Saturday, 31 August 2013

Practice Makes a Bunch of Stuff

So I spent some time sharpening my turning skills.  Nothing too exciting, but I spent some time doing it so I will show what I have been up to.


This little scoop is made from beech.  The trick to making these is to make the little ball on the end as close to a perfect sphere as possible.  Then you can mount it in the jaws of the chuck with the handle sticking out to the side between the jaws and hollow the centre.
A small dish made from walnut burl.
I like the effect of burls.  At its best, the wood appears to be boiling and frozen at the same time.
This dish was made from a branch from a mountain ash tree that grew in my back yard.  It was cut through at a point where two smaller branches came off.
The nice thing about this wood is that it is very stable so you can do end grain turnings with it and not have to worry about it developing a bunch of checks.
Same branch, natural edge with the bark left on, side grain.  Both pieces were finished with mineral oil & wax.
More pens made with Amazing Casting Resins.  The pen on the left is made with the clear cast and shavings.  The other three are made with the 10 minute resin.

This pen and pencil are linked.  The pencil was made with shavings left over from the pen.

 Just to be different, I made a pen and pencil from actual wood.  they are finished with Hutt wax and pen polish.
I do think that practising turning helps to improve my skills.  The only problem is that now I'm tired of turning for a while and want to move on to other things.  It's this scattered approach that keeps me from really developing my skills.  It's all just so much fun.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Bobble Bowl

I have finally completed the bowl that I started back in March at the Matisho Memorial.  Almost as soon as this bowl came apart on the lathe I knew that I was not done with it.  There was too much time in it to let it go.  I just needed a little time away from it to settle down.  Everyone who has done some turning knows what it feels like to have something go to pieces in an instant.  Over time, I decided that I wanted to use this bowl to try to capture that moment.

I was relatively lucky that the bowl split into three relatively large pieces, and that those pieces were not damaged further as they flew off the lathe.  I sanded the pieces with a bowl sander.  Since I couldn't spin the bowl on the lathe and move the bowl sander around with the drill as I would normally, I chucked the sander in my drill press and moved the pieces around against it to sand them.

Once all the pieces were sanded to 400 grit I gave them a couple of coats of mineral oil and wax finish, then buffed them with Hut Perfect Pen Polish to give them a nice gloss.  Here they are, ready to be assembled.  The wood is from an apple tree that used to grow in my front yard.

For almost the whole time that I was planning this bowl I was going to use Amazing Casting Resin to make clear rods to connect the pieces.  Now that the time had come to make and use them though I was having doubts.  I worried about the strength that they would have.  I had a vision of someone putting something a little too heavy in the bowl and the sides just flopping down as the acrylic rods (or the wood around them) gave way.

It was this vision, though, that inspired the path that I finally chose.  I ran down to my local big orange hardware store and bought these.

1/4" x 1 1/2" springs.  I had been hoping to give the bowl a sense of motion, that you would be seeing it just as it came apart on the lathe. With the springs I could give the bowl some actual motion.  I drilled 2 holes in each side if the base and 2 (sort of) matching holes in the wings.  After trimming the springs to adjust the spacing I glued them into the holes with 5 minute epoxy.  Here are some shots of the result.

I like this one.  It looks like some sort of prehistoric crab.
And some that are a little more 'artsy.'

If you go by the axiom that "if it holds water it's a craft, if not it's art," then this qualifies as art.  Since works of art usually have names, I have decided to name this one 'That Moment' because, as I said at the top, every turner knows what that moment feels like.  More likely though, it will always be thought of as the 'Bobble Bowl.'