Monday, December 2, 2013

Using Spiraling and Texturing Tools

My first real exposure to the Sorby spiraling and texturing tool was when Dave Ingmire came to my shop back in 2008 and showed me how to use one to add some pizzaz to a platter.  Shortly thereafter, I ran into a great sale at Hartville Tool and ordered one. Hartville has some great prices typically and free shipping and was having a 20% off on Sorby tools so how could I resist? Here is a picture of an acorn box with a walnut lid where I did a cross hatch texture with the spiraling tool. 
Spiraling/texturing works well for bowls and platters as well as boxes. Click Here to view or download my latest article published in the December 2013 issue of American Woodturner showing some of the tricks I learned.

Here is a link to an earlier post showing an umbrella handle that I spiraled with a cross hatching.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Turning Toys

I just bought Richard Raffan's new book Turning Toys. I find

Amazon a real bargain on books, especially when they first hit the stands. Seems like the price gets a bump after a few weeks. Anyway I saw this cute pull toy that looked perfect for my 2 1/2 year old grand daughter Poet. I hope she likes it. The body is Bradford Pear, the tail is walnut and the wheels are Osage Orange. Finish is Mylands friction polish. 

Another project he illustrated were these cute little people he calls "Peggies". They all are sized to fit a 35mm hole that I drill in the set of cars, buses, airplanes, helicopters or whatever.  This picture shows the full set. Some are painted with acrylics and some are decorated with felt tip pens.  They are a lot of fun and very fast to turn. I made a little wood template to make sizing faster.

 This makes my fifth Raffan book.  He does such a great job explaining technique and providing excellent pictures to illustrate. Even though I have been turning a while, I always find a new idea or technique or a better understanding of why he does something a certain way.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Tour of My Shop

I am so blessed to have a shop in my basement that meets my needs. The basement has its own heat pump so I am comfortable year around. I also have easy access to a bathroom in the basement, a utility sink in the shop, three windows and a walkout door. Because it is a basement shop, I do need to keep it swept and make an effort at knocking the shavings off my shoes before I go upstairs.

This is the first video I have made where I actually did some editing and dubbed in sound afterwards.  Feedback is welcome. I have to approve all of the posts since there are so many spammers out there so you may have to come back to see the post and any replies. I won't post any comments from Anonymous posters.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Turning Southern Style XIX

Just got back from a weekend in Dalton at Turning Southern Style. Featured demonstrators were Cindy Drozda, Stuart Mortimer and Jerry Kermode. There was a little concern when the auctioneer was a no show but Nick Cook stepped up and they took in $9000 at the auction, the second highest take in the symposium's history. I don't know what the final turnout was but one of the free drawing winners was 231. I heard a lot about color from David Nittman (photo at right).  Too bad I was not able to take notes as I was operating the camera. I do remember that tinting is adding white and shading is adding black.

Stuart Mortimer is an amazing turner and I look forward to spending two days with him on Oct 7 and 8 at the Chattahoochee Woodturners. Oct 7 will be an all day demo and there is still room for more attendees. Contact me for more information if interested.

Wes Jones designed and built lathe shields for all of the demonstrator lathes. Here is Cindy Drozda turning behind one. Steve Pritchard actually was able to test the shield during one of his demonstrations! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Texturing Sample Board

I got the idea for this sample board from Cynthia Gibson who has done a beautiful one showing her various pyrography patterns.  My idea was to do one for various texturing techniques that would be used on end grain such as on a lidded box. The techniques include chattering, spiraling and texturing with a Sorby system, and the Wagner tool. I used brown and white patinating wax, sharpies and Rub N Buff gold metallic wax. I also created a document that explains how I got the results I did for each sample.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Flat Work Project

My woodturnings have started overflow my storage display. So, I decided to make a floating shelf. I did a Google search until I came up with some plans I liked. Here is a picture of the shelf I made.
This shelf is supported by a small frame that looks a little like a ladder that was fastened to the wall studs with 1/4"x4" lag bolts. The actual shelf is a hollow shell with the top and bottom of 5/16" plywood glued and nailed to an "L" frame with window casing added. This hollow shelf was slid over the supporting frame after adding some glue for stregth to the support ledge that is bolted to the wall. Then I used a nail gun and fastened the shelf at the back, top and bottom, to the frame. For this project, I re-purposed some of the plywood crate my Rikon bandsaw came in. The wall was not straight of course, which was going to leave a big gap. So I put a pencil inside a washer and moving the washer against the wall, scribed a line parallel with the wall. Then I took it down and cut along that line on my bandsaw. It took some effort but I am pleased with the results.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Woodworm Screws" Article

On the left is my Titan chuck with its woodworm screw and on the right is my SuperNova2 chuck. The woodworm screw is a great way to hold many projects on the lathe. In this article I wrote that appears in The American Woodturner August 2013 you can learn more. You can download the article by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

2013 American Association of Woodturners' Symposium is Over

Mike Mahoney demonstrating
Happy to be back home after three full days in Tampa. Some amazing, creative artists there that chose wood as their media. What a great opportunity to connect to folks around the country I have seen on YouTube or read their postings on some woodturning forum. It was gratifying to have a total stranger at the same lunch table tell me how much he enjoyed watching on YouTube my demonstration on turning a winged box. It is a small world of woodturners. 
Here is a link to the Instant Gallery. What a treat to participate in a turning swap with other Wowees (members of the World of Woodturners forum). Participants are paired up by drawing numbers. I swapped a threaded acorn box in exchange for one of Molly Winton's miniature textured hollow forms. What a treat!
This is a picture of Mike Mahoney demonstrating. This shoes the photo frame setup with the plexiglass shield to protect the audience from a thrown bowl.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Already!

I am so blessed to have a basement shop that is air conditioned! 

I have been immersed in all aspects of threading turned projects for the past year including learning, doing, writing and demonstrating. Now it is on to something else.  With my new Stihl chainsaw, it is considerably easier to prepare turning blanks than with my underpowered Poulon Wild Thing.  I did quickly discover that the Stihl is insistent on using a 1:50 oil gas mixture. It would not start using the leftover 1:40 gas mixture I had for my Poulon. 

So, I have been turning some larger bowls in the 14" - 16" diameter range. I have been mostly roughing out blanks, but I just did a turned once bowl from green wood. It was a sourwood tree. Not sure if  sourwood spalts but have a piece in the shade that I am going to try and spalt. What I find is though the process is the same as doing much smaller bowls, there are some differences:

First, managing log chunks 15" - 18" in diameter takes some work and a strong back. Big bowl blanks are prepared only with the chain saw. I just cut off the corners of the blank making it octagonal and skip the bandsaw stage of cutting round.
Secondly, it is a much bigger mess to sweep up and discard the shavings, both from the chainsaw work and the turning when working with larger stock. Because the tools do a lot more work, you have to sharpen them more often - a good habit to get into. 
Third, I find that large bowls are much less forgiving of sloppy tool work than bowls less than 8".  Safety becomes a larger issue since a large blank can really hurt you. Fortunately, I have learned this second hand. While I consider myself a kinesthetic learner, I don't see the need to get hurt to learn safety lessons like standing out of the line of fire, avoiding dangerous wood, wearing a face shield and keeping the speed down.  Pictures to follow.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Elegant Business Card Holders" Article

I just got an advance copy of the June 2013 issue American Woodturner from Betty Scarpino, the editor. This issue contains  my article on turning business card holders. I am excited that this is my third article in the journal of the American Association of Woodturners. You can view or download this article by clicking here.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

How to Use a Threading Jig

I have been working on a new article on “How to Use a Threading Jig” for American Woodturner as a follow-up to my article on a Shop Made Threading Jig. Betty Scarpino, the editor, suggested I include a photo gallery of threaded projects from various turners. I thought that was a fantastic idea and it has been a challenge and a fun opportunity to reach out to some other turners I don’t know based on pictures I have seen of their work on various turning websites. I just watched a YouTube video of an enthusiastic turner using one of the EZ Threading Jigs and it reinforced the need for an article like I am working on. I have a rough draft done so it is now time to start taking a few process pictures on how to use a jig.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Shopmade Threading Jigs

I am thrilled to have my article "Shop Made Threading Jig" appearing in the current April issue of the American Woodturner which subscribers should be out in early April.. This is the second article of mine the AAW has published. I have  another one due in the June or August issue. You can view or download a copy of the Shop Made Jig article here.   
Making your own jig is not for the faint of heart. It takes some woodworking skill and is probably more suited for someone who likes to make jigs and fixtures than someone that plans to do a lot of threading.  The project of making the jig started more than two years ago. Here is some supplemental material that did not make it into the article. It is a list of vendors, part numbers and prices.

Since I submitted  my article  for publication, I discovered a low cost unit made in the UK.  The EZ Threading Jig is what I use now for 16 tpi and is available from the US distributor here. It is smaller, works more smoothly and is quicker to set up than my shop made jig. I still use my shop made jig when I want 10 TPI. I have submitted a project review of the EZ Threading Jig for Woodturning Design but have no idea when it will be published. I am now working on an article for American Woodturner on how to use a  threading jig.It will include all of the tips and tricks I have gathered from other users as well as a few I discovered on my own.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Southern States Woodturning Symposium

I am looking forward to the Southern States Symposium April 26 -28, 2013. I have attended Southern States every year since I started turning in 2007.  It was an easy commute to Gainesville, taking only about 35 - 45 minutes. With the move to Cartersville it will now require a hotel stay. Fortunately, I still had enough Hilton points from my days as a road warrior to cover my stay at the Hampton Inn.

   I am especially delighted to have been invited to be one of the guest demonstrators.  I will be doing two separate demonstrations on threading as described on the symposium website. I will be demonstrating my shop made threading jig during one of the demonstrations as well as the EZ Threading Jig. The timing is perfect since my article "Shop Made Threading Jig" appears in the April issue of the American Woodturner.

   My preparations for the "Adding Pizazz With a Threading Jig" coincide with the new article I am currently writing for American Woodturner on using threading jigs.

P.S. April 27 post event note: Had a great time. Got some more exotic wood for threading and a new Thompson bowl gouge. Dick Sing's wife makes jewelry and swapped a handmade silver pendant for one of my large acorn threaded boxes. Had a chance to speak with Phil McDonald, AAW Executive Director. Event attendance was down almost 20% from last year.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

CBN Wheel

I had been reading a lot about Cubic Boron Nitride or CBN grinding wheels. Everyone who got one was very happy with the improved performance over their AO wheels.  I ordered it from D Way Tools on Wednesday and it showed up today, Saturday, just three days later. I mounted it on my WC 8" slow speed grinder as a replacement for my 120 grit wheel. Wow, what an improvement!  CBN is nearly as hard as diamond and is 4 times harder than aluminum oxide thus revolutionizing the grinding of hardened steel. The 180 grit wheel cuts more aggressively than my old Aluminum Oxide wheel and takes a light touch.

Some advantages:
  • It is an inch and a half wide and is machined balanced so it runs like a top. 
  • No more tool bouncing because it runs so smooth. 
  • It even makes my 60 grit wheel run smoother. Takes a lot longer for the grinder to stop spinning.
  • Never needs dressing so less mess around the grinder
  • Tools do not get hot while sharpening.
  • It leaves a superb cutting edge
  • Will last for many years if not my lifetime.
I had to take off the existing shroud for the wheel to fit my grinder without scraping. No problem since the wheel can't explode.  With the shroud removed it is easier to see what you are doing with less interference from the shroud. Crafts Supplies just came out with a competing version for about the same price but it is only 1" wide.  Cindy Drozda provides some additional information on her blog re: CBN sharpening of powdered metal tools like Doug Thompson's.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rub 'n Buff

Rub 'n Buff samples
I picked up this Rub 'n Buff metallic wax technique from watching a Russ Fairfield YouTube on finishing with colored wax and applied it to some chatterwork. I think it gives a very nice effect on the darker Mopani box. Less so on the other two. If you etch your name on the bottom of your dark wood pieces with an engraver or burning tool on, it fills in the spaces and really shows up nice. I bought antique gold but there is also silver and some others. I understand you can buy this stuff at Michaels, but I bought a small tube of  from Amazon for $6.I posted this on a website and one poster, bob Bergstrom, provided this, "You can buy Pearl Ex or other mica powders and mix them with paste wax. That will give you many more colors at a much cheaper price. 40% off coupon at Michael's or Hobby Lobby. Once the rub n buff is open it will dry out in the tube. Mica powders can be mixed with lacquer or oil and even sprayed through an airbrush. I dry brush it often and lightly spray lacquer over it."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

More on Threading Cutting

I have been getting ready for my demonstration on January 12 in Homewood, AL with the Alabama Association of Woodturners. It is a long one, 2 1/2 hours compared to the local clubs that generally only take an hour and a half.  I have been trying to do some hand thread chasing at least once a week to maintain and hopefully improve my hand thread chasing. I find it very satisfying making little threaded boxes and experimenting on threading new wood like Mountain Mahogany, Katalox, Bocote, and Zapote. Still holding off threading that small expensive piece of African Blackwood I bought at Woodcraft.

I am excited about being selected to demonstrate a couple of times at the Southern States Woodturning Symposium. I still have to refine my demonstration descriptions but they will probably involve threading. 

I am eagerly awaiting my newest threading toy shown here. It is a threading jig from the UK I bought off eBay. At about $170 it is a bargain compared to the other commercial jigs available costing more than twice as much. It is hard to find but search on eBay using "thread cutting jig". I will be submitting a written product review on this to Woodturning Design magazine after I get some use with it.