Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Hi Everyone,
In celebration of Halloween, here's a little music to accompany it by...

Bach - Toccata and Fugue in d minor, BWV 565


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Black ash bowl with Brazilian Cherry rim

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday afternoon wrap up

Hi Everyone,
It is an absolutely gorgeous day in the TC. The trees have changed into spectacular colors and it's nice and cool outside--a good day to turn wood.

The first thing I did was finish a black ash-Brazilian cherry bowl for a young friend who wants one for her mom for Christmas. Here's the photos:

Then I worked on several other bowls, namely the hickory bowl from several weeks ago and the birch salsa bowl I made last week. Those will be ready for their final sanding late next week.

Then, I was going to make a tea box out of some red birch and mahogany that I've had in the shop for a while. I began to cut out the blanks on the bandsaw so I could glue them into a bowl blank and all of a sudden BANG!! the blade broke. Scared the daylights of me. I didn't get injured other than a small cut on one of my fingers but it sure woke me up. So I had to stop everything and go and get another blade. I'll put it on the saw tomorrow. 

I really have a huge mess in the shop so I'm going to go and clean up. As soon as the new blade get installed, I'll post photos of the tea box I'm making.

If you're in the TC, it's a great afternoon for a walk and I hope you get a chance to get outside later today.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Vegetable soup recipe

Hi Everyone,
It's a cool evening in Minnesota and that means it's time for hot, homemade soup. Everyone in the world probably has a vegetable soup recipe and so here is mine:

Vegetable Soup

6 cups of chicken broth (this can be bouillon or homemade)
1 8oz can tomato sauce

4 cups of assorted coarsely chopped fresh vegetables
½ cup of frozen assorted vegetables
½ cup of raw barley
½ cup of pasta rings or orzo pasta
2 heaping tablespoons of dried parsley

Place all of the above ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.


Annual Blue House Christmas Boutique - Bowl Raffle

Hello Everyone, 

Every year the parish of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in St Paul Minnesota hosts a Christmas boutique to raise funds that support an orphanage in Uganda for young women and girls who have been orphaned by AIDS. This year in addition to crafts and wonderful foods, a full-sized bowl from Selkie Wood Works will be raffled off. This bowl was handmade from a solid block of ash wood. The drawing will be held on December 4 at 12 noon. You need not be present to win.

This is a good cause and every dollar is put to good use.  This Christmas let’s all do something really good for a group of very vulnerable youngsters.

Tickets are $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00. If you live locally and would like to purchase one let me know via Facebook or the SWW blog and I’ll get one to you. If you live out of state and would like to purchase a ticket, send $3.00 to Selkie Wood Works, PO Box 21157, Eagan, MN, 55121 along with your name, telephone number and your email address. I’ll make out a ticket for you and email you a scanned image of it.

Vickie Woodcock

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Honey Locust continued

You know just when you think Mother Nature couldn't get any more spectacular, I come across a bowl blank like this. Even rough turned it's a real beauty:

The photos don't really do justice here...

More tomorrow,

Honey Locust-Yeah Baby!!!

Hi Everyone,
I'm finishing up the platter for my friend:

And looking for something else to do and I remembered that I had ordered a honey locust bowl blank about a month ago. The poor thing looked really cruddy when it arrived and so I set it aside. And just like the ugly duckling that turned into a swan, so did this bowl blank:

The photographs don't do it justice. It has pink, yellow, and brown streaks in it and it's really really pretty. And best of all, it doesn't have a strong scent so it can be used for food. I may just make this into a  tea box. Stay tuned, this is going to be a lovely box when it's done.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Earring box finished

Hi Everyone,
The earring box is finished. Here it is with a preliminary coat of oil:

More later,

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Earring box, continued

Good Morning Everyone,
Here is the rest of the process photos from this morning. I just finished turning this:

If you remember from yesterday, I constructed a turning blank for the lid from two pieces of birch. The pieces have a wooden pin inside and the whole thing is held together with CA glue. Here is a picture from yesterday:

I then cut out the lid on the bandsaw and placed it on the lathe:

The blank needed to be trued up and flattened on the bottom and it also needed a tenon (the slot in the picture) cut for later attachment to the lathe:

Now the hard part: I have to cut a lip along the edge of the lid so the whole thing will fit snugly on top of the bowl. Yesterday I cut a lip onto the top edge of the bowl that is 5mm wide so we need to cut a lip about 6-7mm wide so it will fit. Here's the photo:

After I cut the lip, it had to be hand fitted just a tiny bit and viola-it worked:

The next step involves placing this whole unit back on the lathe and turning them together so I can true up the side and make the diameters of both match:

The last step involved shaping the top of the lid and cutting out the knob and smoothing the whole thing down:

And here is the finished box:

It needs a considerable amount of sanding which I'll do over the next couple of days. I'll post a final photo when it is done.

I have several more  bowls to turn and then I'm going to close the shop, clean everything and do some work on the tools. As my shop is not heated and it's getting colder, it is a good time to stop and enjoy the holidays.

I'll be back in a day or two with info on the bowls and a final photo of the earring box. Thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend.


Friday, October 21, 2011

More stuff

Hello Again,
I had a small laminated turning block left over from an order of laminated blocks a few months back and I decided to make myself a small box for earrings.  This particular blank is red maple and walnut. I've turned the bottom of the box and done some preliminary sanding. Here are the photos:

In the top picture you can see that I've cut a small lip on the inside of the bowl. That's were the lid will sit.

The lid is being constructed from two pieces of red birch which I think will match:

This will be round and the block on the top will be turned down into a small knob.

I'll be back tomorrow to show you how the top is made.



Hi Everyone,
Well, its been a long week and when I woke up this morning, I decided to go down to the wood shop and unwind a bit. My youngest son loves salsa and I had a block of what was labeled as sassafras wood. He asked me if I would make him a custom salsa bowl so I went down and got to work.

Well, it's not sassafras. I think it's red birch, which is ok as birch is really good turning wood.

I went through the usual steps of cutting the block down and attaching it to the lathe and as it's not a large bowl, I cut through it fairly quickly. Here are inside and side views of the resulting bowl:

This wood was unseasoned so it's going to have to dry for a couple of weeks and then I'll sand it down and put a food safe varnish on it to protect the wood from acidic tomatoes.

I'm also going to be making another black ash and Brazilian cherry bowl for a young friend's mother. As you've seen me make those before, I won't post process photos for that bowl.

More later,

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bowl intensive care and the Blue House Bowl

Hi Eveyone,

Well, it's cooling down here in SoMinn and we've had a lot of wind lately and our trees have gone from looking spectacular to skeletons. But cool weather also means it's a good day for turning so I went down to the wood shop and opened the drying box and fished out the bowls we have drying. It looks like we need to have a session of bowl intensive care. Here we go:

The beech bowl from earlier in the week had dried out quite a bit and twisted itself out of shape--it's no longer round. It has a large dead knot in the center of the bowl and this is twisting the bowl out of shape as it dries. So it took it in hand and placed it on the lathe and turned the daylights out of it on both it's outside and inside surfaces. It's thinner than it was and deeper but it is round again. Here is a current photo:

The dead knot turned some but I can't turn it away completely. This fellow still needs to dry some and we'll come back to it.

Next: our hickory bowl from a week or two ago is doing well and I've turned it down to it's final shape:

It also need more drying but I think this guy is going to do very well and I can hardly wait to get the finish on it. I bet that grain will pop.

Then there's the sycamore bowl. Ah yes, the sycamore bowl. I'm beginning to think this thing is afflicted with evil tree spirits. It's still cracked and it is really getting deformed so I placed it on the lathe and turned it down hoping to clean it up. No chance. It's like trying to turn a potato. It's still full of water and tree sap and even though my tools are razor sharp, it tears instead of cuts:

I don't think this guy is going to make it.

The Blue House bowl is now ready to finish.  Here are some photos:

I'm relived it's finished. I was worried it wouldn't be done in time. It will be ready for delivery next week.

Now that it's getting colder, the bowls are going to have to come inside and finish drying as my shop isn't heated and I'm not sure what kind of effect the cold weather will have on them. So they all get to go inside their own individual shopping bag where they can dry out a little more.

See you next week.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beech bowl

Hi Everyone,
Well, it's a lovely fall afternoon and I decided the only way I was going to get over ruining the cherry bowl yesterday was to go down to the wood shop and make another bowl. So I went to take a look at my inventory and I have a piece of beech that I had been wanted to turn and that's what I did. Here are two photos:

It's a lovely piece of wood. The top photo shows the remains of a dead branch in the tree's trunk. I'm going to try and turn past that tomorrow. The bottom photo shows a strip of sapwood that has spalted and it will look really super when it's done.

Beech is a really hard, dense, closed cell wood that doesn't show up much here in the norther mid west and that's a shame because it turns beautifully. I made a couple of darning eggs  from some beech earlier this year and they turned out very well. Most of the time beech is used for handles for tools and most people probably have some beech at home as a result. I'm going to thin this out tomorrow and then let it dry for a couple of weeks. This baby is definitely going to be oiled.

I'm feeling better all ready. Time to go bake some homemade ziti!

See ya,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Good and bad day

Oh dear,

Well, I took the Blue House bowl downstairs and I thinned it down more and did all the finish sanding. It looks fine and I'm going to let the fibers settle down for about a week before I apply the finish. I'm very happy with this bowl.

On the other hand: I've been working on a cherry salad bowl for a friend of mine and I decided it was time to cut this bowl down and finish it as well and unfortunately I got a "catch" in the wood and tore a huge piece out of it. It isn't repairable and I'm going to have to discard it.



Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hickory bowl

Hello Again,
Well, I began cutting the hickory bowl and I finished the outside of it and went and had a sandwich and coffee and it that short period of time, micro cracks started to show up on the outside of the bowl so it had to be turned around and hollowed out pronto. So I dropped everything and went and did that:

This is a side view and the next photo shows it flipped over:

These last two photos show the bowl about 90% hollowed out:

And this is the finished side view:

I then coated it with a thick layer of wax, dropped it into the drying box and it will stay there for the next several weeks.

I have generated a ton of wood shavings the last week and if anyone has a compost pile they need to feed, these shavings would probably work well. They are various species of wood chips and shavings. If you would like to have these send me an email at

On Monday, we'll work on the cherry bowl and I may cut the Blue House bowl down more. Drop by and we'll see what's cooking.


Blue House bowl, continued and other bowls in progress

Hi All,
Well, I went downstairs and beginning at 6:30 this morning and until 10:30 I worked on various bowls. I'll talk about them one at a time:

I've thinned out the Blue House bowl quite a bit:

and I think it still needs more hollowing out.  It does look much better than last night and I'm happy with the inside slope of the bowl. But a little more would be better. I'm going to bring the bowl inside and let the wood fibers settle down for a few days and I'll re-turn it next week. So far so good on the bowl.

Next, I took a look at the other two bowls in the drying box. The sycamore bowl from last week dried but is some what misshapen and has a crack. So I put it on the lathe and hollowed it out to almost it's ultimate shape and here it is:

As you can see this bowl has some really wild, irregular grain patterns and this plus all the water and tree sap in it has probably contributed to this crack. I am going to keep the bowl and place it back in drying box for a week and see how it does. I'm going to keep working on it despite the crack.

I also took a look at a cherry wood bowl that I've been working on and as this is a gift, I'm not going to post those pictures right now. But it is drying nicely and I'll get up super early on Monday and hollow that out. It's a lovely shade of apricot pink.

I also ordered and received several bowl blanks this week.

The above two blanks are both 10 inches in diameter and 3 inches thick and will make lovely bowls. The top one is hickory and the bottom one is red elm. Even covered in wax and in a rough state, you can see the beauty of the grain in the wood.

I also received 3 smaller blanks that are 8 inches wide and 3 inches deep:

From left to right they are honey locust, sassafras, and beech. These are hard dense woods that will turn well.

I decided to turn the hickory blank above and so I've started on it today:

I've reached my limit of photos for this blog posting so I'm going to stop and I'll post more photos later today of this bowl.

I've got a busy autumn here in the SWW workshop and we'll see how to deal with the sycamore bowl and you'll also see the Blue House Bowl when it's finished. So we have more adventures ahead us and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Time for some coffee,