Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I'm certain I'll be demonstrating for at least 2 clubs next year, possibly more. I've already started to run possible demo topics through my head. The 3 I have in my head are:

1) Lidded boxes - 2 or 3 styles of lidded boxes. Likely a small round bottom box with a contrasting inlay around the lid and a 3 sided box with a twist (normally part of my multi axis demo).

2) Spheres - turning a perfect freehand sphere and variations of offset spheres.

3) Coring with the McNaughton Center Saver.

4) Something else?


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Friday, September 23, 2011


Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been under the weather for a couple weeks now. I finally went to the doctor (anyone that knows me knows if I'm volunteering to visit the doctor it's got to be serious) and got put on antibiotics and given an inhaler. They also took x-rays to rule out pneumonia.

While this continues to run its course updates will be few and far between. Hopefully things will be back to normal in a week or so. *fingers crossed*

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Before & After

The President's Challenge for Saturday is Before & After. The piece on the right was my starting piece.

This is the other half of the log I'll be taking as my 'before' sample. I chose to strip off the bark To better show the actual shape of the wood underneath. There's more bug damage on this half but that only serves to makes things more interesting.

Above is the finished piece. Eventually I'll probably add a few more coats of oil to bring it up to more of a semi gloss finish but for now I'm out of time.

Alternative view with natural void on the side. This void was actually a huge help as it allowed me to better see and feel the wall thickness on the hardest to get to part.

Profile view. I also oiled the inside of the piece and the oil is leaching from the inside to the outside through some of the cracks, making them slightly darker.

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pop quiz

I spent the morning volunteering at BTA. While there I gathered up a few interesting seed pods and thought we might have a small contest.

First person to correctly identify all 3 seed pods wins (prize TBD). Common or scientific names are both acceptable but the common name must be specific (for example Mesquite and Elm are not specific enough, Honey Mesquite and Slippery Elm would be acceptable answers for common names).

Close up of pod #1. Approx 3" long.

Close up of pod #2. Approx 2 1/2" long.

Pod #3. Approx 14" long.

A couple of hints to get things started.
1) At least 1 of the trees is poisonous.
2) 1 of the trees is not native to the U.S.
3). 1 of the trees has a U.S. state in it's name.

Good luck.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

New toys

My new hollowing set was delivered this afternoon after a bit of a delay (just over 3 week from order to delivery). I don't want to disparage the vendor publicly for the poor service but I also won't be recommending them in the future.

I had to try it out this afternoon and had mixed results. This piece is about 4" diameter and was hollowed through a 5/8" hole. It got a little thin near the top because I wasn't sure where the cutting tip was.

I didn't bother hollowing the rest or finishing the outside before I cut it in half to see how I had done. I was surprised how good it looked, one or 2 more passes on the inside would have removed all of the areas I marked in black and a little work on the outside and bottom would have resulted in a pretty pleasing little piece in a very short period of time.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Break time

This is likely my last post for a little while, I'm going to take a week or so off to recuperate. My allergies are acting up so I think a break is in order so I can get them back under control.

Profile view of the near finished hollow form. I still need to do most of the sanding but that will have to wait until after my break.

The bottom with the tenon removed. I had to tape over the large voids and major cracks in order to get even a partial vacuum. With the 6" drum I ended up with about 90 pounds of pressure (28 sq inches @ ~3.2 PSI).

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pop quiz

What is it?

Another view.

The answer. Yes, I have dust collection plumbed to my bandsaw. There are (2) 4" ports, one in the upper right just below the table; the other in the lower right behind all the blockage. But - I hardly ever (ok, never) have it running while I'm cutting. Based on what I found tonight I probably need to start using it.

I also opted to empty the bag on my dust collector. It was much fuller than I expected it to be. I normally only empty it about once a year and it's usually only about half full. I can usually get away with emptying it infrequently because I use a trash can lid that separates the heavier material out meaning that only a very small portion of the dust ends up in the bag. The vast majority ends up in a 35 gallon metal trash can which is much easier to empty.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Labors of the day

I spent 3 hour in the shop this Labor Day morning. It was an early start, about 8:30 because I wanted to avoid as much of the heat as possible. Even that early it was still 90 degrees when I started, one of the down sides to living in the desert.

During that 3 hours I was able to do the rough hollowing on all 6 pieces. They've all been hollowed to 1/2-3/4" thick and bagged for drying. Hollowing was both easier and more difficult because the wood is green. It's easier because the green wood cuts easier and faster than dry. Harder because the green wood shavings tend to clump together inside the piece. This means that in the early stages of hollowing it's 20-30 seconds of hollowing and then 20-30 seconds of blowing out the shavings using compressed air. That can be frustrating To say the least but becomes less of a problem as hollowing progresses. Then centrifugal force starts to become an issue as the shavings are thrown out from center to the largest diameter and because of the moisture content they clump together, often just out of reach of my outstretched fingers.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sleepy hollow

It's a long weekend and I've decided to use it on hollow forms. To that end I started out by cutting one of my Sissoo logs into 6 pieces of various lengths. Each piece was then mounted between centers and the outside shape was turned. I also roughed out a piece of quarter sawn curly Ash I got from Mike Mahoney.

I then hollowed the ash to 1/2-3/4" thickness and bagged it to dry. The piece on the left is Chinese Elm from back in April (http://agoodturndaily.blogspot.com/2011/04/catch-up.html). I put off finishing the bottom for a long time, my new 6" vacuum drum came in handy again. The short piece on the right is Eucalyptus (see below).

This pair was started about 4 months ago. I didn't intend to wait this long to get back to them, they just didn't take a high priority as they're already dry and Eucalyptus isn't one of me favorites to turn when dry. I normally don't use Eucalyptus but I will make an exception when I find a piece like this.

The bottoms still need some work and both pieces still need sanding and finishing. You can see the initial shaping and hollowing here: http://agoodturndaily.blogspot.com/2011/04/artists-arboretum.html

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Bringing out the big guns.

I don't think I'll need a 6" diameter vacuum drum very often but every once in a while I'm sure it will come in handy. I built this one last night so I could finish the bottom of the hollow form I've been working on for the past week. The drum is a 5" long piece of 6" diameter PVC from the local Lowes. The mounting block is a drilled and tapped piece of Persimmon I got at the 2011 DWR.

The piece was sanded with 150 grit before it was turned around and mounted on the vacuum chuck. I wasn't able to get a good vacuum because of cracks and voids in the piece but because of the surface area involved (28 square inches) even a couple of pounds of suction can hold a piece sufficiently for light cuts and finish work.

The bottom of the piece with the tenon removed and sanded to 150 grit. I need to continue going through all the grits and then apply my finish.

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