Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Internet Can Cost You!

Not sure how I caught the bug. It wasn't exactly a virus but somehow after Thanksgiving I got Big Bandsaw Fever! I do not know whether it was some forum posting or an email ad from one or more vendors, but I caught the fever. I started studying and researching and then studying Craigs List. I posted a couple of WTB classifieds on a couple of woodturning forums saying I was looking for a 16" -20" bandsaw. Next thing I know I get an email from a woodturning associate in Athens, GA inquiring what I was planning on doing with my old Delta bandsaw. I sent him the specs and he said he had been looking for a saw like that for his son for the past six months and would buy it. I found a flyer on my desk from Woodcraft, my favorite local woodworking retailer, with a great deal for a Rikon 18" BS. Unfortunately the sale had just expired. After a long wait and not hearing from anyone (at least two days!) re: my WTB ads and not finding anything on Craigs List, I got an email flyer from Highland. Turns out they had bought a bunch of the Rikons at the promotional price.  Highland was still honoring the big sale price on their current inventory. I lined up a friend with a pickup truck and a couple of woodturning buddies to help me unload. It loaded easily with a fork lift. It could probably have been moved by a couple of strong young guys but it took all four of us, average age just south of 70, to get that 400 pound, 6 ft tall behemoth off the truck and into the shop. Thanks so much to Bill Prater, Dave Martin and Ron Harvey for their assistance!

So in less than a week, I got the fever, sold my old saw, researched my new saw, added a 220 volt outlet, and picked up the new saw and got it set up in my shop connected to my dust collector and cutting wood. I am not sure whether there was some divine intervention or not but I am counting my blessings. God is great and life is good!

I sure like my new big bandsaw. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ashley Harwood Workshop

I was one of 7 participants for an all day hands-on turning workshop with Ashley Harwood on Nov 13, sponsored by my club, Chattahoochee Woodturners. My wife and I were also fortunate enough to be able to host Ashley for one night before she headed back to Charleston, SC.

Ashley turns utility bowls commercially so is a skilled bowl turner. She makes some beautiful bowls and I got some great inspirational ideas on base and rim treatment.  She uses Mahoney's Walnut oil because the finish is more consistent even after the bowl has been washed a few times.  This is not as likely with some of the other finishes. Her workshop was based on using the traditional push cut techniques favored by Stuart Batty, a third generation woodturner. Ashley did an internship with Stuart so really knows her stuff.  I was fortunate enough to have taken a two day class with Stuart shortly after I started turning almost six years ago.  This was a great refresher and I learned some new things.

One was how to get a good tenon with a bowl gouge. I have usually rough out a tenon with a bowl gouge but generally had to resort to a bedan or parting tool to make sure I got a clean shoulder.  I like the quality of the push cut. The down side for me is that it appears more difficult for me to get the exact outside bowl shape I want.  I also do not like having to turn an expansion opening in the face in order to have full access to the bottom as is required by the push cut.  I will probably go back to a pull cut and push cut combination. But I am inspired to work harder on the tool control required to get a great finish with less for sanding! See her website for more information about Ashley and her work.