Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In Memory of my mother

Good Evening Everyone,

My mother grew up during the Great Depression both here and in Europe and she often reminisced about how difficult her life was when she was young. One of the few bright spots were the times when the local branch of the Salvation Army would bring her family food, clothes, and at times, toys. She was always very grateful to the men and women who did that and she always admired and respected the work that the Salvationists do.

In lieu of flowers or cards I’m going to ask all of my friends and family this season to make a donation to the Salvation Army in memory of my mom.  If you would like to make a donation in her memory then please mail a check in any amount to:

The Salvation Army
2445 Prior Avenue North
Roseville, MN  55113

You can also do this online at:

Or you can call them direct at 1-800- SAL-ARMY to make a credit card donation by phone.

Please write the following: “In Memory of Vera Naponelli Schwab” on memo line of the check or if you contribute on line, there is a text box on the web page that will allow you to write this information in.

If you would rather make a local donation, then simply drop your donation into the nearest Red Kettle this season and remember my mom when you do so.

Thanks and Happy Holidays,

Vickie Schwab Woodcock

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Small Turned Boxes for the Perpetually Perplexed: Part 2

Here we go again: I decided after the artillery shell from the other evening to try making another box but to use a different approach. This time I would make the top and bottom and hollow them both out to the same diameter and instead of creating a wooden sleeve for the top to slide over in order to hold it onto the box, this time I would use a metal sleeve inserted and glued into the bottom portion. This metal sleeve would then slide into the top whenever I wanted to place the top onto the bottom.


I had visions of being written up in Fine Woodworking.

Ok, I'm not going to be written up in Fine Woodworking but actually, it's a good idea and it's nearly fool proof, unless you happen to be an fool yourself.

Here we go:

I decided for this go around to used some scrap maple leftover from my rolling pin efforts earlier this year:

This excellent wood and absolutely perfect for a small turned box. And since it was already round, it eliminated a step.

Next, I placed it on the lathe and turned a tenon on both ends and I cut the two pieces apart:

Then I mounted the top and the bottom on the lathe and drilled out the interiors:

This step went well. The two pieces had identical diameter hollowed out sections and the outside diameters were equal. The start of a really nice box.

Then I took the bottom half and glued in a copper sleeve:

This step also went well and the top and the bottom matched up well and the copper sleeve worked exactly as planned.

I re-joined the top and the bottom and placed them back on the lathe to finish shaping and turning the out side and this went well too. I thought I'd just make something fun and fanciful so I started to cut out the box in the shape of a pear:

I apologize for the dark photo. It really was a pear shape.

Well, I kept on cutting away, refining the shape, enduring a freezing cold workshop, and congratulating myself on finally producing a nice, small, turned, box, when all of a sudden there was a loud kerplunk!
Those of you who follow the blog know that when that sound happens it's usually not a good sign and true to form it wasn't. I turned off the lathe and released the two pieces:

I had cut through at the wrong place and completely cut through the bottom of the box.

Well, back to the drawing board. I'm going to go and have some coffee and make dinner.

More later,

Friday, November 25, 2011


I'm back.

I've been wanting to make some smaller diameter wooden boxes for a while now and I've watched every video on the subject known to mankind (sorry gals, but there aren't many female wood turners in the world and I haven't seen any of them make a box...ok Lynn Yamaguchi makes boxes...). So since it's a not so cold day today I decided to go down to the work shop and make a prototype out of some red oak.

The preliminaries went well:

First I cut two pieces from a long 3"x3" red oak spindle stock:

The larger piece is the bottom and the smaller piece is for the top. Next I put the larger piece on the lathe and turned it to a cylinder between centers:

Then I proceeded to hollow it out. Deep, small diameter turnings like this are nearly impossible to do by hand with a lathe chisel so I decided to drill it out with a large Forstner bit. Here is what we have at this point:

This worked well. I drilled 3 inches deep doing this:

Yeah, baby, drill  !!!!!!!!  This part went well until I began to cut the edge for the top to rest on-you can clearly see that at the rim. It was at this point that I realized that this blank wasn't quite straight and the whole interior hollowing and the rim were off center. Now the top will have to be cut but it's going to be difficult to get these two pieces to line up and work properly.

I went through the same steps with the top and began hollowing out the underside of the top:

I cut this recess out until it fit over the top of the bottom half. Then I put the two together on the lathe and turned them as a single piece in order to even up the diameters:

And I managed to do this part. And I began the parting off of the top and the bottom from the waste wood portions-those are the grooves in the picture.

Then I took the parts apart and realized that I had turned down the top and the bottom far more than I should have:

You can see how very thin the wood is. This would soon break under daily use.

So I decided to part off the two parts and then put the two sections together one last time to shape the top. By now the two portions were off center from one another and the whole thing went straight down the tubes.  Here it is:

It looks like a bloody artillery shell. Thank heavens this is only a prototype...

Well, my coffee has gotten cold and I'm covered with sawdust, and my right shoulder is killing me. I think all the wood turning I have done has given me a very painful shoulder--woodturner's shoulder! Now there's one for the textbooks. I'll have to tell my internist that...I bet she'll get a kick out of that.

Well, I think we can stick a fork in this one and call it done. Thank heavens.

More later,

Day after Thanksgiving...

Hi Everyone,
Well, not everyone goes shopping on Black Friday--some of us have work to do!

I just finished a large shallow fruit bowl for my mother in law (she's not online so she won't know about this) out of a large laminated block and here is a photo of the inside of it with a heavy coat of oil:

This is a large diameter platter-12"x2". It was so large it almost didn't fit on the lathe. Tomorrow I'll flip it over and take more photos of the underside as there are some details you should see.

In a minute or two (after Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch) I'm going to go down stairs and try and make some small tea boxes with a matching lid. I'll get photos and post them later this afternoon.

I hope everyone had a nice day yesterday.

More later,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vera Naponelli Schwab

Vera Naponelli Schwab, 1921-2011.

Addio Mamma, ho sempre l'amore e ricordi di voi.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Добро пожаловать в Selkie деревообработка

Чтобы моя Россия аудиторию на Selkie деревообработка: Я вижу, с моей статистикойвеб-сайт, что многие люди в России читают мои писания. Большое вам спасибо, и япостараюсь сделать несколько сочинений на русском языке, время от времени. С наилучшими пожеланиями, Виктория Вудкок

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cold, snowy day in the wood shop and a better day all around...

Hi All,
Well, it's snowing!! Yea!! I love snow. I love big pine trees that get covered with snow. And I love the fact that this is the official end of allergy season for me.

I went down to the wood shop today and after looking at the pancake and the hand grenade from yesterday, decided to give them both another go before I discard them. The pancake first- the pancake was far too thick and it didn't fit the bottom well. And the knob on top wasn't well defined so I re-turned it and this is what it looks like now:

I'm still not really crazy about the entire project and I can't quite put my finger on exactly why. I'm going to finish it (see below) but I'm not sure if I'll pass it along. More later on this.

Next, I took the hand grenade and re-turned the body and cut down and re-shaped the knob on top. Here is what it looks like right now:

It looks better but the top still doesn't fit correctly and the knob looks stupid. I'm going to work on this some more and probably make a new lid and knob. More later about this.

One project that does look nice and got finished today is the red birch tea box. Here are some photos of the box with a heavy coat of oil:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cold, rotten day in the wood shop

Hi Everyone,
Well, if you live in Minnesota you that today is a cold day and as my shop isn't heated, it's like working in Dante's frozen hell. Wow, it's cold down there.

Anyway in spite of the cold I went down to work on the locust bowl and a new piece out of myrtle wood.

Disasters, both of them.

The locust bowl is meant to be a gift for a good friend of mine who is an ardent coffee drinker so I made the box larger than the tea boxes I usually make. The turning of that went well and the wood dried with only a little distortion. It only needed a top and it would be done.

Well I made the top out of some clear pine because I thought the vanilla color of the pine would contrast well with the locust wood bottom.  To make a long story short, it looks like a giant pancake sitting on top of the locust bowl. Here's a photo:

Crappy design.

I decided to stop turning it and just to look at it a day or two to see if it can be salvaged so I took it off the lathe and started working on the myrtle wood box.

I began the myrtle box last week. It was a small square piece of wood that I turned down into a cylinder and then I rounded the edges. After about 30 minutes worth of work it looked like a roll of toilet paper (and I will spare you a photograph of that).  So I set that aside and later in the week decided to reshape it and add a lid out of red birch. After about an hour of turning, shaping, and sanding I now have a myrtle wood box that looks like a hand grenade:

...and after all that work, the lid is too loose. <sigh>

So I took a long look at the pancake and the hand grenade together:

...and decided it was time to go upstairs, have some hot soup, take a warm shower and warm up, and go watch a David Lean movie.

Tomorrow's another day.  Thank heavens.

More tomorrow,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Annual Blue House Christmas Boutique - St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, St. Paul, Minnesota

Hi Everyone,

The annual Blue House Christmas Boutique is coming up on December 3 & 4 at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. They will be selling all sorts of amazing crafts and foods and a lot of Selkie Wood Works products. I'm discontinuing my kitchenware and knitting lines and so you'll be able to get genuine SWW stuff at a discount.

If you are a fan of Selkie Wood Works or my other blog Pipearoo then I would love to meet you. I'll be there Saturday morning December 3 from 10 till noon and Sunday from 9:15 till the drawing for the SWW bowl at 12 noon. I hope to see you there. PS: There's still time to purchase a raffle ticket for the ash wood bowl. Let me know if you want one.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Red birch tea box

Good Morning All,
Well, I got up early today and went down to the workshop and began working on the red birch tea box. If you'll remember, it looked like this when I started it:

Now it looks like this:

Some woods turn better than others and red birch is one that is absolutely made for wood turning. It has a fine, closed-cell grain and it hold detail well and it cuts across the grain well too.

The top and bottom are made out of Brazilian cherry, another great wood to work with, and it has the added bonus of smelling like bath soap when it's being turned. It also has a fine grain that cuts well and the color looks great with a variety of woods.

I'm still hollowing out the bowl and I'll be posting photos about that, along with sanding and finishing photos later this week. This also is going to be a present for someone special. : )

More later,

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Attention All Salad Lovers...

Hi Everyone,
I talked to the Blue House folks this morning and we've sold a lot of tickets for the Selkie Wood Works bowl. The sale will go on until December 4. If you would like to purchase a ticket and possibly win a bowl made from a solid piece of ash and help a lot of kids too, you can contact me via my FB page or the Selkie Wood Works blog. Prices are $2.00 a ticket, $5.00 for 3 tickets.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Salsa Bowl with Salsa!

Hi Everyone,

Well, second son (the salsa guy) whipped up a batch of this tomato-based salsa this afternoon and we've got a picture of it:

I think the bowl and the salsa are a hit!


Completed tea boxes and salsa bowl-final photos and honey locust box next

Hi Everyone,
Well, I've finished oiling the tea boxes and the salsa bowl and took them downstairs and gave them a beeswax polish. They all came out really well:

The tea boxes will begin going to their respective homes this week and the salsa bowl was just given to my youngest son who is planning on a gourmet salsa fest shortly.

The last two pictures involve the honey locust bowl which is going to be turned into a box for coffee. The bottom is finished and I still have to go upstairs and make the top. Here are the photos:

Even though it was unseasoned wood, it has dried out very well with little distortion. This will make a lovely Christmas gift.

I'm going to go and finish gluing up the red birch box and make the lid for the honey locust box. 

More later,

Friday, November 11, 2011

The red birch tea box

I'm back.

I've just finished gluing the red birch box up and I've got some photos:

This is another laminated box made out of a short section of a red birch board.  Here is a photo of the unglued layers along with the lid made out of Brazilian cherry.  The last layer will be the foot of the box and it's also made from Brazilian cherry, and it will be glued on separately later today.

This next photo shows the layers being glued up. I've inserted a pin in the center of each layer so I could line up the layers and keep them that way while I'm clamping the layers together.

The next photo looks like some medieval torture device. These are the clamps that compress the layers while the glue dries. I think the layers of wood are crying, "Let us out of here!! This hurts!!"

Lastly, here is a photo of the bottom layer. This will be glued on separately because it has a smaller diameter than the larger red birch layers. I will have to move the clamps inward on the block and right next to the outer edge of the red block to ensure that the red layer is glued on properly and so that will happen later today.

More later.


First two tea boxes are done-photos

Hi Everyone,
Well, it is continuing to cool down in the TC and today I worked with the door of my shop closed-burrr!

I took both the first and second tea boxes down stairs and finished sanding them and then gave them a heavy coat of oil. Here are the photos:

These boxes are made out of different species of wood: white oak, Brazilian cherry, walnut, ambrosia maple, and red birch. This is a good way to use up small pieces of wood and create something nice and useful in a kitchen setting.

The last box in this series will be the red birch-Brazilian cherry box which I am going to finally get to gluing up momentarily. This box will be slightly larger than the first two and it's going to go to a wonderful friend who is addicted to Starbucks coffee. So instead of a tea box, she gets a coffee box for her favorite brew.

I'll be right back.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Another tea box

Hi Everyone,
Well I'm back in the shop this afternoon and evening and I've made the second of our 3 tea boxes. Here are photos of the side and the top:

This one is made out of the same woods as the first tea box, the only differences being the overall shape of the box and this one has a red knob made out of Brazilian cherry. It's a little smaller than the previous tea box as well. 

Tomorrow I'm going to sand all of these tea boxes and get them ready to be finished. An oil and beeswax finish is in order for these two. Afterwards we'll started on the third box.

More tomorrow,