Friday, October 30, 2015

Turning Wood Fruit - 3 Part Series

I am making a new video just about every week and posting to my YouTube channel so I am not putting all of the links here as that would be redundant. But Here is a 3 part series I want to highlight on Turning Wood Fruit. Part 1 is on Turning Apples.
Part 2 is on turning Pears
Part 3 is on making Bananas on a Bandsaw. These bananas were all made of Bradford Pear since that is what I had on hand in the appropriate size. Note how real the one in the middle is that I dyed yellow with Transtint dye!
If you like this series, please share with a friend, subscribe or leave a comment. Safe turning!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Latest happenings

I had a great time today hanging out with friends at Woodtoberfest at Hardwoods Inc. Nick Cook was demonstrating as were a few folks at Gwinnett Woodworkers. Free lunch and I met some new turners. No pictures, unfortunately.

Here are some cute little birds I turned. Got the idea for the two on the left from pictures on Pinterest of some old Scandinavian items. The one on the right was inspired from a wood bird at Hobby Lobby made in China and selling for a couple of bucks. You can see some of the other cute animals I found and pinned on my board at Pinterest called Wood Animals. I always found Google images handy to find a variety of pictures of something I  am interested in. But for those of you who have not checked out Pinterest, give it a try. Here is a link to one of my boards on Woodturning Ideas. Great place for a variety of images on everything and you can easily collect the ones you like on a board of your own (or two or three!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Near Miss

I recently started making a platter from a beautiful piece of spalted sycamore left over from earlier 4 legged stool project. I noticed a fair sized crack and was hoping it would not interfere with completing the platter project. Unfortunately when I reverse chucked it using a recess, I could hear a creaking sound. The crack was running the full length now.  It looked too dangerous to finish and you can't solve some problems safely with glue!  I took the blank in both hands and smacked it along the crack on the tool rest and it easily split. Although beautiful, it was just too punky for a platter. I had an early warning when the woodworm would not hold the blank since the threads tore out with the tightening. So to finish the video and show how to hollow a platter, I pulled out a very expensive platter blank of Black Limba that I had on the shelf a couple of years. Kiln dried and beautiful. As I finished the back side and was checking the surface I noticed a very small crack starting on the rim. This wood is hard so I put in some thin CA - not to hold it together but to fill the crack. Later after I reverse chucked it and was almost finished, it gave way.  I did not have a catch, was using sharp tools and not pushing that hard. It was exciting. A large piece flew up and shattered a 4' fluorescent bulb above the lathe.  It did not hit me as I was out of the line of fire and fortunately was wearing a face shield. It was a serious reminder to always be alert for danger signs like cracks and strange noises. I had no warning signs of the hair line fracture so the incident was totally unexpected.  And always wear a face shield when doing face grain pieces.  Use it when sanding and don't assume the danger is only there when cutting. Here is the first of the two part video series.

Stay safe!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Turn a Stool

I decided to make a child's stool for someone and figured it would make a good YouTube video. As I was pondering it, I decided to start with a simple 3 legged milk stool. Here is the link to that video.
I made it out of pine since I had that readily available and it did turn out pretty well.

But for a child's stool, I really want it to be very stable. A three legged stool always sits flat, but it is more prone to tipping over when being climbed on by a youngster as demonstrated here with my granddaughter Pepper. So, as I am looking around for some wood in my shop, I remembered being given  some 4" square 8' long timbers of cherry by someone who had them for over 20 years. They had planned to make a table but never got around to it. As I started cutting it up I realized it was actually Walnut, which would be perfect with a lighter colored wood for the seat. So I am looking around and see a 12" wide spalted bowl billet that I was given over a year ago and it had been drying 4 years then. So here is the result. Here is the link to the video:
Being the thorough, detail driven turner that I am, I tend to research a bit, when preparing a video project. Kind of reminds me of doing a term paper. By the time you finish researching, you generally know a lot more about the topic than the average person on the street. Here are a couple of great resources I found:
Nick Cook has a great article, "Stool School", he published a while back in the American Woodturner that you will find here
Alan Leland teaches a lot of stoolmaking classes and has an excellent handout on his website
Ernie Conover did an article on making a shop stool that you can access here:

As I knew my videos would be long, I decided to put some of the material on turning legs in a third video that you can find here

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Turning Small Spindle Projects - Gwinnett Woodworkers Demo July 9, 2015

I am scheduled to demonstrate at the Gwinnett Woodworkers for the Woodturning Special Interest Group on July 9, 2015. I plan to demonstrate several small spindle projects each with its own different method for chucking: light and fan pulls, knobs, and pill boxes. Here are links to background information that might be useful to anyone interested in these projects:

Light and Fan Pulls 
My YouTube Video, Turn a LIght or Fan Pull
"Light and Fan Pulls", American Woodturners, June 2014 

"Turn the Knob", American Woodturner. February 2015
My YouTube Video, Turn the Knob

Pill Boxes
Turn a Pill Box H.O.  
My YouTube Video, Turn a Pill Box 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fun weekend at Southern States Woodturning Symposium last weekend in Cartersville, GA despite the evidence of weak organization and planning and poor attendance. I have not missed one of these since I started woodturning back in 2007. This was one was I have seen all three of the principal demonstrators demonstrate before but still enjoyable. I guess being older has its advantages in that you never hear an old joke or if you do, you don't remember the punchline.
Chris Ramsey's hat lighting chuck.

Kim Winkle's milk paint finish

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Middle Georgia Woodturners Demo 5-5-15

I had a fun time demonstrating how to turn a lidded box for the Middle GA Woodturners down in Macon. Very hospitable group with about 36 in attendance.  It was on somewhat short notice and we decided on a lidded box after determining their Jet 1442 was not suitable for threading. Because of my concentration on threaded boxes, I had to crank out a lot of practice boxes in the preceding couple of weeks to get my timing down. My Compact Midi chuck would not close all of the way as their Jet 1442 spindle was a little long and rubbed on the jaw glides. Fortunately, their president had a SN2 in his car I was able to use. I will bring a plastic washer with me next time!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Derek Weidman Demonstration and Workshop

Spent a fun day at a Chattahoochee Woodturners workshop with Derek Weidman  who also did our club demo tonight. Derek creates some amazing work on the lathe. Here are some examples of his multi axis creations. His philosophy says tool marks are ok and who needs sandpaper when you can finish with a torch! 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Join us for our 2015 symposium

Turning Southern Style XXI

September 18-20, 2015.   Featured Demonstrators are Nick Agar, BenoĆ®t Averly and Jimmy Clewes.   Guest Demonstrators include Nick Cook, John Lucas and Harvey Meyer.

The Georgia Association of Woodturners (GAW) presents its annual symposium "Turning Southern Style XXI".  This year's event will again be held at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center in Dalton, GA.  With our impressive slate of demonstrators, a large group of Vendors, and a great facility, this promises to be the largest, most informative and enjoyable symposium in our 21 year history.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Collet Chuck

I recently bought a new woodturning toy, an Apprentice collet chuck. I like it for holding smaller items with a small tenon like angel ornaments and finials. It uses ER 32 Collets. Some of the advantages include a strong hold from 100% gripping surface and no draw bar required.
There are other woodturning collet systems out there. Why did  I choose the Apprentice? I did some research on this as well as the Beall Collet system. Penn State has one but is not available in the 1 1/4” size to fit my PM. The Beall has a smooth faced collet chuck that must be tightened with a special wrench. This one is a little less expensive than the Beall and for some projects, can be hand tightened although the wrench is available and may be need some time. It also comes with a 1” x 8 insert so I can use it on a mini lathe. You can see the full YouTube video I did on the chuck.

I used it recently at the Atlanta Wood Show for demonstrating turning angel ornaments and tops. The more I use it the more I like it.  When I was packing to leave, I noticed when I unscrewed the collet chuck from the lathe that the 1"x8 insert was still on the lathe. I forgot to bring a wrench and was looking for a way to unthread it. Mike Guyre came up with an innovative wrench. He used a chuck with spigot jaws tightened to fit the outside of the insert as a wrench and off it came!

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Although I am horrified to hear of an accident occurring to a friend, I try to think about what happened when I am using a similar tool. The most recent safety wake-up call comes from my fellow woodturner, Sam Angelo, who tells part of his tale in this video.

Safety is important to anyone working with machinery and tools that can hurt you. I am a cautious individual by nature and tend to read the manufacturers instructions and warnings and try and follow them. When I started to get serious about woodworking shortly before I retired, I attended a class at Highland Woodworking on Woodworking Power Tool Safety. I had little previous experience with powered woodworking tools beyond an electric drill, a hand sander and a skill saw. This training gave me a healthy respect for what can go wrong.

My shop accidents tend to be the occasional splinter or scratch. It is easy to assume most folks would have a similar attitude. After all, would a rational person do anything where the logical consequence is the potential for a severe, even life-threatening injury?  Yet, I know so many woodworkers personally who have had accidents with their equipment. Their stories tended to have some common themes:
  • They knew there was a safer way, but they were in a hurry,
  • They were tired or distracted but kept working,
  • or, they minimized the risk in their minds because they were accustomed to doing it in an unsafe fashion because they had done it that way many times before without injury
Sorry to sound preachy. Be safe!


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

See My YouTube Channel for My Videos

Ok, this making of YouTube videos has gotten to be a habit! As a result I will no longer post a blog entry when I do every new video since I seem to be abole to get one up just about evry week. If you want to see my videos, please go to YouTube to find them. Better yet, go to YouTube and subscribe to my channel so you will be informed when a new one gets uploaded.

Your comments, questions and suggestions are most welcome. I appreciate your watching and your continued interest and support.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Turn the Knob

My article "Turn the Knob" is in the February 2015 issue of American Woodturner. While writing this article, I made two separate videos on turning knobs. You can find both of these videos on my YouTube channel. If you like what you see, please subscribe so you will be notified when I post a new video on woodturning.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Finish It!

Finishing seems to be a hurdle for novice woodturners. In my latest video I show some of the finishes I use and explain why Miniwax Antique Oil is my favorite. I demonstrate my finishing process and show a few finishing tricks.

In this second video, Buffing for Woodturners,  I demonstrate the ins and outs of buffing woodturnings with the Beall buffing system in order to apply a smooth, tactile feel and a high gloss shine to your woodturnings.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Looking Back On Video Experiences

It has been a year since I filmed  my first YouTube video with a Canon Powershot point and shoot camera with a video mode. I had some exposure to YouTube as a member of the Gwinnett Woodworkers Association (GWA). Besides being a flat work group with Saturday meetings they are also a chapter of the American Association of Woodturners. I did a demonstration on turning a winged box for the woodturning Special Interest Group which was videotaped and loaded to YouTube back in 2011. Since then it has had almost 200,00 views. This just blows me away! 
GWA 2013 Party

The following year another member and I did a demonstration for Gwinnett on Holding Wood on the Lathe. Unfortunately there was some technical difficulty that resulted in no video. Because the demonstration had been so well received, I was asked if I was willing to redo the demonstration, but in a staged setting with no audience so it could be videoed. As a result, I got exposed to the entire production process of making a video from scratch including a shooting script, staging the scenes, consideration of lighting and sound and editing. That video has had almost 60,000 views since then.

Sometime after that GWA actually had a class on making videos. These events planted a seed that really did not start to grow for almost two years. 

So this thank you is for the Gwinnett Woodworkers Association with special thanks to John Eaton who was the driving force behind the GWA uploading their videoed demonstrations to YouTube and the editor of the first couple of my demonstrations. I also want to thank Bob Brokaw, past President of GWA for convincing me to redo the demonstration on Holding Wood on the Lathe in order to make a video.  If you have not looked at the Gwinnett Woodworkers YouTube channel, I urge you to do so, especially if you are primarily a flat worker.

Rough Turn a Box Blank

I am enjoying the process of teaching with YouTube videos and excited that in the last twelve months, my woodturning videos have been seen over 20,000 times.  The viewer growth has been exponential with half the views taking place in the past month.

In my latest video I demonstrate how to rough turn box blanks. It is hard to turn a successful box from green wood without rough turning a blank to dry first.  Sure it takes 3 - 6 months for the box blank to dry, but once you get a few going, you always have one available.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Woodturning Tips, Tricks and Jigs Part 2

Ok, that first video was a little long at about 34 minutes. I have heard from many sources that if a video runs much more than 10 minutes, viewers start dropping off. I guess I am an exception, but if it is a good show, I would rather watch an hour than 10 minutes. But I know I see a lot of things differently from most.

Anyway, I still had a lot of material left so thought I would make a Part 2 so here it is. If you watch it and like it, I encourage you to subscribe to my channel so you will be automatically notified when I post another video. Comments are welcome as well as suggestions for future videos.