Saturday, December 18, 2010

Paper presser

I made one of these a couple months ago for my wife, one of her coworkers saw it and requested one of her own.  I'm not sure of the wood, I think it's quilted Sapele but I'm nowhere near 100%.  It came from the bargain bin at Woodcraft this summer.  I didn't really want to use it for this project but it was the only piece I had handy that was the right size and shape.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Ornament, Birdhouse

My daughter's class was supposed to build birdhouses in class yesterday but she got ill Thursday night and stayed home from school on Friday when the build day was planned.  She was very disappointed that she didn't get to build her birdhouse so I promised her we'd make one today.  I'm not a cabinet maker or carpenter, I'm a turner so this was a bit out of my element but I think it turned out OK from a quick sketch.  I had to incorporate some turning into it somewhere so I turned the small perch out of some maple.  The rest is built out of pine and it's spray painted with grey primer.
 While I was out in the shop I decided to turn my Christmas ornament for next week's ornament exchange at the annual Arizona Woodturners Association holiday luncheon.  I had a different one in mind but was unable to find a necessary part locally.
The globe is turned out of redwood with the finial and icicle out of walnut.  I chose these because they're both very lightweight which is imporant because this is intended to hang on a tree.  The outside of the globe was textured with a wire brush to provide visual interest. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mesquite Burl

 I've been sick for a week now, the only time in the shop was to split the Boyce Thompson Arboretum Mesquite burl I got 2 weeks ago.  As I suspected it doesn't have the eyes and extreme figure that burls sometimes have, but it's certainly got some curl and some interesting growth.
I also have 4 pieces that are mostly straight grain, they should end up between 10 and 12" diameter and will probably end up going back to the Arboretum when finished as "payment" for the wood, but that's only if I get over this cold.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Weekend haul

 This weekend was the Fall Foliage Finale out at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.  I was there both Saturday and Sunday hocking my wares, educating the public about woodturning via demonstrations, and promoting our club and the upcoming Desert Woodturning Roundup (  Sales were brisk on Saturday and almost non existent on Sunday due to the weather.  It was cold and windy with some rain and hail in the morning.  We moved from outside to one of the buildings after the weather turned bad but the damage was already done, attendance was down because of the weather and everything else was down because of it.  Sales Sunday were about 5% of what was sold on Saturday, it was that bad.

The good news from Sunday is that I received permission from one of the staff members there to salvage a large Mesquite burl from the area near their burn pile.  I spied it on Saturday as I was leaving and managed to track down the Director of Horticulture on Sunday and secured permission to come get it this week.  Part of the deal is that either 1) finished pieces are returned to the Arboretum or 2) a percentage of the sale price is donated to the Arboretum.  I've had this deal with them several times in the past and it's worked out well before. 

I went out there this afternoon to load it up.  Another staff member helped me load it up (after cutting off the smaller piece shown behind the burl).  It took both of us plus a 3 ton floor jack to get it loaded in the back of my SUV.  I'm guessing that it weighs in the neighborhood of 250 pounds as it stands tonight.  For scale the piece in the background is 12" diameter and approx. 14" long.  The burl is quite a bit bigger, probably 20" diameter and close to 30" long.  It's Honey Mesquite and I've had my eye on it for a while, it hung over the entrance to their Demonstration Garden.  The staff member that helped me load it up says he's been watching it grow for the last 25 years and is curious to see what's inside.  This is my first Mesquite Burl and I'm not quite sure how to cut it for the best yield, unfortunately it's not really possible to know the best way to cut it until after the first cut is made and the figure (or lack thereof) can be seen.