Posts tagged lathe
The new lathe is getting quite a workout — even if I only get to see it every other weekend. When my son is here for the weekend, he spends the entire weekend on it, and he’s getting extremely good! It sure is better than before, when he spent the entire weekend welded to the couch watching Netflix and playing 1st person shooter games. He’s actually creating something of beauty instead of just racking up a body-count.
Here are a few of his recent creations:
Red Heart Bowl
Orange Osage Bowl
As you can see, he is very busy, and quite talented. The sides are razor thin (he even cut himself on one while sanding) and beautifully proportioned. He now wants to start an etsy page to sell them to, as he puts it “support his habit” of wood. This is not just a good thing, but a fantastic thing, if you ask me.
For my part, I made this bowl:
My Orange Osage Bowl
I’m not selling it, but am giving it away to my friend Capt’n Pat for being such a wonderful friend to me over the past few years. Once I am able to spend some more time on the lathe myself (which should start happening after April 1 when I get my house back) maybe I’ll start producing enough to sell as well. I’ll keep you all (all, HA!) updated on how things go.
Finally! After an 8 or 9 month hiatus, I am back to the wood lathe! Because I finally bought my own wood lathe! And it’s a nice one, too. It arrived 2 weeks ago and I managed to get it (mostly) set up then, but didn’t get a chance to actually use it until this past weekend. I’m learning the art of delayed gratification.
That’s the new NovaTek 1624 Lathe. And it’s a beauty. Quiet, powerful and with all the bells and whistles. Well, almost all of them.
Dying to get on the lathe even more desperately than I was my eldest son. He was about to come straight out of his skin to get his hands on it. And get his hands on it he did this weekend. He spent the whole day Saturday, and most of the day Sunday working away out in the garage turning bowls.
And got annoyed when I interrupted his concentration with the camera.
I managed to get a little time on the lathe myself and practiced making some wooden eggs out of Padauk and Claro Walnut. As soon as I made one it was confiscated by The Tot though. I did manage to convince her to let me at least document their existence.
I hope to get more opportunities soon, but they will remain fairly limited for the next couple of months, sadly.
- A day in the shed (stusshed.com)
Last night was my last night at TechShop RDU. I’m going to miss that place. So I took in a piece of what is becoming my favorite wood to turn. It is like butter. And even sort of looks like it! Orange Osage. So nice to work with. However, here’s what it does to me after an evening of working with it:
I end up covered in a layer of yellow dust. I couldn’t capture the funny look of my eyelashes covered in yellow dust. But you get the idea. Anyway, on to the evening’s bowl(s)
First I went back and repaired one of the first bowls I turned. It had developed a crack due to some … ummm … rough treatment … during the original turning. So I repaired that and re-polished it. I really kind of like this bowl.
Now on to the larger Orange Osage bowl I turned. About the same diameter as the above bowl (about 6 inches) but much deeper. I’m always amazed that the bowl seems to already exist in the block of wood and that I just have to find it. At least that’s how it feels as it’s happening. This piece has these interesting, delicate striations in it that look like cracks, but I don’t believe they are. It looks much lighter than the previous Orange Osage bowls, but I believe that this wood darkens over time as it is exposed to light. I’ll see if this one darkens over time.
And yes, I turned another mini-bowl in the center of the larger bowl. It’s amazing how tickled I get with these little bowls! Positively giddy I tell you! Really. They are almost more satisfying that the larger ones. Ok, not really, but they are really really fun to do.
So that’s that. Those are my last 2 bowls for an indefinite period of time. You see, my 2-month membership to TechShop has expired and I can’t really afford to re-up my membership. And I really can’t afford the lathe I want to buy so I can turn bowls anytime I want at home.
That being said, if anyone wants to buy the bowl(s) above, bidding starts at $800.00. I’m only sort of kidding. Except for the little bowl. I’m keeping that one.
I’ve been talking of taking up wood-turning for years. When we lived in California, and went to the Los Gatos High School woodshop once a week, we only made furniture. But I eyed the wood lathes. I wanted to, but there was never time. Our neighbor was a master wood turner. He made the most incredible, intricate, detailed things on his lathe. I would go over and stand in his driveway, sometimes for hours, just watching him. He even let me try to turn a bowl once, but I was nervous, and he was a terrible teacher, and after 5 minutes it caught on the chisel and flew off the lathe and that was that. But I still wanted to.
Then TechShop RDU opened a few years ago. I wanted to join — we even looked at becoming ‘founding’ members with a lifetime membership — but it was expensive and we had other priorities. Don’t ask me what they were. I have no idea.
Groupon then had a special on a 2-month TechShop membership that included 6 hours of classes, so we got a few. My son and I joined, and took welding (which was fun, but not all that useful for day-to-day things), and then Aluminum Casting. Again, a bunch of fun (especially for a 14 year old boy) but really not useful on a regular basis.
Finally we took the Wood Lathe class. Ahhhh … Heaven. I found my milieu. As my membership is about to end (this week! GAH!) I thought I’d post a progression of how my bowls have gone. So here’s the first one (made of the cheapest poplar boards you can buy at Lowe’s). It’s 2 boards glued together, so it’s not very deep.
I still need to knock the foot off of that one. Not bad for my very first attempt at making anything on a lathe. Well, my first attempt since Junior High when I made a wooden mallet that my mother still uses to this day as a meat tenderizer in her kitchen.
Next I went with 4 cheap poplar boards glued together for a deeper bowl. I also tried to turn the sides thinner, and mostly succeeded. I actually really like the shape of this one, but being made of poplar, and turned thin, it weighs almost nothing.
Then I went to the local woodworker’s shop and got a few ‘exotic wood’ bowl blanks. This. This could be dangerous. My first foray was with something called Orange Osage. It is lovely wood. A wonderful warm, rich color. Very easy to work with. The only problem was that I caught a chisel inside it and, apparently, cracked it. For a few days the crack was getting bigger. Lately, it seems to be getting smaller. I’ll add some superglue to fix it the next time I turn some Orange Osage and have some orange sawdust. (Tip: I learned from several others that you can take some superglue, and some fine sawdust from the turning, and seal up or fix small cracks and defects.)
I actually really like the shape of that one. It’s very simple, but the shape, and the warm wood, are nice.
While at the Woodworker’s shop I found a couple of small blanks that were inexpensive and looked nice. The first was something called Red Heart. I had never seen it before — the waxed blanks are hard to gauge for actual color – but it was small and inexpensive, so I thought I’d give it a try. Wow! It’s hard to tell which I like better Red Heart of Orange Osage! This little bowl came out very nice. THe sides are extremely thin and delicate.
I love that little bowl. So cute.
I had a piece of Orange Osage about the same size, maybe a little bigger, so I went back to give it a try. I had been unhappy with the sheer amount of wood that is wasted in making a bowl. You would not believe the incredible mess! Shavings and chips and dust flying everywhere. I turned bright red making the Red Heart bowl! All the wood that is inside the bowl is simply wasted. That seemed a shame. So as I turned this bowl, I tried something different.
The bowl itself came out really nice, I think. Again, small, but I tried for a more angular shape rather than the gentle curves I had done before. I just love Orange Osage. I also finished this one a bit differently. I had been talking to another wood turner in the shop and he showed me how to “wood-burnish” a piece. Basically you take a handful of the shavings and sawdust and press it against the spinning bowl (turn up the speed!) until it begins to get hot. It can, and will, burn the wood if you’re not very careful! It gives the wood a very warm glow. So I did that before using a food-grade wax/oil finish on it and I really like it.
Now for what I did with the ‘inside’ of the bowl. The Tot had been pestering me for weeks to make her a teeny tiny bowl. First, I had no idea how to make a small bowl. Second, I knew I wasn’t good enough to do it. But while I was making this bowl, I left a ‘plug’ in the center as I hollowed it out. As I worked, I gently shaped the plug, and then hollowed it out. Finally I scraped out the bottom of the larger bowl until it popped out, and I put it aside. I then went back, when I was done with the larger bowl and mounted it in the plate-jaws and did the best I could to re-shape and finish it.
And there you have it. A tiny little bowl just large enough to hold a quarter. The Tot loves it. I’m amazed I did it.
Finally tonight I finished a piece that I had roughed out a few nights ago. It’s spalted maple, and it was pretty tough to turn. The spalting makes the grain funny, and very hard to turn smoothly. I also went with an odd shape that took a lot of work to hollow up properly. It’s hard to get a chisel up under a lip in a spinning bowl, trust me. I learned some new techniques on this one, and it came out ok.
The oddest thing about it is that I roughed it out, then let it sit for a few days, and when I went back to finish it, it had changed shape! It’s difficult to tell from the pictures, but it really isn’t round anymore. As the wood dried out it has elongated into an almost oval shape! Trust me, that made sanding and finishing on the lathe a real challenge! It’s extremely difficult to get sandpaper evenly applied to an oval spinning at 3200 RPM. My hands are still vibrating!
So that’s it for now. I have only a few days left on my TechShop membership. I have a very large bowl (12″ in diameter) that I have now roughed out, and one more blank in something called Asian Fig Satinwood, to turn before my membership runs out. Then it’s time to start saving my pennies to buy my own lathe and tools. This is something I just can’t give up. I can’t get enough of it! It’s soothing and relaxing and takes the stress of the day away, so I’ve got to figure out how to own a lathe.
If someone would buy my 1972 Ford F-100 truck, I’d be thrilled! But so far, no takers.