Friday, September 8, 2017

I've Returned, Arguing with the Band Saw, and Carving Spoons

Hello Everyone,

I'm baaack!

I hope you all had a good August and if you have wood shop, you got lots of work done. I recovered from some surgery and I'm happy to report I'm fit and ready to resume work.

Which I was eagerly anticipating doing. I was making some spoon patterns out of some 3/4" thick plywood on the band saw the other day when BOOM! the blade broke. We went through this in spring and it turned out to be a worn bearing. This time it's another worn bearing and worn tires on the wheels both of which are fixable. But the wheels have never exactly lined up properly and I think this is causing the blade not to track properly when the wheels spin. So I'm off to find some bushings for it. Stay tuned for more about that.

As the band saw is a critical piece of equipment, I won't be able to cut out any turning blanks and the spoon blanks I make I'll have to cut by hand. Survivable but it will slow me down a bit. :(

I have been carving a lot of spoons and those have gone very well. I bought a large gouge and that has really made short work of hollowing out the spoon bowl. I also invested in a set of curved cabinet scrapers which was one of the smarter things I've done this year and those have proven invaluable with regards to smoothing the spoon bowl and handle.

Here's some photos:

I got a whole set of these for about $20 and it was money well spent. These really smooth off carved surfaces without softening any surface carving. And they're easy to sharpen as well:


And here are a couple of kitchen spoons out of red birch. I'm also using American cherry and black walnut, all of which are very carvable and readily available:

Here is a coffee scoop out of hickory, which is carvable with that big gouge I bought:





And here is a coffee scoop out of cherry:



Ok, I'm going to go and tackle the band saw. When I'm done with that, I have some sugar maple and some hickory planks to turn and I also have more red birch and some more cherry for spoons.

Stay tuned and keep everyone that has been affected by the recent hurricanes here in the US in your thoughts.

VW

Friday, July 14, 2017

Mid Summer Goings On: Fruit platters, new forms, and fighting with the cats

Hi Everyone,

Well it's the middle of July and I don't know about you but I've had a busy summer making spoons and turning platters out of pine, oak, and other woods. Here's an update on my work:

The platters have gone well. I've made several out of some thick blue stain pine which is quickly becoming my favorite wood. I've also been working on some laminated red oak platters and here's what that looks like:



I like turning oak and I'm going to be doing more of that later on this year.

I've also branched out somewhat and I've begun hand carving some trays. This is a prototype out of pine that I made earlier this week. There's no law that says a fruit platter has to be round:






And there's no law that says a platter has to have a solid center either. This is out of basswood and I'm still fiddling around with it. I've turned the basic shape and hollowed it out on the lathe and then I carved the surface with a gouge. It looks a little busy so I'll be refining that over the coming days:
 


And of course the Ginger Majesties had to get into the act and decided to make me look stupid, which isn't too hard to do at times:

I will be taking the month of August off so we'll all meet up again in September.

See you all soon and have a terrific summer,
VW

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Turning a Kitchen Spatula on the Lathe

Hi Everyone,

Today's project involved placing a piece of hardwood, in this case hard maple, on the lathe and turning the handle for a kitchen spatula and then cutting out the blade part of the spatula and finishing that by hand.

Here's the photos along with my comments:

I went shopping for some wood today and I bought some hard maple for spoons. This is a very nice clear piece of hard maple for the spatula:


Here are the measurements of this piece of wood:


And the grain direction. I'm right handed so I like to place wood on the lathe with the grain direction running from right to left. It turns more smoothly that way:


Here is a rough sketch of the spatula on the wood:


And to save myself some time and effort, I cut out the handle on the bandsaw:

Then I placed it between centers and began to turn the handle:


And  that didn't come out too bad. Most of the time the handles I make seem to look like carrots but this one is better than they usually are:


And then I cut the blade of the spatula out with the band saw and you can see it's rather thick, much more thick than I had planned to. The new blade is already dull now and it's not cutting very well, although considering the band saw issues of the past several weeks I guess I should be grateful it's cutting at all:


I thought thinning the blade out would not be a big problem but it was. I  hammered away on that thing with my big carpenter's chisel and a mallet and after about an hour, with my hands and wrists getting very sore, I decided to give up. I smoothed it with the cabinet scrapers and called it a day:


There is is all smoothed down:


  And this is it with oil. I originally thought this might be a great way to use up some of the hickory I have in my wood pile but given the hardness of that wood, I decided I'll find some other use for it:


It's a pretty substantial spatula. You could probably use it for a cricket bat.
_______________

It's a long holiday weekend here in the US so I'm going to rest my hands for the next several days and other than clean out the wood shop, I'm going to take it easy.

I'll see you next week when I go back to turning and work on a series of serving bowls and some large blue stain pine platters.

Take care,
VW

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

More completion photos: platters and spoons

Hi Everyone,

I've been working off line this week and I've completed several more projects. Here they are:

This is a fruit platter out of laminated red oak. It's about 12 inches in diameter and about 1" deep and 1 1/2" tall from the rim to the table top:



This is a smaller platter out of a single piece of mahogany. It's about 9" wide and 1" high from the rim to the table top:


And I've been doing a lot of carving this week and this is one of the spoons I've made. It's out of black walnut:


I'll have more work to show you next week.

Stay tuned,
VW

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Band Saw, continued

Hi Everyone,
Well, it's been a cold rainy day here but the good news is that the band saw is running. My son Critter came over and lent a hand and looked at the saw and found that the upper wheel was frozen in place. It must have suddenly stopped and when it did, it broke the blade that was on it. We took it apart, lubricated everything again, adjusted it and now it's running. I cut several small pieces of wood on it and it ran fine.

I'm not sure why the wheel froze up-I blame the wood fairies.

Ok, onward and forward. I'm going to cut out several dozen spoon and bowl blanks so the next time it goes off it's rocker, I'll have something to do.

More later,
VW

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Recent Project Completion Photos

Hi Everyone,

I've completed several projects today and I've promised completion photos so here they are:

These are the blue stain bowls from a couple of days ago. The blue stain held  up during turning and it's easily seen in these photos.



Here are several spoons out of red birch. These were a delight to make as birch is great carving wood. These were finished with flax seed oil.


Here's a shelf I made for a small alcove in our entry way for an antique clock. We put that high up so the cats can't get to it.

This is the big rack from several weeks ago with stuff on it. This came out really well.

Rhubarb checking out the work box situation.

And several small nick knack shelves I made. I'm sorry to say we don't have many nick knacks and I had to scramble to find some things for the photo.


And that's it. I have a fruit platter that I'm currently working on and I'm going to make a lid for a glass jar. I'll have to figure out the band saw issue before I can do anything else. Oh well I have housework to do as the house is full of wood chips.

I'm going to take the saw completely apart to try and figure out what's going on.

Stay tuned,
VW

Postscript: band saw issues

Hi Everyone,

Well, the band saw isn't working. I bought a replacement bearing from Graniger that very closely matches the original bearing:


With that done I began to use the saw again and I noticed that the blade wasn't tracking properly through the wood. Just as I noticed that BAM! the blade snapped.

We took the saw apart early this week and all the parts have been cleaned and lubricated and  adjusted. I'm going to need to figure out what's going on with the tracking of the blade.

Stay tuned.
VW

Monday, May 15, 2017

Serving Bowls out of Blue Stain Pine

Hi Everyone,

A while back I came across a portion of a timber out of blue stain pine and immediately picked it up and bought it for a dollar. And was I ever happy about that.

Blue stain pine is pine wood that has developed a blue-gray color or stain in the wood fibers. I'm not sure if this is something the tree absorbs from the ground or if it has something to do with the DNA of the tree. But it is a beautiful feature and it's often found in #3 common pine. It was very popular for wood workers back in the 1970s in California and it was common to see it used for table tops. I have always enjoyed working with pine lumber.

This is the piece of wood that I bought and I could see that the blue stain was all through that wood:


But, there's always a but somewhere, there was a large defect in the underside and that's probably why it was rejected by the cabinet maker working with it:


But I decided to press on and make some small serving bowls out it. I cut out 3 turning blanks out of it and looked at the end grain-this is all through the wood top to bottom and so some of the stain will survive turning. You can also clearly see the defect. My plan is to turn a bowl with that defect on the underside of the bowl:

Here is the turning blank after it's been trued up:


And after about 3 minutes of turning. Scroll down to the next two photos and you can see the defect getting smaller as wood is being removed by the turning process:




Next I created a very small foot underneath the bowl and also drilled out a 2 1/4" diameter hole underneath the bowl for the chuck to fit into. The defect is much smaller but still there so I'm going to have to hollow out the bowl and leave the sides thicker than I normally would for a bowl this size so I don't inadvertently cut into that defect and destroy the bowl:




In this photo I've turned the bowl over and trued up the face and begun hollowing it out:


For the time being I decided to leave the walls about 1/2" thick as a safety measure:


And I started turning. I didn't use a high speed for this because that defect makes the bowl unbalanced as it's spinning, not enough to be dangerous but you never know. Best not to turn it too fast and risk having fly off the chuck suddenly:



The bowl took about 10 minutes to hollow out and this is what it looked like after I took it off the lathe:



Lastly I took it back in to the wood shop and coated it with salad bowl finish. Here is what it looks like-you can clearly see the stain in the wood:





And that is that.

I'm going to turn the other two blanks into similar serving bowls and I'll show you all three of them when I'm finished with them.

Stay tuned,
VW