Sunday, September 25, 2011

New equipment and an owie

Hi Everyone,
Well, I got an anniversary present today--a new disc sander. This is a heavy duty critter that will be bolted down to a work bench that is in the planning stages. It spins very fast, has an adjustable table in front of it and I can do a lot of finish sanding on it.
In my elation to use it, I accidently caught my fingers on the surface of the spinning disc and I've partially sanded the tips of several fingers of my left hand. So I'm upstairs, smarting a bit from that.
And my back is hurting a bit this afternoon. I'm going to take the rest of the evening off. And possibly tomorrow, too.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Blue House Bow--more work

Hi Everyone,
Picking up were we left off yesterday...

Here is the underside of the bowl, cut, sanded and polished:

You can see the foot, the tenon, and the heat and sap wood areas of the blank.

Here's a slightly different shot:

At this point the bowl is ready to flip over and hollow out. Moment of truth-once the bowl is flipped over and I begin hollowing it out, the bowl can't be flipped back if there is a problem. Here we go...

In the above photo, I've flipped it over and placed it between centers again. Until the bowl is substantially hollowed out, I'll turn it between centers. When its been hollowed, and it's lighter in weight, I'll remove the dead center and the center post in the bowl.

Above is the bowl after about an hour's worth of turning. The sides are about 1 inch thick and I've left the center post in the bowl. This will help keep the bowl in it's round shape and keep it from cracking. Now I'm going to cover it in paste wax and place it in a large box of wood shavings and let it dry for several weeks. In about three weeks time, I'll take it out and see how's its going so keep you fingers crossed that the bowl is ok and it dries well.

See you in a couple of weeks.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Blue House bowl-initial work

Hi Everyone,
I've heard back from the Blue House folks and we will definitely be raffling off the bowl so I'm going to begin posting pictures and comments about the bowl. I will post an announcement on this blog and on Facebook when the tickets are ready for purchase.

Here we go. Here are several opening photos of the block of wood:

This is a solid block of white ash. It's a lovely wood to turn. Now this particular block was processed whilst in its "green" state, meaning that it was not dried after it was cut. So to keep it from drying out and cracking, the block was coated with wax and shipped to me earlier this week. Here I've marked out the center and I'm going to attach a faceplate to what will eventually be the front of the bowl:

This is a sizable, heavy block of wood and so it is going to take some precautions to turn it safely. I'm going to use big, long wood screws to hold it to the faceplate and I'm also going to place it "between centers" which means I'm going to use the live and dead centers of the lathe to mount it:

Now it can be turned without a lot vibration and that means it can be turned safely.

Here is the blank after several minutes of turning. I'm making the underside of the bowl first.

...and here is the blank after about 15 minutes of turning. You can see that there are both sapwood and heartwood in this blank.

Here is a photo after about 45 minutes of turning. The underside of the bowl is turned. Since the bowl is lighter in weight now and it has been trued up, I can take away the dead center of the bowl and cut out   a tenon, or special slot, so I can fit a special wood vice to the bottom and get it ready to be turned around for hollowing.

The next posting will describe how the bowl is attached to the lathe and hollowed out.


The Blue House Bowl-Discussion and plans

Hi Everyone,

Well, I decided to begin working on a bowl that I am planing on donating to a charity called the Blue House. This charity supports an orphanage in Uganda that takes in girls and young women who have been orphaned because of AIDS. Every year the ladies at my church have an annual craft fair to raise funds to support these young women.  And your's truly donates cutting boards and other stuff for sale every year.

This year, amongst other things, I plan on donating a full-sized salad bowl to the sale and this blog posting will be the first in a series about how the bowl was made. I hope this will give people a window on how a large bowl is made and get them interested in the sale.

So, I have gotten a large 12"x3" white ash bowl blank and this is what I will be using for the bowl. The wood is unseasoned, meaning that it has a considerable amount of water in it and so we will be making a green wood turning and this adds several steps to our turning process, and certainly nothing that Selkie Wood Works can't handle! Here's what we're going to do: I'm going to mount the block on the lathe and completely turn the outside of it and partially turn the inside of it and leave the bowl about 1" thick. This is much thicker than a standard bowl and the reason I'm doing this is this will help the bowl retain it's round shape while its drying out. When we come back to the bowl in several weeks time, it should have dried out enough to allow me to finish turning and shaping it, and with any luck, it will be ready for the Blue House sale, which always takes place the first weekend in December.

So we're off for another adventure in the wood shop. So make some coffee and stop by for photos and a complete process discussion on the Blue House bowl.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Walnut Bowl, finished

Hi All,
Well, it took forever but I finally got the walnut bowl sanded and a coat of finish applied. Here it is:

It looks great and I think it will come out really nice. I'll post final pictures.

Tomorrow I'm going to prep the cherry bowl and get it ready for turning.

See ya tomorrow,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Black ash and Brazilian cherry bowl finished and the next set of bowls

Hi Everyone,
Well, I guess summer is going out with a bang here in the northern mid west and we've got fall colors all over the place. I love autumn--it's my favorite time of the year.

Ok, back to business. I took the black ash bowl from last time down to the workshop and began hollowing it out. Here you can see the Brazilian cherry layer begin cut down:

And here you can see how I've cut through the red colored wood and down into the black ash layer:

This bowl turned out remarkably well. I completely hollowed it out and I left the walls a little thicker than usual. I think the bowl works well with thicker bowls both from an esthetic point of view and for practical reasons too. I think a heavier bowl with a broad foot is more stable to work with if the bowl will be used for cooking or displaying food. And after all that's what we're here for--kitchenware.

Here is the bowl hollowed out and sanded smooth:

This only took about an hour to smooth and you can see how polished it looks. That piece of ash wood was amazing and it produced several bowls and plates and all of them came out beautifully.

Here are a couple more pictures:

And finally here it is with it's first layer of finish:

This is going to be a really nice piece of work. I'll post more photos when it's done. 

Now back to the walnut bowl....

I have several large bowls from solid blocks of wood coming up that have to be turned and are going to require more work than the more shallow bowls and platters I've been working on of late. On Saturday I'm going to begin working on a salad bowl from a solid block of cherry and next week, I'll start another bowl out of white ash and mahogany. Since the cherry bowl is a secret Christmas present for a dear friend, I'm not going to post those photos until Christmas day. But the ash bowl photos I will be posting  and commenting on so stay tuned and be sure and join me for more adventures in the wood shop.

As always thanks for dropping by and have a good rest of the day.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Black Ash bowl

Hi Everyone,
Well, I began work on a black ash and Brazilian cherry bowl today. It's apart of the same order for the walnut bowl and what a difference this is. This was one lovely piece of wood and it's turning out really nicely:

This is sooo much easier to deal with than walnut. Ash is a lovely wood and white ash in particular can really be a joy to work with. I'm surprised it isn't used more in furniture and kitchenware as it has great workability and finishing qualities to it. This bowl needs to be flipped over now and hollowed out and I'll be getting to that as the week goes by.

I have another bowl like this to make and then I'm going to be working on two large and deep salad bowls: one in white ash with a cherry rim and the other will be solid cherry. And as always, I'll have pictures of the process for both.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Walnut Bowl, continued & Fall Colors

Hi Everyone,
I've spent the weekend with a back owie and fighting off a cold so today I'm probably going to take it easy so I can get back on my feet.

I did work on the walnut bowl a bit yesterday. I've begun sanding it to get it ready for the finish:

Walnut can be a devil to finish (cherry is another difficult customer) as scratches from turning show up like headlights on a car. They stand out quite readily and have to be sanded away and that can take quite a bit of time. I use sanding stars and a drill to get the scratches sanded out of the piece. I use an 80 grit and 100 grit stars to accomplish that. Then I use sanding sponges, which are sponges with sanding grit bonded to the surface, to finish the sanding. I go all the way to 400 grit and by then the piece I'm working on will begin to look polished. And that's what I have planned for this particular piece. I've also rounded the rim a bit to give it a more finished look and I've thinned the sides and the bottom a little. I think this will look quite nice when I'm done.

And fall colors have arrived! Its cooled off a bit and it's getting cooler at night and everything, especially maple trees, are beginning to change. Here's a photo:

And it's raining too which is nice. I love cool weather and I also enjoy winter here but if we don't have a winter like last year, I won't be disappointed. In fact if it doesn't begin snowing until a week before Christmas, I'll be really happy!

And one last bit of new: my youngest son informed me that he wanted to make a bowl! I was overjoyed at that news to say the least. So we went down stairs and he made a small bowl out of some redwood. He did a really nice job too. Redwood is very soft and can tear to shreds if you're not careful, but he pulled it off really well. I'll send pictures when he's done with the finish.  Well done!!

More later,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Walnut Bowl

Hi Everyone,
Well when I came home today, I had a serious case of wood turning fever and I had to get outside and work on the walnut bowl I started last week. So that's exactly what I did. I smoothed the underside and cut a very shallow foot:

Wow, check out that grain. Isn't that lovely?

I decided since the grain pattern is so lovely not to add any adornment to the surface of the bowl. The wood speaks for itself.

Having decided that, I flipped it over and began hollowing it out. Here is a photo of the lathe spinning and I've cut out the edge of the rim:

Here we are several minutes into hollowing it out:

And here we are about 15 minutes after the above photo:

Now the question arises: How deep should the bowl be cut? This blank was originally about 2 1/2 inches thick so we can't cut forever but it does need to be a little deeper. But how much deeper?

I cut it about 1/4 inches deeper and decided to stop. Here is another photo:

I've taken it off the lathe and brought it upstairs and I'm just going to contemplate it for the next day or so.

What do you think? Should it be a little deeper or should I play it safe and leave it as is?

Let me know what you think.
More tomorrow,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

St Paul Classic 2011

Hi Everyone,
The St. Paul Classic was held today and true to form my husband and I rode today. This year we decided just to gently cruise through the route and not try to break the land speed record. Here are some photos:

This is a photo of folks lining up to check in at the University of St. Thomas, the beginning point of the ride.

This is a shot of my husband getting ready to start the ride.

This is a photo of Ramsey Hill. This is a really steep hill that occurs about 3/4 of the way in the ride. It is really steep and I've never been able to ride all the way to the top. This year I dragged myself up by foot. 
My husband was able to do it and you'll see him in the next photo.

There he is--the Iron Man!!

When you get to the top of Ramsey Hill there is a small park where food and drink and a place to sit down and catch your breath is set up. They have healthy snacks:

And of course I went for the lemon bars. There are probably enough calories in one of these bars to power a small city, but they are soooo goood!!!

And here are two pictures of the view from the park:

It was a really nice day. The weather was absolutely perfect. And this was my 10th Classic.
See you next year!


Saturday, September 10, 2011


The pictures for the previous blog did not show up on the posting so I'm going to try again.

Here is the poplar bowl:

And here is the hickory plate:

Hmmm...I may re-turn this. The rim is still a little rough.

Here is a picture of the walnut bowl:

And here are some preliminary photos for the black ash bowls:

These are the black ash parts of the bowls, from board, to square, to round turning blank. And here is one of the blanks with the red Brazilian cherry portion next to it:

Here are blanks ready to be assembled with glue all over the Brazilian cherry:

And here is the final blank, glued up and clamped down.

Tomorrow I'll glue up the other bowl blank and then those will be ready to roll.

I'll be back to the shop later this week. Thanks for joining me.

Bowls! Discussion and plans

Hi Everyone,
Well, I've started back to work and I must say I'm really tired! It's been a long time since I've gone to work and I'm going to need to establish a routine and get myself back in the swing of the things. I'm also going to be turning a whole bunch of bowls for Christmas presents so I'm going to be busy this semester (and I'm learning Javascript code so I'm a busy critter).

I finished the small poplar bowl. Here it is:

It will make a lovely gift for a friend of mine.

And I bought a small piece of hickory and I'm turning this into a plate for another friend to whom I owe a big thanks to:

Let's talk about bowls for a few minutes: I've been asked to make several black ash/Brazilian cherry bowls, a walnut bowl (which I've begun working on and Oh Baby, what a bowl!), and a bowl that will be raffled off this holiday season. I went and bought some more Brazilian cherry this morning and I cut up my remaining piece of black ash and I'm assembling the turning blanks as I write (I'll post some pictures shortly). So I'm going to be working on the black ash bowls and the walnut bowl over the next several weeks and posting about this.

I'll be back shortly with some photos.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Fire in Tehachapi, California

Hello Again,

I've been following a fire caused by a small plane crash in Tehachapi, California. We have some old friends who live in the area and who have been posting photos on their Facebook site. You can see the photos of the fire and get updates on what's been happening if you look at my Facebook page.

I will keep everyone out there in my thoughts and prayers and I hope that there isn't more destruction than what has already happened.

God Bless,

Yellow Poplar & Happy Labor Day

Hi Everyone,

Happy Labor Day! I hope you're all having a quiet and easy day today. And I'm grateful for spending this Labor Day as an employed person. Many thanks to Jennifer, Elaine, Stacy, Emily and Dr. B.

I went to Woodcraft over in Bloomington this past weekend and bought some sanding stars, which are strips of sandpaper that are stacked together in the shape of a star and used to sand irregular shapes, and something that I've needed for a while now. And while I was there I wandered into a big basket of small turning blocks of red maple and yellow poplar. I've used a lot of red maple and it's cuts beautifully and is one of my favorite woods. I've never used yellow poplar and didn't really know much about it so I took a chance and bought one block and took it home.

I am really glad that I did. It turned beautifully. It looks a lot like rock maple--same ivory color, same smooth, closed grain, but just not as hard. And sometimes that's a nice thing : ). Even on a lathe with high speed steel tools, hard woods can be tough to work and hard on the hands. A lovely piece of softer wood is always welcome.

The piece that I got has a small amount of wild grain but most of it was straight and very even and a pleasure to turn. Here are the pictures:

This particular bowl is about 5 inches in diameter and approximately 4.5 inches high with a small foot on the bottom. I'm finishing it with a special food safe finish and it will be done in a couple of days. All in all a lovely way to spend a day off.

I'll send more photos when I'm done.

Hi Everyone

Well, I just wanted to tell you that today is the 29th anniversary of my having quit smoking!