Out With The Old

As the old year draws to a close we all look back at what a dreadful year it’s been for celebrities. Who would want to be famous?

My turning has been much reduced at the close of the year due to other commitments. I have had 3 turning days since October. I did manage some output all the same.
A friend gave me a cutting from a walnut worktop. He was given it by a neighbour for his woodburning stove. This would be a travesty.
I took half of it and turned a platter.
This was pretty close to the limit of my lathe at 16½” and was quite rough to start off with because of the amount of vibration.
I managed to keep it to ¾” thick. I didn’t dare go any thinner though.
It has since been sprayed with clear lacquer and polished to a high sheen

I had rough turned a hawthorn bowl back in August. It was set aside in a paper bag, packed with wet shavings. I re-mounted it this week and finished it to 6½” diameter by ¼” thick.
This was before finish was applied.
I do like a nice smooth bottom. A couple of coats of cellulose sanding sealer has been applied at this stage, and it was polished using home cooked paste wax.
The rim has been scorched to accent the edge

One of the local dog walkers left a piece of wood outside my shed. I have no idea what it is. Best guess is leylandii, but I simply can’t be sure. The end result is pretty reasonable considering how ugly it started.
The holes are not worm or bug holes, they are teeth marks from a Rottweiler.
Step#1 roughly turn to round.
It’s fairly rough and very punky.
Step#2 start to shape.
Still really rough.
Step#3 roud it off and create a recess.
This was the finish straight off the tools.
Step#4 sand to 320 grit, apply cellulose sanding sealer, and polish with hand knitted abrasive paste wax.
Much better.

The act of turning takes something oddly organic and turns it into something pleasing to the eye.

Most of the time.

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More WordPress “Improvements”

Looks like WordPress have done it again. More changes, with no perceptible gain. There is clearly no point bringing it up with WordPress, as it is apparent from this topic that they take no notice of what customers think.
Yet another style over substance change. The editor took a full 45 seconds to load, just to post this. Anyone in a busy environment simply has enough to be doing to be waiting for sub-standard code to load. The visible stats indicator has disappeared from the menu bar. The indicator was a useful widget to allow folk to see in real-time how a blog is performing. Now, because the new stats page is so bad, I have to load the old style stats page just to see whether I have had any visitors.

Bad show WordPress. You’re really not getting this whole customer focus malarkey.

Posted in Woodturning

Finally! Some Lathe Action

After four weeks of not getting out to play, I managed some turning yesterday. I had to take some time out to help a young couple sort out the electrics in their first home. I have no idea how the place didn’t catch fire. Every time I looked at something the level of horror was ramped up a notch or two.

After putting all my tools back where they belong and tidying the shed, I got a piece of old scaffold board mounted up and turned my first Christmas ornament of the year.
Meet Sid.
OK the painting is a bit shady, I’m too impatient. It’s a great shame that it covers the turning. One of the woodturning masters says if you can get a good finish on pine off the tools you can turn pretty much anything.
Sid was sanded with 320 grit and 400 grit only.

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A Cracking Piece

I visited a tree surgeon in July and came home with several pieces of timber. One piece was a crotch from a hawthorn. As soon as I saw it I knew what it wanted to be. I rough turned it straight away and packed it in a brown paper bag with the wet shavings.
This is to allow the wood to dry and hopefully stop it cracking. In this case, it didn’t work. It cracked in several places. It’s fine though, the cracks add to the character. I re-mounted it yesterday, and did some finishing cuts.
There are some tool marks in it, but I didn’t want to get too agressive with the tools in case it disintegrated.
The inside turned much more easily than the outside.
I mounted it on a jam chuck with a piece of yoga mat for some cushioning to turn the tenon away and flatten the bottom.
The tool marks are quite pronounced, even after sanding. The colours though are amazing.
It’s finished with polyurethane lacquer for that dipped in glass look.

I also chucked up a piece of sycamore I bought back in March. It was originally a huge slice of the stuff, which was going to be a massive dish. Nature prevailed however, and it cracked really badly. I had to just use smaller chunks.
This has had a wipe with cellulose sanding sealer. Note the flat bottom. I’m really liking this look compared to having a recess or a tenon on show.
sycamore-oval-box-2I made a finial for the lid from laburnum. I think it needed a little something to contrast with the plain sycamore.
I like the end grain patterns, which turned very easily.

Apart from the sanding sealer, there is no finish on this. There are some scratches from wire wool which will need to be polished out before finishing.

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Buzz Off!

I hate wasps, and I know I’m not alone.They are attracted to the wood at this time of year, because they use it to build their nests. I’ve been inundated with the little blighters though. So much so I had to abandon ship yesterday. I used an entire can of Raid in 2 days. I estimate I killed about 60 of the little devils yesterday.

I did manage to do some turning too though. One of the dog walkers we walk with left a branch outside the shed. I’m not 100% sure, but I suspect it is leylandii.
I cut it into more manageable pieces and did a wee test turn with it.
The grain is pretty nice. This is straight off the lathe with no finish on it.

I also did a wee tooth fairy bell from a cutting of laburnum. It’s not finished either and hasn’t had the bell part fitted.
I normally do these with a tight fit between bottom & top. On this one I think it looks like it has a little nose and its eyes shut, so I left a gap to look like a mouth.
Inside the bell. Laburnum has really good grain patterns and colouring.
And the bottom smoothed off after removing the mounting tenon.
I will finish it with polyurethane to seal it, as laburnum is very toxic.

I finally fitted a speed indicator to my lathe, about 4 or so years after buying the components to fit the Myford lathe. This is something I feel is lacking with the Axminster hobby lathes. I found an instructable where a bicycle computer is used as a speed indicator.
The RPM of the lathe is worked out as 100x the speed shown in MPH.
For example 4.9MPH works out as 490 RPM.
I really should take some photos to show how it’s done in case anyone wants to copy it on a similar lathe.

Best of all, I replaced my wireless router in the shed after the last one died. I think it’s the dust and heat that did for the last one. Hopefully this one will last a bit longer.
By all accounts none of this should work. I have the shed connected to the internet via a powerline adapter which is connected via my extension cable which is in the region of 60m long. Plugging these powerline adapters into anything other than a wall socket is not recommended, apparently.
I don’t care. It works.

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It’s a kind of magic

I finally managed back out to the shed after around a 3 week absence, due to my guts and other commitments. It’s very off-putting trying to turn when you can’t bend over without stomach acid rushing into your mouth and ears. Nasty.
I survived round one of exploratory treatment, and the first set of biopsy results came back clear. New meds are helping, and I’m actually eating like a human being again for the first time in over a year.

I finished the holly wand I started turning several weeks ago. A little decoration and some spray on polyurethane.
I’m not sure I would go to the trouble of decorating again however. It is very tedious, and I’m not all that patient.

I chucked up a piece of the oak I got from my visit to the tree surgeon. This started out around 5½” in diameter and around 3½” deep.
There were a lot of cracks in it, which were stabilised using thin superglue. Unfortunately the stabilisation doesn’t work too well when you try to turn the inside larger than the outside and it parts company. Shame, I was liking the shape.
It ended up being much more shallow than intended, but at least I managed to save it. There is some nice character on the timber, and the cracks are well enough sealed so it should stay together now.
Cellulose sanding sealer brings out a bit of a shine. This stuff is made by Chestnuts, and I’m in 2 minds about it. I still think I prefer Bolgers brand to work with, but this does need fewer applications.
I do like a nice piece of oak, even if it is hard as iron and splintery as hell to work.
Remounting on a jam chuck allows me to flatten the bottom. No recess or tenon.

Finally from the weekend is a small yew dish which was gone before it even made it indoors.
This one through some miracle managed not to blow apart, despite the crack in the bottom being right through. If you hold it up to the light you can see right through it.
This one is roughly 3¾” in diameter by just under 1″ deep. I love working with yew, even if it is horribly toxic. This particular piece was cut at work around 5 years ago and has been drying in the shed since then.
Jam chucked again to remove the tenon. Finish again is cellulose sanding sealer.

Hopefully this should be me back to relative normality and able to get out more regularly until winter sets in at least.

Posted in Woodturning

Health Matters

Yes indeed it does. For those who know me, y’all know I’ve got dodgy guts. I’ve not been out and about as much in the shed, because I’ve not been eating, and don’t feel too steady on my feet. I wouldn’t use power tools or machines with a drink in me, so no danger of going near them feeling like this.
Over the past 2 weekends, I’ve managed a jewelery stand and started a magic wand.

Yew Jewellery Stand #1
The timber is some of the yew I picked up a few weeks ago. The diameter is about 5″ and the height is about the same.
Yew Jewellery Stand #5
There are plenty cracks and blemishes in the wood. I like this. It’s all part of the organic nature of wood.
Yew Jewellery Stand #8
I have a jig for making the holes round the rim as equidistant as possible. It saves a lot of messing around marking then sanding the marks back off.
Yew Jewellery Stand #7
Finish is polyurethane lacquer, cut back between coats with wire wool.

The wand is magical holly.
Holly Wand #1
The shape is of course magical, and the wand has a concealed phoenix feather.
Holly Wand #2
The wand still needs some work, with decoration and embellishments. The magical source of the phoenix feather must remain secret – naturally.

Hopefully I will have my biopsy results soon, and proper treatment will begin. After that I will get back to regular turning.

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