Friday, November 28, 2008

3-Cornered Bowl - How do you do that?

At the Chicago Woodturners' symposium last summer, "Turn-On! Chicago 2008," I had the opportunity to see demonstrations by a number of very talented turners. One of them was Barbara Crockett, of Columbus, Ohio, who showed us her technique for turning a 3-cornered bowl out of a cubic block of wood. I decided to give it a try (from a piece of 8" x 8" cedar post), and here is my result. The bowl is about 7 1/2" across and 5" high to the points. It is painted similarly to the bowl in my 02/29/08 post, except here I came over the top with the black after I'd done the red on the inside.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Binh Pho Demo and Class

Two week ends ago I went with another guy in my turning group to the SOFA ("Structural Objects and Functional Arts") exhibition at Navy Pier in Chicago. Most of it (about 75% I'd guess) was glass, but there was a lot of very good and extremely artistic wood turning on display, and some good demos, too.

One of the professional turners represented at SOFA was Binh Pho, who lives just outside Chicago, and who is one of the dominant artists in the turned wood area today. His specialties are thin-walled turning, air-brushing and piercing. His whole website is well-worth a look - he has a very interesting story. To see his work online, just click here - its fantastic! Then click on the "gallery" heading at his web site.

As luck (or shrewd previous arrangement) would have it, Binh came up to one of our member's shops for a 2-day week end program this past week end. The first day was demonstration only - about 25 of us attended that session. He demonstrated how to turn a thin-walled (1/16") bowl, air-brushing technique, and piercing. The second day was a hands on class for only six people - and I was fortunate enough to be one of them! We split the day between working on air-brushing (about 2/3) and piercing (about 1/3). Piercing is a technique using an air-driven drill (about 400,000 rpm) very similar to a dentist's drill, and tiny burrs, to cut decorative holes in thin-walled wood objects.

I'd never air-brushed or pierced before, but I had a great time, and thought I'd pass along a couple of photos. The first is my air-brush project, which was done on 1/16" birch plywood. The second reflects my piercing efforts on objects I'd previously turned (cedar vessel and walnut plate), each of which had walls about 1/16" thick. It was a lot of fun, although I think I inhaled too much wood smoke in the piercing part.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A bunch of bowls

As I mentioned, since late summer, after getting my shop moved to Middleton, I've been doing some turning.   Here are some of the bowls I've done since then:

Spalted maple salad bowl - 11 3/4" x 4 1/4"  Finished with Mahoney's heat treated walnut oil.  I have had this blank for more than four years - collected it from a tree taken down by the city.

Natural-edged spalted birch bowl - 7 3/4" x 3 3/4"  Finished with General Finishes Wipe-on Urethane.  This wood came from a birch tree in our front yard.

Large butternut salad bowl - 12 1/2" x 3 1/2"  Finished with Mahoney's heat treated walnut oil.  This wood came from a raffle at Badger Woodturners.

Cherry burl bowl - 6" x 3 1/2"  Finished with Mahoney's heat treated walnut oil.  This bowl was turned from wood left in a pile by the city after it had cleared a small cluster of trees.

Apple bowl - 10 1/2" x 4 3/4"  Finished with Deft Clear Wood Finish.  This bowl was turned from the same apple tree trunk as the apple bowls pictured earlier in my blog.

Spalted Maple bowl - 11 1/4" x 4 3/4"  Finished with General Finishes Salad Bowl Finish.  Also from a trunk section I collected about four years ago.

The past few months...

My last post was all the way back in February, and since then a lot has happened. We moved from Madison to Middleton last May, and a couple months after that I moved my shop from Winnebago Studios on Madison's east side, to my Middleton garage.  So I'm in a much more compact space - but very conveniently located, and no rent!  Everything but the lathe is on casters, and at least semi-movable, but so far the space is neither insulated nor heated, and the amount of turning I do this winter may be limited by the chill.  I have done a fair amount of turning since the move, and over the next few days I'll post some photos of what I've been up to.

Last July I went to a three-day turning symposium sponsored by the Chicago Area Wood Turners, in Mundelein IL. While I was there I bought a bunch of nifty stainless steel stoppers, and after I got home, turned a bunch of bottle stoppers - tulip wood, walnut, cherry burl, and a light brown mystery wood. These are pretty elegant, if I do say so myself.