Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Back at the lathe

It has been a bit of a dry spell lately with work and study pressures. The church is busy with the annual meeting around the corner and I have had a couple of funerals lately. They take all my energy for a day or two. One of the things that I really notice is my energy gets a boost from the creative nature of turning but it is still hard to get to the lathe and key into that energy. Crativity takes a beating from life some times. Any way, I have been turning a few angel wings with some nice spalted birch that is too nice to burn but too small to do much else with. I have also begun a Work in Progress from a small stump of the same wood. It should be interesting as I anticipate a lot of air in the finished piece.
By the way, I am increasing my links pages. If you have a wood turning related page you would like to exchange, please contact me.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Woodturning Education

One of my concerns as a former teacher is the lack of industrial arts
teaching in our present school system. Perhaps you are fortunate to still
live in an area where the trades are respected enough to be part of the
formal secondary school system. Not in most of our schools in Canada. Budget
cuts have cost us our table saws, our drill presses and our wood lathes.
While this has meant some bargains for purchasers of used equipment, it has
been a real loss for our children and a trial for our teachers.
Not all children are destined for greatness in computer science or further
academia; not all are future doctors, lawyers, or other white collar
workers. Some like to get their hands dirty with some auto grease or
sawdust; some flour or fabric; some paint and plumbing adhesive. If you take
a child with little interest in history and math and remove their outlet in
learning wood turning or auto repair, you remove the opportunity to teach
some of that history and math and create a frustrated child at the same
time. Frustrated children create frustrated teachers, trust me on this one!
In a saner day we taught industrial arts and home economics. One of the
courses taught in some schools was wood turning. One text book use was
Milton and Wohlers "A Course in Woodturning", 1919. The text is available
online from Project Gutenberg and I have now reformatted it and placed it on
my web site as well. I hope you enjoy it for the historic context and also
because there is a lot to learn here. Over the next year of so I need to
update a lot of it for today's hobby turners but there is some great stuff
here. I hope you enjoy it.
A Course in Woodturning
God bless and safe turning
Darrell Feltmate
Truro, NS Canada

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Work in Progress: It's Done!!!

It is DONE!!!The work is finished on the Work in Progress,
Manitoba Maple Winged platter. I have been really pleased with the red in the wood. I know it will turn brown over time but that is all right too. Now I am wondering if the foot should be larger for more stability but this is nice.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Sanding question

Here is a question I was recently asked, and always a good one, "at what grit should I stop sanding?" As in many a good question, the answer is, "it depends."
Assuming we are turning an art piece, a lot of the sanding need depends on wood and finish. Not all woods respond well to the same finish. Some woods like oak are very open pored and respond differently than say a maple with tighter pores.
As a rule of thumb, I like to sand higher for oil finishes than for coating finishes such as varnish or lacquer. For oil, on an open pored wood like oak or ash I would likely stop at 400 to 600 whereas on maple I would likely go to 2000. For varnishes or lacquers, I would tend to stop at around 240 or 320. In the case of finishers like this, you are adding a coat that needs a bondable surface. Too fine a surface does not help and may hinder a finish. That said, a varnished surface can itself be sanded to 2000 grit and takes on a real luster. The clear coat on a car body will likely be sanded to 2000 and makes the underlying paint come alive.
Any comments on other people's sanding preferences?