Thursday, May 31, 2012

Salt cellars

Hi Everyone,
Well, in spite of an impending cold, I went downstairs and did a little work today.  First I worked on some salt cellars for the Blue House sale this coming December. I worked on the bottom part of the cellar:

From left to right they are beech, sweet gum, cherry, and walnut. I have assorted pieces of wood for the tops and I'll get to those probably tomorrow.

And here is the first of the two camphor trays:

And even with the finish on it, you can still smell the camphor scent. It's actually a very nice tray.

Tomorrow, if my cold lets up, I'll go down and make the tops to the cellars. We'll also talk about the other camphor tray because there is a problem with it but it can be fixed and we'll talk about the fix.

Thanks for dropping by the wood shop.

See you tomorrow,

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mystery wood bowl-photos from yesterday

Hello All,

I worked on the mystery wood bowl last evening and forgot to post photos. Here they are:

This was supposed to be a monkey puzzle wood bowl. Monkey puzzle wood is red and has a coarse open grain. This is a light-orange and has a fine, closed grain, much like maple. This wood is also harder than monkey puzzle wood as well so I'm betting this is a piece of spalted maple.  What ever it is it has quite a bit of staining in it and I think it's going to be really unusual and unique when it's done. So it went into the drying bag too.

More later,

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Red elm bowl and mystery wood: discussion and plans

Hi Everyone,

I got a couple of bowl blanks a week or so ago and I'm going to begin turning them so they can be ready by Christmas-yes, Christmas!

I ordered two blanks-one of red elm wood and the other was supposed to be monkey puzzle wood. I got both woods because they usually are red or have a lot of red coloring. Here's the photos for the red elm bowl:

The bowl turned very easily-the wood had a fair amount of moisture in it. Here it is on the lathe:

Here is the bowl about 30 minutes later. The out side is cut and there is a foot underneath all of this:

Here is a the rough cut bowl after about an hour. You can see that it is heavily spalted and that there isn't any red wood in the bowl:

The second bowl I don't have a photo of yet. I just began turning it and it looks orange to me. It doesn't look like money puzzle wood at all. It actually looks like spalted maple. I'll turn that later this evening and get a photo posted for you to see.

Both these bowls will be going into a drying bag tomorrow and begin their time drying out. And we'll take a look at both of them in a months time.

More later,

Monday, May 28, 2012

Odd stuff in the wood shop

Hi Everyone,

Happy Memorial Day for those of you in the US.

As I got left out of all the Memorial day plans and activities (ahem) I decided to go down to the work shop and catch up on a couple of projects and to experiment a little.

Salt cellars

I have the method for making lots of salt cellars and I'm going to begin making lots of them for sale. Here are examples of the first batch:

These are walnut, sassafras, beech, and sweet gum. The block is coffee wood. I'm going to be making these out of different types of wood for the box portion and probably hickory for the tops. Stay tuned for more on the salt cellars.

Then I decided to work on the salt and pepper shakers and so I took a pair of basswood blanks and turned one of them. It looks like a hand grenade:

I guess we'll have to keep working on the design.

Next is the latest iteration of the coffee scoop. I've tried 4 different ways of making a scoop and this is number 5. Obviously none of them have worked out (one came out looking like a pipe). I don't think this will hold coffee:

All of the smaller items I've been working on either haven't worked at all or work but look really weird.  I think I'm going to drop the coffee scoop idea all together and I'm going to work on the salt and pepper shakers later on in the year.

I think sometimes you can work a bit too much--time to take some time off.

More later,

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wooden spoon completed

Hello Again,
Well the spoon carving and sanding is finished:

It's not too bad of a spoon. The bowl of the spoon is still rough in spots and I'm going to have to figure out how to smooth that out. Other wise it's a useful spoon. It will need a coat of oil and then it will be ready to be used.  I'll try making another spoon in the coming weeks.

The wood shop is quiet at the moment-I'm going to be taking photos of the things I've made and get ready to re-open my Etsy shop. I'll make an announcement on the blog when that happens.


Wooden spoon-continued

Hi Everyone,

Well, I was planning an outing today on my bicycle but it is raining hard and it has turned cooler so I'm inside today.

So I decided to go down to the wood shop and work on the spoon and I've basically finished the handle:

Now for the hard part: the bowl of the spoon. I have a set of hook knives and you can see them in the photograph but I don't have the hand strength to use them.  So I'm going to have to figure that out pronto. I have two options: carving it out with a gouge or purchasing a Dremel tool and cutting it out with a sharp burr.

I'm going to have some lunch and go back down and figure this out.

More later,


Friday, May 25, 2012

Part 2-Hand carving a spoon

Hi Everyone,
Ok, I'm back.

I love to carve wood and I began carving as a child. But as I've grown older, I've developed some arthritis in my hands and hand carving has become just too painful to do anymore. I really miss carving and I've been searching for a way to carve without too much pain.

I received a request for a set of hand carved spoons last summer and I attempted to make the spoons using a whittling knife and a set of hook knives. It didn't work out and my hands hurt for months afterwards.

Fast forward to last week: I was looking at a catalogue that I get ever once in a while that consists of hand carving tools and in the catalogue was a selection of draw knives. These are knife blades, typically 5 - 11 inches in length with a handle on both ends instead of on only one end of the blade and I decided that carving with both hands at the same time might be the way to carve something:

 So I went and purchased a 5 inch carving knife this morning and a block of basswood and after the bowl turning this morning I roughed out a spoon blank on the bandsaw and sat down and proceeded to carve away:

Here is a photo of how a drawknife is used. These types of carving knives are used to shape the exterior of an object:

Here is the blank after about 1 hour of carving:

This is the block about an hour later:

And of course there are always shavings to deal with:

Well, my hands aren't hurting at all. Very good.

Now tomorrow, we have the big problem to deal with: hollowing out the bowl of the spoon. That will have to be done with a hook knife, which is a knife with a single handle and that's going to be more difficult.

As it's a holiday weekend in the US, I'll just be taking it easy this weekend but I probably will be working on the spoon and if I do, I'll post more photos.

Let's all take some time off this weekend and remember all the people who have served our country.


Bowl -o-rama and hand carving a spoon-a 2 part posting today

Hi Everyone,

Well, today was a very productive day in the wood shop.  There is a series of bowls that I began making last month that have been drying out and need to be re-cut today and we'll be doing that in a moment and I also have decided to try to do some hand carving again by carving a wooden spoon for a friend of mine. Since there are so many photographs, I'm going to do this as a two-part posting.

Part I - The bowls

Last month, I began a series of bowls that were ordered by a friend of mine for her family and I made the bowls out of hickory, pecan, red elm, camphor, and some other wood whose name escapes me at the moment*. The hickory and pecan bowls have been completed and delivered and this leaves the last three bowls still being worked on.  I rough cut them last month and placed them in drying bags and I took them out last night to look at them and to see if they have cracked or distorted.

Good news-the bowls have all survived the preliminary cutting and drying with minimal distortion. So it's time to re-cut them again.

Bowls made out of unseasoned wood will shrink and distort while they dry out. Let's take a look at one of the bowls:

 This bowl is the red elm bowl and you can see that it's a little longer from side to side than it is from top to bottom. The bowl shrank some while it was in the drying bag. This means the bowl is no longer round in shape but has become oval.  Turning it on the lathe will re-shape it and make it round again. Fortunately the there is enough wood in the walls of the bowl to re-shape it.

This photograph shows the bowl after it's been re-cut and made round again:

And I spent a portion of the day re-turning all of the bowls in the drying bag:

You can see how the bowls in the bottom photo have been rounded and the walls and bottom of the bowls thinned out.

These bowls are 10 inches x 3 inches. Here is a photo of a large hickory bowl from last month:

This bowl is longer than it is tall and it still has the potential to distort while drying so I didn't cut it too much.

All of the bowls above will be going back into the drying bag for another month and then I'll take them out and cut them to their final shapes and sizes. We'll do this at the end of June.

Ok, my next posting is about the spoon I've begun making so let's go on to part 2.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Musings in the wood shop-bowls, carving, and the joys of working outside

Hi Everyone,

Well we had quite a rain storm pass over us last night-it rained heavily all night long. Minnesota must be the greenest place in the US at the moment.

I really enjoy working out of doors. I work almost all year around and sometimes that means it can be quite cold and uncomfortable. But at other times it means getting to work during amazing storms like the one we have going on at the moment.

It's interesting just how different the air feels and even smells during a storm. The sound of thunder sounds so much sharper outside than it does inside. Mix in the strong scent of wood and you have the most amazing work environment in world.

The animals I get to see are fun too. This year seems to be an amazing year for birds. I've seen birds here that I've never seen before. Early in the morning it's like a chorus outside with all of them chirping and singing to one another. We have an owl and a wood pecker too.

This really beats working in a cubicle.

Ok back to work: the bowls that we made last month are ready to come out of their drying bags for inspection and final cuttings so we'll begin that probably later today.

And I've been wanting to carve a spoon for the longest time. I have some arthritis in my hands and hand carving is something I've given up. I think I may be able to get around some of the pain and stiffness by using a draw knife to do some of the rough shaping so I'm going to purchase a draw knife and some bass wood (much softer than the hickory I use!) and try to make a spoon once again. I'll post pictures and discussion soon.

I will also be closing my shop for a week in July to clean out everything and to patch up the concrete floor. More about that next month.

Have a great day and if you're in Minnesota, go outside and listen to the birds and enjoy the spring showers.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sore foot but better day in the wood shop

Hi Everyone,
Well, after I dropped the pipe clamp on my foot, I really thought I had broken it  -my foot, not the clamp. But happy news--it's in one piece so it's down to the wood shop we go.

Blue House rosewood bowl:

After looking at it over night and once again this afternoon, I decided that the outside of the bowl was finished and it was time to flip it over and hollow it out some. Here's the photos:

The wood turned perfectly. It has a very sweet smell, like honey and the wood shavings are actually a lovely reddish brown color.

Here are the last two photos of the bowl off the lathe. If you look carefully you can see some amazing colors in the next photograph.

As this is unseasoned wood, it goes in a drying bag for the next month. We'll look at it again in late June and at that time, we'll do more shaping.

Like many woodworkers I have collected a lot of scrap wood that I have to admit I have no earthly use for so I've decided to make trivets out of them and that's what I did with the rest of my afternoon:

I think they look like jelly rolls-only don't bit into one of these!

I need to do some serious cleanup in the wood shop so that's probably what I'll do tomorrow.

See you then,

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rosewood Bowl-discussion and plans and a good reason why I don't make square stuff....

Hi Everyone,

Well, I went down to the wood shop today to start the rosewood bowl and to make a book stand for myself and my family. The bowl came out ok and the book stand is a mess and I've dropped a clamp on my foot.

...sigh, here we go...

Indian rosewood is a hardwood that grows in tropical climates and it also grows in the US in Florida. The turning blank for this bowl came from Florida and is a really rich shade of reddish brown.

I started turning the outside of the bowl and this part of the turning went well:

I wanted to make this particular bowl with more of a fan-shaped profile and I'm quite there yet so I'm going to leave the faceplate on and turn it more tomorrow.

The past several days I've had the bright idea to make a book stand to hold books, e-readers at an angle so I wouldn't have to hold them with my hands, as they usually hurt quite a bit after a long day in the shop.  And I made a complete mess of the whole thing:

And then to top the whole thing off, just as I was about to walk out of the shop, one of my pipe clamps fell right on the middle of my right foot. It dropped out of it's rack and does that ever hurt!

I'm hot, tired, and limping all over the place. 

Oh well, I'll try it again tomorrow.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Project Updates and the next Big Project

Hi Everyone,

Well today was a very good day in the wood shop as a number of projects are coming to completion. Here they are:

Here is the laminated platter out of hickory and black walnut. This came out perfect. It only needs one more coat of oil and then it gets wrapped up for a present.

This was the super hard bowl out of kempas, hickory, rosewood, and cumaru wood. It too has finished well. I wish I could have hollowed it out more but my hands just gave out. But it will make a lovely salad bowl or fruit bowl nonetheless.

This is the monkey puzzle wood bowl and the second half of a set of monkey puzzle bowls. These will be sold together.

Here is the first of a series of white pine cutting boards. This will make a good hobby board and yes, you can use it for cutting up food in the kitchen.

Here is the first of several projects out of camphor wood. This is one of the serving trays I made. Here it is sanded and before I put some salad bowl varnish on it:

And tomorrow is the big day--we begin working on the rosewood bowl for the Blue House raffle this fall. The blank is mounted on the lathe and it's ready to roll. This will be my first rosewood bowl.

Well, that's it for today. Come back tomorrow and I'll take you step by step through the rosewood bowl.

As always, thanks for dropping by the wood shop!

See you soon,

Friday, May 18, 2012

TGIF-New projects and project updates

Hi Everyone,
Well, it's hot here today and everything is in bloom and we can smell lilac all over the place. It must be the year for them.

I've been generating a lot of small pieces of lumber and I've been searching for projects to use them up and one of the projects I'm going to start are cutting boards out of assorted hardwoods.  Here are some photos and discussion:

I work mostly with domestic hardwoods such as maple, hickory, and black walnut as they are readily available and not terribly costly. I also work with red colored woods such as kempas, Brazilian cherry, and cumaru woods. These woods are also readily available and not endangered. I don't like to waste wood and so here we go- here are some thin pieces that I've cut off of wider boards:

I decided to trim all of these pieces into uniform a thickness of 1 1/8" on the table saw so the first thing I did was rip them to that thickness and then separate them into colors:

Then I trimmed these strips into 12 1/2" lengths. Here are some for comparison:

Now I can play with all of these various colors and arrange and re-arrange them:

This will become a cutting board after I've laminated these into a turning blank:

And here are some more cutting boards waiting to be laminated together. The larger ones at the top will be cutting boards and the small ones on the bottom will become either trivets or tea box lids:

I'm going to glue up all of these blanks and probably make more next week so I'll have a large supply of turning material.

Next-remember the camphor wood trays and bowl I made about a month ago? Well, I took the trays out to see how they were doing and they had dried quite a bit and there was very little distortion in the trays. So I'm putting them back on the lathe for their final cutting. Here is a photo of one that's been cut and one that is waiting it's turn:

The shop smells like Vicks Vaporub again! I'm curious as to what these trays will look like when they are all finished.

I'm going to go and make dinner and cool off with some pineapple juice--see you later this weekend.