Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 166: Misc.

Once again no actual turning tonight but I did spend several hours in the shop.  First ripping 3 logs in half, 2 piece in the center are Shoestring Acacia, the other 4 are Mesquite.  All of these should yield 15-16" bowls. 

I also spent about an hour tonight installing some additional lighting with the help of my daughter.  2 more 4' flourescent lights were added (2 bulbs each for 4 new 4' bulbs bringing the total to 8 bulbs at 4' each), effectively doubling the light in my shop.  I think I'm also going to put up one of my dental lights.  I might have to shift my lathe a little bit but it sould be worth it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 165: Ripping good time

More work on the latest batch of seam rippers today.  All 23 had the profiles turned and are ready for final turning and finishing.

I ripped one of the biggest pieces of Mesquite in half in preparation for turning.  It's 18" across and 20" long.  This piece was the base of the tree and when it fell a large chunk split off so this piece was not a whole log to begin with.

I cut the rest into spindle blanks on my bandsaw.  The largest piece is just under 4" square and just over 20" long.  I don't have any plans for these but there's no way I was going to let this wood go to waste.

My friend Paul also came over this morning to pick up some of the bigger pieces of wood I collected last week.  He makes large salad bowls and was looking for some wood.  He brought me a piece of wood in return.  This is a fairly large piece of figured Mesquite. It almost has figure similar to Birdseye Maple  This should make a 14-15" platter.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 164: Rice bowl

"Rice Bowls" are the President's Challenge for February.  I went to sand my multi axis rice bowl tonight only to find that I didn't have the proper sized drum for my vacuum chuck.  Actually I had the correct size but I cannibalized it a couple weeks ago for another project so a trip to Home Depot was in order.

I picked up all 4 sizes they had so I always have one on hand.

 3/4 view of the sanded rice bowl.  The outside was done on 3 parallel axes and a center axis was used for the inside and for the bottom.

Top view.  The wood is Jacaranda from a tree that a coworker lost in a storm back in December. 

Bottom view.

Profile view.  I wanted to have the same shape and proportions of a traditional rice bowl with the addition of some multi axis work.  I think I succeeded.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 163: Orders

My wife made a quick trip to the quilt shop down the street where she found that they were out of seam rippers and according to the owner "this is not the time of year to be out".  So I started another batch of 20 tonight.  Woods include Padauk, Bocote, Curly Maple, Olive, Canarywood, Bolovian Rosewood, and Afzilia.

All of the pieces were cut to length, drilled, and turned round tonight.

I also did a bit more practice turning for my demo next month.  This piece is just over 7 1/2" long and I crammed in as many zig zags as I could.  I wanted to make it a bit thinner to emphasize the offset but one end cracked so I had to stop.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 162: The last?

The last 2 trees I had my eye on were cut up today.  This Mesquite was about 3 miles up the road in a private park.  I thought about taking my saw to it but decided not to risk it.  I checked on it periodically over the last couple days and finally found the crew cutting it up today.  Unfortunately they had already cut most of the lower trunk section into what I call cookies.  Cross sections of the tree 3-4 inches thick.  Most turners, including myself, want the sections cut at least as long as the diameter of the tree.  If the tree is 14" diameter the sections should be cut at least 14" long.  16" or 18" would be even better.  There were several bigger sections left so I salvaged what I could.

They also cleaned up a large Shoestring Acacia about 5 miles West of my house.  Most of the tree was gone but they left about a 3' tall section of the lower trunk intact.  I cut 2 pieces off of it, each about 16" long.  The 1 gallon paint can is in the photo for scale. The surrounding pieces are the Mesquite from above.

I spent this evening cutting and ripping a bunch of logs in half.  Most of the smaller piece, less than 12" diameter, were cut in half on my bandsaw.  The 4 lighter colored ones are Mesquite, the darker 10 are Shoestring Acacia.

I also restacked and organized the larger pieces so I have a bit more room to work.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 161: Cleanup

No actual turning tonight, lots of other stuff going on, including more wood from the recent storm.

This is one of the piece of Shoestring Acacia I picked up last night.  I cut the 2 branches off the top and then ripped the piece in half in preparation for turning.  This is about 13" across.

3 more pretty big piece of Mesquite I picked up tonight, my wife saw them sitting by the sidewalk in front of a local Wal Mart.  She initially told me they were 7-8" diameter and 2-3' long.  I decided not to get it when she saw it but ended up not too far away this evening so I swung by.  Her size estimate was a bit off, these are about 13" diameter and up to 24" long.

I've been telling people jokingly that I barely have room to turn around in my shop, after the last 2 nights it's not really a joke any more.  Any more wood and I'll need to start stacking 2 or 3 high.  I did a rough count tonight and have close to 20 pieces in the 12-18" diameter range from this storm and another handful in the 10-12" diameter range.

Tomorrow is recycling/yard waste pickup day so I figured I'd get as much sawdust cleaned up as possible, including cleaning out my gouge storage rack.  Shavings tend to fill in the tubes so I have to empty them periodically.

Here's all the tools back where they belong.  4 parting tools, 2 chisels, a captured ring tool, a spindle roughing gouge, a 3/8" spindle gouge, a skew, 5 bowl gouges in various sizes, 2 scrapers, 2 hollowing tools, and the handle for my coring system.

The 2X8 and plywood box on the bottom is filled with about 400 pounds of playground sand to act as ballast.  The extra weight comes in handy for larger and unbalanced turnings.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 160: Salvaged

I salvaged a little more wood tonight, actually a bit more than a little.  3 pieces of Shoestring Acacia about 13" diameter.  This tree was in the median of a major street and was blown over in the storm last week.  The road crew that went through the area trimmed it back so that it was no longer blocking traffic but they left the first 4 feet of the trunk intact.  Three cuts and 5 minutes later these 2 pieces and the big crotch piece below were headed back home with me.

This was the upper part of the trunk left by the road crew.  They cut the 2 upper branches off, leaving this piece and the 2 pieces above.  I'll probably cut off the 2 upper branches and use them when people come to visit.

I had a handful of visitors today picking up the wood I posted about yesterday.  One of them was nice enough to leave me a really nice piece of Olive in exchange for some of the Mesquite and the Acacia.  He told me that this wood is 105 years old, it came from some of the Olive trees planted along Central Avenue in downtown Phoenix in 1905.  I could tell immediately that it has gorgeous grain and couldn't wait to start turning it.

I have some in progress pictures of this piece but I'm going to skip posting them tonight.  I finally settled on this outside shape.

I think I might leave this with the natural edge.  It's very gray and weathered and I think it will provide a nice contrast to the smooth and finished interior and exterior.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 159: Remnants

I spent the morning cutting up the smaller pieces of Mesquite and Acacia that I went back for last night.  I sent a note out to our woodturning club letting the members know that I had this wood free for the taking.  About half of it is now taken or spoken for.  Most of this is 7-11" across and about the same length.  The Acacia has the darker heart wood.

I also spent some time practicing more multi axis turning for my demo next month.  Some of it went well, some of it didn't.  I did verify that I can control the direction of rotation on the twisted box.  I thought it might be the way that it's mounted on the lathe, ie whether the top of the box is toward the headstock or the tailstock but it's actually based on how the centers are numbered.  Having learned that I now know that I can make a matched pair, one with a right hand twist and the other with a left hand twist.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 158: Jackpot

We had some pretty severe storms in the Phoenix area over the past couple days.  60+ mile per hour winds, tornado warnings, and torrential rain leading to flash flood warnings.  I spent a couple hours driving around today looking for downed trees and managed to find a couple.  This one is a fairly large Mesquite, about 18" diameter near the base.

A couple hours work cutting and hauling it all back home and this is the result.  Mesquite and Shoestring Acacia (the dark pieces on the left and near the right).  It's hard to tell from this photo because there's nothing for scale but most of these are 14-16" diameter and they're all soaking wet.  I paid a couple of neighborhood kids to help me move them and get them loaded in the back of my SUV.  The biggest pieces are probably close to 150 pounds each.

I made another trip back tonight to pick up the rest of the sizeable pieces (8-12").  I'll probably end up cutting them into bowl lengths and taking them to the club next month to give away.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 157: Roses and Cherries

I decided to work on the Cherry box I talked about last night.  The ends were marked and the box mounted between centers.  A tenon was turned on each and and then the top and the bottom of the box were parted.

The top of the box was then chucked and the inside of the box hollowed out.  If you look carefully you can see the recess that will accept the tenon that will be turned on the body.

The body has been hollowed and the tenon has been formed.  The tolerances on the tenon and the recess are very tight.  I want a fairly tight joint here as the multi axis work on the outside is done between centers and I want to make sure everything is secure.

 Top and body.

After several test fits the a nice tight fit is achieved.  The joint is very tight and the grain alignment is very good.

Because I elected not to use the Burmese Rosewood for my demo I decided to finish the rest of it tonight.  I turned the recess on the lid followed by a tenon on the body and mounted it between centers.

Here you can see the piece mounted between centers.  The axis is moved off center and twisted for turning the outside.  This is done a minimum of 3 times, at least once per face.  In truth I probably end up turning each face about 3 times in order to get everything even.

Everything is then sanded, the top and the bottom turned and sanded before a coat of oil is applied.

Open view.  You can clearly see the triangular shape formed by the 3 axes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 156: Prep work

More demo prep work tonight.  I'm still a month out from my demo but decided to get a few things ready ahead of time.

In the upper left are 5 blanks I cut tonight that will be used for off center pendants.  The 2 pieces at the bottom middle will be used to turn these pendants.  On the lower right is a 3 sided twisted piece that I played around with tonight.  I did my now standard 3 centers on both ends but I made the circle on the bottom side about 1/2 the size of the circle on the top.  This didn't affect the twist, it just made it so that the bottom could be turned down to a smaller diameter without interfering with the center points.  Lastly in the middle of the photo is a long piece of Narrah I turned tonight.  I've done this parallel multi axis piece before but only with a total of 3 beads/coves.  This one has 6 beads/coves.  There's quite a bit of chatter because the wood is pretty soft and it's pretty long.  I didn't bother sanding because it's a sample piece.  I also decided tonight that I'm going to skip using the Burmese Rosewood box I was prepping for my demo.  Some people don't react well to the rosewoods and I'd hate to be responsible for someone else getting sick (or worse) because of the wood I'm using.  Instead I think I'll use some of the Cherry I bought last week.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 155: Rough draft

I tried turning the multi axis rice bowl tonight, from a piece of green Jacaranda.  Things went pretty well.

Bottom view.  The surface is still pretty rough, it's very green so the sandpaper would  have clogged almost immediately.  I'll let it dry for a bit and then hand sand it.

I also rough turned another piece of Pecan.  This is the other half of the set from last night.  I managed to get 3 bowls out of this half.

Another view.  I'm not looking forward to returning these once they're dry.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 154: Carya illinoinensi

I rough turned one of the pieces of Pecan tonight.  The largest of the 2 bowls is just under 15", the smaller is just under 10".  There's a small bark inclusion on both pieces along with some very nice grain in the crotch area where the trunk of the tree started to branch out.

Both pieces side by side.  They've both been bagged and put on a shelf inside the house.  For bowls this large I prefer to use the takeout bags from Chilis.

Some of the shavings from tonight.  Pecan is in the hickory family, among the hardest woods.  Hickory is used extensively for handles that will take abuse such as hammers, axes, and shovels.  When green it cuts fairly easy, these shavings are 7/8" across.  After it's dry it will live up to its nickname, Pecancrete.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 153: The San Francisco Treat

Our club challenge this month is 'Rice Bowls'.  Inspired by the 2007 American Association of Woodturners exhibit cataloged here:

I'm working on 4 ideas, the first being a multi axis bowl with a traditional bottom, second a miniature bowl only big enough for a single grain of rice, third a pair of chopsticks possibly incorporating a bowl, and fourth a bowl out of Holly that is then burned so the unburned areas have the appearance of rice grains.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 152: Aquamarine

I started the morning firing up my chainsaw to split the 2 pieces of Pecan I picked up yesterday.  It turns out that both of my chainsaw chains were very dull so a trip to the local Ace Hardware was in order for a good sharpening.  I haven't used this store before so I wasn't sure what to expect.  15 minutes and $12 later I was out the door and on the way back home.  The difference was night and day, they did a fantastic job sharpening them and the price for sharpening 2 chains was very reasonable.  I then marked out the centers and larges bowl size for each of the pieces.  All 4 pieces should yield 14-15" bowls.

Tonight I sanded and painted a 2 piece hollow form.  I order to paint the entire piece at one time I hang it from the ceiling with a small piece of twine and a small piece of copper wire.  The string is tied to the wire which is then lowered into the opening of the hollow form.  Once through the neck the piece of wire will tend to hang horizontal which makes it wider than the opening and the whole piece can be safely suspended and can be spun freely so that even coverage with the airbrush is relatively easy.

The piece was then carefully mounted on the lathe again so the area around the joint could have the fine details turned.  This area will eventually be silver leafed similar to the other painted and silver leafed piece from last month.

Day 151: A day late

I didn't get this post up last night as I was playing in my monthly poker tournament but I did spend 6 hours doing woodturning related activities. 

Yesterday was the January meeting of the Arizona Woodturners Association.  I also had a 2 hour meeting for the Desert Woodturning Roundup organizing committee.  The committee made a lot of progress, we have finalized our choices for the demonstrator roster and will be publishing it as soon as all of the demonstrators have been confirmed.  J Paul Fennell was our featured demonstrator and did a small hollow form with the use of a fiber optic cable to illuminate the inside to judge wall thickness.  He also donated 2 pieces to the club, one for the people that contributed to the Instant Gallery, and one for the 50/50 raffle we hold monthly.  I was lucky enough to win the one for the Instant Gallery, it's pictured here.

After the meeting I swung by a local wood supplier and picked up 2 pieces of green Pecan.  I talked with the owner and he's promised to give me access to his storage lot in return for some of my work.  Time will tell if this ends up working in my favor.

I didn't do very well in the tournament, I lost 2 big hands fairly early and never really recovered.