Friday, November 30, 2007

Roughing a Bowl, Video 6; turning the outside

I am continuing the video series with the outside turning. It gives an idea of using the Oland tool on some green wood. The video is real time of course. I had to remove about 70 seconds of time in order to fit it to YouTube's length allowance but it gives a good approximation of time involved for roughing a bowl. I will try to get the inside turning up in a few days. I suppose this means I need to shoot the finishing video for a bowl as well, but it will likely wait until after Christmas.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sunday Greetings

I know it is after Sunday, but I just wanted to tell you what happened at church. One of the guys took his grandchildren home after Sunday School and came in to tell me he had brought me something from home. While he was out he had picked up a couple of maple burls he had cut off his firewood for me that week. They were sitting by my car door. One is about 12" long and the other about 8. These should have some great color in them. There are some great folks in that church and they treat me well. Have a good one folks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Roughing a Bowl, Video 4: Knocking off the corners

Once the blanks are marked I like to cut off the corners before mounting on the lathe. First of all it tends to give a better balance without all the extra wood. There is also a chance to cut off any extra bits and pieces that might otherwise give balance problems. Second it allows for a bigger bowl to be placed on the lathe. The diagonal of the blank is about 1 1/2 times as long as the diameter of the blank. Actually about 1.4 times for all you fussy mathematician types. Getting as much of the extra wood off the corners as possible allows me to turn a 16" bowl on my 16" lathe instead of only a 10" to 11". Finally, the chainsaw is a bit faster than the lathe at the wood removal.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Roughing a Bowl, Video 3: Marking out the circles

I like to cut away as much as possible of the blank before roughing the bowl. Some turners with larger and more powerful lathes like to throw on the half log and turn but I find the chain saw faster to work with. Also, the better balanced the blank the easier and safer to turn.

Actually, for larger bowls, say 10 inches and over, I usually cut an angle at the ends to match the slope of the sides, but this is a more dangerous cut for the inexperienced so I left it out of the video. Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Roughing a Bowl, Video 2 : ripping in two

In this part I rip the log sections in two to create 2 blanks per section. This is one of the safest cuts for a chainsaw but also a hard one on the saw. Maintain an angle of about 60° through the log and allow the shavings to clear. Chainsaws are intended for crosscuts and the long shavings of a rip cut can cause the saw to bind. They can also interfere with the oiler so make sure that there is sufficient oil for the chain. I just use a regular sharpening of the chain. The saw buck with a channel here is superior to the "X" shape buck which would cause the wood to bind when the cut is completed and the two sections slid down the sides of the "X" to the center, trapping the bar between them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Roughing a Bowl, Video !

A while ago I shot some footage of me roughing out some ash bowls. Having come across the film, I decided to edit it and get it on Youtube as well as on the web site. This is the first in what will be 8 or 9, I think. They are fairly short to get them on You Tube but I may have a longer version on the page for download.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Squirrel Distractions

This is one of those days when I can not seem to get any turning done. Wood had to be cut for winter warmth, I have both a church service tomorrow and a friend's funeral to prepare, and the phone keeps ringing. I glanced at the pine tree outside the window just to be thinking of wood when another distraction hit, or chewed.

A squirrel had managed to chew one side of the bird feeder so at to loosen the cap and then get it off so the feeder hung from one side. I got some cool pictures of the we beastie having the meal of his life before I went out and fixed the feeder.

Persistence is necessary if you plan to turn wood. Mistakes teach but only if you take up the gouge or skew or what have you to make another cut or a whole new piece. The squirrel is a good argument for try and try again. I wonder if he could be trained to sand bowls?

We will not mention the cats who are still trying to get the squirrel. :-)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hanging the Icicle Ornament

So how does one hang an ornament that is only 1/2" in diameter and has the head tapering to 3/16" or less? You drill a 1/16" hole in the end and insert a small screw eye. Which of course begs the question of how to hold the thing in order to drill it. In this video there is jig that answers the question. Actually it is the jig I use to hold pen blanks for drilling and I just drilled another hole for the ornaments to fit. Once you see the video that should make sense. I will have the whole video on the web site with better resolution for downloading some time in the future, but for now these Youtube ones are not bad.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ball and Icicle Christmas Ornament

I just finished a few of these for a Christmas show coming up this weekend. They are a lot of fun and reasonably quick to do. Most of the turning is done with a straight chisel made from a carpenter's bench chisel. I read about the straight chisel in Peter Child's bood The Craftsman Woodturner some years ago and ground one from an extra 1" scraper that was lying around. These are great.
Some of the head work is turned with a 1/4" round skew made from a tool bit I got from Enco. This one I was shown by Bob Rosand a few years ago at a show in New Hampshire. It is a gem for small work. I also used a 1/4" skewchigouge (sorry about the name, it was not my idea) made from another of those tool bits. In my opinion it is better than a detail gouge.
Unfortunately I have not had time to shoot videos of the process but I will try to get a chance in the near future.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Christmas Icicle Ornament

I am still working on the web page but the video is shot and there is an example here from YouTube. The page will have a full video, about 15 minutes, of the turning as well as the usual explanations and pictures. These are a lot of fun especially if you have a time budget. I tend to have a box of offcuts cut to fit so I can go into the shop this time of year and turn one of these whenever I have 10 minutes or so. It only takes five to turn one but I have to get to the shop and back.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pen Video

A friend wanted a pen turned for him in the European style (what I used to call Mont Blanc until Cross got upset over a trade marked name). I took the opportunity to shoot some video of it. They are on YouTube and will shortly be on the web site as well. Fitting the center band is simple but seems to give people difficulties. All you have to do is ignore the bushing and turn the thing to fit. A few cuts with a parting tool and on it goes. I find it the same as fitting a ferrule to a handle.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sharpening a band saw blade

Here is a quick one for all of you use a band saw. Mine is an old (over 25 years) 10" Rockwell/Beaver. With a sharp blade it will cut through 5 1/2" of hardwood. The trick is that sharp blade. Considering the wood we cut which has bark inclusions, grit from the ground where it was felled, and some exotic oils, it is amazing that the edge lasts at all. For most of us the blade dulls long before the end of the useful life of that blade. So I sharpen mine using an idea from Steve Russel.
With the blade still on the machine I can sharpen it and be back to work in about 5 minutes or less. This is for a 3/8" 3 pt hook tooth blade. I get anywhere from 3 to 6 sharpenings per blade. I am sure it is not as sharp as a new blade but it sure is a lot cheaper and it still does a nice cut through 5 1/2" hardwood.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Maple log: ornaments

Well the saga of the bird's eye log continues. I have not found much bird's eye but the wood is great. It varies from a cream sap wood to a dark heart and there is some nice spalting here and there. Because of deep surface cracks most of it will end up as ready spindles. I turned a couple of Christmas tree ornaments to try some of it. It is lovely to turn. In another day or two I will have a page up on making these icicles. Each one is just under 5" long with the largest diameter about 1/2".

Friday, November 02, 2007

More on that bird's eye

I got started on the bird's eye log. With all the cracking in it I decided that it needed to be moved into blanks and boards. The boards are going to be short since I am working free hand with a 16" chain saw and a small band saw. I took a 24" section and began to cut it down with the Stihl and then moved inside to the electric chainsaw and the bandsaw. Just after starting I realized that I had to sharpen the bandsaw and put a quick edge on the blade. After a bit of work I got the log into some blanks ready for spindles. The ends are sealed with Anchorseal and I will leave them indoors to dry a bit more.