Christmas basics

Staying with the back to basics theme, I discovered a local bargain chain was selling novelty bottle stoppers for £1.75 which is about half what I usually pay for the bare stopper.
I removed the novelty head, which was a claw hammer, chucked up a piece of sweet chestnut and gave it a whirl.
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I sanded this to 600 grit, and wiped on some sanding sealer.
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Cleaned up the top of his hat, drilled a hole and inserted a nose.
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I have not unpacked my pyrography iron yet, so had to make do with a sharpie for the eyes and mouth. This wasn’t great on top of sanding sealer.

Another basic turning, which will help me remember/re-learn some of the techniques I have not used in over a year. Next year I will batch turn these as Christmas gifts.

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Back to basics

Looking back at some of my earlier output, I have begun to recognise how far I have come in my turning journey. I still need to finish moving my cabinets through from the old container, and getting all my clutter put away. Once that is done, I will get fully immersed in improving my skill. I still have tons of work to do in the house & garden, but turning is my relaxation.

I went right back to basics yesterday, and turned a piece of hawthorn between centres, to produce a honey dipper. Honey dippers are essential skill-builders, and most beginner turners will churn out piles of them. The idea is to learn/re-learn how to ride the tool bevel, and leave a smooth finish that needs only a light sanding.
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I think I have managed that. My only struggle with these is the grooves for picking up the viscous honey. They never seem to be as smooth as they should be. Wrong tool? Perhaps.
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This is straight off the lathe with no finish whatsoever.
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I’m not sure what my next task will be. Something equally basic though, I need to get my hand/eye back in before tacking anything complicated.

I still class myself very much as a beginner. I average 3-4 hours each week in the shed, and have had no real professional instruction. (Something I hope to address this year) My fumblings are based mainly on self practice and watching loads of videos. Not all youtube videos are equal incidentally. Some show very bad or dangerous methods, and each should be evaluated from the perspective of your own personal safety.

Keep safe, and enjoy what you do.

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Inspiration

After watching a youtube video by Jimmy Clewes, I decided to get outside my comfort zone and have a bash at the square pagoda style box.
The dimensions are a bit out. I think the bottom bit is a tad too big.
This is nowhere near as elegant as Jimmy’s boxes, but for a first attempt at this style of turning I’m pleasantly surprised at how it turned out. I ended up with a few mistakes, but I was able to recover from them.
First and foremost I broke the golden rule. The outside must be bigger than the inside. The first go with the lid was a disaster, when I turned the handle off. I plugged it with a piece of timber from the same board, which turned out to be a different colour.
There are some tool marks on the wings, which I just couldn’t get rid of. The lid is thicker than it should be, but again, the inside/outside ratio became a consideration.
There is a steep learning curve with this style of turning. I have turned winged and square bowls before, but not with this curve.
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Next time I think I will make the bottom part twice the size of the lid.
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The lid is about ⅓ thicker than it should be.
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The tool marks are quite visible in the bottom of the wings, but I didn’t dare go any thinner.
I think I need to practice on some scrap. Once I have the technique down, I can have another try.

The piece of timber is from a sweet chestnut board I purchased from a local supplier, and the finish is wipe on polyurethane.

All in all though, it turned out fairly decent.

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Finally!

I managed to do a small bit of turning today. This pen is from a malt whisky barrel stave, from Cambus whisky bond.
Not sure what the whisky was, but the smell was amazing while I was turning it.
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It looks much better in the flesh than in the photo. It’s a gift for someone. Can’t wait to hand it over.
I also turned a handle for a paper knife from a bit of flame beech I had kicking around.
Just waiting for the glue to dry.
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I need to get better at taking photos with this Coolpix camera.
DSCN1068The beech is absolutely beautiful.
I can see this new workshop being a great place to be working in.

Onwards!

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Getting Closer

That’s as many boards on as I am inclined to fit. There are one or 2 gaps, but these would be a nightmare to get into.
The shed is, in general, still a tip because of the lack of storage. I will get there though. Baby steps and all that.
We had a week away visiting the rellies, so the home stuff had to take a back seat.
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This stuff make a significant difference in the accoustics within the shed, so I’m hoping it will make a difference with the temperature as well. Next task is to sort out the wiring, and get power sockets fitted. Once that little lot has been done, I can think about bringing cabinets in and building benches.
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I have a work-bench to re-assemble, and all the tea-crates to stow away. Once I have done that, it will look much less cluttered.
No turning this week though.

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I’m not tight, just careful

I like to save money where possible, and upcycling is a good way to do this. I originally hoped to line the inside of the new shed with dry wipe white boards. I’m not in a hurry to get the walls lined, if the cost is low enough.
Unfortunately, work don’t dispose of marker boards centrally. They are junked as and when new ones are required. This was a bit of a disappointment.
Thankfully, pin boards and modesty panels are disposed of centrally. I managed to glean a pile which were being disposed of, just before they landed in a skip.
Not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’ll do for me.
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Some of the benches will have to come out to get the boards behind them, but that’s fine – I needed bench space to get started working. I’m making cable ways as I go and leaving string in to pull the wiring through.
One of the benefits of using these boards is they are made from an insulating material.
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The two cabinets I brought from the old container are now up on the walls, and I have been gifted a pile of old kitchen cabinet doors. These will be used for building new storage.

I did start turning a pen, after setting the grinder up and sharpening my tools. Sadly one of the sections had a pocket of rot in it, so I will have to start that part again. No-one said it would be easy.

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Another step forward

The wall studwork is up and now the roof bracing is 75% done too. I have 3 lights on the braces, and these are wired permanently to the fuse box.
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The table saw chucked the towel in on the last cut, which is why the baby bandsaw is perched on top.
I need to add my thoughts on the table saw to my machines page. All I will say here is I will not buy another Ferm machine.
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It’s nice to walk in and just throw a switch now to have light. I will be fitting the fluorescent lights from the old container in here. These low energy bulbs will do for now though.
Tomorrow I will tidy the floor, and sweep up a bit. Hopefully soon, I will have a source of boards to line the walls.

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