Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 317: Dynamic Duo

I wanted to hollow the Redwood hollow form I started on yesterday but it didn't take long before I found a problem with that plan.  I couldn't find a required piece for my hollowing system.  I was able to start the hollowing process using a small hand held scraper but couldn't do much more than the first 1".  I wasn't ready to be done for the night so I mounted up the Desert Ironwood hollow form I started on last week.  The 2 woods are incredibly different, the redwood is lightweight and very soft.  The Ironwood is very dense and hard.  It weighs about 3 times as much as the redwood piece which has a similar volume.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 315: Redwood

I wasn't very motivated tonight.  I got an early start at work this morning and worked well into the evening.  I didn't get things wrapped up at work until almost 10PM so I didn't make it out to the shop until after 10PM.  With limited time I decided to keep it simple and mounted a smal piece of bone dry Redwood.  I was going to make a small bowl but mid way through changed my mind and decided to switch it up and make it a hollow form instead.  It's really soft so I think I'll end up texturing it.  I think it should texture well.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 314: Getting a handle on things

Credit goes to my wife for tonight's project.  I recently purchased another handle for my mini hollowing rig.  I commented that I wanted a third one so I wouldn't have to change bits and she asked if I could make my own instead of purchasing yet another handle. 

I've had a piece of Lignum Vitae for a little while and it was the perfect size for this.  The ferrule is more brass pipe, it's actually the threaded end I cut off of the pipe coupler I used for the center band on my big pen.  The bit was simply press fit into the 7mm hole I drilled in the end.  The finish is a wiped on coat of Danish Oil and then quickly buffed with white diamond.

Lastly I wanted to be able to tell the difference between the 2 red handles so I chucked one up and turned the end of the handle so it's bare aluminium.

Additionally I got an email today from the club up in Prescott.  I've demonstrated for them the past 2 years and they want me to demo for them again next year.  I'll have to come up with a new topic.  Any ideas?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 313: The pen is mightier

More pen work today.  I got the clip and finial installed in the brass pen.

I also wanted to make a pen that was primarily wood, no visable external hardware.  This required some creative thinking on my part as I wanted to include a clip of some kind.  I selected a piece of Olive for this project.

I ended up cutting the clip into the body of the pen, this required using a short tube in the top and drilling just 1/2".  The bottom also uses a short tube and was also drilled only part way at 7mm.  The hole in the end for the refill was drilled significantly smaller, approx 3/32".  I used a 1/4" X 20 threaded rod for a closed ended mandrel which was held in a jacobs chuck for the turning.  The groove to form the clip was cut with a pneumatic body saw.  It's not perfect but I'm pretty happy with it.     

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 312: Size matters

3 Days work, 1 evening to do the brass turning, 1 evening to do the wood work, and another couple hours to make the clip and transmission and for assembly and finishing. 

Yes, it's 100% functional.  1/2 twist extends the refill, 1/2 twist the other direction retracts it.  The nib, center band, and finial are from the plumbing section at Home Depot.  The clip was made from some flat brass stock from Hobby lobby.  The only kit parts are the transmission, refill, and a pair of brass tubes within the body. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 311: In progress

More work on last night's projects tonight, all the wood parts.  I'm not done with it yet, I still have to do the finish work, build and install the transmission and final assembly.  I don't want to post any pictures until it's done, hopefully tomorrow.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 310: Kicking brass

More turning brass tonight.  The piece on the left was a threaded drain plug.  The middle piece was a pipe coupler and the piece on the right was a faucet cap.  All are from home depot and have been modified so I can use them for an upcoming project.  Turning the brass is slow going but I'm happy with the results so far.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 309: Citrus II

Bernie came back tonight so we could finish the piece we started yesterday.  We'd already done most of the turning so it was just sanding and removing the tenon.

After we sanded the inside and flipped it around we ran into 2 related problems.  First, there was a large check and bark inclusion running through the middle that threatened to come apart.  We filled it from the bottom with epoxy and coffee grounds, using the vacuum chuck to draw the epoxy into the crack.  The second problem was the crack itself, it was allowing a significant volume of air through the piece so the vacuum pressure wasn't enough to hold it securely. 

Bernie insisted that I sign the bottom as in his opinion I did most of the work.  He's probably right but he did do a fair amount of the roughing out and bulk removal.  I obliged him and signed it before he left for the night. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 308: Citrus?

Bernie came over this morning with a piece of wood wanting to know what I'd do with it.  It was a piece of Citrus, probably Grapefruit and was an end grain crotch piece approx 17" across, 11" wide, and 8-10" thick.  I suggested cutting it in half to produce to reduce the thickness to 4-5" and then turning it end grain into a natural edge platter.  It didn't take long to realize that the piece was too big for Bernie's lathe and he was having trouble visualizing the finished piece so we decided to get together tonight to turn it on my lathe.

It took a little over 2 hours to get to this point.  It's not done yet, we still need to sand and finish the inside and remove the tenon but the vast majority of the work is done.

It's definitely thicker than I'd like but the piece was extremely dry and had multiple deep cracks that still have me somewhat worried so it's going to remain approx. 3/4" thick.

Bernie is coming back over tomorrow night to finish it off.  With any luck it will hold together long enough to get it finished.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 307: And now for something completely different

I don't do many pens anymore and I rarely turn materials other than wood.  Tonight was different, very different.

For this month's President's challenge 'Pens' I think I'm going to try to do 3 or 4 different pens, including this one which is made mostly of brass pipe fittings from Home Depot.  Brass is just soft enough to be turned on my lathe using my wood turning gouges.  I still need to add the clip and finial (I'm sure I have one around here somewhere but couldn't find it tonight). Being made of brass it's quite heavy but I'm OK with that in this case.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 306: Dia Del Padre

My Father's day was split in 2 halves.  I spent the morning in the shop roughing a piece of Shoestring Acacia.  The bowl would have been quite a bit deeper and would have had another bowl in the set except there was a huge crack from the pith that meant I needed to cut about 2" off the top of the blank.  As it turns out I think that was actually a good thing as I think I'll be able to incorporate that wood into another project I have in mind.

The middle of my day was spent with my wife and kids.  We made the trip to a recently opened aquarium (my 4 word review: decent but very expensive).  After returning home I headed back out to the garage for round 2.  A 17" piece of green African Sumac.  I cut it up with the chainsaw this morning at the same time I did the Shoestring Acacia.

It took me 80 minutes to rough and core this piece.  I also had to take about and inch off the top of this one because of cracks in the pith, that added a few minutes to the process but overall it went pretty well and I'm happy with the end results.  What I'm not happy about is the huge mess that resulted but that comes with the territory.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 305: Monthly meeting

The June monthly meeting of the Arizona Woodturners Association was this afternoon.  I had to attend a planning meeting before that and made a side trip to Woodcraft after it was over so most of my day was spent on woodturning stuff but I had less than 10 minutes actual shop time.

The meeting went pretty well.  Our scheduled demonstrator backed out a couple of days ago so I had to scramble to get another demonstrator on short notice.  Another club member (Ed) agreed to step in and do a pen demo.  We haven't had a pen demo in about a year so it was pretty good timing.  Ed turned a closed ended Baron in Invisavue Acrylic identical to this one except red,  He ran out of time right at the end and didn't get to finish the custom finial but he walked us through the last couple of steps verbally.

Results for the 'Natural Edge' President's challenge were presented.  There were quite a few piece there, probably 15 or so total, most of which were Mesquite because that's what we get most of locally.  There was also a piece of Olive, some Live Oak, a couple of pieces of Maple Burl, and I had some Plum a Eucalyptus Burl, and my Box Elder Burl pen.  Next month's President's Challenge assignment was given.  In honor of Ed's demo it's going to be 'Pens'.  I'm encouraging everyone to use alternative materials such as the Invisavue that Ed used but all pens are welcome.

 I took 8 piece of wood from my woodpile along with about a dozen pieces from the woman who is liquidating her shop.  I ended up getting 3 small pieces from the 50/50 raffle, a small piece of really nice Birdseye Maple and a couple of pieces of hard maple.  I also bought 3 small pieces at Woodcraft from their bargain bin.  Lastly I bought a second handle for my micro hollowing tools so I don't have to change bits quite as often.  Sorby has some really nice small anodized aluminum handles for their micro system for just $20.  I'd like to pick up a 3rd one eventually.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 304: Behind the scenes

I spent the evening doing more catchup work.  2 pieces for tomorrow's meeting were buffed and the lathe, wood, and other stuff loaded into the SUV so I don't have to do it in the morning. 

The photos from the April meeting still hadn't been processed so I finally got around to doing that.  It doesn't seem like it would take all that much time but it does.  There were 43 photos total and each one has to be uploaded twice.  Once to the monthly gallery and once to the individual member's personal gallery.  If a member's gallery doesn't exist it must be created.  I also have to create the monthly Instant Gallery gallery and the monthly President's Challenge gallery.  All of this takes time and effort, effort that people don't really see.

Most of the photos I post on here are straight off my cell phone.  These are from the April meeting and were shot with my Digital SLR and dual strobes through a light tent.  The difference in quality is staggering.

Some of you may remember these pieces from months past.  The set of 3 are Quaking Aspen and have been burned.  The middle pair is 105 year old Central Avenue Olive wood.  And the peppermill is East Indian Rosewood turned on 3 twisted axes.

I was busy demonstrating last month so I had someone else do the photos.  They haven't been processed yet either.  Tomorrow I'm not demonstrating but I will be running the show so I've asked someone else to do the photos again. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 303: Ketchup

Catch up work for Saturday's AWA meeting.  I slapped a coat of oil on the hollow form I turned and bent yesterday.  Cut some African Sumac for the 50/50 raffle, signed 5 or 6 pieces, buffed a couple more, and got a few other things ready to go. 

I'm not entirely happy with this piece.  It could have been a little thinner near the bottom and the lip cracked when it was being bent.  I do like the contrast of the heartwood and sapwood.  It's opposite of most woods.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 302: Fire burn and cauldron bubble

A medium sized Quaking Aspen hollow form tonight.  The split down the side is intentional, it was cut in with an air powered auto body saw.  The piece has be boiled to soften the wood and then the body was tightly bound so the 2 halves overlap while it dries.  I saw this in a book the other day and had to give it a try.  Hopefully I can post the result tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 301: Endless possibilities

Bernie came over for another visit tonight.  We roughed and cored the other half of the African Sumac that we did last week.

I also took the opportunity to show off a couple of pieces of wood a fellow turner who wishes to remain anonymous gifted me with.  In their words they "didn't feel capable of of using it to the fullest"

The piece on the left is curly maple with some unique spalting as shown in this view, it's approx 7" X 12" X 3".  The piece on the left is quilted maple and is approx 6" X 15" X 2".  There are another couple pieces of the curly maple that look like they were cut for a peppemill but they were cut side grain rather than endgrain so I'm not quite sure. 

I've turned a fair amount of curly wood but this is my first piece of quilted wood.  

I'm thinking about doing a syspended bowl/box like this one (minus the paint).  Opinions?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 300: The best laid schemes o' mice an' men

I had tentative plans to do some rough turning tonight for day 300 but ended up going to a 2 hour board meeting instead.  Lots of woodturning stuff discussed and decided but most of it interesting enough or appropriate for the blog. 

5 books were donated to the club library, some of the stuff I got from the former club member liquidating shop was sent off to storage, and lots of AWA and DWR stuff was discussed.  Very productive but not what I had in mind for the night.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 299: Done and done

2 (more or less) finished pieces today.  LaVonne's Honey Locust salad bowl is done except for a couple more coats of oil and a signature.

It's just under 13" diameter and has a nice wide low foot about 5 1/2" across.  Right at 40% of the maximum diameter, on the lower end of the 40-50% typical for a salad bowl.  The wider base is necessary to make the bowl stable for use.
I also (more or less) finished my last natural edge piece for this month's President's Challenge.
This one has a small foot, it's almost 14" across the long points but has a foot only 2 1/4" diameter as it's not really intended to use and doesn't need to be as stable as something like the salad bowl above.  This will also get a couple more coats of oil and a signature.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 298: Eyes on the prize

More work on LaVonne's bowl today.  The inside was turned, the cracks filled with epoxy and coffee grounds, and sanded with 120 grit sandpaper.  I need to sand through at least 320, turn the bottom, and sand the outside of the bowl before I can start to apply the finish. 

While I was at it I figured I out to make the prize for the recently finished guessing game.  It's a small textured hollow form in Myrtle

I'm not sure how well the texture shows up in these photos.  Like the others I've done recently it's applied with a wire brush following the grain lines.  It looks and feels almost like driftwood, which is exactly what I was going for.  I hope he likes it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 297: LaVonne and Dale

My next door neighbor is graduating dental school tomorrow evening and is moving to Oroville Washington on Sunday morning.  They've been really good neighbors so I wanted to give them a going away/graduation present.  LaVonne came over this afternoon and after looking at a bunch of different roughouts (Sissoo, Mulberry, Pecan, Mesquite, and Shoestring Acacia) we finally settled on a large Honey Locust salad bowl roughout.  I think it's appropriate as the wood came from Boyce Thompson Arboretum, which LaVonne liked to frequent.  There's no way I'll get it done before they leave on Sunday morning so I'll have to ship it to them once they're settled in.

I also had another visit this evening.  A fellow turner came over for a lesson.  He recently purchased a bowl coring system (allowing a turner to get multiple nested bowls from a single piece of wood) and was having some trouble getting it to work properly.  We turned and cored a piece of African Sumac he brought with him and then talked shop, lathes, woodturning forums, jigs, wives, kids, and work.  He has the same lathe I have and has been assembling the parts to a vacuum chuck and wanted to check out my setup.  Dale also has a woodturning blog:

Day 296: We have a winner

Yesterday's guessing game didn't last Long   Kooch won it on only the 2nd guess when he correctly identified it as Olive.  I'm not sure how he was able to identify it so quickly, maybe he'll chime in.

Tonight I turned a piece from the same tree that was in contact with the burl section.  Here there was a little sliver of heartwood but not nearly as much as I would expect from what what a fairly large tree.

I also started working on a Desert Ironwood hollow form.  One of the forums I frequent is having a challenge where members are encouraged to turn 2 pieces.  An art piece and a utility piece and to explain what makes one art while the other is utility.  It's an interested in exercise and I'm thinking that this may be my art piece, I'm leaning towards doing a small lid and finial and possibly a pedestal in contrasting wood, perhaps something like Maple or Holly.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 295: Guessing Game

I started to cut up a burl tonight that's been in my pile for a while.  I know what it is but I'm not telling yet.  Instead we're going to play a little game.  You tell me what you think it is.  One guess per person per day.  Winner gets a piece of my work (which piece is still TBD).

This picture is of the Outside of the burl.  It's approx 9" wide, 12" long, and 6" deep.

Close up of the burl spines hidden underneath the bark.  It's a true burl, not just an unusual growth or scab.

One more view, this time showing the cut face of the burl.  I'm not going to say where I got it, when I got it, or whether it's exotic or domestic.  I'm also not going to say if it's green or if it's dry.

Post a comment below with your guess.  One guess per person per day.  If necessary I may add some hints later on.

One more photo tonight.  This is the natural edge pen I did for this month's President's Challenge.  It's Box Elder Burl with a chrome Baron kit.  This may or may not be related to the posts above.  I'm not saying.

Day 294: Central Phoenix

I made the drive to Central Phoenix this evening for a couple of reasons.  1)  Fellow woodturner and friend Larry invited me over to his shop for a lesson and 2) A former club member is in declining health and her family is liquidating her shop.  All of the big machinery was already gone and her brother wanted all of the wood, pen blanks, and turning accessories to go the club and the club members.  Her house was on the way to Larry's house so I made 2 trips in one. 

Larry's shop was clean and well organized.  He has a full 2 car garage for his work area and 1 bay of a separate 3 car garage for wood storage.  He's also well positioned in Central Phoenix to have access to a seemingly never ending supply of Olive wood. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 293: Digging out

Here's a quick photo of the aftermath of yesterday's marathon turning session.  It doesn't actually look that bad in this photo but it doesn't show the pile behind the lathe, behind the dust collector, and behind the tablesaw.

There was also a smaller pile near the garage door, this pile was swept up from the driveway and was mostly from the chainsaw prep on the blanks.

This was the pile my wife saw last night that she thought was such a mess.  Little did she know!

It took about an hour to sweep up and vacuum.  I filled my green yard waste bin, borrowed my neighbor's green bin and filled it as well. 

Tomorrow I'm headed to another turners house to give him a lesson.  He's been to my shop a couple of times and is wanting a lesson in his own shop, on his own lathe, with his own tools to see if we can sort out the problems he's been having.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 292: Before and After

2 Mesquite blanks and 3 African Sumac blanks.  All roughed with the chainsaw and ready to go on the lathe.

4 hours and 15 bowls later the shop is an absolute mess and I didn't even make a dent in my woodpile.  My back hurts, my feet hurt, and my head hurts but I'm happy.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 291: Potpourri

Today was a mixture of everything, I finished turning my closed ended pen this morning, worked on the 2011 Desert Woodturning Roundup demonstration schedule, then I cleaned up the shop.  A friend then came over to have me cut up some wood, which required a trip to Ace Hardware to get my chainsaw chains sharpened.  Lastly I did a bit of turning tonight but both projects I worked on ended up in the trash.  A multi axis hollow form that I may try again, and another textured spline box that I ruined when I cut through the side of the box and into the spline tenon.  Not a good way to end the day.  Hopefully tomorrow will turn out better.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 290: Textured Spline Box

I wasn't sure what I was going to work on tonight so I finally decided to give the box I worked on earlier this week another try.  This time successfully.
I also textured the outside with a wire brush hoping that it would hide the joint a little better than it did.  I wasn't sure the Mesquite would texture very well, I thought it was probably too hard but I was wrong.  I'll probably try texturing Mesquite this way again.
The trick to doing this box was realizing that I couldn't turn a tenon.  Once I realized that the answer was pretty simple.  I turned a recess in each half and then turned a spline that fit into both recesses and acts as the tenon.  Another method would be to use magnets to hold the 2 halves together, I may have to give that a try sometime.