece (it's upside down in this photo) which will then be dyed completely black.  Molly also covered making your own custom woodburning tips, including the basket weave pattern that she's known for.  The wood here is Alder.

Two examples of her work.  The piece on the left is more recent, the piece on the right is much older, one of her first.  She talked a lot about the form of the piece and how it should compliment the enhanced surface.  The form on the right is nice but the classic greek form and collar don't match the primitive nature of the surface enhancement.  The piece on the left is more organic and is similar to what you might see in Native American pottery which matches the mustang theme.

Another look at a similar piece to the one above.  Gesso is applied for the black color, the texture area in between the mustangs was textured with a woodburning tip and then had gesso applied, it is meant to resemble the ground being disturbed by the hooves of the mustangs as they stampede.

2 piece from Molly's Dzilla series using her carving technique from above.  I believe the piece on the left is Cherry, on the right is Maple.

2 more pieces.  On the larger one you can see that she's also started altering the openings on some of her vessels, This one has been carved to have a triangular opening.  She also covered this process briefly.

One more piece, This one meant to resemble a sand dollar.  It's been hollowed out through the bottom and then carved.  She didn't cover this technique but I'm guessing that the after it was carved she covered the entire piece with tinted Gesso before sanding back the entire surface to reveal the wood in the high spots and leave the Gesso in all of the recessed areas.

More of Molly's work can be found on her website, and in galleries such as Del Mano Galleries,

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 94: Olive

I cut up a piece of olive this evening that I've had for a long time, probably close to 5 years.  I don't know what possessed me to cut it up tonight but I did.

This is about 1/2 of the piece, these 3 are about 3" thick and are from the side of the piece with quite a bit of burl.

I cut the other half into smaller pieces and roughed one of them into this lidded box.  I plan to do another multi axis twisted piece but I'm afraid that I made the inside too large.

I'm not sure there's enough meat left on the outside of the box to allow for the triangular shape of the outside.  I think I know how I can figure it out.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 93: 3 months

Tonight is the 3 month anniversary of this blog.  My plan initially was to do this for a full year, then I thought better of that and set a more modest goal of 30 days.  I've now done 3X my modest goal and have no plans to stop now.

I didn't realize this was an anniversary, wasn't feeling particularly motivated tonight, and didn't really have a project in mind when I headed out to the garage.  I've been kicking around this piece of wood for quite a while, it's been in this form for at least 9 months and was in my garage as a whole log for an additional 8 or 9 months.  This is actually the third piece turned from this log.  The other 2 were turned back on days 1 - 3.  This piece is from the log immediately above the piece in day 3.  The log centers (piths) on each side of the opening on that hollow form are the centers of each half of this piece.

This is a quick shot of the "business end" of the lathe with the nearly finished piece.

A side view of the nearly finished piece, spinning at about 1000 RPMs.

Here is the nearly finished piece about 90 minutes after the first photo.  I still have a fair amount of sanding to do as this wood is extremely soft and the interrupted cut into end grain led to more tear out than I'd hoped.  I also still have to finish the bottom.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 92: Cuprum

I finished my prototype locking box this evening using a small section of copper wire to form the ping and the lock and unlock indexing points.  When the pin is lined up with the 2 indexing points as shown in this photo the box is secured.  Turning the lid counter clockwise to the single indexing point (barely visible in the shadow) the lid is able to slide up and off.

Here's an open view.  The 2 indexing pins are located directly below the end point of the horizontal groove. The single indexing point is immediately below the vertical groove that allows the lid to slide up.

Top view showing the locking pin on the inside of the lid along with the vertical part of the groove on the body.

I already have an idea on how I can evolve this idea on the next piece, I'm still working some of the specifics out in my head but I'm pretty sure what I have in mind will work.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 91: V is for Visitor

I had a visitor in the shop tonight as planned.  We turned an 8" bowl out of Shoestring Acacia and worked on a pen out of Myrtle.  A fun night and he's a quick learner.

I did get a little shop time both before and after his visit, enough time to turn the small box shown here.  I've been working on a method to lock a box closed and one possible solution came to me late the other night.

The hole in the top half of the box will secure a small pin that will protrude through the lid and into a groove cut into the tenon on the bottom half of the box.

The pin will fit into the groove cut on the tenon.  To secure the lid you'll slide it down and then give it a 1/4 twist.  To indicate where the open and closed positions I drilled some additional holes that I plan to fill with material matching the pin on the top half. I'm leaning to using either copper or brass but haven't ruled out silver or a contrasting wood.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 90: Preparation

Not much accomplished tonight.  I have a new guy coming over tomorrow so I cleaned up a bit before cutting up some wood for the club meeting on Saturday.  Our demonstrator will be turning a couple of small hollow forms before doing her signature wood burned surface enhancement.

This piece of Shoestring Acacia will be the bulk of his visit tomorrow.  It's just under 9" and came from the same log as the roughouts from last week.  I'll try to remember to take some photos during his visit tomorrow evening.

I also had an idea late last night, I put very rough sketch down on paper shortly after midnight.  If I have time either before or after my visitor tomorrow night I'm going to try a simple prototype.  If not I may just do a more detailed sketch.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 89: Insert clever title here

Just a little more hollowing on the piece of carob I started on a little over a week ago.  I tweaked my hollowing setup yesterday and it's cutting much better. 

I wanted to include an action shot, the laser is set just off the edge of the cutting tip.  If the laser is set 1/4" off the edge of the cutting tip when the laser falls off the edge of the piece you know that as long as the laser hasn't moved your wall thickness is 1/4".


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 88: Revisited

I wanted to get something done today do I grabbed a hollow form rough out from off the shelf and went to work.  This piece was roughed out back on days 45-46 ( &

I roughed it to just 1/2" thick so the roughly 40 days spent drying should be enough time for it to be sufficiently dry.

I believe this is also Shoestring Acacia.  The guy I got it from got it from a road crew and it was larger than his lathe could handle.  This piece stands just over 9" tall and close to 6" wide and was turned end grain from one of the pieces that was cut quite a bit shorter than its width.  Both of the pieces in the links above came from the same chunk, side by side.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 87: The Patty Duke Show

Meet Cathy, who's lived most everywhere, From Zanzibar to Barclay Square. But Patty's only seen the sights A girl can see from Brooklyn Heights — What a crazy pair! But they're cousins, Identical cousins all the way. One pair of matching bookends, Different as night and day. Where Cathy adores a minuet, The Ballet Russes, and crepe suzette, Our Patty loves to rock and roll, A hot dog makes her lose control — What a wild duet! Still, they're cousins, Identical cousins and you'll find, They laugh alike, they walk alike, At times they even talk alike — You can lose your mind, When cousins are two of a kind.

Tonight was an exact copy last night, 2 more pieces from the same logs as yesterday. They're almost identical in all respects to the pair I roughed out yesterday.