Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Trivet Pursuit" - Update

The trivets pictured in the July 5 post won the challenge at our meeting.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Exotic Tape Measures

In the Summer 2009 issue of American Woodturner (p. 28), there was an article by John Giem titled "Transform Your Tape Measure." So, of course, I set out to do so. The two smaller examples in the photos below reflect my result using the techniques described in the article, which is quite clear and complete. The technique involves the initial turning of a jig on which to mount the three component parts of the "box" as you turn them. The author's technique incorporates the tape and spring from an easily obtainable, inexpensive metal 3' tape measure, which must be carefully removed from its carrier and held "poised" in its wound-up position until you are ready to insert it into your turned piece. This, as I learned on my first try, can be an adventure!

The third tape measure in the photos - the large one - involves an approach of my own devising, which incorporates the entirety (case and all) of a four foot tape measure with a cloth tape and a retraction button on the side. In essence, I "buried" the tape measure in the three-part wooden case (well, four parts if you count the button).

The small tape measure with the light-colored sides (the one that looks like a mini-burger) is turned from spalted birch (the 'buns'), and redheart (the 'burger'); it measures about 2" across an is 1" thick. It is finished with Watco Danish Oil - Natural, followed by buffed Renaissance Wax. The sides of the other small tape measure are turned from padauk, and the center ring from hard maple; it is just over 2" across and is only 3/4" thick. It is finished with buffed Renaissance Wax only. The large tape measure has padauk for one side, and purpleheart for the other, with hard maple for the center ring. Oh, the button - which is fully functional - is also purpleheart. It measures 2 3/4" across and is 1" thick. It is also finished with buffed Renaissance Wax.

"Trivet Pursuit"

Last month at my woodturners' club one of our members demonstrated how to turn the sort of trivets depicted here. The techniques (and jigs - see below) are described in an article titled "Trivet Pursuit," by Reuben Everett, in the March 2004 issue of Wood magazine (p. 70). As is our custom, last month's demo became this month's challenge - for our July 7 meeting. The photos show what will be my entries in the challenge. The trivets are 6" in diameter. Two of them are just under 1/2" thick; the third is just over 1/4" thick. They are finished with Watco Danish Oil - Natural.

I constructed my trivets from four different woods (padauk, walnut, birch [I think] and a mystery wood [the lighter "orangish" one in the center]). The separate pieces were jointed, planed and glued together on their long sides, then re-planed. This long, flat blank was then cut into squares about 6 1/4" on each side. Then for each trivet two of the squares were glued together face-to-face, with the grain directions of the two pieces at 90 degrees to one another. After this, a miracle occurred.

Actually, the author of the article is responsible for the miracle (except for the part dependent on turning). The final photo shows the jigs (described in the article) which he devised, and which you must first construct and use in order to turn the trivets. I'll leave you to figure out how they are employed. I have some variations in mind to try when I can get around to it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Multi-Sided Bowls

Last week I did a demo and show-and-tell on multi-sided bowls for our wood turners club. This was our first meeting in our new location (the Monona Grove HS wood shop), and was well attended. I demonstrated how to turn one type of multi-sided bowl, and did a CD/slide presentation of all three techniques. I won't go into the turning details here, but will post some examples of each style of bowl - they are very different.

The first technique involves turning the multiple sides (three to as many as you can construct) by using off-center axes, and then turning the inside and outside of the bowl proper on the center axis. Here are examples of a 3-sided cherry bowl and a 3-sided walnut plate done this way:

The second type of bowl is a three-sided bowl that is turned from a precisely cut cube of wood. (This technique can be used only to turn a three-sided bowl.) Two opposing corners of the cube are cut off with a band saw sled having very exact angles, in order to mount the blank accurately between centers, and you go from there. Here are three examples: the painted ones are cedar; the natural one is birch.

The third style also can have as many sides as you want, from three on up. In this straight-sided design, the polygon is drawn on the blank (or on a glued-on paper template) and then the sides are cut off with a saw; accurate layout and cuts are essential. The bowl is then turned, preserving the straight sides. In the examples below (both cherry), the straight sides form the rim in the 5-sided version, whereas in the 3-sided bowl the wings have been "dropped" part way down the side of the bowl, and are also curved down.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"Rock-A-Bye Box" - Mark St. Leger Class

Last week end my wood turning group had a two-day demo and class session with Mark St. Leger, a professional turner from Virginia, and an excellent teacher.  Click here to see his web site.


On Saturday around thirty of us watched as Mark demonstrated how to turn a toothpick (!); carve and decorate a holder for it; turn an egg; turn an oblong endgrain box (with a natural end); turn a spherical box with chased threads (with wood-burned baseball lacing); and turn a three-sided "Rock-a-Bye Box."  And, in this wonderfully packed day, he also showed us how to turn some jigs to assist in these projects.

On Sunday, seven of us returned for a hands-on class, in which we each turned a Rock-a-Bye Box, hollowed it, and turned a lid and a finial for it.  We did not have time to fully finish-sand and apply finishes to our boxes, so the photos below show the project in its unfinished state.  The box measures about 3" across and 1 1/2" high; the finial is 1" tall.  The box and finial are hard maple; the lid is wenge.

 The box is hollowed as far as I could reach with the tiny curved scrapers I brought along, but is still pretty hefty for its size.  The idea of the "rock-a-bye" box is that it has a completely rounded bottom, so that it will rock back and forth when tipped, and the lid (which is turned slightly undersized) will slide from side to side in the opening, making a tick-tock sort of sound.  The unusually shaped (golf club?) finial was turned on a jig that permits turning one end on two different centers, which allows the offset shown.

All in all it was a great couple of days!  

Tiny Top

A few weeks ago our niece, her husband and their two kids came up from Chicago to visit for a couple of days.  Since tops are always a favorite with kids at wood turning demonstrations, I thought I'd give one a try. (Amazingly this was something I'd never done before!) Six-year old Morgan and his dad came out to the garage with me to watch.  Morgan then added the colored lines with markers while the top was turning on the lathe.  Must have done it right, because it spins like the dickens! 

Napkin Rings

About a year ago my wife gave me a present of some quilting lessons with a local area quilter (Jean Henson - a very talented and patient lady).  Eventually I managed to turn out two quilted place mats, and more recently (much more recently!) to finish the set of six.  Plus some napkins to go with.  The napkins, in turn, naturally called for napkin rings, so back from the sewing machine to the lathe.  I turned a set for us (mystery wood), and then continued and made another (from redheart).  

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Redwood Lace Burl Bowl

In December I had a wonderful opportunity - I was commissioned to turn a bowl from a many-years-old redwood lace burl blank.  The blank had belonged to my client's late father-in-law, and for years had served chiefly as a base upon which to display other art.  My client had seen my work at the Olbrich Gardens show.  The burl was identified as redwood lace by Binh Pho and several members of my turning group at the class discussed in my November 22, 2008 post.

The burl was extremely dry and dusty to turn, but for all that it turned and sanded very easily.  I finished it with several hand-rubbed coats of Butcher Block Oil.  The client was quite happy with the result (and so was I).

I also turned a wine bottle stopper for them from one of the scraps of burl.