Saturday, May 28, 2011

Birdhouses III

 More work on the birdhouses, this time the roofs.  I chucked up a piece of Russian Olive and turned the outside shape.  The layers are meant to give it the look of layered wooden shingles.

The roof is then flipped over and vacuum chucked so I can turn a recess for the body and remove the majority of the bulk.  I can take it on and off the vacuum chuck to check the thickness and weight and get it centered reasonably well.  Last a hole is drilled in the center for the wire loop that is used to hang them up.

Still some more work to do; sanding, finishing, mounting a perch, burning the lines on the roof, and texturing the roof with a wire brush so the shingles appear more realistic and aged.
Top view with the hole drilled in the center for the hanger.  The 2 on the right are Russian Olive, the 1 on the left is Acacia.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Birdhouses II

More work on the birdhouses tonight.  The bodies are basically done except for some additional sanding and the finishing.  The 2 on the outside (Aspen on the left and Ornamental Yew on the right) are very lightweight.  The Pecan in the center is quite a bit heavier as the wood is much denser and with all the cracks at the bottom I didn't want to go too thin.
Next up are the roofs.  I'm planning to do them the same as the one I did back on March 3rd.  (  I'm not certain what woods will be used.  I have some Walnut burl but I don't think I want to waste it on these.  I'm thinking maybe some Shoestring Acacia.  I think I still have quite a bit and the color should be about right and I think it's just soft enough to texture well.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


 I'm back from California and back in the shop.  I was actually in the shop for about an hour yesterday but didn't do anything significant.  Tonight I continued to work on the birdhouses I started yesterday. 
While in California I received a call from a woman that had seen the birdhouse I donated to the fundraising raffle at the last art show I did.  She didn't win the raffle but loved my birdhouse so much she wants to order one.  I figured if I'm going to make one I may as well make more than one and give her a choice. The woods selected are Quaking Aspen, Pecan, and Ornamental Yew.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Proof of concept

I've had this idea kicking around in my head for a while, a different take on a hollow form.  Donut shaped and hollowed from the inside edge.

 I'm still refining my approach, but I think it has promise.  This is my first attempt and the piece was secured to the wooden jam chuck with hot melt glue.  In order to hollow it out I will need to flip it over, the last time I flipped this sample I didn't use enough glue and it was torn free from the jam chuck.  I either need to rethink my approach or use more glue (or both).
As it sits it's only partially hollowed, about 1/4 to 1/3 done, but it will remain as is for at least a week.  I'm headed to California for work all next week.  I fly out first thing Monday morning and return late Friday night. Longest I've been away from home in close to 3 years.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Off center sphere

Terry was pretty close in describing how I turned the piece from my last post.  The sphere was roughed between centers and I then used cup chucks on each end to fine tune it.  The nose of this live center cap was flattened and used to apply pressure from the tailstock to the cup center used to drive the piece from the headstock.

The cup center for the headstock is some scrap that was screwed to a faceplate.

There is a slight cup in the center, the size isn't really important, as long as the sphere makes contact around the rim before it bottoms out in the cup.

The cup was then moved off center by simply unscrewing all of the screws but one and then rotating the faceplate before driving them back in but in different positions.  This effectively moves the sphere off center so the V groove can be turned.
Lastly a jam chuck was turned so the piece could be hollowed through the opening created by the groove.  The fit has to be pretty good, like the cup center above the contact has to be around the outside before the piece bottoms out in the center.  Green wood was used because it's a little more flexible.

Below is a quick video I took showing the cup center on the faceplate in the off center position.  It's a very simple solution that I picked up from Christian Burchard.  The flat on the face of the live center cap was just wide enough to apply the pressure needed to drive the sphere.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Laser guided Pacman

I still need to make an actual jig to measure the bottom of bowls and hollow forms, in the meantime I used the laser from my hollowing system to temporarily locate the bottom of this hollow form.  When I get around to building the actual jig it will be carefully setup to measure exactly at center height.
The laser point was carefully aligned with the end of the cutting tip.  Where the laser falls on the outside of the piece should be where the inside bottom of the hollow form is.  Assuming that the cutter is bottomed out and is on the center line (I'm holding in place with one hand and taking the photo with the other) it looks like I have about 3/8" left in the bottom.  Just enough to finish it off and make a slight concave spot for it to sit on.
Next up was a sample for what I might want to do on a larger scale.  I saw a photo of a similar piece during Christian Burchard's spheres demo at the 2011 Desert Woodturning Roundup.
Turning a near perfect sphere is much harder than I initially thought.  I used Christian's technique and got pretty close but it's definitely not perfect but it was pretty close.
Can you guess how it was hollowed and how the groove was cut in the middle (or is it the other way around).  Also how was it held during these operation(s).  I'll reveal how I did it in a couple of days, after some guesses have been made.