Friday, November 10, 2006

How Much Wood Could A Wood Chuck Chuck?

I have a great chuck, a One Way, and use it for a fair amount of turning. But as I was reading on one of the forums about concerns over a new comer buying one (brand, price, jaw sets, etc) I began to wonder if we are missing something. Four jaw scroll chucks are relatively new to the wood turning scene. Do newcomers really need them? Do pros? They carry a fairly hefty price tag because of the quality and can cost more than some first time lathes. For instance, I do not use a chuck for turning bowls and platters. Lately I have been using large jaws to finish bottoms, but it is not really needed. What are others using?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Mushroom Video : Free

At the request of a couple of people I have made a video of myself turning a garden mushroom, that is a musroom to go in the garden figuring that an 11" mushroom is too large for the house. Just head for the site and check out the Free video section.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Craft Show

Saturday we had what I think is our only show this Christmas. Several others have asked us to go in but time retraints this year simply do not allow it. Last year we went to several. It is wearying but fun. I find that the small shows work better for me than the large ones. The bigger shows tend to have so much stuff that people are exhausted by the time they see everything and then really do not feel like buying. Smaller shows are easier for people to get around, cheaper for the space, and if the manager is good, have better product and tend to get better buyers. At least in my opinion. We had fun, the other vendors were super, the customers were friendly and sales were good. What more could I ask?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Thinking of Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching if you are thinking of finishing a raft of gifts for the big day, even faster if they have to be mailed. This year we are taking a quick trip to Thailand to visit our daughter so a couple of weeks are vanishing. Work is also rearing its ugly head as the Christmas rush comes on. It is a good thing I love my work. I have been finishing up a bunch of stuff for craft shows. We are only doing a couple this year because of travel and a course I am on. I will get some pictures up as time permits.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Work in progress is done

The work in progress, a big wing bowl, I guess it might be called, is done. I will leave the explanation on the site Around the Woods Work in Progress page 11 as a work in progress for now and later I will start another and move this to a project page.
It was a lot of fun, some design on the fly, and a good learning time. I may do another with a square look inside, sort of a square hole in round bowl kind of thing. In addition, I may do one with more of an outcurve. That would be easier and faster since I could do it all with an Oland and not need the hollowing tool. There is a stack of pin cherry outside to play with.
On the other hand, Christmas is coming and although we are only doing a couple of shows this year on account of travel, I still need some ornaments, mushrooms and pens done. Lots of time for fun projects later.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Work in Progress

The work continues as the outside is sanded and the hollowing well begun. the sides are starting to take shape inside. This wood is hard and dry so it is slow going, but a lot of fun. Now all need is time to turn. There are more pics up on the web site at
Work in Progress (4) .

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Work in progress 2

The piece is starting to shape up and I am getting ideas of where to go with it. Sorry about the links. See the progress at work in progress . Any comments are welcome.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Work in Progress - 1

For the sake of interest, I have decided to put up works in progress from time to time. Hopefully comments or suggestions may direct some of my so-called creative juices. Often I start a piece and it may be on the lthe for a week or more because work interferes with my time to turn, likely a familiar picture for most of us. At present I have a piece of 6" x 10" juniper on the go. More pictures and explanation are at the web site. Just follow the "new stuff" or the "work in progress" links.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Where did you start?

All of us who turn must have started somewhere. By that I mean we must have begun with one piece or one style, either faceplate or spindle turning. Everyone says you have to start with spindles, I think because it is cheap, easy (sort of) and safe, an important concern if you are the company selling a lathe and recommending a starting project. Of course, some people start to turn to turn spindles literally, for a chair or other furniture project.
I began while living in Sherbrooke Village, Nova Scotia, part of the historical museum (no, I was not an exhibit, thank you very much). It is considered a teaching village and Rick Lair, the wood turner and a chair maker extraordinaire, taught wood turning from time to time. In his class the first thing I made was shavings, just to practice. then I made a mallet, modelled after the potato mashers used in the 18th century. I still have the mallet.
That was about all for a good ten years or more. Then I got a lathe, one of the old single tube jobs. Still have it. At first I turned a couple of dibbers and rolling pins but I really got the lathe for bowls. So I put on a chunk of wood and turned a bowl. I read and turned some more bowls.
Now a days, more than ten years have passed, and likely 80% (just a guess) of my turning is spindles like pens, ornaments, dibbers and the like. When I need to refresh my memory and my skills, I turn a bowl. It reminds me of things like rubbing the bevel, choosing line and cut, determining the point of entry, relaxing to the cut and the like.
Really, I think face plate stuff is easier and more fundamental than spindle turning although both are fun and important. For sure a bowl gouge or an Oland tool is easier than a skew. When I teach I like to start folks on tealights and bowls.
So what about you? How did you start and what do you turn today?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tools and Dreams

Turners are tool junkies. Really that goes without saying. If you go into the shop of a turner who has been at the craft for more that a year or so, you see chucks, chisels, gouges, skews, parting tools and what not everywhere. I have a couple of racks full. In reality, there are only three main cuts we can make, straight, cove and bead. Everything else is a variation. Allowing for a hollowing tool, most of us so not need half or more of the tools we own. Still there is the dream that given the latest tool, there will come the greatest turning. For that matter, you need the greatest turning to pay for all those tools. Most pros have fewer than the amateurs because the pro can not justify the costs! For me that means I make tools. The satisfaction doubles when you not only turn the piece but also turn it with tools you made.
So what tools work for you and which were a waste of time or money? Let us know.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Arts or Crafts

One of the great controversies that has entered into the woodturning world is the discussion over whether a piece of turnd work is art or craft. Consider the piece shown here. It is obvious, I trust, that this piece is not intended for utilitarian purposes. It is to be held, felt, looked at and pondered. On the other hand, it is equally obvious that this is not the first piece I ever turned. To blow my own horn, as it were, this piece demonstrates a fair amount of craftsmanship to keep it in one piece as it turned as well as to achieve the finish and form that the wood deserved. The question remains: is it art or is it craft?