Sunday, May 22, 2011

Week 593 Woodworking

year 11, Week 19, Day One (week 593)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
05-21-11 Saturday

85 degrees early morning, with some clouds. One bit of drippy liquid sunshine hit but not enough to warrant getting my equipment under cover. The rest of the day was blue skies, light breeze and sunshine bringing the temps up to 94. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.

Feet were bothering me the past several weeks. I decided I needed some new shoes. The old pair was so worn on the bottom that the air cells inside the soles were opening up. I got what should be a good pair of shoes. Hopefully they will last a year like the last pair did.
My hip decided to start bothering me. It is like a tendon is tired. It effects me the most when I twist or change direction. It is a bother, more than anything else. There are times I feel like I am walking like an old man.


It was the day of the turning club meeting. I brought my pieces to work. One boss that seldom takes notice of my woodworking, liked the spin tops I made. I know what I will make this weekend. They can pass as Christmas ornaments so that gives me double reason for making them.

At the club meeting, I displayed my three spin tops, the toy cannon and the Sea grape bowl. I am always impressed with the work others bring in and disappointed with the work I bring in, in comparison. My work is so different than theirs so I have that to my advantage.

The demonstration was on making boxes. The hard part is always getting the lid to fit tightly. It was good to see the process again.

We then had the club challenge. The club challenge is to get people to make things they never made before or in a very long time. There were some rather interesting designs people did. I learned that for the tops to spin, the weight has to be really close to the bottom. This gives the top stability. Also, it does not have to be very wide if the wood is extremely dense. In light wood, you need it with a big radius to carry the spin around.
They had us spin the tops to see how they did. As each person came forward to demonstrate, they gave them a raffle ticket. My two carved ones did poorly, but my big one did well. One guy made the old string style top where you wrap the string around the lower part of it, and then you throw it, hanging onto the top. Those really spun nicely as the string gave them great RPM. He had one with a metal point and another with a plastic point. He said that the metal point one was damaging floors.
After everybody demonstrated their tops, they then drew three tickets out of the “hat” and the winners got gift certificates. To Woodcrafts. They used to have actual competitions, but this is much better system. The main purpose is to get people to try the project.

Someone had brought pieces of Mahogany stump for the club members and as I was leaving, I saw his truck and him standing there. I stopped and took the last piece, about twelve inches in diameter.


I took my little cannon over to my grandnephew. He wanted it the instant he saw it. I handed it to him and said “boom.” About a minute later he said “boom” He ran off with it in smiles.
I doubt I will make another cannon unless I get an order for one. I may well make a few more wooden toys, though.


Mom had some projects for me. She had fallen a couple months ago and hurt her shoulder and it is still bothering her. She has not maintained the yard as well as she would have liked. She decided to get some projects done and needed my help.
Dad made Mom a light house years ago and it had a couple lights inside and Mom strung white Christmas lights around the platform and up and down it. In recent years, it was showing signs of decay. The plywood walk way around the light was drooping it was rotted so badly. Mom decided it needed to be taken out. The walkway came off with a tug. I then unscrewed the plug and light switch box from the side of the piece so I could cut the wires. That allowed us to pull the body off the base. I was breaking the wood as I was lifting it.
The base was the only thing not rotted. Dad had run tie-down screws deep into the dirt and had two chains attached to it. There had been a rash of such displays being stolen so Mom wanted it to remain. I had to dig into the ground to get to the tie downs, and then pull the chains to get them free, then draw them through the holes in the base.

Then mom had me trim a palm tree, cutting the fronds and seed stems.
The neighbor had yard people trimming their yard. They cut out a Bougainvillea and left the stump in place. I got the electric chain saw out and cut it as close to the ground as possible. A bit later, Waste Management came by an picked up the bulk garbage. One long piece of the tree was laying there, left by the claw. I picked that up too.

My newly accumulated wood
big piece is Mahogany the straight piece is from a piece of old furniture
The other three pieces is bougainvillea

Mom has a plastic rack for hand tools in her laundry room. It had been overloaded for years. The plastic rings finally gave and the thing came down. Mom told me to fix it for her. The plastic had twisted from the uneven weight.
To fix it, I cut two pieces of wood and put one small strip behind the plastic and screwed through the big piece of wood into the small piece of wood, through the plastic. Several screws made sure they were bound together.
I then screwed it on the wall where it once was. It will hold nicely now. Mom was loading it up as I was going back outside. She was happy with that.

One of mom’s plants was doing good. All her plants were in pots. This plant was leaning into the walkway. She had me pull it back and we found the reason it was doing well was that it had gone into the ground. That is not allowed. We broke off the roots sticking out of the pot.

Showing the color in the bougainvillea wood.

I finally was able to work on my projects. I made two spin top blanks. I then sat down and ground away wood, carving them. I made one with three spokes, and another with four spokes. Since I knew what I was doing this time, they went fast. I accidentally cut into one spoke on the four spoke spin top, so I cut the damage away, took a piece of tenon that was still in the lathe and made a replacement piece. After it dried quite a bit, I shaped it so it is hard to find where the damaged piece was.

Two new tops with the one I made before

I took a piece of the Bougainvillea that had two stems. One big stem and another small one that had been cut previously. I tried to hollow the big log (about five inches in diameter). Because of the angles, getting smaller as it went to the base, and the base which was not square, I got it off angle and cut into the side of the piece. I ended up grinding the inside instead to get the shape right. I used a spade bit to drill the small stump, (two and a half inches diameter) and then grind it deeper. I am considering ways to finish it up. I may work the base a little more, possibly using a saw to make it more acceptable a design. It was cut in a wedge cut that really makes it tough to deal with. I will explore some concepts a bit later.

The bougainvillea stump as I finished Saturday

Tomorrow I should try to finish up the stump bowl. Beyond that, I really don’t have any projects that really need to be done. I do have loads of projects and lots of wood to work with.

I will see what I actually do tomorrow.

year 11, Week 19, Day Two (week 593)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
05-22-11 Sunday

86 degrees early morning 94 when I left. Random thin puffs to add interest to the blue sky. A light breeze just strong enough to move the lightest dust around. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

I started the morning cutting a piece of the long Bougainvillea and mounting it on the lathe to make what is called a banana bowl. I had a design for the bowl based on the features. A knot on the side, angles of the existing cut end, ripples on the top, and so on.
As I started shaping it, little design changes were required. I first created a tenon on the base while it was between centers. Once I was satisfied with the way the tenon was made, I turned the work around and mounted it into the chuck.
Because of something I saw at a turning club demonstration one time, I now stick the drive spur into the chuck and close the chuck down on it. It is not really a good practice as it could dig into the sides of the taper. The taper uses friction between the taper and the shaft to hold very tight. My method of using the chuck to hold it could eventually cause problems on how the taper fits into the shaft if you decide not to use the chuck. Little ridges and indents could compromise the friction fit. The advantage is that changing from chuck to taper is only a moment, just releasing the jaws and it comes out. I have not noticed any mars on the surface and assume that is because it is a super hard finish.
As I worked, the knot I was trying to keep was coming apart. I got to working the inside and intended to have it thick where the knot was. As I worked, that concept faded away and I ended up going with thin walls. Design changes as I went caused my original shape to disappear.
Once I got the inside about where I wanted it, the post that the tail stock was holding it in place, caught on the tool and broke.
I turned the piece around and fixed the bottom of the piece before permanently taking it off the lathe. I then sat down and removed the remains of the posts with the grinder and doing some touch up.

I then started grinding on, cleaning up the Bougainvillea trunk bowl. I wanted to figure out the best way to fix the bowl. I decided the best way to fix it, to make it nice, was to plug the gap that formed while making it. I took a piece I cut off when I started that had a bit of bark on it. I was a bit hesitant on messing up, but decided to go for it.
I cut the piece a little longer than I needed and then worked both the piece and the gap of the bowl to get the piece to fit in nicely. I would grind a little, then fit, then grind a little more then fit. I finally got a good fit within the gap where the bottom gap was blocked nicely. I then loaded up the glue and stuck the piece in place. I then took sawdust from the grinding and worked that into the glue and worked it into the gaps. I will see for sure, but this seems to be a good filler for me.
After it dried a bit, I shaped the inside, made sure any gaps were filled, filled in a few other thin spots and worked the wood all around.
This piece actually looks pretty good. It will need a lot of sanding and touch-ups, but considering the problems I've had with it, it looks pretty good.

Repaired gap. Looks even better after it was cleaned up.

bougainvillea stump, pencil holder and nut cup.

Banana bowl - dark ring is from the chuck - metal rubbing against wet wood.
I will eventually sand that out.

I took it easy after that, resting, cooling off with the fan running just to make sure air was moving around, and dust was blown away from me when I was grinding.
I did cut off a stub of a branch and tried to cut what was supposed to be a bird head for the banana bowl. I have done that many a time, where I made them into bird bowls by carving heads and sometimes tails onto them. My results are not satisfactory. I likely will try again next weekend if I decide it is worth doing.

Mom started dinner then found out that my brother was not going to be able to come up. Twenty minutes earlier and Mom would have fixed something simple for the two of us and I would have taken the uncooked chicken back home. Instead, I brought home a whole bunch of cooked chicken, potatoes, vegetables, and so on. I will be eating good this week.
We have a tradition where I provide the meat and mom fixes dinner for my brother and his wife, and mom and I, and sometimes someone else who might come up. This tradition started when a new store opened up near my house and had fantastic prices on the meats. I kept bringing up whole bunches of meat to stock up mom and dad, and it took them a while to get me to understand that I should only bring up for the Sunday meal. I have done that ever since. It worked well for all of us.

I don't have any idea what I will be working on Saturday. I will come up with something.
I think I will be on my own Sunday as Monday, I think we are having a gathering at my brother's house on Monday where we can really test out the forge he made or work on other projects we can come up with. I will gather my carving stuff and have them in the car, though I might not ever touch that when metal working is possible.

I will see what I actually do next weekend.

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