Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 286: The Possimpible

I wanted to turn a new style of lidded box (new to me anyway) today but most of the wood I have isn't correct for what I want to do.  The box will be different because the joint between the 2 halves won't be straight.  It will follow the curve of the wood grain.  To do this I'll have to cut the blank in half following the grain.  It will also have to be turned side grain rather than end grain.

Turning the recess on one half isn't a problem.  Turning the tenon on the other half is an issue because of the irregular shape of the joint.  It took a couple of tries to figure out what went wrong and what I need to do to fix the issue. 

My 2 tries today that were less than successful.  Both are now in the recycling bin.  Shoestring Acacia on the lef and Cherry on the right.  I'm planning to texture the outside of the box to accent the grain and to help hide the joint.

To solve the turning problem I have to do 2 things.  1)  I need to get a new blade for my bandsaw so I can make the separation between the 2 halves of the box cleaner.  2)  I need to rethink my standard box turning procedure. 

I'm 100% sure my solution will work as I've used it on a lidded box in the past.  Any ideas from anyone else on how to solve this problem?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 285: Plum crazy

Another piece coming to fruition from my latest sketchbook.  This piece of Ornamental Plum was cut slightly long, mounted between centers, and a tenon turned on each end.  The piece was then mounted on a large backer plate using 2 steel straps, 4 wood screws, and 4 large washers.  The bowl portion was then turned, sanded, and a coat of oil applied.

The tenons were then cut off, the ends sanded smooth, and finished with a coat of oil.

Securing it in this manner allowed me to turn the bowl into the plum branch without using a tenon or anything that would permanently damage the surface.
My original sketch had several smaller bowls along the length.  The more I thought about it the more I thought it might look like were just drilled in with a core box bit.  Turning it like eliminated that appearance but gave it the appearance of just having the recessed area cut out with a saw.  Upon closer inspection you can see that the surface is concave, something that can't be done with a saw.  

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 284: Fruition

My natural edge burl bowl came to fruition today.  I carefully cut 4 pieces of plywood so the burl sat level in them and then used hot melt glue to temporarily secure the plywood to the bottom of the burl.  The plywood was then secured to the backer plate with 1 1/2" wood screws.

 Side view showngthe plywood supporting the natural edge of the burl.  It seems I overdid it with the hot melt glue.  I probably could have gotten away with half of what I used, the plywood was rather difficult to get off after I was done.

I also decided to move the whole piece off center and turn another small bowl in the top.  To offset the weight imbalance I screwed some counter weights (steel pen bushings) to the opposite side of the backer plate.

  Finished piece with a single coat of oil. 

Bottom side of above after turning.  As planned it shows no evidence of how it was secured on the lathe. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 283: Sketchbook IV

2 quick sketches tonight for natural edge projects I'd like to do but likely won't have time before he next club meeting.  First is a natural edge bowl with the natural edge being on the bottom. The challenge here is to turn the inside of the bowl without damaging the burl points on the underside.  Because I want the under side to remain untouched I can't use a tenon or a faceplate.  I also can't mount it between centers.  I've got an couple of ideas that might work but it will take some creative thinking and a unique approach.

Second is a smal branch piece with several small bowls turned along one side.  Like the piece above I want the rest of the piece untouched.  I'm thinking about securing it to a large backer plate with metal strapping and/or plywood wedges.  I would also use the backer plate to attach counter weights as the piece will be extremely unbalanced as it is moved off center.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 282: Natural Edge III

More work on the natural edge bowl tonight.  The inside has been mostly turned.  I may still do a little touch up but it's 95% there.

As expected I lost most of the bark.  What's left will be removed by hand.

I love the way the outside shape looks on the nearly finished piece.  I still have all of the sanding to do inside and out as well as finishing off the foot, probably 2-3 more evenings of work.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 281: Natural Edge II

I've had this piece of wood for quite a while, probably 4 or 5 years, possibly longer.  I've known what I wanted to with it for quite a while I've just never quite gotten around to doing it.

The going was slow, it's bone dry and quite large at just over 14" long and 11" wide. 

It's coming along just like I though, it's just taking longer than I'd like and it's pretty tough to get really clean cuts.  I can't turn the speed up as high as I'd like because it's still fairly unbalanced.

Top view.  I'll probably do the inside tomorrow. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 280: Natural edge

Special preview of my President's Challenge piece for next month.  The challenge is "Natural Edge" and I decided to do something I haven't done before, a pen with a natural edge on the closed end.  I still have to do the cap end and finish assembly but the hard part is done.  I also swept and vacuumed up the shop, after all the big turning this week my recycle bin is completely full.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 279: Cutoffs

2 small bowls from some of the last of the Acacia Visco tonight.  These were small pieces cut off from the large bowl blank.  There small, only 5" and 7" diameter.  I think they'll be headed back to Boyce Thompson Arboretum once they're complete.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 278: Untitled

More Acacia Visco today. This was the other half of the piece I did yesterday, this half was a bit bigger, just over 17" diameter right now.  It had a bunch of small burl clusters on the outside that show through to the inside just a bit.

I cored the blank using my McNaughton set.  I had problems using the largest blade which cause the core to not be very deep.  I was able to get 3 bowls out of the blank but should have gotten at least one more, possibly 2.  As is they're 17 1/4", 12" and 8 1/4" diameter.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 277: Back on the horse

I haven't done any big roughouts for a while so I did a pair of them today.  The pair on the left is from a Shoestring Acacia crotch about 11 1/2" diameter, the trio on the right are Acacia Visco from Boyce Thompson Arboretum about 16" diameter.  The Visco had some large worms in the sapwood so most of the sapwood was removed during the turning process. 

Day 276: Les II

More eccentric work tonight followed by a visit to the shop of a fellow woodturner. 

I made the trip over to my friend Les's shop tonight.  He's a fellow woodturner I met a couple months ago.  He visited my shop last week so I visited his tonight.  He makes Native American style wooden flutes (among other things).  I enjoyed seeing his shop and his tools, one major advantage he has over me is that his shop is connected to the house which means it's heated during the winter and cooled during the summer.  Seeing the process for making his flutes was interesting and way more complicated than I thought it would be and is more than I'm willing to take on at this point.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 275: Eccentric jig

They're not pretty but they work.  These are the jigs I'm going to play around with for eccentric turning.  The one with the largest hole is the one I used last night.  The others I made tonight.

The concept for how these work is incredibly simple.  Turn a tenon on one end of the piece that is as close to the size of the jig as possible.  Slightly larger is better than too small.

The tenon is forced into the recess on the jig.  The jig is then gripped in the chuck.

Because of the rounded edge the jig can be angled in the chuck and then regripped to adjust the axis of rotation

 Playing around with just a pen blank tonight in the jig with the smallest hole.  It's not very pleasing to look at but it was fun to make and that's just as important as how it looks.   

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 274: Escoulen lite

I made a do it yourself version of the Escoulen chuck tonight and then turned a small lidded box using it.  I'm pretty happy with the results so far but there room for improvement, mostly asthetics.

Open view.  It consists of 3 parts, the body, lid, and the finial.  The body and lid are of an unknown wood, possibly Carob.  The finial is Padauk.  The finia was al turned eccentrically, but using a different techniqe than the rest of the box.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 273: Pendants - part XXVIIb

More pendants tonight.  I'm trying to get a bunch done to send to my mother.  The 3 on the top row are Buckeye Burl, the one on the left has a Malachite cabochon, the one on the right has an amethyst cabochon.  The bottom 3 are dyed Box Elder Burl.  The middle one has an Onyx cabochon, the one on the right has a white/gray cats-eye cabochon.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 272: Research

I spent a portion of my evening watching a video a friend of mine let me borrow.  He knows I've been playing with multi axis work and he recently purchased an Escoulen eccentric chuck.  I don't plan to purchase one of these as they're rather expensive but it was interesting to watch his process and techniques and imagine how I might be able to replicate his results in my shop with shop made jigs or adapted techniques.

For those not familiar with Jean-Francois Escoulen's work here is one of his lidded boxes.  Based on his video and what I know of his work I believe this is made of 3 pieces each consisting of 2 parts and is probably turned on at least a dozen different centers.

More of his work. He's done a number of chess sets, all featuring his multi axis work.  This should be fun.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 271: Texture

Not much shop time tonight, I spent most of the day with my wife and kids.  I did spend a few minutes this evening practicing burning and then applied a texture to the outside of this small Myrtle hollow form using a wire brush.  I'm pretty sure the texture won't show up in this picture but my wife says that it looks and feels like driftwood.

As promised here are the 3 bowls from my demo yesterday.  The lighter colored bowls are the Jacaranda.  The darker one is the Shoestring Acacia that was a dry roughout.

Day 270: Demo III

My last minute club demo was yesterday.  Things went pretty well for doing it on such short notice.  I did a small bowl in Jacaranda, a small natural edge bowl in jacaranda, and then trued up the ouside, inside, and bottom of a dried Shoestring Acacia roughout from back in November.  As planned I only used 2 tools,a 1/2" Crown Pro-PM bowl gouge and a 3/8" Crown Pro-PM spinde gouge.  If I get a chance I'll get photos of the bowls I did during the demo and post them later today.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Day 269: Last minute

Last minute preparation for the club meeting tomorrow.  Making sure I have everything I need for my demo, including the lathe, tools, handouts, wood, all of my pieces for the President's Challenge, and a couple of pieces for the Instant Gallery.

I also spent a while cleaning up and turning the pendant shown to the left.  It's Buckeye Burl with a blue cabochon out of an unknown stone.  

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 268: Les

Friend and fellow turner Les came over for a visit tonight.  He turns wooden flutes among other things.  We ended up turning a small Desert Ironwood bowl so I could show him my process.  To clean up the bottom of the bowl we used my vacuum chuck which he really liked.  I'm sure he will probably end up making his own eventually.

Day 267: Don't panic

I'm not hurt, I'm not dead, and I didn't quit.  I just forgot to post last night, I remembered about 3 AM this morning but figured it could wait until later.  I did my time in the shop, I just didn't get the post done.

I did a small lidded box in Visco (Acacia Visco) heartwood and sapwood with African Blackwood inlay.

The inside of the body is unfinished.  I'm not sure if I'm going to do anything with it or not.  Maybe I'll try silver leafing it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 266: Organization

Additional practce for Saturday.  A dried roughout in Shoestring Acacia I got late last year.

I was practicing making the best cuts I can, trying to make a bowl as close to finish ready without any sanding.  I think I did a pretty good job, now I have to try and do it under pressure.

I also sorted a ton of pen blanks with the help of my kids.  The bins from top to bottom are:
African Sumac (left)
Desert Ironwood (right)
Box Elder Burl (left)
Oak Burl (right)
and the big bin is a mixture including Redwood Burl, Mesquite, Saguaro Cactus rib, Honey Locust, Myrtle, and a variety of other other blanks. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 265: Salvage

Tonight a made a trip over to Ahwatukee to salvage some wood that was being cut by APS (one of the local power companies) from under their power lines.  Woods include Palo Verde, Mesquite, Acacia, and Ironwood.  There may have also been some Texas Ebony but if it was it was long gone by the time I got there.

By my count I have 25 pieces here after cutting in half and ripping some of the larger pieces.  I may keep one or two piece of Ironwood, the rest will be headed to the local club or distributed to other club member over the next month or 2. 

There's still a bunch of wood out there for others to gather, it's probably 70% Palo Verde which is far fom my favorite wood.