Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My wood Turning Lathes

I have put up a page or two about my wood turning lathes over at Around the Woods Lathes. Partly this is in response to questions about what I use, partly in response to other turners who own "Cadillac" lathes saying "You use WHAT?" and partly to give beginners and idea of what they might buy. Plan "a" is for this to be the beginning of a beginning wood turning book on the web.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wood Turning News

I am intrigued with what happens in wood turning around the world. It is one of the things that keeps me coming back to the web. It has become one of the most important turning tools of the 20th and 21st centuries with its ready exchange of news and views on wood, wood turning, and just about every thing else. So I added a news page on wood turning over on my site at Around the Woods. It is surprising what turners are doing and at the acceptance of wood turning in the art world as well as crafts. I hope you find it interesting.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

the green apple wood

So I have gotten this far in the shaping. When I took the bag off the form it was soaked this wood is so green. If you look at the bottom of the piece, I have made a small groove to mark the screws. At the top is a flat just above the line of the pith centers. These should help my eyes as I design around the piece. At the moment the intention is to round over the top to the line of pith and to round down the sides with a gentle curve to the bottom leaving about a 1" bottom and hollowing through a 3/4" hole. I need to get a web page up with more information and thought but this is good so far.

Monday, May 21, 2007

wet apple hollow form

Is this not cool? I will get back to posting about the other piece soon but I got a chance to start this one from a wet log of apple I have in the shop. Soon I will have a series up about playing with this log but this is just fun. It is like turning in the rain the wood is so green. I am going to lose about an inch off the bottom of this and I think I will have to pull the top back some to fit the new curve and to adjust so the majority of the piths will be on or close to center. It should move dramatically as it dries. I still have to mount it to a face plate, final turn and hollow it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hollowing out

With the outside designed and pretty well turned it was time to hollow the piece. Dry wood now meant brittle. Keeping the sides intact turned out to be a challenge, but I guess that is what keeps me coming back. It certainly is absorbing. Now I find myself asking if I like wet or dry wood more? Especially when I consider the dried burls I have sitting around. The work is up at hollowing underway Take care and keep turning.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

more design questions

As I was thinking of design, not having had time to update more web pages for the apple hollow form, this piece and such like it came to mind. Being a hollow form of green ash it required first of all to consider the orientation of the pith. The wood will oval in the line of the pith so for a uniform piece the pith had to be parallel to the ground when standing. You can see here where it has ovalled. However, as it dried during turning (it was one of those that should have been turned at one sitting and could not be) a crack developed. This is always a possibility with pieces containing the pith but hard to anticipate.

While the first thought was something along the lines of having lots of ash and this would be good kindling, I decided to work around the crack. Design time. I stopped it from spreading with some thin CA and finished the piece as far as I could on the lathe. Then I took a wood burner and burned along the crack. This looked good so I added some leaves and more stems and leaves, this time on either end. I think it was a reasonable solution. The piece is extremely stable and the crack is not noticeable unless you know it is there.

A new piece seems to mean more questions regarding design including "Is it kindling?"

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Design questions

As I turned for the design I had chosen, this incredible section of curl appeared. Now I hit a dilemma. If I kept with my original plan, a lot of this grain would be turned away. On the other hand, the design fit the piece well. John Hunnex claimed that the wood should not determine the final figure. On the other hand John Jordan, I believe, said that life was too short to turn poor wood. I think that implies that the figure and character of the wood should determine the final form to some degree. The concept of the wood speaking to me has never been a strong one for me although it certainly happens.
Anyway, I decided to remove some more of this wood and pause frequently to determine the shape of the piece from here on in. I think there are lots of forms that look good and quite a few would do justice to this wood. I think it was Stockdale who claimed that potters had been stealing his designs for thousands of years. Good design will either remain or come back in cycles.
Till next time, keep turning.

There are a couple of new pages up about the apple form at Ongoing Project.

Let us know how you design. Do you plan and stay on plan or are you a seat of the pants kind of designer?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Continuing to "peel" the apple

So now the yard is a mess and the garden by the door is not, but I did get the plants moved and heeled in to move back as the time comes. We can flush and brush in safety and the rat's nest of pipe has been replaced. The plumber and backhoe guy are both happy with me.

I have placed a couple more pages of the apple hollow form on the web site. Most of this is old hat except it never is. Sometimes I do repetitive turning and it can be boring although it has its own rewards. This stuff with odd wood is never the same even if I do the same kind of form again and again. I can see where just keeping it in one piece is a challenge, let alone seeking a good form and curve to show off its beauty. I also like the design challenges at this stage such as

  • should I turn until the cracks are gone?

  • Is that possible or do the cracks go all the way through?

  • How far up do the screws go in the piece? I want to miss them when I later turn the bottom.

  • Should there be holes (negative space) where there are incurves or should I turn them away?

Granted that these are physical questions as much as artistic design, but one does influence the other. This is fun to reflect on as well as to do physically.

The new stuff is over at the apple form page 3.