Saturday, August 22, 2009

Chimneys - sometimes you just have to have fun.

Richard Raffin started me off on these "chimneys". This tall one has only dried for about three days and already it has quite the curve. I am wondering whether it will continue to stand up? The wood is oriental elm which moves more than any other wood I have ever worked with.

I have made several as you can see in the bottom picture. I turn them into cylinders and then keep them in a bucket of water to keep them from drying till I can get around to the hollowing process using a Forstner drill bit on an extension (or two).

Nelson came around yesterday and he had a go at making one too. There is a fair bit of learning in the process. The "normal" spindle turning tools do not work that well of course because the grain runs cross wise to the length. The drilling process is a bit tardy due to all the clamping and unclamping that has to occur since one does not want to build up too many shavings in the hole or the drill will be impossible to retrieve. Of course the wet sanding is quite messy but fun when well protected in my recycled raincoat shopcoat.

Of course the usual question from MIL (Mother In Law)
"What do you put in them?"
"What are they for?"
"They look like they would make good weapons."

I told her I was making wooden condoms and the big ones were for asses er donkeys.

Sometimes you just have to have fun on the lathe and forget what you are making and especially what you are making it for...

Reminds me somewhat of the "Shopclass as Soulcraft" treatise which seems to be a recurring theme these days. Can't hear enough of that though. Here is an exerpt:
High-school shop-class programs were widely dismantled in the 1990s as educators prepared students to become “knowledge workers.” The imperative of the last 20 years to round up every warm body and send it to college, then to the cubicle, was tied to a vision of the future in which we somehow take leave of material reality and glide about in a pure information economy. This has not come to pass. To begin with, such work often feels more enervating than gliding. More fundamentally, now as ever, somebody has to actually do things: fix our cars, unclog our toilets, build our houses.

Maybe Matthew Crawford should do an article on Wood Turning as Soul Learning. Has a nice ring to it?

1 comment:

  1. missed the "donkeys" at first reading- glad you added that!