Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Walnut Serving Tray, continued

Hello Again,

Well, the weather here has gotten really, really cold and windy and with my shop not being heated, it's tough going on the walnut tray. I'm going to just work on it a bit everyday until this cold spell passes.

I just came in after having worked for about 45 minutes. I've cut off two of the corners and begun smoothing the edges with a wood file and a sander. Here is where I'm at:

Here you can see the missing corner. I wanted to follow the curvature of the heartwood a bit instead of just rounding off the corner. And I've beveled the edge just a little with a hand file and sandpaper. I think it looks a little better than it did. I also began sanding it with 120 grit paper:

And this is what it will look like with the handles in place:

Tomorrow I'll finish sanding it with 120 grit paper and move up to 150 grit and I may re-cut the bottom right hand corner a little. Eventually I'll get to 400 grit and this will be on both sides. I also need to get some small rubber feet for it and I'll do that in the next day or so.

Stay tuned.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Hello Everyone! Lathe update and new project:Small walnut serving tray-discussion and plans

Hello All,

Well, here we are again. I hope you all have had an enjoyable holiday season and are ready for the New Year.

Here's an update on the lathe-it's still not working but I am waiting on a switch to arrive that may solve the on-off switch problem. Keep your fingers crossed that this works.

The enforced wood shop idleness was making me a little stir crazy until a friend of mine emailed me requesting a small serving tray for her parents down in Texas. They all like black walnut and I think their kitchen cabinets are made from walnut so I accepted her challenge and went shopping this morning and came back with a short section of black walnut that has a crotch figure to it:

...and of course there is always a cat around for photo bombing purposes...

My goal is to make a small serving tray with a the natural edging in place that you see on the left had side of the photograph and to accentuate the swirled grain pattern by very gently curving the square ends of the board just a little bit - I don't want this to look like a board with handles stuck on it.

I bought some simple black handles and you can see where I'm going to place them at the conclusion of the project:

The key to this project is going to be the surface preparation and the finish. The more finely sanded it is, the more the beautiful grain will stand out so this is going to take quite a bit of sanding. Then I'm going to polish the surface with steel wool and then add a food grade finish to it. Lastly I'll install the handles and some small feet underneath the tray so it will stand up and away from the surface of any table that it will rest on.

This will take a few days to finish off. It's getting cold right now so I'm going to begin the project in earnest tomorrow.

So grab some coffee and join me in the shop once again! It's time for more adventures in the wood shop.

Stay tuned,

Monday, November 3, 2014

Broken Lathe...

Hi Everyone,

Well, I have some not so good news-my lathe is broken. The on-off switch isn't working and I haven't been able to find a replacement part for it. It seems that Delta no longer makes replacement switches for my lathe-their website says it's obsolete. So for the time being, I'm unable to turn wood.

The lathe that I own is the Delta Midi Lathe, model 46-460. If you have a suggestion as to how to work around this problem or if you know of a supplier who can sell me a switch, please send me note via the comments section below.

This is really the pits and I'm relieved that I don't have any pending bowl orders right now.

I am going to be continuing the blog and I'll be working on other non-wood turning projects that I've needed to do so I'll still be here doing projects in the wood shop.

So stay tuned-as always there's another project just over the horizon and we'll all still create objects out of wood together.


Friday, October 17, 2014

More sanding tips

Hi Again,

I have another sanding posting for you. This one is a video from Sam Angelo at Wyomingwoodturner. This video has more details than the previous posting. It's 13 minutes long but really worth watching:

This is a link to  Sam's YouTube channel . He's got lots of videos to watch. 

And here is a link to his website: Wyoming Wood Turner

I've got a large laminated hickory bowl to finish and I'm going to try some of Sam's suggestions and I'll post about them later next week.

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sanding Article by Betty Scarpino

Hi Everyone,

Woodturning Online has an article about sanding by well known wood artist Betty Scarpino. You can access the article online at this link: Betty's Lathe Sanding Secrets.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dining Room Table re-do:Pt.5-Finish photos

Hi Everyone,

Well, the table is finished and I'm using it to type this posting on. I'm quite please with the way it worked out. The table is strong and very stable-it doesn't rock. And I think this new base gives it a more contemporary look. The total price for the lumber was $42.00 so it was an economical re-do as well.

Here are the photos:

And of course it's been cat approved:

This one is done.

I'm not sure what my next project will be so I'll have to cogitate a bit on that. I could use some shelving in the shop and I need to split a walnut log and a couple of box elder trunk sections and I may just do that to get myself ready for winter turning. I also need to sharpen everything and replace my bandsaw blade, which is barely cutting anything (although I did cut open an acorn squash last night). So stay tuned. There's always another adventure ahead.

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dining Room Table re-do:Pt.4: Finishing up the Base

Hi Everyone,

Well, I've had a rotten head cold the past several days and so I'm just getting to the dinning room table build. Jim and Critter gave me a hand with it as I'm dripping snot everywhere and I'm running a fever. Talk about giving one's all.

Here are the photos:

This is the table base. I re-used the original frame from the old table base, and screwed on the table leg assemblies in their place. The frame needs a 2x4 placed between the 2x4s between the legs. I'm adding this for stability. And of course the cats have to add their two cents worth:

And here is the 2x4 in place. The table base construction is now finished. All the remains is to screw the whole thing down to the underside of the table top:

Here's Jim giving me a hand screwing the frame down. We even re-used the original screws:

We turned the whole thing over and set it on the floor and it rocked just a little bit so we turned upside down again and loosened the frame, added 2 shims and then screwed the frame down tightly. No rocking this time:

 And then we signed and dated the shim. A zillion years from now when the next owners decide to re-do this table, the names and date of Jim and I will be there:

Ok, I'm going to varnish the table base. I'll post the finish photographs later this week.

Stay tuned,

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Dining Room Table re-do:Pt.4: Working on the Base

Hi Everyone,

I spent the afternoon with my husband building a wooden base for the table. Unfortunately we couldn't find all of the pipe parts that we needed so we switched gears and made a wooden base and for my money, I think it looks great. Here's the story and photos:

When we couldn't find pipe parts, I had to move quickly to plan b: a wooden base. We went to a lumber yard and purchased 4 4ft. cedar porch posts and 5 cedar 2x4s and came home and set to work. I had the measurements from the old table base and we set about to create a new base that corresponded to those measurements.

In this photo you can see the posts. We cut all four of them down to 27 inches long. The grooved ends will sit on the floor:

Here they are all cut:

 The we cut one of the 2x4s to 27 inches long and screwed between the cedar 4x4s. This comprised a table leg assembly and we made two of these, one for each end of the table:

Then we brought up the assemblies and a bunch of clamps and levels and assembled the base using the frame from the old base (that's the part you see with the level sitting on it):

One we got the entire structure level and sitting square on the floor, I screwed the frame to the legs:

The next two photos show you what the table looks like:

I still need to cut and install a stretcher between the 2x4s and then it will be finished. All we'll have to do then is screw the base to the underside of the top and then apply polyurethane to the base.

I'll be finishing the table tomorrow and I'll post more photos then.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Dining Room Table re-do: A Face lift for an old friend-Pt.3: finishing off the table top

Hello Again Everyone,

Yesterday, after the mineral spirits dried, we brought the table top back inside of our house for the finishing steps. It's getting cold here and I was afraid the finish wouldn't dry. And it's a lot more comfortable working inside right now!

Here are today's photos and comments:

The top stayed inside overnight and this is what it looked like this morning:

Here is a closeup of one of the corners. I looked at the surface and noticed that the color was uneven-you can easily see the blotchiness and it appeared to me to look a little too beat up. So I decided to apply a pine stain over the top to even this out. To begin this process I applied a wood sealer to the surface and let it dry, which took about 50 minutes. After it dried I noticed the color had evened out and a lot of the blotching became invisible. So at the last minute I changed my mind and decided to apply the polyurethane to the surface:

This is the top after after I applied the polyurethane:

And this is the same corner in the photo above. I think it looks better and it didn't remove the "worn" appearance of the surface. I'm going to let this dry and this evening I'll apply a second coat of polyurethane and then the top will be finished:

Tomorrow, I'll do the bottom frame and then the table will be complete and ready to be used again.

Stay tuned,

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dining Room Table re-do: A Face lift for an old friend-Pt.2: cleaning off the varnish

Hi Everyone,
I'm back. I've gotten the top cleaned off and I'm amazed at how easy it was. Here's some photos and explanations:

I really flooded the top of the table with remover and left it for about 40 minutes and came back and you can see how the varnish is bubbling up:

The old varnish and the remover came right off very easily. It took about 10 minutes to completely scrap off the top and edges:

There were still a few spots of varnish left so I gave the top another thin coat this time and removed that after about 15 minutes-it's down to bare wood now:

I took the scraper and scraped it completely clean. I think took a paper towel and removed any remaining blobs of remover and then I scrubbed the top well with mineral spirits and a nylon scrub pad and here it is, all cleaned off:

I was really dreading this part of the project. In the old days, before dinosaurs, paint removers were really nasty. They took multiple layers of remover to get paint and varnish off of wood and it burned your skin if you got some of it yourself. It was a mess to clean up and it turned anything it touched into jelly. I used Citristrip for this and it worked perfectly. It's easy to clean up and it really took off all that old varnish very easily. I'll use this stuff again in the future.

I looked at the table carefully as sanding was going to be my next step. The table top is pine and it was originally a bright yellow color but it has darkened over time. That and it has a million dents and a lot of wear and I kinda hate to remove all that. Sanding it would just turn it back into a wooden table top and erase it's history. And we all know the wood fairies wouldn't be too happy with that so I'm going to rub down the table again with a nylon scrub pad to make sure the top is completely remover free and just leave it alone. I'll rub wipe on polyurethane next.

Now tomorrow, I'll go and get the pipe for the bottom. I plan to re-create the trestle base out of pipe and you'll see how easy it is to do this. I'll provide a list of the pipe I use and lots of photos so stay tuned.

See you tomorrow,

Dining Room Table re-do: A Face lift for an old friend-Pt.1 discussion and plans

Hi Everyone,

Well, today is the day-I'm finally re-finishing and re-constructing my dining room table. I've wanted to do this for years but something always got in the way. TODAY IS THE DAY!

A bit of history first:
I built this table when I was first married, over 30 years ago, before I had kids. It's made out of pine and it was finished with spar varnish, which I thought at the time would be a good, rugged finish and I was right it was. But over the years, it's really gotten quite worn out. It's gone through countless meals, homework projects, my husband and I both studied on it, and lots of family meetings, discussions, you name it. It's a part of our family and our history - in short, my old friend needs a re-do.

First I'm going to remove the top from the base and take it down to the shop. I'm planning on stripping off the old varnish and lightly sanding the wood smooth. I don't want to remove all the dents and dings as this is a part of it's history and I want to preserve that. Then I'm going to measure the old wooden base and re-create it with black iron plumbing pipe, probably 1 1/2" in diameter, and screw that on to the underside. I'll then finish the top with wipe on polyurethane, which is much easier to apply and maintain as it wears out; this type of finish didn't exist then!

Ok, here we go:

This is the original table with the pine top and pine base. I painted the base years ago as it was very worn out and dirty from crazed toddlers, cat puke, and other assorted delights:

Here is a closeup of the top. It was made out of laminated knotty pine:

And of course the cats had to get into the act...

Here is the underside of the table. I'm going to remove the screws that attach the base to the underside and then take the top downstairs:

And here it is downstairs-I've got a jug of paint and varnish remover, a paint brush to apply the remover with, a scraper, and some gloves and my safety glasses:

And before I began, I rounded off the corners of the scraper so I don't inadvertently dig the corners into the surface of the table:

This remover really works. It was beginning to remove the varnish even before I finished applying it:

And here it is covered with remover:

Now, I'm inside typing this and I'm going to make a sandwich for lunch and then go back down and begin scraping off the old varnish. I'll be back shortly with more photos. 


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Display fixtures for showing your work

Hi Everyone,

Well, August has arrived and it's hot and steamy outside. But all in all it's been a good wood working summer and I think I've made up for lost time after the very cold winter we had this year.

I've begun showing my work at farmer's markets and if you've ever been to a farmer's market you know that you need a table and a few other things to set up and display your work. I make a variety of things, some small and some large, and they need some organization to make the whole table display look neat and organized. The answer to all of this is to make yourself some display fixtures.

I took some of the scrap wood in my shop and I made two simple plate racks and two small shelves for the jars that I make. Here are some photos:

Here is a photograph of the fixtures I made. You can see they're very simple:

This is the plate rack. I ripped a piece of 1x4 cedar in half and then drilled a number of holes for the dowel pegs. I glued the rack together with the four narrow dowels you see in the photo but I didn't glue the other pegs. This makes it easy to disassemble and transport. The holes are 2" apart but you could space them closer or farther apart:

Here is one of the shelves I made to display small jars on. This is just left over pine from a previous project and it's glued and nailed together:

This is a shelf for some larger jars that I sell. The construction is the same and it was made out of scrap pine and cedar:

The next two photos are side views. Very simply made:

And this is what the whole thing looks like when it's set up:

These can be painted or stained and varnished. I liked the rustic look that they have and if you have some re-claimed wood I bet that would make a really pretty display.

What's next-
I am going to working on upgrading my online store at Storenvy and find a couple of fall farmer's markets so I can begin holiday sales.

See you all soon,

Friday, July 25, 2014

Project finished-Laminated White Oak bowl

Hi Everyone,
I've finished the white oak and jatoba woods bowl. I sanded it to 400grit and then gave it a very thin coat of General Finishes salad bowl finish.

Here are the finish photographs:

This is the bowl after it's been sanded:

Top view:

Side view:

I love this bowl and I'm really happy with the way it came out.

Ok, I need to finally get to my table saw and start ripping up some hickory.

More later,


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bowls & Bowls: when to stop turning

Hi Everyone,

I've been out of the shop for a while and I've just gotten back into the shop this morning. I'm working on two bowls right now-the pecan bowl, which I've blogged about earlier this year, and a laminated bowl out of white oak and jatoba. Both of these bowls are large bowls and I've worked on them several times each. The big question for today is when to stop turning and shaping the bowl and move on to the finishing process.

For me this question revolves around three aspects of the bowl: the volume of the bowl, it's overall appearance and "feel" of the bowl, and it's intended function. Let's take a look at some photos and I'll try to explain.

The Pecan Bowl

It's a nice day for turning and so I decided to take the pecan bowl out of it's paper hideaway and work on it. And I was very happy with the resulting bowl in the photo below. It didn't crack or radically distort while drying and it's very light in weight so it was time to finish it up.

The light weight of the bowl tells me that it's lost a lot of moisture and when a bowl does that it shrinks and it will usually shrink unevenly horizontally and to a lesser extend vertically. While this bowl shrank only a little and looks round, turning on the lathe showed that the dimensions of the bowl are not equal horizontally-ie the diameter is unequal so it's actually slightly oval rather than round in shape.

So what to do about this? I could turn the inside of the bowl but that will result in the thickness of the sides being uneven. I could also re-turn the outside of the bowl (see the next photo) but that would result in the sides being a little too thin. Thin sides can result in the bowl distorting a lot or even cracking. And if the bowl were ever to be dropped, it could break:

So I decided to stop turning the bowl and begin the finishing process on it instead. The sides and bottom are even in thickness so any further drying of the wood should happen more or less evenly and this in turn will keep the bowl from distorting. Also the bowl's appearance is not adversely affected by this. It looks very nice and it has a nice substantial feel and weight to it. And as the bowl is large the volume is appropriate so it can be used for salads, fruit, or other kitchen/food serving activities. So I think the turning phase can stop and the finishing phase can begin.

So I've begun sanding and smoothing the surface. As the bowl is oval, this means that sanding it on the lathe will result in areas of the bowl being sanded smooth and other areas being left rough so this will require a lot of hand sanding off of the lathe. Don't look for this bowl to be finished quickly but when it is finally done, it will be a really lovely bowl that will serve someone for many years to come:

Laminated white oak and jatoba bowl

Laminated bowls are a different story as they don't have to go through the long drying-turning-drying process that solid block bowls do so the distortion issues don't occur or if they do it's minimal. This is due to the fact that the lumber used for these bowls is kiln dried to begin with so the over all bowl is very stable. But the same set of questions still applies here-when is the turning finished?

For this bowl, the volume is large and will readily hold any kind of food placed in it. And the appearance is fine as well. But it does have thicker than usual sides and bottom and I'm going to leave this as is and not turn it further. It has a nice weight to it and overall I'm pleased with the appearance.

I think another turner might feel differently about this and turn the inside of it more and I agree that the bowl could be hollowed out more but I'm happy with it. It's important to remember that I (and you if you're a turner) is the only person on the planet that knows exactly what the finished bowl is supposed to look like and feel in your hands and when you've reached that point, then it's time to stop. I find that if I try to exceed that point, that's when problems like getting a catch or excessive vibration with resulting tools skipping across the surface begin to happen. So when I feel I'm getting close to that point, I stop, take it off the lathe and cogitate about for a couple of days. Then I make the decision whether to go on or not:

So all in all, I'm happy with the way these two bowls are coming out.

And Angus the shop squirrel paid a visit so this has to be a good sign!

I have a whole bunch of jar lids to finish and then I'll do a brief posting about those. See you soon.