Friday, July 31, 2009

Sheepdog Trials Preparation

Getting products labelled and packed for the Sheepdog Trials. If we get several other woodturners turning out goods we should have a super display. Along with the lathe demonstrations we should be able to make a good show of it all too.
I am not sure what type of product to take to the Sheepdog Trials but have opted for mainly small items plus a few big bowls. All priced low especially since I have little overhead for this show. Should be some great bargains for shoppers.
For more on the Sheepdog Trials in Kingston check this link.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

More on Frogs

I could not resist this picture of a lily from the garden. Such perfection.

One little stumpy tailed frog on my hand. Gives an idea of what size these are when they crawl out of the water.

And finally the frogs on the bark. Hard to see that there are three frogs in this picture.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Preparing Blanks for Demonstration

Had a physically active day yesterday with great windsurfing (looks good again today!) and a couple of hours of table tennis so I did not have the energy to do much creative work on the lathe. Spent the time making blanks that can be used here or for demonstration.
These are all for use on the pinchucks that I have been developing.
There is a selection of woods in the box but yesterday I made mostly honey locust and box elder (Manitoba maple) blanks to be used to make small containers and test tube vases.
Frog news:
I also noticed three frogs that have emerged from the water this morning. Hopefully they enjoyed the steak I gave them yesterday.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Maple Pet Bowls

Here is the first try at making pet food bowls from wood. These are being left completely unfinished and sanded to 150 only.
I have tried to keep the design completely practical making them hard to upset. Because they are from solid hard maple they are quite heavy.
Baby food bowls? A mother once asked me wether I knew of a source for wood (not plastic) bowls and plates for serving food to babies. She said that there were quite a few mums out there who might be interested since they did not want to use plastic. China being breakable is not always suitable for babies and stainless steel has that "metalic feel" which is not pleasant. So maybe this can be a new trend - feed your kids from dog food bowls. Sounds crass but could be eminently practical.
Time spent on these is not great but I still need to get $15 out of them and after the merchants take their percent the price tends to go a bit high if I have to sell through a store or gallery. Since these are going to enhance the Kingston Woodturners coffers I do not feel too bad about selling through them.
I am making these for the Kingston Woodturners booth which will be demonstrating woodturning at the Kingston Sheepdog trials being held at Grass Creek conservation area on the 7th to 9th of August this year. Should be a good show as it will be featuring the lumberjacks and jills competitions too. The Kingston Woodturners will be demonstrating the lathe and selling members goods.
Come one come all!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Frogs continue to emerge from the water.

Baby leopard frogs in their developmental stages. The little guy on the bark has quite a long tail but it is folded under him and one cannot see it clearly. The frogs get to a certain stage when they have to climb out of the water and sit in the sun to warm up. This is when the tail completely absorbs into the body with just a little stump left. When they get to this stage they become poor swimmers and can actually drown if they cannot find a way to climb out of the water.

Pin Chuck Experiment Continued

Completed a small pin chuck using an actual pin and not a ball bearing. I made the pin from a 4 inch smooth finishing nail and it is quite long at about 2 inches. So this is the next step to finding the ideal pin chuck.
I tested the pinchuck on a piece of Manitoba maple. Even with the hole drilled oversize by 1/32 of an inch the pinchuck held quite well. Pin chucks work better when the hole is a tight fit but this held well even though the wood was quite uneven when I mounted it on the lathe. I am happy with the results of this try.
The diameter of the pin seems to work better than when the pin has a larger diameter. (I am comparing this pin from a 4 inch finishing nail with a 1/8 inch diameter to another pin chuck that I use with a 1/4 inch diameter pin.)
In the picture you can see the pin and the top of a test tube which I used to make the small test tube vase pictured on the left.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Newly Emerged Frog

Newly emerged from the water that is. It (he/she -not sure so may call it a him for now) still has a tail stump and is quite active. He is living next to the little stream in my garden for now. With the spots I would say he will grow into a very handsome leopard frog provided he can make it past all the frog predators.
The background picture is of a fallen flower that happened to fall into the stream.
I cleaned out the tadpole bucket today and replaced the water as it was getting murky. Noticed all kinds of animal pond life that seems to have got in there from the plants I placed there. Including some long legged daddy long legs type arthropods (insects?) and what looks like a nymph. Something has eaten all the mosquito larvae and there are no fish in the bucket. So I am assuming that there are some predators in there too.
Not having any fish is another story. I had two guppies that I inadvertently introduced into two buckets of tadpoles early in the spring. These buckets were discovered by a larger animal - fox or racoon? Anyway the buckets were both knocked over and I lost the fish and the tadpoles. Since it was still early in the spring I managed to collect more tadpoles but have not been able to find more guppies. The guppies had been very good at eating mosquito larvae.
I discovered this because I had two buckets and noticed that one bucket had all kinds of mosquito larvae in it while the other had none. Upon closer inspection I noticed two guppies in the water in the larvae free bucket. These guppies were about 15mm long and over the next weeks they grew to twice their original size. I transferred one to the other bucket and it cleaned out all the mosquito larvae in two days. At least twenty larvae! That was one happy guppy.
But then I lost them all! Still the fox got to enjoy some high class sushi that night.
So now I have tied the bucket up to a stake in the ground so it cannot be tipped over.

Pin Chuck

I am working on developing a version of a pin chuck for the lathe. I want to try using ball bearings as the jamming device instead of the pin.

The picture shows the ball that would fit in the hole drilled off center in the rod. The rod was just a little smaller in diameter than the test tube that I will use to make test tube vases. This is unfortunate as I would have to redrill the holes to use the test tubes as pin chucks do not work well in holes that are over size. I also found that the single ball does not hold well enough so will try drilling a second hole and use two ball bearings. This may stabilize the pin chuck better too.


I finished this bowl yesterday. It has some issues as there are small cracks in the surface of the wood. I like the form and the finish on the outside is excellent. The inside looks like it needs another coat.

This is much spalted maple.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Definitely Woodturning Now

I finished off a maple bowl started last night. Spalted maple that looks like marble. Its still wet so no pictures possible yet.

Starting to make another pin chuck for making some test tube vases. Found a scrap piece of steel rod (Concrete anchor bolt.) that is exactly the right diameter. I have some small test tubes that I can use for the vases and will insert these in the holes I will be using the pin chuck on.

Sometime I will post some pictures on my website to show how the pin chuck is made.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Garden Pictures.

Here are pictures of our garden that I promised in the last blog.

Just a start

Took some pictures of the garden today. Will post these later.
The garden in July is truly spectacular. And my tadpole farm is hatching out frogs fast as a factory.
(The tadpoles are carnivores now and leave their veggies on the plate.)

For those who have not had the pleasure of raising a tadpole to be a frog here is what I do:
Early spring I take a kitchen strainer to a local pond and collect a hundred frog eggs/tadpoles. Place them in a large plastic bucket (5 gal) and feed them frozen lettuce. I add some pond weed to help keep the water fresh but still change the water with de-chlorinated water every two weeks. Try to find and add some guppies to eat the mosquito larvae. The guppies will thrive too and will not hurt the tadpoles but do not add big fish as these will eat your tadpoles. Once some of the tadpoles start to grow legs it is time to add some protein to their diet. Catfood from a can or ground meat or some left over sirloin steak or chicken - very small quantities though! Should fit on your pinky finger nail.
Be sure to put a chunk of wood with bark on sticking into the bucket so the frogs can climb out otherwise they will drown in the bucket since they cannot climb up the plastic walls. Once the tadpoles lose their tails they do not seem to know how to swim and cannot swim up to sit on a floating log, so the log must extend right to the bottom of the bucket.
Black tadpoles will turn into frogs while the light green spotted tadpoles turn into toads.

For a view of the tadpole life cycle click here.