Another year gone

Yes, another year all but gone. I’m not sure anyone still reads my drivel, there is so little of it these days.
I have done no turning, and very little making.
It has been a very busy year for me. My daughter was married, I renovated the main bedroom, had to do some significant welding on both cars to pass their respective MOT tests, and repair/refit a badly installed loft ladder. The ladder may on the surface appear insignificant, and the actual repair was. Lifting the loft flooring and undoing the poor structural work however was not. I will never understand how supposed trades people can rip elderly customers off. Every job we have taken on in this house has uncovered botched work the previous owners commissioned trades to carry out. From nails through electrical cables, to the shower back-feeding a redundant water tank, to the massive hole behind the boiler. It really is a disgrace. Shame on each and every one.
The coming year will see a milestone. The last two new windows will be installed, and the spare bedroom will be fully renovated. This will see the last of the electrical being upgraded, new ceiling, party-wall being dry lined with acoustic plasterboard, new door, new skirting boards, and new flooring.
Once complete I can rest, and start saving again. None of this has been cheap, but much cheaper than if I had employed people to carry the work out. With the exceptions of the roof, boiler, and log stove, I have done every bit of work myself. Not bad for a little old fat bloke.
I also have a plan on the back burner, to start some kind of introduction to new makers. This will involve re-assuring people that you don’t need to be rich to embark on the making journey despite what the “purists” may say. I started with nothing. I got my first lathe free, bought the cheapest tools on the market, and survived. Almost all of my machine tools have been from either budget ranges or used from estate sales. It can be done.
Hopefully I can start turning again. First job will be a baby rattle for my daughter’s best friend who had a new addition to the family in this past year. I also need to try to finish a quaich I started earlier this year. I need to either buy or build a pressure pot for resin, as the wood is an extremely punky piece of sweet chestnut. It was to be a wedding gift, but at this rate I may have it finished for the happy couple’s fifth wedding anniversary.
We also both came down with Covid-19 after dodging it since 2020. We went out shopping without masks for the first time since the pandemic began, and tested positive 3 days later. I do not care what people say or think, I’m wearing a mask outside again and will continue to do so until this plague finally disappears. (if it ever does) I never want to go through that again. I shudder to think what it would have been like were we not vaccinated.
Wishing you all a very happy Og Maidne. Lang may yer lum reek.

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Finally! Some shed time

I managed to get out to my shed today, for probably the first time this year, to do something not related to renovating the house. I managed to build a charging station for my battery tools out of an old table. Photos pending.

When I bought the 2nd hand Tormek, the wheel was badly grooved & I had no idea what to do with it. After watching some Youtube videos I managed to work out, from the box of accessories, that there was a wheel dresser included.
Today I dressed the wheel, and having watched numerous videos, I sharpened about ¾ of my turning tools, and my kitchen knives. It really is amazing how little steel is removed by the wet grinding, and hopefully the temper of the steel will be unaffected. Using a conventional grinder causes an immense amount of heat to build up, which affects the temper of the steel meaning the cutting edge becomes fragile. Wet grinding, as well as being a better edge and removing less steel, should last longer meaning fewer trips to the grinder.

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Here we are again

Yet another Happy Og Maidne to my follower(s) with no real content to show. I simply have not done much in the way of turning. A couple of quaichs, a few trinkets, and a single pen. Nothing noteworthy.
I have insulated and lined my workshop roof, and fitted new LED lights, built a desk from upcycled material, and made a charcuterie board for a family member. Mostly though, my efforts have been concentrated on home renovations. New double-glazed window and walk-in sliderobes for the main bedroom. We also had a new roof, which curtailed other activities.

I am still working from home, and still plague free. I know many people who have contracted this illness, but thankfully none of my close circle have experienced deaths.

I wish everyone (anyone) taking the time to read my rambling, all the best for 2022. Lang may yer lum reek.

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I’m Still Here

It seems hard to believe it has been over a year since I last posted anything here.

It has been a strange time, with this virus changing everything we do. We (our family) have managed to survive without so much as a high temperature. I have been lucky, in as much I have worked from home since the very start. Our kids have worked right through, so we are extremely grateful they have remained plague free.

Now fully vaccinated, and with the lifting of restrictions coming closer, it is only a matter of time before I have to return to my office. C’est la vie.

I have been watching people in similar positions tell tales of additional time on their hands to dedicate to their hobbies. The reverse has been the case for me. I have been much busier working from home than I would be in the office. I have done almost zero turning. My shed is a disgrace, because it has been used as a workshop during the home renovations. I am slowly clearing the mess, and have moved some of my stuff around.

The main change though is, I have insulated and lined the inside of the steel roof to try controlling the condensation. Time will tell if it has been successful.

I have also installed guttering to divert the rainwater away from the wooden base, which in turn meant manufacturing a new door. The original door was made of wiggly steel, and opened out. It was not possible to have a gutter at that point, so made it pointless fixing any gutter to that elevation. The new door is exterior construction grade plywood, in a hardwood frame made from some mahogany type timber salvaged from the old front door of the house. Inside is stiffened with pallet timber, and will eventually be lined with T&G. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Hopefully now, the water ingress under the steel frame will be minimised and the condensation issue will be cured.

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Waste not, want not

I dislike waste. Having been in a position where I had no spare money to spend on hobbies, and have struggled to put food on the table, I know the value of things.
I only throw things away when I believe they are of absolutely no use to anyone else. This is why I have 2 double glazed wooden windows on my patio almost a year after they were replaced. The windows are made from a red hardwood, most likely a mahogany type, so no matter what happens it will not go to landfill, even if the glazing units do.

We had a log stove installed last year, so far the only job in the house I have not done myself. Our firewood is delivered in crates, made from pallet timber. I have no idea what species this is, but some of it is fairly hard and orange in colour.
I have used this timber for a few projects, rather than simply discard or burn it. It does make exceptionally good kindling. 😉
Over the last week or so, I have biscuit jointed, planed, thicknessed, laminated and turned several pieces of this timber.
First project was the really simple stool project I posted about earlier. If you don’t have a planer/thicknesser and don’t fancy hand planing timber boards this project can still be done if you have an electric sander. Just sand everything before you assemble.
The second project is a whirligig. Woodturning magazine from May 2019 has an article by Colwin Way on building one of these gizmos. It’s a fun project, and reasonably easy to do. The only thing in the project that isn’t scrap/salvage is the silver-steel rod used as the axle.
The upright parts of the lathe were scrap from the fireplace mantle. The lathe bed bars were old lollipop sticks. The little bloke was a mix of holly and pallet, the hub was holly, and the rest was all pallet.
In hindsight, I would probably use a heavier rod if I was going to do it again.
The bowl is off-set on the spindle so the little bloke’s arm moves up and down as it turns.
The project should appear in a future edition of Woodturning magazine in the reader’s letters section.
From a frugality perspective, the entire project cost less than £5
The flip side of course is the many thousands of pounds spent on tools to enable me to make the project.

Keep all of your chins up, and together we will come out of lock-down intact.

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Happy Corona Easter!

I have been working from home since mid-March. My employer very generously extended the Easter weekend by an extra 2 days, so the garden has been getting a tidy. Out walking with the dog, I found a discarded shotgun cartridge. The plastic got cut away and I turned a piece of oak from the firewood pile to attach to the end.
Not much of a turning, but I have so many other things going on I have had little time for turning since I moved here.
It was OK for a piece of firewood. Just polished up with friction polish.
Our firewood comes in crates made from pallet wood. I’m not sure what the species is, but it is very hard, but some of it is quite lovely when planed up.
We had a little MDF stool for use in the kitchen, but it kinda fell apart. So, here is the replacement. Made from pallet timber. Biscuit jointed and run through the planer, then a coat of polyurethane varnish.
This should do a few years, hopefully.

New toy

I decided to take the plunge, and bought a toy laser engraver. Being a born stinge, I waited until the price dropped below £40
I was pleasantly surprised, that it made it from Hong Kong in less than a week.

Straight out of the box, plugged in, software loaded and burned/engraved this.
Next, I will read the manual, and work out how to centre stuff under the laser. lol

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First Turning 2020

I really needed to tidy my shed. It has been used mainly for cutting timber (and mdf) for the house, so rubbish has accumulated on the floor, and I didn’t tidy it away. The garden incinerator has been busy, mainly because I wouldn’t put that muck anywhere near the log stove.
My lathe bed was covered in surface rust, due to the high moisture content in the metal shed. First off, was a going over with the random orbit sander to polish the rust off, followed by a coat of paste wax. The lathe bed got a coat of wax at the end of the Summer however, so I’m not holding my breath.
I now have a dehumidifier running 24/7, which takes about a litre of water out of the atmosphere in a week. Once the worst of the wet weather is past, I plan to insulate the roof, and install a vapour barrier.

Turn it up!

When we were out walking the dog last year we happened across a barrel stave outside the cooperage we walk past. It actually looks like a dog has been chewing on it.
It is a sorry sight on the outside, but once cut into, the beauty of the oak is revealed.
I’ve cut a few pen blanks from the stave, and marked them for later. Amazingly, the sharpie pen barely penetrates the fibres.
Turned to just slightly bigger than the brass tubes. I like a slim pen. I’ve done comfort fit pens in the past to suit individuals on request, but tend to do plain and slim for stock.
I bought these gunmetal pen parts online, and over-all I do like the finish. The supplied refills however are crap. One in three actually work. I’m assuming they are old stock and have dried up.
I need to buy some refills for pens I make. Nothing worse than buying a pen that doesn’t work properly.

I’m working on another project which will hopefully be finished next week – if the remaining parts arrive. This is not a turning project however, and is completely useless.

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Finally! A fireplace.

This renovation malarkey is taking time. Between working full time and living in it, it’s not easy to get a run at stuff.
We now have the front room finished though, finally.
Most important, the stove looks great.
Img_7098I need to get the tripod out and level the camera to take the photo properly. It all looks off-level. The hearth looks like it’s got a curve in it too, which must be something to do with the lens.
All in all I’m happy though. Another job completed.

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Putting the Tools to Work

Not turning related, but I made good use of all the new tools today. We recently had a log stove installed, and need a mantle for above it. We visited Scottish Wood today, and brought home a lovely piece of elm.

I cut it to size, planed, then thicknessed it. I then used a rounding over bit in the router to soften the edges before sanding it to 800grit. It was given 3 coats of polyurethane satin varnish.


I just need to get it mounted now.
Once it’s all in place, I may treat the world to a photo.

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Back in the saddle

The past couple of weeks have been quite exciting for me. I have some new and new to me power tools, some new to me turning chisels, and got some turning done at the weekend.
I now have a decent bandsaw for cutting up blanks, and other timber.
I also have a Tormek sharpening system, which makes a huge difference to the edge on my tools. I never would have believed how much of a difference.
I also bought a planer/thicknesser, and a biscuit jointer for other upcoming projects.

My first turning in many, many months is another quaich which was commissioned last week. I’m trying a new design, yin/yang is the name of this one.
I’m leaving the crack, unless the customer wants it filled. I would much rather leave all the blemishes in place, to show the material is natural.
Timber is sweet chestnut, and the finish is polyurethane.

All of the turning tools, although not brand new, were all still in the original packaging, with factory grinds.
These appear to be completely unused. I sometimes wonder why people buy tools then never use them.
These were also in the original packaging. The detail gouge looks like it has been sharpened on the Tormek. The edge was like a razor.

I’m looking forward to getting back to turning regularly now my appetite has been whetted.

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