Friday, December 28, 2007

Time to Turn - Almost

Christmas has gone, I think. At least I am back to work even though the girls are still home on break. We are having an open house for the church on New Years Eve so I will be tied up getting the cooking done for that, but I hope to get some turning in.

There are some plans for the web site in the new year. I expect to get some contributor's pages up for one thing. Some really neat pictures have come to me from some of the readers and people should see some of this stuff.

Also there is more demand for video on the site and I plan on doing more of it. Some of the pages need a real rewrite and on my end the site has grown so much that I need to redo a lot of the organization. Not hard stuff, but it requires a fair amount of time.

In addition, there is a real need for step by step instruction for beginners and I have begun a web book course. the first pages will be up soon and I will announce it here. The plan is to develop the skills needed for turning using a project based approach. I think folks will like it. It will follow the format of Around the Woods but more systematically and will deal more with what it is reasonable for other people to turn rather than what I turn myself. Anyway, it sounds like fun and should keep me busy for the next few years.

Take care in the New Year. All the best to you and yours

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Giving

Back in May, Arnie had been given a lathe and some tools by his wife Maggie who thought he was too much underfoot and this would be a good birthday present anyway. After all the kids could give him tools and funny woods for the next twenty years. What to give a man who does nothing is always a problem, but a man with a lathe, the local club told her, always needs something.

Arnie was captivated. The shop in the basement was quickly too dusty and too small so the Ford found a new home in the driveway and the lathe set up housekeeping in the garage. Strange logs appeared in the driveway and a chainsaw found its way into the picture. Bowls and candlesticks began to find their own way into the house.

As Christmas neared one of Maggie's problems was solved. Money was tight and presents were going to be hard to come by, but Arnie's turnings had become quite suitable for gifts. There was, however, the other problem.

She had always gotten a turkey from work but this year the company had decided to give an assortment of ecologically correct gift wrap and bags. The idea was the company was going green but she thought it might be that the packages were a lot cheaper than the turkeys.

It turned out that Arnie had a solution to the problem and the answer had sort of just grown. He had shown his old pal Charles (never Charlie), the butcher down the street at the farm market some of his turnings over the last few months. Charles wanted a couple of gifts for his wife and daughter and was not averse to barter.

So a couple of days before Christmas Arnie took a burled salad bowl and an ash hollow form to Charles and returned home with a lovely free range turkey (ecologically correct thought Maggie to herself) and a long link of sausage. Years ago Maggie had started wrapping the turkey with a sausage as it roasted and traditions started are traditions kept, especially if they taste good.

"I don't know, Arnie," she said as she looked at the meat. "Bartering for the turkey is one thing, but I think you should have paid for the sausage."

"Why," asked Arnie. "Charles thought it was great trade."

"I'm just thinking about his family," said Maggie. "The turkey is one thing but Christmas is an awful time to cause a man to take a turn for the wurst."

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year folks.
Keep on turning and may all your finishes be swirl free.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Something good comes along

The saga of the EBay stuff continues. The guy pulled the DVD with my free stuff on it but has put up another one with other people's turnings and woodworking. He does not seem to get the idea that stuff on the web is created by someone and that they therefore own the copyright. I guess he just wants to profit form someone else's work. Why he does not make his own videos is beyond me.

That said, I hope it is in the past. One thing that has happened is a few requests from people for me to put some of the videos together on a DVD and sell it as such. I will think about it. One of the things about the site is that the info is freely shared. Besides which, most of the videos are made to accompany a written page. If I was going to collect and sell them, I would need to reshoot for a more complete package. Time, time, time. Let me know if there is interest. Keep in mind that the same stuff that would on a DVD would also be available an the site. Around $15.00 for a DVD versus free on the site. We'll see what happens.

Appreciate the support.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Notice of EBay Scam

Will the greed of people never cease? I got an email from a great guy who had unfortunately bought a DVD from Ebay. The DVD was just a collection of free videos from folks like me who had posted them on YouTube or our own sites for folks to see free of charge. This guy had made collections and was selling them on EBay. Not only is this a violation of all the copyright laws around but it is also an attempt to profit from other people's work and generostiy.

Trust me, it takes a lot to make even a home video if you want it to turn out decently. But this is fine for me because I enjoy it and I like people to see how I do stuff. Hopefully they improve on it and we share the info. That is one of the great things about wood turners. If you do not share, you have not gotten the idea of turning in the first place.

A while ago at a show I was asked by a turner how I made a particular piece. This is an entirely different question from a wood turner than from a regular customer. He thanked me for sharing my "secrets" with him. There are no secrets in wood turning. Just good techniques and practice.

However, there is a big difference between sharing for free while giving credit where credit is due and the idea of selling free material to people while giving the understanding that this is good value.

Enough rant. I am going to turn.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Sanity of Wood Turning

This seems to be a good day to ramble so I thought I would. As a pastor of a small, rural church, we had regular services yesterday morning and a special Christmas service last evening so there was little time for me to be in the shop. Actually there was none so I decided to at least write about wood turning since I could not do it.

The night service was dedicated as a time of sharing with one another about the people who will not be with us at Christmas. Some have passed away this year, some have moved to other parts of the world, others have new commitments in life that have taken them away, and still others have Alzheimer’s or similar problems that have removed them from the normal picture.

There is a lot of stress in people’s lives today and pastors share it. Not only do we deal with many if not all of the same stresses, but we also try to shoulder other people’s as well. This is not a pity trip. We choose to do this work and most of us either love it or can not picture doing anything else. After all the rewards are fantastic. We also get to participate in weddings, baby dedications, baptisms and great moments in people’s lives.

The simple point is pastors have the stresses that other people have and need to cope with those stresses. One of the thing that has occurred to me recently is pastors seem to have a hard time relaxing. Again this is not unique to pastors and more and more I am observing that people have too few hobbies and interests outside the work place.

I have found woodworking in general and wood turning in particular to be sanity savers for me. They answer two big criteria for me as far as relaxing hobbies are concerned. The first is the need to extend themselves to other people and the second is the capacity to be absorbing.

Wood turning tends to produce a lot of output, especially as I like to turn small objects. Most of the time a small object is faster to make than is a large one although excessive detail can take time on some pieces. There are three choices at least with all these pieces of wood.

The first is to simply accumulate them at home. While we do keep a few around, it seems that they can have the ability to overflow all available flat surfaces in a hurry. Simply having them in a box in the shop does not make a lot of sense.

So the second solution has become to sell some of the turnings. This is great because my wife and I enjoy going to shows together and meeting the people who shop. Most of the time we are at only high end shows and only do a few a year so the events do not become stale. Unfortunately this means there is still a lot of product.

The third answer has been to give gifts to a lot of family and friends. There is a real pleasure in taking a piece of landfill or firewood and turning it into something someone else will treasure. Christmas or birthdays often finds my wife and I going through boxes in the shop, looking for the perfect gift someone special. When the kids are home they often declare it to be “gift time” and hunt for their own. My son’s wife could be a tournament judge. She has an incredible eye for the turning finesses.

One thing that has happened in recent years has been my tendency to donate pieces to local charities who are having fund raising auctions. Not only do I get the satisfaction of turning, but I am also able to help someone else.

Wood turning has been called by my wife my “time machine.” I can go into the shop for ten minutes and come out two hours later, sure that only ten minutes has passed. Some of the absorption certainly comes from the dangers of any woodworking endeavour. After all, anything that cuts maple will certainly cut me and I like having all my body parts, such as they are.

Still it is the work itself that demands concentration. A piece can be ruined by a curve being just a little bit off. Measurements need to be exact even though most measuring is not done with a ruler but rather by feel, experience and intuition. Sometimes the most important cut is the one that is not made but rather left alone after some thought.

More and more I realize that we need these hobbies. They are a release from the tensions of life and yet move us into other realms that touch other people. Art, craft, appreciation, absorption, life.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Roughing a Bowl, Video 7; turning the inside (b)

Here is that second part to roughing the bowl inside. Mostly it is finishing the bottom and removing the tenons including a catch and a flying bowl. Ooops. Any way, hope you enjoy this. I am amazed how many videos I can watch of wood flying in all directions.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Roughing a Bowl, Video 7; turning the inside (a)

I know this is dragging out but it takes ages to get a decent video out especially being the amateur I am. Besides, YOuTube only lets me put up so much in one clip and it is the easiest way to get the stuff out that I have seen so far. I will eventually get some of these on a file for download to a CD or DVD if anyone is interested.
The bowl is continuing on. Unfortunately for me, clearing the inside is one of the fastest parts of roughing a bowl and is also one of the most fun. This five minute clip in real time flips the bowl to remount, measures the sides and bottom for good drying and narrows the tenon for later release. The tools used are a 3/8" and 1/4" Oland. This is likely one of the reasons that I have a lot of bowls waiting to be refinished but that is a later project time and another video.

One of the things I have in mind is a set of short videos on Oland tool cuts, again if anyone is interested. At present I am in the beginning stages of video and pictures of a Wood Turning Basics web book based on the Milton and Wohlers text and I will bounce back and forth from doing that and other projects for the next year at least until it is done.

Anyway, enjoy the video or at least watch it and as always, any comments are welcome.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Roughing a Bowl, Video 5: Mounting on the Lathe

Here is the quick and easy video 5, mounting on the lathe. I like to mount a bowl between centers if at all possible for roughing cuts. It is quick and easy and allows for the wood to be moved later if necessary. The big negative for me is the tendency for the spur bit to pretend it is a spade bit and try to drill its way through.Since this just means tightening the tail stock on a periodic basis, this does not really matter.