Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Keith Gotschall demo

Saturday was the Keith Gotschall demo at the Arizona Woodturners Association. We had about 90 people in attendance, 75% of which were AWA members. We usually do 2 of these all day demonstrations each year, one in the spring and another in the fall.

Keith was a very good demonstrator. He was informative and very knowledgable but also didn't talk down to the audience. He did 4 projects over the course of the day and flowed easily from one project to the next. Short of a lathe, a chuck, a grinder, and a turning smock he was fully prepared and well supplied.

His first project was a multi axis bowl. It's started as a spindle project and was used to demonstrate basic turning technique (beads, coves, skew, rubbing the bevel).

The blank was prepared in such a way that after the spindle portion was complete it was split in 2 pieces and then oriented in side grain orientation and the wings and bowl portion turned. The whole project was also used to demonstrate the proper way to cut with the grain direction.

The next project was a small salt shaker. It's turned end grain in 2 pieces. The body was hollowed with a spindle gouge in a technique called back-cutting, I'll have to give it a try sometime.

The unique part of this project is the use of the finished project. It doesn't have holes in the top like a normal salt shaker. It also doesn't have a mechanism like a normal pepper grinder. The hole in the bottom is at the top of an inverted cone. As the salt shaker is shaken up and down a small amount of salt manages to fall through the hole in the bottom and onto the plate.

Third was an off center plate with a series of beads on the top and the bottom. The grooves were highlighted by pressing a small piece of Purpleheart into the groove while it was spinning. The friction and heat darkened each of the grooves slightly.

The back side also has some offset beads as well as some decorative beads that help disguise the final chucking method. I'm not a big fan of the final form but I think the technique is interesting and is something I can see myself playing with in the future.

Last up was a best perfect sphere. I've turned my share of spheres but the technique he used was different than my method. You can't argue with his results. It's very nearly perfect, 30 seconds of sanding would have made it absolutely perfect.

While there a fellow club member gifted me with some Desert Ironwood. I don't have any projects in mind at the moment but in grateful that he thought of me.

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Monday, March 26, 2012


Last month I submitted 5 pieces for possible inclusion in a museum exhibit down in Tucson.  The Tohono Chul Park museum is having an exhibit that celebrates the Mesquite tree.  All entries must be made of or feature images of the Mesquite tree.
I received notice today that 3 of the 5 pieces I submitted were accepted and will be in the exhibit from April 26th to July 22nd.  The email indicated that they had 160 pieces submitted for consideration from nearly 70 different artists.
Now I have to get them down to Tucson before the April 26th opening.  Not an easy thing considering I have 2 shows between now and then, not to mention my day job.
The 3 piece set was turned from wood I received in the 50/50 raffle at the local club a couple years ago.  The first hollow form was from wood sourced at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.  I'm not certain where the wood for the other hollow form came from.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Put a ring on it?

I had the day off today, the first weekday I've had off this year not due to illness (my own or my kid's). I spent most of it on the shop making 4 out of the 5 pieces seen here. These are the options for the support base for the 2 recent hollow forms.

Which do you prefer?

Option 1 - Box Elder Burl cup base. This is the piece in the upper left in the group photo.

Option 2 - square Box Elder Burl with natural edge. This is the top middle piece in the group photo.

Options 3 & 4 - Box Elder Burl solid wood rings. The 2 pieces on the right in the group photo.

Option 5 - Desert Ironwood solid wood ring. Bottom left in the group photo.

I also worked on this piece of Eucalyptus Burl. This piece was actually cored off the bottom of of a larger burl about a year ago. http://agoodturndaily.blogspot.com/2011/04/big-burls.html?m=0 I've had it kicking around the shop since then.

I wanted to do something different with the base, what I came up with is a small integrated ring. I had some issues vacuum chucking it with all of the voids so the bottom isn't quite as nice as I'd like but I'm still pretty happy with it. Now I have to figure out how to best get oil into all of those voids.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

A thousand words

I'll let the wood speak for itself tonight.

Silver Maple Burl courtesy of Mile Mahoney.

This one also has a round bottom. I set it into a ring temporarily for the photo.

The blank used for this piece is the darker piece on the top left of this pile.

While I was at it I also took a better photo of the Box Elder Burl hollow form I just finished. I'm still not happy with the base. I have Monday off so I plan to try a couple other options.

Side by side.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Unique beauty

I know it doesn't look like it changed, but it did and I'm happier with it. The overall shape looks and feels better. An additional 1/16"-1/8" was also taken off of the bottom so the weight is also better.

Profile view. I put a coat of oil on this morning while the kids were getting ready for school. I'm always amazed how much just a simple coat of oil enhances the color. The color was there the whole time, the oil just enhances it.

Bottom view. The round bottom was left intact. I was surprised how much burl figure there was on the bottom of this piece. Often as you go closer to the center of the tree the burl figure diminishes or goes away entirely.

Close up of the burl figure near the neck. This is why I love to use burl so much, the figure is amazing and is completely unique to this piece of wood. No 2 pieces will ever be the same.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Round bottom girl

More work on the Box Elder Burl hollow form tonight. It's now 95% complete, I'm considering putting it back on the lathe for a minor touchup. I'll sleep on it tonight and make the decision tomorrow. I'm pretty sure I have enough material left, at least I hope that I do. If not I may have a few choice words with myself.

At this point I have opted to leave it with a round bottom. Even if I do the touchup I think I'll leave the round bottom. It's not something you see very often on hollow forms, it's only the second one I've done that I can remember.

I'm still debating about how to handle a base if I leave the round bottom. In the past I've turned solid wood rings, one of which I'm using in this photo. I have another idea I'm kicking around that I may prototype. Time will tell.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Everything old is new again

Most of the hollowing is now complete.  The majority of the wood has been removed from the inside, just a little more to go.  The wood is Box Elder Burl from Idaho.  I went back home on vacation this summer and took some wood with me (Mesquite, Olive, African Sumac, Desert Ironwood) intending to trade.  This was one of the pieces I traded for and brought back with me.  I rough turned the outside of the blank all the way back in July (http://agoodturndaily.blogspot.com/2011/07/necessary-evil.html).
 I resumed working on it about 2 weeks ago (http://agoodturndaily.blogspot.com/2012/02/variety-show.html) and tonight put it back on the lathe to continue the process.  The are around the opening ended up being larger than I intended but I'm still very happy with it so far.
I intend this shape to be a little different than what I've been doing lately.  I plan to have it more rounded, almost spherical, on the bottom.  I may end up giving it a round bottom.  That will require a base for it to sit in.  This piece actually reminds me of one I did a little over 2 years ago: http://agoodturndaily.blogspot.com/2009/12/day-130-boxing-day.html

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Three quarters

3 out of 4 are now complete. This is a chunk of Sissoo from Boyce Thompson Arboretum that I roughed out about 6 months ago (http://agoodturndaily.blogspot.com/2011/09/labors-of-day.html?m=0).

This piece has some nice curl in some of the sap wood and surrounding a couple of the knots. Like all Sissoo it has great contrast between the heart wood and the sap wood. There was probably more sap wood on this blank to start with but I didn't want a solid band of sapwood around the middle of the blank.

The opening on this piece is slightly larger than I'd like, I had to true up the warping that occurred during drying. As a result the opening is about 1.2". I was shooting for 1" but that didn't happen. One upside: the larger opening did make hollowing easier.

Overall dimensions are 6.5" diameter and just a hair under 8" tall.

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