Odd day…

It’s been an odd couple of days. Took Sunday off to spend Ellie’s last day of half term doing family stuff – Dunwich to look at the thousands of starfish cast on the beach, and a walk around Aldeburgh to see what’s happening  there. Today I had some work calls to make before I went in so got in later than usual and couldn’t settle to anything proper so fiddled about with a few pieces that were half done.

I decided I didn’t like the colouring on the 18″ bowl and the only logical thing to do was to over spray in black. A little John Hunnex and Molly Winton I know, but they didn’t invent black on wood so I feel it’s a fair conclusion. The first thing that struck me after spraying was that the black forces you to look closely to see the pyro decoration. From an not-too faraway glance the surfaces looks solid, so perhaps there’s some mileage in the black?

Sorry about the dreadful photos – had to resort to the phone camera…

I actually got John to do something useful as well…the automatic low energy lights on the shop sign had both blown after less than twelve months use (50,000 hours my a***!) so we replaced them with standard LE lamps and will have to remember to switch them off and on each day.

The dog also had an odd day…something in the ground beneath the Silver Birch outside the workshop got her hot under the collar and she set off digging and wouldn’t be diverted…

I was hoping for a truffle!

Over the weekend I succumbed to Twitter again after a “helpful” email explaining why I should use it, why I’m wrong not to, and what and how I should use it for. So I thought I’d try again, although I still can’t see how it can possibly help a jobbing woodturner. After trying to tweet all day I begin to wonder how people find the time, the points of interest, or the energy to bother. Are people really getting benefit out this social media fetish? I love the internet (no surprise there really) but SM seems to be a lot of typing for the sake of typing. Are people really all that interested in the minutiae of the lives of people they don’t actually know? And even if they are, how does that help me make a living as a woodturner?

Anyway, I’ve tweeted all day and no mad rush to the door…

I’ll add a button here when I figure out how. What I shan’t be doing is linking the blog and facebook to twitter. The latter are both of questionable use, and I don’t want the blog to become mired in mini posts of little consequence…I’d much rather it be mired in larger, ordinary, posts!

 

 

 

Play time…

I spent the afternoon having a break and playing. I’d turned a large bowl that ended up having some lovely ripple through it, and whilst it was a nice enough plain bowl I thought I’d work on it with the pyrography machine. I did most of the pyro last night and this afternoon decided to try to colour it. The last time I tried this it was awful, so this time I thought I’d only colour small sections and see how it looks. The problem with this sort of playtime is that you run the risk of ruining what was a perfectly acceptable, if dull, piece of work.

But then not everybody would agree. There are still those who  prefer the unadorned, natural, bowls to those I’ve “ruined” with pyro and colour. Oh well.

All done…at last…

Well the table is now installed, and the customers have painted the piano leg red as they always intended to…before you comment remember “the customer is always right”

So now it’s back to turning. Sadly it’s spindles and newels. But at least it’s lathe based, and we should all spend some time spindle turning every now and then. It’s good for the soul so they say. Shame it drives me to distraction.

Tomorrow I’m in the fens demonstrating, and after a long chat with the Sec of the club I’ll be doing decorative platters. I don’t think I’ve done this as a specific demonstration before so it might be interesting. At least I hope for their sake that it is!

I had a weird commission today, but more of that later.

Has anybody been watching Ceramics – a fragile history? I’ve enjoyed the series so far, and find it quite inspiring. One thing that I often feel though, and I can’t remember if I’ve blogged on this before…should have checked…but I do feel that if turners produced some of the shapes that potters do we’d be openly derided. Why is that?

All done…and then it wasn’t…

So the table was all done on Wedenesday…

And then it wasn’t.

The customer decided that they wanted it “much darker” and wondered if I could “just stain it”! After three coats of sealer and half a dozen of oil. No problem!

Anyway, it’s now a glorious shade of “walnut”. At least that’s what the tin says. Frankly I wonder about realwood stains.

So Monday it goes to London…along with me…and should be installed by afternoon.

I managed to grab an hour on the lathe yesterday…first time in? I forget. Actually I was worried I would have forgotten how to use the large machine.

I put a large sycamore blank on and just wanted to make shavings and enjoy the process. Little was I to know that the nondescript blank hid a lovely bit of ripple which runs throughout the blank.

 

The bowl now has a swept rim leading to a short rise before the inner bowl. The rise will be pyrographed and possibly otherwise treated. We’ll see. Although why I wanted another over-sized bowl is beyond me. Who buys them?

A busy few weeks ahead. A 100 spindles to turn, 7 newels, a demo in Lincs this coming week, and two craft events in November. It would be nice to imagine some play time to make some new things for them, but somehow I doubt it.

 

woodturner?…

Sometimes a full time turner has to turn his hand to other things to get the bills paid, and I’m no different. The paucity of posts has been due to the final build of a job that’s been held up by a missing component which is now due any day. The job is to produce a dining table using the sound frame from a baby grand piano. Sounded simple enough when commissioned. But the more I thought about it the more difficult is was. How do you ensure leg room when the apron needs to strong and deep enough to support the HEAVY sound frame? How do you fix legs when they don’t (can’t) come to the top of the apron? And how do you make the whole thing dismantlable? And that’s only a few of the problems so far.

First a sub frame had to be built to replace the enormous original.

And then some flat work. Not the comfort zone of the turner…

 

And then attach the apron to the subframe for a test fit…

And then (YET ANOTHER!) call to ask John to help lift the sound frame in for a test fit…

Opps! Sub frame too low. “John…could you just?”

The good news – for me – is that there was a single turned component. A traditional fluted piano leg, which had to be hand fluted, and will be painted bright red. (Don’t ask.) The other legs are required to be square (easier said than done for someone who spends his life making curved objects).

All that’s left is to abrade, afix the legs, collect the tempered glass top, do a final fit, seal and finish…and deliver. And then on to the rest of the list…

A large shield with a Knight’s Prayer carved on it, a large house sign, some duck punt paddles, and a whole staircase in (blughhhhh) sapelle.

Anybody want to commisson a few simple bowls and keep a turner happy and in baked beans? I am so desperate to get back to by pyrographed forms…who’d do this for a living?