Friday, October 31, 2008

Poppy Hint

Here in Canada Remembrance Day is just around the corner, November 11, and poppies are being presented for donation reception by our Legionnaires. Lots of other
countries celebrate the same day under different names like Armistice Day or even Poppy Day. When I was serving as Legion Padre in Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, we would gather at the cenotaph in Perth for 11:00, move to the the cenotaph in neighboring Aroostook Village to conduct their cenotaph service, and then go to Fort Fairfield, Maine to assist the VFW in their service as they did not have a padre. Besides, some of our memberes had served in the American forces.

As a pastor, nephew of veterans, former Legion padre, and part time services padre, I encourage everyone who can to donate to the work of the Legion and VFW and to wear the poppy to commemorate the day and be thankful for the peace we enjoy. Take time during the day to pray for our vets and for the new ones being created in so many parts of the world. Of course I am thinking today of Afghanistan and Iraq in particular, but our men and women are fighting in many parts of the world and still lay down their lives for God, family and country.

Here is hint for the poppy wearers. I am one of those people who can lose a poppy just by thinking about it, or not. So, if you are one of those woodturners who makes ear rings and has a stash of ring backs, put one over the pin of your poppy so it does not fall off. Other wise go to the cheapie display of jewelry at the discount store and pay a buck or two for some gaudy junk you would not be caught dead wearing or knowing that giving it to your wife may be an act of suicide. After all, why toss the good stuff? Dump the ear rings and keep the backs for poppies. Now you can afford to give extra for the poppy because you know you only need one and fewer will be wasted. Better for the environment and everyone else.

By the way, for extra brownie points get a really nice pair of earrings, hide them until after Remembrance Day, use the backs for the poppies, get the extra back from your wife and then give her the earrings. That of course is for the fellas. Ladies can find their brownie points on their own.

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae
Written in Flanders on May 3, 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sharpening: Halloween Helper

Here is a quickie for people struggling to picture the shape needed for a spindle gouge and in some cases a bowl gouge with swept back wings. It is also the shape I sometimes use for an Oland tool, especially for bowls.

Some people call the shape a lady's finger nail. The other day I saw a perfect example in a local dollar store. The Halloween stuff was up for display and among all the clown paint and fake blood there were some packages of ridiculously long fake nails. They looked the perfect shape for a spindle gouge at 60*

Not a bad sharpening aid for the price. Sure, some folks might look at you funny when they see long, red, plastic nails by the grinder, but the cuts should be good.

Have a nice Halloween and may all your tools be sharp.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sharpening, Once Again

I have been catching up on my emails to be answered and one question that comes up over and over again is that of sharpening. Really this is not surprising. After all, dull woodturning tools make for lousy and frustrating woodturning. Add to this the prevailing argument over free hand or jig sharpening and you either get a frustrated newbie who

  1. can not get the hang of freehand sharpening that we who have turned for a while learned after only two or three years
  2. decides the only way to go is to get a jee whiz bang jig and then finds out that it adds a hundred or two to his after lathe cost of tools, grinder, special wheels, sanding pads, and whatever else
Years ago I built my $2.50 sharpening jig with the understanding that if it worked well for me, I would get a commercial one. You see, I was not convinced that I wanted to go from free hand to jig sharpening. The jig worked so well that I never got around to replacing it. One of these days I may, in a fit of energy, remake it in metal, but I doubt it. It works so well, why fix it?

jig with spindle gouge

There are not so much plans since every grinder is a bit different, but rather a discussion of building with photos over at sharpening jig. If you keep going to the last page there are videos of it working. For a couple of bucks, it is worth a shot.

Hope it helps. Keep turning.

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Video in the works

Sorry to be so long in posting. I am working on it as life settles down into the new church, a different schedule for karate, and less time at the lathe. A question that has been raised to me a few times now is where to begin turning?

By this most woodturners to be seem to wonder if they should start by making table legs or spurtles or bowls or whatever. I think the best thing to start with is making a stick and a bunch of shavings. In fact, I think it is good for an experienced turner to make a stick and a bunch of shavings every now and then.

It teaches us or reminds us from whence we come. Take a log and mount it onto the lathe between centers and start removing stuff. First a rough object is reduced to a smooth one. The features of the log are revealed; knots, weak wood, insect holes and the like. Practice is given in entering at a precise place, cutting downhill with the grain, riding the bevel and so on.

Besides, this is fun and a lot of shavings are obtained for the compost pile.

I have shot the footage of me turning down a 10" diam by 16" log and should have it edited and uploaded soon. I will let you know.