Sunday, December 25, 2016

Thank You YouTube Viewers for One Million Views!

I am so gratified with the  views on my woodturning channel. I appreciate the outpouring of well wishers in response to my recent video where I thank my viewers and show pictures of the projects I did videos on this year.

My next personal goal is to achieve 10,000 subscribers. This milestone will qualify me for a few additional perks from YouTube on account management and learning  opportunities.

Happy New Year, Ya'll.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Birds of a Feather...

I don't post all of my videos on my blog since I put one up each week but it has been a while since I posted and this was an especially fun project. https://youtu.be/lxDuJZ7kZU8
The project has a two part video. I also made a handout to go along with the video that is available on my Resources page and is called Danish Bird H.O.
If anyone can figure out how to keep the end grain eye white please post in the comments. End grain absorbs finish so the maple end grain eyeball tended to blend into the same color as the oak birds. I tried lacquer sanding sealer and also CA.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

New Hollowing System

I recently got a hollowing system from Lyle Jamieson and have been learning to use it. Most of my hollow forms in the past tended to be smaller as I tended to rely on hand held tools. Some experienced woodturners are quite comfortable with handle held elbow brace systems with 3/4" bars but not me! Once you get past 1/2" bars, and maybe even then, a system like this Jamieson rig with a laser takes far less skill and worry out of the process. It is just easier and makes turning more fun. You can see a recent video on it here:

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Lightening Hit Woodturning!

I have just started playing with a new toy, a Lichtenberger woodburner! Here is a short video I just made of me using my burner for the first time. Frank Bowers came over to watch and call 911 in case I electrocuted myself!

I got jump started on this when Bill Wyche from Jackson, TN made a shop visit and brought his burner over to show me. I had seen some pretty scary stuff on YouTube but his unit was well thought out and could be used safely but a careful person. I read an interesting comment, "Some people operate nuclear power plants and others should not be able to operator a toaster." 

I have got several woodturning presentations coming up over the next few weeks I need to prepare for, so I may not get back to this for a while. But stay tuned as I do plan to provide details on safely making and using one of these units. I can safely operate a toaster with no difficulties whatsoever!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Great Symposium

I had a terrific time at the symposium. I probably did not spend enough money but did get some African Blackwood. I also got some more sanding discs from Vince Welch. I met so many of my YouTube viewers. I really enjoyed that. I was alos able to network with several of my fellow Woodturning YouTubers like John Lucas, Sam Angelo and Reed Gray.

My two demonstrations seem to have been well received. I made three videos, Adding Pizzazz with Texturing, on the same topic for my YouTube channel. I will publish these over the next three weeks.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

AAW Symposium



The American Association of Woodturners  Symposium is just next weekend! the AAW's 30th Annual Int'l Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia, is June 9-12, 2016 at the Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart. If you have never been to a National Symposium it is hard to describe the experience. I attend the one in Albuquerque in 2009 and Tampa 2013. I am thrilled to be selected as a demonstrator this year and will be doing two demos on Adding Pizzazz with Spiraling and Texturing. I look forward to meeting a lot of you viewers. If you are attending, please look me up and say hello.
If you are local and just want to visit the huge Trade Show area I know you will enjoy it. Maybe you could find an hour or two to volunteer your time.

Some of the vendors will have live demonstrations throughout the day in the vendor area. I am looking forward to seeing some folks I know but have never met, like Reed Gray. I have one of his RoboRests and like it a lot.

If you are across the big pond as they say, you may want to check out what I believe is the 1st UK and Ireland Symposium the following weekend on June 18 19 in Coventry England. It should be a blast.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Upcoming Demonstrations

November 9, 2017 Gwinnett Woodworkers Association, Norcross, GA, Topic TBD

October 17, 2017 South Metro Woodturners, Newnan, GA, Multi Axis Bird

October 18, 2017 Atlanta Woodturners Guild, Alpharetta, GA, Danish Modern Style Bird

October 19, 2017 Georgia Association of Woodturners, Atlanta, GA,  Multi Axis Burl Vase

October 10, 2017 Barnesville Woodturners, Barnesville, GA, Multi Axis Bird

September 8 - 10, 2017 John C. Campbell Folk School Class

August 10, 2017 Apple Ridge Woodturners, Ellijay, GA Spiraling and Texturing

July 6, 2017 Peach State Woodturners, Oxford GA, Small Spindle Projects

June 15, 2017   Georgia Assoc. of Woodturners, Atlanta, GA  Threading Jig - Make or Buy?

June 17, 2017    Tri State Woodturners, Chattanooga, TN    All About the Skew

May 2, 2017    Mountain Laurel WT, Demorest, GA  Pill Boxes and More

March 14, 2017 Chattahoochee Woodturners; Gainesville, GA  All About the Skew.

Nov 12, 2016     West Tennessee Woodturners, Jackson, TN    hot air balloon ornament, a hand bell ornament and perhaps more as well as tips and tricks for folks making ornaments to kick them up a notch

August 20, 2016    Tri-State Woodturners, Chattanooga, TN    Coffee Scoop and several small spindle projects   

August 9, 2016     Barnesville Woodturners, Barnesville, GA    Small Spindle Projects requiring different chucking methods including a pill box, chess men and fan or lamp pull

June 10 and 12, 2016     AAW Symposium, Atlanta    Adding Pizzaz with Spiraling and Texture

Monday, April 11, 2016

Chess Set Plans

I recently did a video series on making a chess set. I can't draw nor can I use any computer drawing CAD/CAM program. 

Gideon (Gidi) Azar, from Australia,  plans to turn a full size chess set based on the set I turned in the video series. He has given me permission to post his full size scale drawings on my website where they will be available for download.  I have posted his scale drawings for  all of the pieces below.
Gidi, is a turner after my own heart with researching chess patterns, studying Mike Darlow’s book and turning prototypes. Thanks so much, Gidi,  for making your drawings available. I look forward to seeing pictures of your completed set. 

Here is the link to the downloadable pdf file which can also be found under the Resources tab. It is for 8 1/2" X 11" letter size paper.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5Ng9K34IcxIY2QwR2VjWUNKWlE 

Here is the link for scale drawings printed on A4 paper, common in Europe and Australia 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Shop Fairy Turning Wood

What a great time showing my granddaughter how to turn wood. I am going to start slow and see where it goes but it had to start with me making a platform for her to stand on to reach the lathe! She is so intense!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Practice, Practice, Practice!




My pastor used the following quotation by Robert H. Schuller in a recent sermon. Although the context it was presented in was a little different, I think it applies to woodturning equally well. 

"Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation."


This message is for novice turners as most experience turners already recognize the value of this advice. The point is, it is hard to just start out and make something spectacular without a lot of practice. It takes making a lot of shavings to get tool control. Until you get tool control, it is hard to get really comfortable holding your tools without using a death grip. If you are always worried about a catch, you won’t enjoy turning much!

If you want to make that last smooth, clean cut on a bowl my advice is to take a bowl blank and simply practice your cuts. Observe the quality of cut when you start making changes in the flute position. Carefully observe the change in sound and cut quality after you sharpen your tool. Think about how you position your feet. Waste away the blank with practice cuts until you have nothing left but shavings.


Find some little simple turning project that you can do over and over until you really get that muscle memory so the tool movement becomes effortless. And then do a lot of them. It doesn’t matter whether it is a lamp or fan pull, a tiny little ring bowl, a bottle stopper or whatever. If it is something made of green wood so much the better because the shavings are nicer and there is less dust.  Practice!


I know this advice is not well received by everyone. Some of us are more impatient then others. Who ever reads the instruction manual for assembling some new gadget we got? Just look at the picture and do it. Get er done!  Who want to waste time practicing when they could be doing.

Well for me, part of the fun of woodturning is just making shavings. It takes me to a different place. I forgot about what is going on outside my shop and just enjoy the journey. Sometimes that journey results in something I want to show others. Sometimes it just results in shavings to mulch the backyard and designer firewood. It is all good.


Think about the cuts that cause you problems or that you lack confidence in and practice them. Again and Again and Again. Start a turning session with a beads and cove stick. Practice, Practice, Practice.


Ok, I am stepping down from my soap box.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Making a Chess Set

I am finally turning a chess set. I am through the Pawns and ready to start on the Rooks. I also made a chess board which gave me a chance to actually polish up my pyrography and Zentangle skills. Here is a picture of the board and some pawns. It is taking a while since tax season has started and I am working as an AARP Tax Aide. I will be posting videos on my YouTube channel so stay tuned. The first episode on Pawns will air on YouTube Friday, Feb 26. My plan will be to issue a new episode each week covering turning one of the chess pieces and some aspect such as design, coloring, finishing, weighting, etc. I have posted a video on making this chessboard to start off the series.





Monday, February 1, 2016

Beads of Courage Boxes

Here is a message from Steve Mellott who is spearheading the efforts of Georgia woodturning clubs to make Beads of Courage boxes,
"Wow – the Beads of Courage initiative has really taken off!  To date, I’ve had 18 clubs request 482 beads.  And it is not just in the southeastern United States – woodturners throughout the nation have begun to support this program.  
In response to this overwhelming support, the Beads of Courage program has released the following new guidelines regarding boxes.  If you have already made boxes that don’t comply with the guidelines, don’t worry – they will still take the boxes.  Just try to ensure that all new boxes fit within the guidelines. "
·         Beads of Courage members may receive thousands of beads.  It is desirable for your boxes to hold all of them.  As a result, turned or rectangular boxes need to be large.  Large is better!  Recommended interior dimensions for turned boxes are 6” diameter (5” minimum), 5” height (4” minimum).  Recommended interior dimensions for flatwork boxes are 4” x 6” x 4.”
·         Box bases should be wide enough so the box is stable and does not tip over easily.  Lids should be easy for small or ill children to remove or lift.  Any finials should be easy for a small child to grasp and not too elaborate so they don’t break.  Avoid excessively elaborate designs that may easily break or be damaged.
·         Finishing of boxes is extremely important!   Beads of Courage members who receive these boxes are susceptible to germs/infections/molds.  Bowls that have not been properly sealed can harbor mold.  Please take the time to ensure you are using a safe finishing process that does not contain toxic materials.  Also, do not use finishes like linseed oil that take a long time to off gas.
·         All kinds of wood are beautiful!  Please refrain from painting Beads of Courage boxes.  Instead, highlight the beauty of the wood with clear varnish or stain, and/or burning.
·         Embed the Beads of Courage logo bead in the design of the box.  If this is not possible, burn or letter Beads of Courage onto the lid or side of the box.  Complete a Beads of Courage artist card and place it in the completed box.
·         It is nice if you can personalize your donation.  Marking your name or initials, type(s) of wood, and date on the box bottom is one way.  It is also nice to enclose a personal note of encouragement, business, card, etc. inside the box. 
Here is a link to a Part 1 of 3 of a a full length demonstration I did in January of this year for the Middle Georgia Woodturners on how to turn a Beads of Courage box starting with a green bowl blank.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Woodturning FUNdamentals

A lot of woodturners mourn the passing of Woodturning Design magazine. However, did you know that the American Association of Woodturners publishes a digital magazine concentrating on beginner type articles? It comes out six time a year in the months between the regular printed magazine American Woodturner.  I just had an article in the most recent issue. Turning a pillbox may not be new to those of you who watch my videos or visit this site.

Comments and Feedback is Requested

I haven't posted in a while. This website gets few comments so it is not clear how many visitors I get or how useful it is.
If you find anything useful here, please let me know with a comment. If you feel you wasted your time coming to this website, you can let me know that also.

This website is clearly a secondary effort to my YouTube videos, but I ask for your feedback on my woodturning videos as well.
  • What ideas do have for future videos?
  • Do you like longer topics that span a series, like my 3 part series on turning fruit or the recent 3 part series on Making and Using Small Round tools?

YouTube provides me a lot of statistics. 
On average the overall percentage of the total video time viewed is 34%.  Some click and leave immediately of course and a few folks watch the entire video. When digging behind this number I see it is about 44% for the US and somewhat lower for other English speaking countries. But more than half of my viewers are from outside the US. So, with so many viewers whose primary language is not English, clearly the value of the videos drop off. I welcome any feedback for making my videos more useful for viewers outside the US. I suspect most viewers are aware of the English closed caption option, although the translations sometimes are comical.