Saturday, September 05, 2015

Big Leaf Maple Burl Yarn/Knitting Bowl

My wife is an ardent knitter, and had been eyeing yarn/knitting bowls, so I decided to try one, with the result pictured here. This Big Leaf Maple Burl blank was spectacularly figured and made a very striking bowl.  Here are some photos of the outside detail (the inside is pretty wild, too).

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

And a new card!

Back in action at the new digs

I'm finally up and running in my new studio space (and have actually turned a couple of pieces which I'll put up here after they are finished). I also have been trying to learn how to use Inkscape, one of the vector graphics program driving Sector67's CNC routers.  So far, with a lot of help from Chris, who runs the place, I've managed a pretty good logo plaque and a sign:

These now grace the front of my studio:

Mazomanie has had its ups and downs as an art "location," and currently is pretty well down.  But - except for its distance from Middleton (20-25 minutes, depending on traffic) - it suits my current purposes okay.  I have a lot of space, which is nicely finished off and has a bathroom, heat and AC. What more could anyone want?  Maybe I'll post a video tour one of these days.  And the drive will be easier once they get the main drag through Cross Plains completed.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Black and White Ebony Bowl

Several years ago my wife gave me a 6" x 6" x 3" blank of Black and White Ebony as a present.  I didn't turn anything from it - every time I saw it in my wood stash I thought - "It's too expensive to just screw up."  I finally summoned up the courage to plunge ahead a couple of weeks ago, and here is the resulting turning.  It measures 5.5" diameter and is 2.5" high.  Presently it is unfinished.  I will probably just polish and wax since the grain is so tight and the surface so smooth.

Multi-function Screwdriver Handles

I've turned several handles for 4-way screwdrivers, which I intend to give as Christmas presents next December. The dark ones in the upper photo are East Indian Rosewood; the others are Zebrawood. Three of the five are turned on multiple axes, providing a more "grippable" handle shape.  In the lower photo the handles are turned from Figured Asian Satinwood.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Steel and Padauk in an Umbrella Stand

My most recent combined metal and wood project has been the creation of an umbrella stand with a welded steel frame, an aluminum drip cup, and Padauk "handle," finials and feet.  Here's are photos of the finished project - naked and in use!

The metal parts were formed out of ¼" and 3/16" round steel rod, cut, shaped, and welded together.  The long pieces, the legs, are bent out near the bottom and welded to a ½" x 1/16" flat steel piece which has been formed into a circle and welded.  Sequentially, I formed the top section first, as shown in the next photo.  The six radial pieces are welded to a ¼" center rod; the rod below the join is then cut off before the final assembly (as shown in the finished photos).

I then formed the six bent "leg" pieces, and welded them to the circular piece near the base.  The tops of the the legs were then welded to the radial parts shown above, about an inch down from the ends.  Finally, I cut and shaped the outside "scallop" pieces and welded them in place where the other pieces had been joined.

The aluminum drip cup was formed by beating it into shape (with plastic mallets), using a section of pipe the same diameter as the ring near the base as the form.  The top rim was then flattened and trimmed to fit.

Finally, the wooden parts:  


As shown in the first photo, I turned a piece of Padauk to a 1" diameter, and drilled holes in one end to fit over the "spike" and the wider section shown in the preceding photo.  Then, on the chop saw, I cut the piece into 9 one-inch segments (starting above the straight section of the handle), with the saw set at a 10º angle (reversing for each cut), so that each segment had a 10º bevel on each end (180º/9 = 20º; 20º/2 = 10º).  The cut pieces were then glued together with the short sides matched and the long sides matched, to create the semicircular ring shape shown in the finished handle.

The feet and finials were then turned from smaller pieces of Padauk and drilled to fit on the ends of the ¼" legs.

The metal parts are all finished with flat black spray lacquer.  The wooden parts are finished with clear gloss spray lacquer.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Glass Top Table

Another "no wood" project.  I formed up and welded together a table frame from ⅜" square steel stock, spray painted it with flat black lacquer, and topped it with a 16" x ½" glass top.

It sits next to the Hackberry Slab Bench in our front hall, where it usually holds a dish for keys, etc.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Hackberry Slab Bench

I found a lovely hackberry trunk slab at Owl Hardwoods a while back, and decided to make a bench for our front hall.  I fabricated the frame out of square steel tube at my metal sculpture class - all welded joints.  The slab top is very much as I bought it, although I radiused the ends (which had been square cut) and softened the front and back edges, which would have been fragile (and sharp!).   I couldn't find any more hackberry for the bottom shelf, so I used hickory, ripped into four strips and mounted it on steel rods with spacers to keep everything in line; I fabricated Z shaped tabs to suspend the shelf in the bottom of the frame.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Bernie's Birthday Bowl

This series of photos shows the process of turning a large box elder bowl I gave to my wife as a birthday present.  The photos are largely self-explanatory, but I'll add a few comments.

The blank is held between centers and the bark largely removed; the flats from sawing are still present:

The bark is now gone; you can see the three-point drive center I'm using on the headstock end. Since the side-mounted points are adjustable it's very handy for holding an uneven surface securely:

The blank is now nearly round. At this point I cut a recess (shown later in the series) in the base for expansion jaws to hold the blank for hollowing:

I've reversed the bowl blank so that it is now held in the chuck for hollowing, but before that I'll true up the rim and even up the top surface some - and then get rid of the tailstock support:

The following photo is of the same set up, but shows the chuck expanded to hold the blank in the recess:

Beginning to hollow out the inside:

Same stage, showing my lathe:

Lots of shavings, of course... 


The bowl rough-hollowed, showing the heavy curly shavings from the hollowing process:

After rough turning the bowl I put it in a paper bag for a couple of weeks to dry some:

This photo shows the recess cut in the base for the expansion jaws:

The inside of the bowl is nearly fully turned:

And the outside is completed:

Ready to power sand and then remove for finish sanding and finishing: 

The final product. Finished with three coats of Danish oil and three coats of wipe-on poly:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Steel Floor Lamp - Something Different

As mentioned in an earlier post, I've been taking some Metal Sculpture classes at the Evanston Art Center over the past few months - initially a course on welding mild steel, and more recently a course on oxy-acetylene welding of non-ferrous metals (copper, brass, bronze, aluminum, stainless steel). A couple weeks ago I finished a project I'd started in the first course, namely a floor lamp, pictured here.

The outside ring of the base is solid steel, heated and bent into a circle and welded closed.  The other metal parts are square steel tubing, welded to the outer ring and together. The cord runs through a hole drilled in the outer ring, through one of the spoke tubes and then up the main tube to the lamp part (a three-way fluorescent fixture).  For a finish the steel has been power sanded and then waxed.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

More Parallam Scratch Awls

I did turn a few more scratch awls - Rockler had the kits on sale again.  The light colored ones in the photos are turned from Parallam (see January post). The green ones are turned from a dyed, laminated material - I don't know which brand.

Spice Storage Rack

I didn't do much wood turning over the winter, since a lot of my focus was on my new-found activity of rock wall climbing at the gym and my metals class - this semester we're doing oxy-acetylene welding of non-ferrous metals.  And for the last month I've been recuperating from a car vs. pedestrian collision in which I was the unfortunate pedestrian.  But I recently completed a project I'd had in mind for quite some time: creating a spice storage rack for our kitchen pantry shelves.  I wanted it to be as compact as possible while providing a lot of storage, and it obviously had to fit and function within the available space.  My final design included 8 spice "shelves," suspended at the ends on a rotating frame system, much like a wide, squat mini-version of a ferris wheel.  The individual shelves stay vertical as the system rotates.  The rack will hold 48 small spice jars.  The wood used is principally cherry.  The only turned parts are the knobs at the ends of the center shaft, which are held by grub screws so I can disassemble the unit if I need to at some point in the future (the cross-pieces at the bottom are likewise screwed in place rather than glued).

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Parallam Scratch Awls

For Christmas I turned four scratch awls from a material called Parallam, which is a composite wood/resin material used in manufactured construction beams.  A good friend of mine who builds houses (and whose shop space I am sharing) gave me some of his scrap to play with.  I turned one awl for him (not pictured) and then the three shown below as presents for my brothers and brother-in-law.  The metal parts came in kit form from Rockler and are also available from other turning vendors.  The wooden parts are turned on a pen mandrel, to whatever shape you like, the only physical limitation being the length of the brass tube (part of the kit) that is glued into the center of the wooden blank.  The hardest part is actually the surface finishing, because the Parallam has frequent surface defects that must be filled with a sawdust/glue slurry so that the outside is smooth.  I also coated these with epoxy, sanded some more, and finished with wipe-on poly.  Next project is to do one for myself.  (Need to order more kits!)