Monday, August 24, 2009

Thanks Arbre Care

Got two small burls from Arbre Care in Kingston on the weekend. This is a picture of one being turned.
The shavings are flying and the camera flash has frozen them in midair.
The burl has some amazing figure and will make a beauty of a small bowl.

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?

Trees are where you find them.

Attended the Rogers cup tennis tournament this week.
I could not help myself snapping this picture that has little to do with woodturning - though at least there is a tree in the picture.
Had a conversation with a female friend who said she wanted to be a male in her next life. Of course the conversation turned to why and what the advantages/disadvantages are of being M or F.
This was the clear advantage to being male - being able to pee standing up.
I am sure there are other factors but so many are society driven.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Turn and Learn Session

On Thursday I went around to Nelson's shop to use his "Mustard Monster" (Powermatic 20) lathe. The picture is of Nelson showing Robert how to do a honey dipper on a general lathe.
I used the big lathe to turn some elm that has been freshly felled (see previous post).
Here are some observations about turning on a Powermatic. Its nice to have the extra horsepower as my General lathe has 1 HP while the Powermatic has 3 HP. However I did not feel like I could really use the full potential of the lathe because I was unsure of the holding power of Nelson's Nova chuck with dovetail jaws. It seemed to work loose rather frequently whereas my Oneway Stronghold with large jaws has never let me down. Unfortunately the clamping mechanism on the Powermatic lathe also worked loose causing some very unsettling vibration. It took a while to figure out what was happening as I am not that familiar with the lathe of course.
However I did get two bowls turned and I think in the process convinced Nelson that he needs a way to contain the shavings as his shop was pretty well covered.
Some issues with Powermatic which I will raise here:
The design of the banjo is a cause for problems as the off center hole is off center the wrong way in my opinion. (Should be to the right not the left) Since the banjo is so wide it requires the tailstock spindle to be extended way out to allow room for the banjo when turning a bowl blank between centers. Also the banjo is very heavy which requires one to use two hands to move it. Heavy is good but clumsy is how I would best describe the set up.
The clamping mechanism for the headstock coming loose is a problem that I would want to address as soon as I had a lathe like that.
Nelson phoned me up after I turned on his lathe and complained that he could not get the live center out of the tailstock spindle. This I feel a bit guilty about as it is probably my large bowl turning that has jambed it in there.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oriental Elm down

The tree across the road from my house was taken down yesterday as it had died. Wood looks good and I have turned one big bowl from it. Someone will get a super bowl! This wood is extremely hard and tough. The chainsaw took tiny nibbles only and it was not due to a blunt chain.

Sheepdog Trials are Done

Nelson Freedman had a good time demonstrating at the trials. The lathe was set up under its own tent so when it rained (on the last day it poured) the lathe operator stayed dry even though the spectators had to huddle under their own rain gear.

Here is what the table set up looked like. Sales were good though not outstanding. For our first time I think we did quite well.

Of course there were other attractions and events to see. Lumberjacks did their thing and there was a wild life exhibit with raptors and a young tiger, apart from the sheepdog trials themselves which were great to watch. The dogs were amazing.
If you missed it be sure to set your calendar for next year.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Woodworking Museum Demonstration

Nelson doing his thing.

He did quite a bit of turning judging by the shavings. Where are the red ribbons Nelson?

I took some pictures of Nelson Freedman doing a demonstration at the Mac Lachlan Woodworking Museum East of Kingston.
Good demonstration Nelson. He had a rapt audience when I got there but then things deteriorated.
I should have kept quiet(er).

Monday, August 3, 2009

Windsurf Day

Nice windsurf day. No turning wood just turns on the water.

This is not Hawaii. This is fully powered up with a 7.9 m sail and a 120 L board. We have to work for our sailing time.

Sailing done the wind has died. Another day, but a nice one.

I have started another blog about table tennis in Kingston. So we can make announcements about playing there.

What does this have to do with woodturning? Well woodturners have to do something when they are not woodturning.

How much wood can a woodturner turn when a woodturner turns wood?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

More Sheepdog Trials Preparation

This picture shows the assembly line for spinning top blanks. Square of recycled pine - thanks Nelson - with a 3/8 hole drilled in the center. Carpenters glue on the pink card at the bottom. Dip the 3/8" dowel into the glue and hammer into predrilled hole over a 1/8" thick washer - just visible under the square at left. That allows the dowel to penetrate and sit proud on the underside of the pine square.
I drill the holes into 4 inch lengths of pine 2 X 2 then cut the squares to about 3/8" to 1/2" thick.
Makes for a small top but with little wood to remove it takes shape pretty quickly in front of an audience, which is what one needs when doing demonstrations.
This is all in preparation for the sheepdog trials coming up August 7, 8, & 9.

Toads Emerging

Tailed little toad floating amongst the water weeds.

Four toads emerging from the water.

The temperatures have been so cool this summer that these toads are emerging later than normal (around here.)
There are not many tadpoles left in the bucket now. Down to about six, all with back legs. Seems the frogs emerge a little ahead of the toads.
I have a good excuse for not cutting the grass now as there should be lots of little frogs and toads amongst the lawn grass. Hopefully chomping up all the nasty mosquitoes.