Thursday, May 29, 2014

Yet another scrap wood project-coffee cup lids

Hi Again,
Well, my knees are about to give way but I've decided to make one last scrap wood project-coffee cup lids.

These are really simple to make. They require a small piece of scrap lumber, any kind of lumber, that is wide enough to cover your favorite coffee cup. I just cut it out on the bandsaw, drill out the center for the Nova chuck jaws and turn a small tenon on the top of the lid wide enough for the jaws of the chuck to grab onto. Then I flip it over and turn a tenon wide enough to fit inside of the cup-you can also turn a mortise wide enough to fit around the outside of the cup if you prefer. Once that's done, I turn it over again, shape the top of the lid, sand it and finish with salad bowl varnish. That's it-you're done.

These make cool stocking stuffers for the holidays which as we all know will be here shortly. Here's today's photos:

This is the underside of the lid-note the details above:

Here's the finished lid and fav coffee mug:

Well, that's absolutely it for today. I'm going to go and give myself a rest and some lunch. See you soon.

Scrap Wood Project-Fruit Platters-hollowing out the bowl and finishing it

Hi Everyone,

Well, I got up at the crack of dawn today and it was just lovely outside-bright and sunny, clear skies, warm temps-perfect turning weather!

I finished the platter and here is what it looks like at the moment. I haven't applied a finish yet but it still looks nice:

Laminated bowls and platters have some advantages over solid wood items-the wood is already dried so shrinkage and distortion of the platter isn't an issue. And you don't have to turn the platter in stages to allow for drying-it's already dry so you can complete a project very quickly. You also don't have all the work involved in cutting up a tree trunk into bowl blanks. The only thing you have to do here is cut up the scrap wood to uniform lengths and widths and then glue it up into a block. And your scrap pile just got a little smaller-what's not to like about that. So this is a good project and I might add, a simple one that results in beautiful bowls and platters.

Ok, let's look at the photos:

I put the platter blank back on the lathe and got out my fingernail gouge and smoothed the surface of the underside of the platter:

If you use your fingernail gouge for smoothing you should get very fine shavings from it. I like using a fingernail gouge before sanding as it really smooths the surface and if it's really sharp can eliminate or minimize a lot of end grain tearing and pitting. It also smooths away any bumps or valley's on the surface and really shortens sanding time:

And here is the completed underside of the platter. I've sanded it to 220 grit and then gave it a final polishing with the wood shavings. This is a really nice way to finish off the surface as the shavings will polish the surface but not cut into it. If you happen to be turning a naturally oily or waxy wood, this step really makes the wood shine right before your eyes:

I then flipped the platter over and proceeded to hollow it out. I used a roughing gouge to remove most of the interior wood and then refined it with a 1/2 bowl gouge and finished the surface with the fingernail gouge again. Since the bowl is comprised mostly of white oak, the shop smells very sweet. I love the scent of wood:

Next I sanded the interior of the bowl. One of the sanding papers I use are New Wave star discs. These have velcro on the back and attach to a sanding head that has velcro on the surface and is foam backed so you can easily smooth the interior of bowl, plates, platters, etc. The sanding head will fit on a standard hand drill or drill press and is great for sanding and smoothing the interiors of spoon bowls:

And here is the finished platter:

And here it is off the lathe. The top of the platter:

The underside of the platter:

 And here it is with some fruit so you can see the depth of the platter:

So we've gone from this:

To that:

Not bad. This is a simple project that is very functional and I think you will find it to be a very satisfying one. 

I'm going to be making several more of these with different scrap wood this week and clear out my wood pile some. I will also be working on my old dining room table and giving it a re-do so stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by the wood shop-see you soon.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Scrap Wood Project-Fruit Platters

Hi Everyone,

Here is another scrap wood project for you to consider: laminated fruit bowls. This is another cool way to use up some of that scrap lumber mounting up in your works shop. Here's the photos and some discussion:

This whole thing began with a lot of scrap lumber I had in the shop-white oak, thin mahogany and black walnut blanks, and hickory. I cut them 2 1/4" wide by 13" long and glued up the block that you see here yesterday:

Here is the block with the clamps off:

After this I cut out a turning blank on the bandsaw and mounted it on the lathe and began by truing up the face and the side of the blank. This is always my favorite part-you can see all the dried glue peel away and rough wood becomes smooth and the different colors of wood begin to show:

Then I began to round up the side. The wood is easy to turn at this point:

Here is the blank several minutes later. You can really see the various kinds of wood that the blank is composed of here:

Here is the underside of the bowl. I've created a narrow foot and I'm turning a dovetail into the recess in the middle of the foot. The chuck jaws will fit into this shortly:

And then I flipped it over and trued up the top of the blank. You can really see the colors here:

And here is the blank at present. This is the top of the bowl:

And here is the underside:

I'm going to leave the blank for now and tomorrow I'll hollow it out:

I'll see you all tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What can you do with empty pickle jars?

Hi Everyone,

Here's another scrap wood project. What do you do with empty pickle jars? take a 3x3 piece of scrap lumber and turn it into a lid and make that jar into a pasta container!

It's easy, it's simple, and you have a neat container for pasta or for other things, like Christmas presents...

More later,

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Last Step: Refining the Underside of the Bowl

Hi Everyone,

Well today I'm going to briefly chat about refining the foot of bowls and platters.

Refining the foot of the bowl is typically the last step in turning. With the rest of the bowl having been turned and sanded, there is no way to flip the bowl over and re-attach it to the lathe so some enterprising soul named Cole invented the Cole Chuck or in the case of the photo below, the Cole Jaw Chuck. And this is what it looks like:

It consists of 4 wedge-shaped metal sections that are drilled to accept round, rubber plugs that screw into the surface of the jaws. The jaws in turn screw into my Nova chuck body underneath. Nova makes a set of jaws specifically for their chucks and other manufacturers have their own systems so check on the manufacturer of your particular chuck if you are considering purchasing one.

To attach it to the chuck you place the bowl face down on the jaws:

And then tighten the jaws with the chuck key:

And then screw the whole thing down to the lathe:

And this is what it looks like. Now the bowl isn't firmly attached to the jaws so you wouldn't be able to do any heavy duty cutting at this point. This is only for very light cuts to shape the foot with. Also the maximum turning speed is 500 rpm or less. Don't turn this any faster or the bowl may come off:

Here is the foot to begin with:

I took several photographs of the finished bowl but the flash on my camera is quite strong and you can't see the foot of the bowl in the photos. I'll show it to you at the end of this posting.

I had another bowl to finish and that's the catalpa bowl that I began several weeks ago. It has a rather flat, coarse looking foot on the bottom of the bowl so I attached it to the Cole Chuck jaws and began to turn. This is what it looked like to begin with:

This is the bowl after I've finished turning it and sanding it:

And here it is with a little oil:

And here are the bowls. The white bowl on the right needs to have some varnish applied to the bottom but otherwise they're finished:

Finished bowls-catalpa and linden wood.

Ok, this afternoon I'm going to cut up some one and do some laminating so stay tuned for the fruit bowl series.

Have a great rest of the day!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Turning Odds and Ends-Pecan Salad Bowl and Pine Tea Box

Hi Everyone,

Today I decided to begin turning some larger bowls in both unseasoned green wood and in a few days, some laminated bowls. These two types of bowls are constructed differently and I'll be posting about this off and on over the next several weeks. I also decided to re-turn two items that I made in the past but didn't like: a pine wood tea box and a small bowl.

First, let's see the larger of the two bowls, the pecan bowl:

I've had this 10x4 pecan blank for a couple of years now and I planned to turn it last year but didn't get to it so it stayed in the shop. You can see that it's covered in wax to keep it from drying out.

Pecan is a member of the hickory family of woods and it grows primarily in the southern-central United States. They are the source of edible seeds and the trees can live as long as 300 years. I've turned only one pecan bowl and it had a lovely golden brown color to it after it was finished:

Since this blank is so heavy, I'm going to mount it on a 6" diameter faceplate. This will help to dampen vibration as it turns and it's also safer to do it this way:

And since it's so heavy, I've mounted it between centers to take the stress off the lathe bearings:

And here we go. My main goals today are: to remove all the wax on what will become the outside surface of the bowl, roughly shape the outside surface the bowl, and begin the drying out process for this bowl blank. Here you can see I've begun shaping the underside of the bowl:

This bowl blank weighs a ton and the shavings are damp-this blank has a lot of water inside it! If you look carefully at this photograph you can see the shavings are in the shape of long strips. If the wood were dryer, these shavings would look more like large wooden crumbs. My clothing and face shield are getting wet too:

Here is the blank about 20 minutes later. The wood is very hard:

And here is the wood after about 45 minutes total turning time. You can see the shape of the bowl and also some interesting color in the wood:

This is the underside of the bowl. I haven't turned the foot on the bowl yet. This blank will have to dry out considerably before I do that:

And here is the bowl coated with Pentacryl and about to go into a plastic bag for a few days to absorb the Pentacryl and to slow down the drying process. Since there is such a large, freshly turned surface here, leaving it out of the bag would allow the blank to rapidly dry out. This will result in a distorted, cracked blank very quickly:

This bowl is going to remain in the plastic bag for the next several days, followed by several weeks slowly drying in several layers of heavy paper so allow the bowl blank to dry slowly. In about 3 weeks time, I'll take it out and finish turning the outside of the bowl then flip it over and partially hollow it out and re-do the above process. We will have a finished bowl probably in August. We'll return to this project several more times to complete it.

The Pine Wood Tea Box

A couple of years ago I bought a large laminated block of pine that was destined to be carved into something but the folks who were going to carve it changed their minds and sold it to me. The block was cut up by me and turned into a lot of different things and amongst them was this tea box. I turned the box and then for some unknown reason I stained it a grey color and that instantly made it look pretty ugly. So I took the box and it's lid and stashed it away underneath a side table in my living room behind some books and forgot about it.

I found it the other day when the cats got to it and pushed it into view and I decided to re-turn it a little and remove that ugly grey stain. Here is a photo of the poor, ol', ugly box:

The cool thing about wood is that if you make something you don't like, you can always re-cut it and fashion it into something else and that's what I did here. I removed the grey stain and added two beads to the side of the bowl. I also re-turned the knob on the top of the lid. The color is greatly improved here:

And here it is with just a plain waxed finish on it along with a small pine bowl I made about a month ago. Both will go in my kitchen and be used for tea and sugar:

 Tomorrow, I'll turn a large, fruit platter out of ambrosia maple, a type of wood you don't often see so drop by the wood shop tomorrow and we'll see how this goes.