Odd week or so…

With the end of the school holidays, a few days back and then the prolonged weekend it’s been an odd week. Not much doing, everyone in a holiday mood, and I’ve not really known where or when I’m supposed to be. I’ve even taken a few days for other things so turning has been spasmodic and with little real interest…

I’ve just got some lovely large section Holly from a local guy and am desperate to use it for a specific kind of vessel that I haven’t done for ages. As soon as the week begins properly and school is back to normal I hope to get a chance to turn a few of them.

Is it here…

the winter-docked boats at the side of Riverside House are now returning to the river (a cynic might say, “for another season of neglect and non-use), and I can see the river again when standing at the lathe. With the unseasonal weather it was nice to have a coffee on the river wall today and pretend it was actually summer. But of course it isn’t. And this little chap proved it…

I spent today making a spindle steady, and then decided to simply get on with them until I bring in some forgotten washers.

The wood was supplied by the carpenter, and it’s not good. White pine, full of knots, a few shakes, and some thick with resin. White pine is far more whippy than good quailty timber, and presents some challenges. But it’s good skew practice as the skew makes for less resisted cuts and reduces whipping. And it’s easy on the body and shoulder too.

Still here…

There’s not been much to post on latlely. Shoulder-restricted turning has meant uninteresting small items and these don’t make for very good postings. In the week I had the annual RPT meeting in London- which was interesting, but not something I can blog about. After the meeting I had to go to the Isle of Dogs to see a client about a commission.

It’s an interesting one, and should prove a challenge.

The basis of the project is this…

the underside…

and the topside…

And it weighs a ton…well, a lot anyway. As you can see it’s the sound frame of a paino. An old one. And close up has some fine detailing. The idea is to make it into glass-topped table, with the sound frame visible through the glass top.

The first job was to remove the sound frame from the fantasticaly heavy support frame. No mean feat, I’ll tell you. My F.I.L.   came over to help, and it was still a day’s work to remove the frame. The main problem being that the string pegs were located in a separate panel of wood, and needed to be retained with the frame. Lots of splinters, sawing, chisel work, and swearing later and it was done.

Now I can design and build a new lighter support frame, face it in walnut, make three plain legs and one traditional turned and fluted leg, clean, treat and polish the sound frame and strings, fit a 10mm toughened glass top and bob’s your uncle.

So only one turned part, but still interesting I think.

Back online…

Yesterday my home broadband went down for the first time ever. I went through the usual routines…changed DSL filter, checked for damaged lines, restarted router. Nothing. Phone live but broadband dead. So called BT helpline. Which is in India. Went through the whole process again, adding dismantling the master socket for the phone line (why do they imagine this helps?). Still nothing. After an hour on the phone they said, “we’ll have to get the engineers to run checks tomorrow morning. They will take four hours. They’ll call you after that.” They called. “We don’t know what it is. We’ll have to get an engineer out in the week. We’ll call back in five minutes.”

No call.

The thought of being offline at home and having to answer emails via the mobile was too much to think about. So I went online on the phone and did some searches. discovered the “restore factory default” option on the router. As I couldn’t remember altering any factory defaults I thought, what the hell, and went to find a pin. Click.

Broadband.

Thanks for nothing BT.

Yew form completed…

The Yew hollowform is now completed. Abraded to 400 grit, three coats of sealer de-nibbed inbetween with nyweb pad, and then three coats of clear lacquer, also de-nibbed between. Base reverse turned to clean up.

I had turned the copper ring to low and it parted company with the form, so another, thicker, ring was inlaid and re-worked prior to finishing.

When I was turning the neck, which is padauk, yesterday, I kept wondering what the smell of it reminded me of. I couldn’t decide but I was sure the smell was familiar. When I asked John today he had the same feeling and worried over it for a while…and then it came to him…so does anybody else think that this…

smells like this…

Are there any other cheesy woods?

Two part hollowforms…

I’ve had three emails about two-part hollowforms this week, each asking for more detail than the youtube videos provide. I’d have thought the videos were clear enough to be honest, but who am I to say.

The easiest way to add the detail was to turn one and photograph it, but as my shoulder is no better I decided to use the deep hollowing rig to make it painless.

Firstly select your log for potential interest and features, cut to length and mark the centres. The question of where to place the pith is a vexed one. Many prefer it central, others prefer it off centre. The choice is yours, but I have no preference and will work to the particular log. As this is Yew I had no concerns about this issue.

This is a largish log at 8″ by 10″, but it will enable better shots. Log safely mounted between centres, the 4-pronged drive well driven in with a soft-headed mallet.

The log has been roughed down, and the top two-thirds of the shaping done. This leaves a bulk of wood at the base to support the form during the considerable stresses of hollowing. A spigot was turned on either end, one to mount the body, the other to re-mount the top section for re-shaping. The top was parted off cleanly and put to one side. The top piece was mounted in a chuck and the edge turned true, cleaned up, and then measured accurately to mark the recess on the body section. The body was then re-mounted and a straight-sided recess cut to the measurement taken from the top section. Avoid damaging this recess during hollowing.

As I needed to photograph the process I opted for a large entry hole. It actually makes no difference in a two-part form, so better to provide yourself with plenty of room to get the tools in if you’re doing this for the first time.

If this is your first deep hollow, take care and do not underestimate the stress on the tool, the workpiece, and your body. They are considerable and potentially damaging to you and the wood.

The deep hollowing rig reduces the stresses on you and the workpiece by providing a captivated tool and a constantly online cutting edge. The cutting edge should be at centre and slightly canted to provide a sheer cut, which also results in less resistance to the cut, making the process less aggressive and so safer.

The top piece has been replaced, paying attention to grain positioning. Here I have then made a parting cut to the size of some solid copper wire, and copper wire glued into the cut, leaving it proud of the surface. You may have decided to make the neck from the same log, but here I have used a scrap of padauk that was handy. The neck section was turned in a separate chuck, and a spigot turned on one end, cleaned up and sanded. The body was then remounted (still in its own chuck) and a recess turned to take the neck. The neck was then glued and clamped until the CA glue was cured. The neck is then blended into the top of the body using a shaped plug over the revolving centre for support. At this point the copper wire can be gently cut flat using the wing of a 3/8″ long-ground spindle gouge.

As this is Yew, there were inclusions which I wanted to break through during hollowing. This often looks good on the finished form, but can present problems when refining the shape and whilst abrading. Don’t press to hard with the abrasive.

The form is now ready for final abrading, sealing and finishing, and then parting off. This can be a hairy process, and if uncertain part so far and then cut off with a handsaw. The form will then be reverse turned to finish the base. I’ll upload another image tomorrow when it’s completed.

I think I’ve answered the specific questions raised, and hope it helps. Sorry it wasn’t a longer explanation but time as ever is a factor.

If you have limited turning experience I would caution against attempting a hollowform. I cannot state the strains and stresses invloved to firmly. Take your time. Make sure all holding points are secure. Check everything three times. And take light cuts and stop and check what you are doing on a regular basis. And don’t start with an 8″ by 10″ log! Start small and work your way up.

Greenwood moving…

On March 31st I posted on an oak bowl I turned from green Oak. I looked at it today, only five days later, and was staggered by the movement. No splits, or even the sign of a split. But move it did. Although it hasn’t warped in the way I’d hoped it would.

So how oval is it?

260mm one way, and 285mm the other! Now that’s a movement.

Whilst looking for the manual for the lathe inverter today I found a small round of padauk in the filing cabinet…and no, it wasn’t filed under “P”. I thought I’d make a quick box to add to the box stock.

It wasn’t a very big piece, and so options were limited, but I thought it would still make a nice little box…

Nice shape, nice grain alignment, nice simple ebony finial…

Good colour and finish…

Nice interior, and a nice ebony button inside to match the finial top (both hiding a screw hole that was in the blank)…

And if I wasn’t so blind that I’d missed the hairline crack it would have been a nice box!

Bumbags (:

But the day was saved by the last coat of finish on the burr elm vase from last week…