Saturday, January 31, 2015

Beginning Woodturning: Four Tips Before You Get Started

As you look at a bewildering display of turned wood objects and an even more bewildering display of woodturning tools, it can quickly get discouraging to consider getting started turning wood at all. However if you look at the wide array of people who turn wood you quickly realizes that woodturning is an accessible hobby for just about anyone. The real question is how to get started. Here are four quick and easy ways to begin the entry into the world of wood turning and working on the wood lathe.

1.First take your time. Do not rush out and buy the first lathe you come to just to find out it is not suited for the objects that you would like to make. Read a few books on woodturning. Most libraries have one or two and maybe even a video to watch. It may be for a more advanced turner but will certainly give you some ideas of what you are getting into. Look for the basics such as what tools are needed and what kinds of wood lathes are available. Remember that you are starting out and all the bells that whistles that the pros like are probably not necessary for you.

2.Once you get a feel for the basics, consider what you might like to make for your own purposes, be they gifts, table legs for other projects, pens or whatever. Think of what accessories you might need other than the lathe or turning tools. Budgets start to come into play here. You might be able to find specialized books on your choices or even classes at the local community college or school dealing with this particular interest.

3.Consider taking a class in woodturning. Many woodworking classes in night school will have a lathe available and may have an instructor that knows how to use the machine. In addition look for a woodturning club in your area. A lot of communities have them and most have a fair number of watchers and even members who do not turn but are considering getting started. As a rule, woodturners like to demonstrate their skills and introduce others to the art and craft.

4.Stay safe as you start. Get a face shield and dust mask and use them. Hearing protectors are great too. While most lathes are fairly quiet wood shop tools, most wood turners will use chainsaws, band saws, planers, drills and the like with all the noise they provide. Safe woodworking is by far the most enjoyable.

These simple tips will get you started as you begin the interesting and compelling art and craft of woodturning. Soon you will be giving tips to someone else with the same interest.

For more tips and instruction, check out my website

Memories of the Past - Carvings Surface from the Boxes

As I have been going through the shop I have been finding all kinds of things. One of the things that occupied my time before the turning bug bit was wood carving. I still have a lot of the stuff around including some finished and unfinished carvings.

One of these days I have to get back to it or them or whatever. For now it is back to the massive cleanup. Maybe to find more memories.

Today's Postings

Start of the Cleanup

Monday, January 26, 2015

As with many things in life, it takes longer to write about them than to do them. The shop cleaning is farther along the path to results than is the writeup, but it is interesting to me do this exercise. I hope it holds some interest for you. I have added a few more pages as I have found some boxes that I have not opened for ages and projects that have laid forgotten for a year or more. There is a lot of work to be done and a lot of work to get to be able to do it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cleaning of the shop has begun! Notice the nice, clean cabinet top, cleared of all the mixed stuff and ready to be used.
Ok. So the table saw is already being used. Sometimes a table saw is just a table. Still, some progress has been made. This is going to take a while. Hopefully not as long to clean up the mess as it was to make it. Sort of like going on a diet. The fun is in putting on the weight, not taking it off. O well, once more into the breach dear friends.
Take a look over at the web site.
I will be adding more pages soon.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

There's gold, or at least burls, in them there trees.

A wood cutting friend had to drop a dead spruce for a customer. There are over 20 burls in this pile, various shapes and sizes. The largest look to be about 14 or 16 inches. There should be some great grain in these and an amazing amount of fun. I have got to get the shop cleaned and start turning some of this beautiful wood.

Spruce burls are our most common ones in Nova Scotia, I think. Some times I have taken over 30 burls from one tree. My family have grown Christmas trees since forever, it seems, and there is always a spruce in the way of the balsam fir. Balsam fir are beautiful Christmas trees, spruce are not. The needles are too sharp if you have children, the needles drop quickly after cutting, especially indoors, and the smell is not anywhere close to a balsam fir. 

On the other hand, spruce sometimes burl amazingly and they are great lumber trees. Look for the burls off of limbs in particular. The largest burls are usually found around the trunk, but they will generally have less grain movement than the ones around the limbs. They should be very good for pyrography though. Maybe I will try one.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The cleaning goes on. One of the big hassles with cleaning and one of the great reasons it does not get done more often, is the projects that come up or the gorgeous wood that is found which needs to be turned or worked on. Somehow the demand is made by that wood that it be done right now. Could it be that it is more fun to turn than clean?

For instance, in the middle of all that mess, fuss and confusion is a lovely bowl on the lathe. All it really need is a bit of final turn and sanding and finishing. Of course, the shelves around it and the floor in front of it are covered in shavings and sawdust, most flat surfaces near it are covered with stuff that should be put away, and cleaning has been stated as a priority. Grit your teeth, leave the bowl that is not going anywhere, and clean.

Sometimes I hate it when I am right.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Aaaah.. it is five years past time for the annual cleaning of the shop, as you can see from one corner (the others are just as bad and maybe worse). In order to use the table saw or the router table or anything else, I have to clear off any flat surface. Some af the not so flat surfaces are just as bad. How did I manage that? Oh well.  Mess and pack rats will find a way.

Most things are lost under a layer of dust. projects are waiting to be finished, Some are five years plus overdue for turning or carving or... The wood stash is growing. OK that's no bad thing but it is growing. Time to get out the dust mask, clear the debris and get things in order. Keep an eye out. This is going to take some time. I will post here and over on the website because this will take a while. I am interested to know what the archeological dig will uncover. Besides which I have a bunch of stuff to write up for the website on other stuff too and a woodturning course to get online. Should be fun.