Monday, April 29, 2013

Dinner is Served

Hi Everyone,

Well, I finished it. The roast is done and I also made the wild rice suggested by Ree. Here is the finish photo:

The flavor is very mild. The apples taste good and the rice is woody and chewy as wild rice can be. I'm having a small glass of red wine and a small scoop of ice cream for desert. And I'm going to use the candlestick holder I made earlier today.

Bon Appetite!


What's for Dinner?

Hi Again,

Well, I've been wondering just what the hell to make for dinner tonight and as usual my poor sawdust-addled brain comes up with nothing. So I decided to surf the web and I came up with this recipe from another blog that looked really good.

Here's the blog: The is The Pioneer Woman by Ree Drummond. Ree lives in Oklahoma (yay!) on a ranch with her husband and assorted kids and critters:

This particular recipe is: Pork roast with apples and onions at:

And here's my take on the whole thing so far:

I've followed the recipe exactly and this is it before I put the lid on it and let it simmer for a couple of hours.

Come on back in about 3 hours and we'll see where this goes.


Candle stick holder

Hi Everyone,

Well, spring is busting out all over here in Minnesota-everything is turning green, little buds are forming on my trees and the birds are singing up a storm. We've made it through another winter.

A perfect day for a project-let's make a candle stick holder.

Candle stick holders are a common wood turning project and if done nicely, they make a lovely and useful gift. They are also a good way to use up small pieces of wood in the shop. For this project I'm going to make a holder out of some firewood that I happen to have in the shop currently. The holder will simply be a small turning with a large cove in the center, a broad base so it won't tip over, and the top which will be drilled to accept the base of the candle.

This project is going to consist of two parts: making a turning blank and turning the holder.

Making a blank:

This is a simple and straightforward process that you've seen me do many times. I've mounted a block of firewood on the lathe and turned it to a cylinder about 3" wide:

Here is a photo of the cylindrical section above. I've cut it into two sections:

Now I'm going to create a tenon by drilling one end with a Forstner bit:

And I've remounted it on the lathe between centers:

Turning the holder

I want to make sure I have enough wood for the bottom and the top of the holder so I've marked out those two areas and I'm going to turn the center cove first. The line in the center marks the deepest point of the cove:

This type of turning is an example of a spindle turning and to cut the cove into the center I'll use a spindle gouge, which is shallower than a bowl gouge. The spindle gouge is on the left and the bowl gouge is on the right of the photo:

Here is the turning after about a minute of turning. I'm going to put the camera down and finish turning the entire holder:

Here is the nearly completed holder. I'm going to drill a 13/16" hole in the top of the holder for the candle:

I'm going to place a wood screw in the center of the holder:

Here you can see the tip of the screw just protruding into the hole where the candle will sit. This will allow the candle to be screwed down into the holder so it will stay in the holder securely. You could also use a smaller diameter candle in this holder by just screwing it onto the screw:

And the turning is completed. It just needs to be sanded and oiled. 

If you're wondering what to make for Christmas this year, this is a very doable project for any level of turning experience


Our next project is the Mother's Day Marathon. I'll get back to you later this week with details.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Priscilla's Bowl-Finish Photos

Hi Everyone,

Well Priscilla's bowl is finished and here are the finish photographs:

I need to add some varnish to the bottom of the foot and the tenon and I'll do that tonight.  I don't know about you but I think this project is finished. Time to move on to the next one.

Our next project is candlestick holders for a friend of mine's birthday. I'm thinking I'll use some red oak for those. Check back early this week for plans and discussion.

Have a great rest of the day.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Priscilla's Bowl-Finishing

Hi Everyone,

I'm back. I've cleaned out the shop, wiped out the bowl one last time and put it on the lathe for finishing:

Priscilla asked me to put a durable finish on the bowl so I'm going to be using General Finishes Salad Bowl Varnish for this. It's durable and when it's cured, it's food safe:

I like to use a tightly folded paper towel for applying varnish. There's no lint to worry about and no oily or varnish soaked rags around the shop.

I've applied the varnish to the surface with the lathe spinning at about 400 rpm and I put on enough varnish to make the surface shine. Then I turn up the lathe to about 600 rpm and really force the varnish into the wood for a few minutes. The finish will look dull at this point. I then give it one last coat until it shines again and then I"ll leave it until tomorrow.

Here is the bowl at present:

Tomorrow I'll give it one last coat and let it dry until Sunday afternoon. Then I'll take a green nylon pad  turn the lathe on to 700 rpm and polish the surface. This will smooth any surface imperfections and leave the surface satin smooth. Then I'll polish it with wax and it's done.

More photos on Sunday when it's finished.

Our next project is some candle stick holders for a friend of mine and I'll begin cogitating about that early next week.

Have a lovely weekend and I'll see you Sunday.


Priscilla's Bowl-Sanding Done and Time to Prepare for Finishing

Hi Everyone,

It is an absolutely beautiful day here today-the air temperature is about 65 and it's clear and sunny and we have about a zillion birds outside. We even had some ducks on my front yard earlier today. All in all a good day to begin finishing this bowl.

I went down to the shop and finished wet sanding the bowl up to 400 grit and then I polished the surface with maple wood shavings. Here are photos of the inside and a side view:

The bowl's surface is still damp with mineral spirits. I'm going to let this evaporate off and while it's doing that, I'm going to clean out the shop and let the dust in the air clear out. Later today I'll do a posting about the finishing process.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Priscilla's Bowl-End Grain problem-Can This Bowl Be Saved?

Hi Everyone,

Here's a question: What's the best way to deal with end grain?
A. Sand the hell out of it and hope for the best,
B. Take a sharp scraper and scrape the wood fibers clean,
C. Take a sharp gouge and cut the fibers,
D. Wet sand it with mineral spirits,
E. All of the above.

Correct Answer: see below

I took the bowl and remounted it on the lathe and sharpened up my bowl gouge and began to very gently cut away at the surface of the bowl. Doing this should produce very fine wood shavings:

I did this for several minutes and then sanded the surface with 100 grit sandpaper. There was still visible end grain damage:

So I got out my hand drill and attached a sanding disk and sanded it:

That by itself removed some of the end grain but not all of it so I've wet down the surface with mineral spirits and proceeded to hand sand it and this worked. There is still some end grain damage but not as much. I'm going to wet sand the entire bowl and subsequent grits should remove any remaining damage:

Here is the bowl after the 120 grit sanding. You can see a little tear out on the bottom of the photo:

Here is a photo of the bowl at present:

Whew, I thought I was going to have to discard the bowl and start over again.

I'm going to be sanding and polishing the bowl periodically over the next several days and when I'm done with that I'll clean up the shop and vacuum all the dust out of it and get the bowl ready to be varnished.

See you later this weekend,


Priscilla's bowl-end grain tear out and what to do about it

Hi Everyone,

Well, it has stopped raining, snowing, and being generally crazy with regards to the weather around here so I'm going to go down and take a look at the bowl.

In my last posting I indicated that I had hollowed it out more and here is a photo of that:

There is a problem here, however, and it's called tear out. The grain in this piece of wood ran straight across the blank and when I cut across the grain, the ends of the fibers tore instead of cutting cleanly across. Here is a photo of that. If you look at the center of the bowl wall you'll see a whitish area. That is torn grain.

There are several ways to deal with that-sanding, which can take a while to sand away, or you can stiffen the fibers with shellac or lacquer and then lightly re-cut the surface with a newly sharped bowl gouge:

And that's what I've decided to do here. I've sprayed some lacquer across the surface and it's going to dry and harden the fibers. Then I'll re-sharpen my gouge and gently cut the surface until it's smooth:

I'm going to let this harden and I'll be back a little later today to work on it more.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Priscilla's Bowl-Hollowing out the bowl-comment

Hi Everyone,
I've taken the bowl back out to the shop and hollowed it out more by about 1/2". It looks much better and it has a little more volume now than it did.
I'll go back down tomorrow morning and begin sanding it.

Priscilla's Bowl-Hollowing out the bowl

Hi Everyone,

Well the temperature is rising and the snow is melting fast and so this is a good day to go out and work on the bowl some more. Here's today's photos:

I began hollowing out the bowl yesterday and I probably cut away about half the inside of the blank. My goal today was to finish hollowing it out and hollowing a bowl presents a number of challenges.  People place things inside of bowls so the volume of the bowl is one concern. Another is the thickness of the walls and the bottom-you want to wind up with a sturdy bowl that won't break if it's dropped but doesn't look clunky. And the inside needs to approximately match the outside in terms of the shapes matching up.

Here is the first photo. I've deepened the floor of the bowl and I've begun creating the sides of the bowl. Note the position of the tool rest-it needs to sit inside of the bowl and as close to the surface as possible. This allows me to get the tip of the turning chisel into the wood without causing a lot of vibration in the tool:

 Here is the bowl several minutes later. It's deeper and the sides are beginning to shape up. Note the raised section in the center. I like to leave cutting the center until well into the turning. It gives me a visual cue as to how much wood I've removed without having to stop and measure the depth:

One of the problems that turners encounter when making a bowl is vibration, particularly at the rim. This can lead to the tip of the chisel skipping across the surface of the wood as it spins. I like to keep the sides and bottom a uniform thickness as I turn. That really helps to counter that.

Here is a photo of the rim. I want to have the rim and the width of the ribbon match up. I think this will look good and I'm just about there in the photograph:

At this point I put the camera down and finished hollowing the bowl out. Another concern, and this happens with every project, is to know when it's time to stop cutting something. Don't cut enough and you wind up with essentially an unfinished bowl. Cut too much and risk cutting through the bottom or ruining the design. How thin to make  the walls and how thick to leave the bottom are also questions to be answered.

I elected to leave the walls about 1/2" thick and the bottom about 1" thick. This last measurement includes the foot of the bowl. I think these are good measurements to stop with and I don't mine leaving this bowl, or any bowl for that matter, a little bottom heavy. It keeps the bowl from easily tipping over.

Here are the last two photos for this session:

The bowl at this points seems a little heavy to me so I'm going to stop and sleep on it and return to the bowl tomorrow.

See you Thursday,


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Priscilla's Bowl, continued

Hi Everyone,

It's really cold this morning after last night's snow extravaganza so I just went out for a little while today to work on Priscilla's bowl. You'll recall that the exterior needed it's finish sanding done and then it needs to be hollowed out and here are a couple of photographs about that.

Fine grain woods like maple will finish beautifully but they require a lot of sanding to get to that point. This bowl has a lot of beautiful grain patterns but it also has some torn grain on the end grain ends that has to be sanded smooth. You can dry sand it or you can wet the surface down with mineral spirits:

This will really help smooth down the surface and get rid of small, micro scratches and torn grain. It also lets you see what the final color of the bowl will be. It also dampens down the dust from sanding. The next two photos show the bowl during this process:

I've sanded the surface to 400 grit and then polished it with 0000 steel wool. It's now time to flip it over and begin hollowing it out.

Here is a photo of my trusty Nova chuck attached to the foot of the bowl ready to be attached on the lathe:

And here it is on the lathe. I'm going to use my roughing gouge to remove most of the interior. Once that's done I'll switch to a bowl gouge:

Hollowing a bowl is a gentle process that is akin to sculpting. If you find that you are really working hard to cut the wood, either your gouge is dull or you're setting yourself up for a catch, which can knock the bowl off the lathe and is upsetting to have happen. Slow down and enjoy the process.

Here is a photograph of the outside of the rim of the bowl. I want to keep that crisp, clean line so I'm going to be staying away from that area for now and just concentrate my attention on the center area of the interior of the bowl:

And here is the bowl after about 15 minutes of turning. It's about half empty at this point:

You can see the pile up of wood shavings at the base of the bowl. After it's done and before I take it off the lathe for finishing, I'll take big handfuls of the shavings and turn on the lathe to about 800 rpm and gently press the shavings into the spinning wood. This will give it a final polish that is really beautiful to see.

Ok, tomorrow we have more hollowing and the beginning of the finish process for the interior of the bowl.

See you then,


Monday, April 22, 2013

Priscilla's Bowl-Discussion, Plans, and Photos

Good Morning Everyone,

I'm going to work on a project that I began late last year. It's a small bowl for a friend of mine and here is the story behind it:

Priscilla is a buddy of mine that I met in library school a few years back and over the past several years she's faced several life challenges. She's met them with aplomb and she has moved to Saint Paul to begin her life anew. She bought a lovely home earlier this year and at one of our periodic coffees, I promised her a bowl when she got her new home.

I began the bowl several months ago. It was a medium-sized block of red maple and I laminated a foot out of jatoba wood to the bottom and began turning it. Well, the lamination failed and the bowl came off the lathe just as I was finishing the exterior. It hit the floor and the rim was damaged. Just about that time I had a number of challenges of my own and I had to sit the bowl aside. I've dug it out of my wood pile and begun working on it again.

I'm going to re-mount the block on the lathe and re-shape the exterior. I'll create a new foot and create a tenon on the bottom so I can flip it over and hollow out the interior. I'm also going to add some detail to the exterior to match a ribbon rim that I originally cut into the top of the bowl. The rim needs to be undercut to emphasize it and the whole thing will need to be sanded to 400 grit. At that point I'll hollow it out and finish it.

Here we go:

The next two photos show the bowl blank mounted on the lathe. The dark brown spot on the bottom was were the original foot of the bowl was attached. You can see a ribbon on the rim:

I'm about to drill into the foot area so I will have a place to re-mount the bowl a little later:

This is the beginnings of the bowl foot:

In this photo you can see a small nick in the rim where the bowl hit the floor. I really like the rim and I don't want to remove the ribbon so I'll deal with this by hand when I've finished cutting and sanding the exterior:

I've decided to add some scallops to the bottom of the bowl to match the ribbon on the rim. If you look carefully I've drawn some pencil lines to mark the areas that I'm going to cut out:

Here is the bowl at present. I've created a foot, cleaned up the glue from the previous lamination, and cut and begun sanding the exterior. It will take me a day or so to finish the exterior of the bowl. This is a side view:

And this is the bottom:

I think this will be a lovely bowl as red maple is a wonderful turning wood and the blank has a lot of beautiful grain patterns in it.

More later,