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,

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,

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.

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,

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Carving a Spoon for Margaret & Dennis-completion photos and other musings

Hi Everyone,

Well I decided to spend the day doing what I love most, other than being with family, carving spoons and I've finished Margaret and Dennis' spoons:

Notes on carving eugenia wood-well the wood is softer when it's unseasoned and so I was able to carve both spoons without any trouble but as the surface dried out, it became hard and more challenging so I would probably avoid dried eugenia in the future. This particular branch had a lot of little twigs developing inside of it and that proved a bit challenging to carve. Keeping my tools sharp helped with that. It is amenable to shaving and filing (see below) so finishing worked out fine. And I've oiled both spoons with flax seed oil which gives the spoons a pale gold color.

Here are the completion photos:

Here is the spoon when I picked it up this morning. I worked on the handle last evening and got the basic shape done. You can see it's in pretty rough shape:


I kept working on the handle. I used the scraper in the photo to begin smoothing the surface and I find that I really like using scrapers on spoons. They not only make short work of tooling marks but they allow for fine shaping without the hazards of using a knife, which can tear the fibers especially in wood with challenging grain or knots:

In this photo you can see some curved scrapers which I used for smoothing the inside of the spoon bowl. Much easier than sand paper and not as fatiguing to use:

This is the back of the handle. I like to create strong handles so the spoon is easier to use:

This photo shows the back side of the spoon bowl after I took it down to the bandsaw and cut off some of the excess wood. It's ready for more fine shaping:

 This is the bowl after I shaped it with my carpenter's chisel:

And here is the back of the bowl after I've scraped it with the scrapers. I also got dive bombed by a lot of bees. There are a lot of flowering lilacs and ornamental trees blooming right now and this has attracted a bazillion insects, including a very large bumble bee the size of a grapefruit whom I've named Bob. Bob emits a very loud hum and he seems to enjoy scaring the hell out of me by dive bombing my head. I get out of his way when I see him coming:

After some finish sanding and scraping this is the completed heavy duty kitchen spoon:

And here are both of them with Burr Bunny off at the side:

As these spoons are traveling to a warmer and drier climate than the one I'm in, I'm going to let the spoons dry out for several days before I send them on to Margaret and Dennis. I hope these are the beginnings of many happy meals with their families.


Ok, what's next-since the band saw is running I'm going to cut out some smaller serving bowls and I'll do blog postings about that. 

Thanks for joining me on this project. 

And Happy Mother's Day!

More later,

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Carving a Spoon for Margaret & Dennis-On the Road Again!!

Hi Everyone,
Well after several days with a band saw that was out of commission, I've made a temporary fix (more about that in a separate posting) and moved on with the spoons. Here are some photos:

After we got the band saw running, I cut several pieces of scrap wood to see if it worked. It did so I took a deep breath and cut out the spoons. The almost finished one is the kitchen spoon. The one that looks like a weapon is a heavy duty spoon. I've left the bowl end of the blank in place so I can easy put it in my vice for carving:

After that I went to down and I finished the kitchen spoon. I cut most of it to shape with my trusty wood chisel and then finished the surface with a fine wood file and some 150 grit sandpaper. The I rubbed it down with some steel wool to smooth the surface and oiled it with some flax seed oil:

Here is a photo of the heavy spoon and I'll probably go down and work on the handle a little later on:

The band saw seems to be operating very well at the moment so I'm going to cut out several more spoon blanks and about half a dozen serving bowl blanks for turning and I'll post photos and a discussion about that.

Well tomorrow is Mother's Day and I'd like to wish everyone out there, especially the moms who love working in wood, a very special day tomorrow.

Stay tuned,

Friday, May 12, 2017

Band saw problem-help

Hi Everyone,
Well, the bearings came and they don't fit and not only do they not fit but the bearing I need is no longer made and there isn't a third party part available (I ordered the wrong part from eReplacement).

Without the band saw I won't be able to do any work in the shop for the time being.

Call for help:

The bandsaw is a Rigid 14 inch bandsaw
Model no. BS14002
Part no. 820722-10  bearing. I need two of them.

If anyone has a suggestion, let me know.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Still Waiting for the Bearings and Working on Other Things

Hi Everyone,

Well, the bearings haven't arrived yet but I am keeping busy hollowing out spoon bowls and making some shelves for my shelf-less home.

I've been using some of the scrap wood in the shop to produce the shelves and they've come out rather well:

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I'm going to give these a very light stain and then some polyurethane to finish them up and I'll post a photo of the finished shelves.

And I'm taking a day off from carving to give my hands a rest.

It's going to be a long day.

Stay tuned,

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Band Saw problem

Hi Everyone,
I took the band saw apart yesterday and discovered two things: the blade was broken and the thrust bearings were worn out and one of them was frozen and unable to spin. So I had to stop working and order some replacement bearings. They will be here in a couple of days and I'll resume working this weekend.
Stay tuned,

Monday, May 8, 2017

Carving a Spoon for Margaret & Dennis-Pt. 1

Hello All,

Well, the weather here has finally gotten warm and clear and it's really time to get down to the woodshop and get moving with this year's turning and woodworking schedule.

Since I haven't done a posting about spoon carving for a while now, I thought it would be a good idea to re-visit that activity. And low and behold, just as I was thinking about this, my postal lady delivered this mysterious box with a...

With a tree branch just perfect for carving!

Ok, it wasn't mysterious. But it is intentional so here is the story behind this...

Sometime ago I met up on a social media site with an old friend that I have known since about the 1st grade and we chat occasionally and she and I both post photos of family, etc, on our respective pages. About 2 weeks ago she posted a photo of a huge eugenia tree in her backyard that was causing some damage to her property and had to be taken down.

The tree had been in place many years and her children and grand kids have played with it and it has become a part of their lives over the  years and so Margaret and her family were sad at the prospect of having to loose the tree. I saw the posting and offered to make her  a spoon out of one of the branches if she could send it to me here.

Here is a photo of the tree:
Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, tree, sky, plant, cloud, outdoor and nature

You can see that it's a huge tree. And holding it up is her husband Dennis the Mighty Man.

So she had a tree removal service come out and saw it down. But Margaret saved me a branch and mailed it to me and I began carving one of two spoons that I'll be able to get from that branch.

Here's the process and photos:

The branch has an oval end:

and a round end and has a slight curve to it:

I decided to place the bowl end of the spoon on the wider end. This will give me enough wood for a broad, shallow bowl:

And so I placed it on the bandsaw and cut it in half length wise. It has a nice reddish brown color and you can see lots of little branches that were going to grow out of this branch. The branch also has a curve to it and you can really see that in this photograph. The twigs proved to be tough to cut through and even though the blank I'll cut will be straight, the wood may cause the spoon to curve as it dries out:

I then cut the branch halves into long rectangles so as to make it easier to hold in a vice:

Doing this also gives me a nice flat surface to draw on:

Carving the Bowl

Here is a photo of the basic carving tools that I use for hollowing out the bowl. I mostly use the two very narrow gouges on the right hand side of the photo as it's easier for me to push a narrow tool through wood than it is a wide tool. I also use a mallet which is not in the photo:

And here I go. I begin at the base of the bowl. I like to carve this deeper  than the top of the bowl. I think it makes for a good serving and kitchen spoon:

Then I turn the blank around and carve the top of the bowl. The wood grain direction runs from the bowl to the handle. I prefer this as it makes shaping the handle a little easier:

After several minutes of carving, here is the bow. I like the depth and the shape:

Here is a hook knife, which is a common tool and you can see this on other spoon carving sites online. As this wood is wet and therefore soft, I'm going to use it to smooth out the surface of the bowl:

I also use small, curved scrapers on spoon bowls too:

Here you can see the scraper. I aim to produce fine shavings with this scraper:

And that's the bowl for now:

Shaping the Handle

To begin the process of shaping the handle, I'm going to use my bandsaw to remove some of the wood from the carving blank. I'm going to make two stop cuts and I've marked those of with dotted lines. The rest of the cuts will following the lines on the wood:

And here is the carving blank. The blade came off the bandsaw while I was cutting:

I was going to cut this next section off with the saw but I'll have to do this by hand:

So I began doing this with my draw knife which would ordinarily make short work of this. But those tiny little branches came back to haunt me. They acted like little stops in the wood and it was next to impossible to shave that area down:

You can see how the wood is tearing instead of cutting smoothly:

So out came my 1 1/2" carpentry chisel. I keep this razor sharp and I use it quite a bit. With practice I've found that I can not only rough out something but also do fine detail with it. It's like having an old friend in the shop ready to always lend a hand:

And you can see those twigs are history, although the wood fibers instead of laying flat and straight are laying in all sorts of direction. This proved difficult to cut through even with the chisel:

I kept whittling away at the handle, slowly shaping it:

And there it is:

Refining the handle

For this step I used this little gem. I'm not sure what this tool is called but I've used it on almost every spoon I've made. I find I can carve in tight curves, flat broad surfaces, and every place else in between. I misplaced one time and went into a panic and spent a considerable part of day searching for it. I also use files and sanding blocks too:

And so I smoothed down the surface of the handle more. It has a broad handle:

And a narrow neck with the beginnings of a filet between the bowl and the handle for strength:

Now I'm going to stop and have some lunch and a cup of coffee. Then I'm going to go out and see what's up with the bandsaw.

The next posting will involve shaping the spoon bowl and drying the spoon.

Stay tuned,