Year 11, Week 46, Day One (of four) (week 620) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 11-24-11 Thursday
I have no idea what the temperature was, but know it was in the high 70s. Even amounts of blue sky and brisk moving puffs, some thickening in the later afternoon, nice light breeze where we were, quite comfortable. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Fort Lauderdale Department of Tourism.
It was thanksgiving day and I have a four day weekend off from work. We gathered at my brother's house for the holiday dinner and that was where my projects were done.
I arrived early, unloaded food and drink I had, then unloaded my carving stuff and dragged them to the back yard. After getting set up and comfortable, I got to work.
My project was to carve on as many ornament blanks as I could do comfortably in the day. I finished up a cornucopia I had half done last weekend. I mainly had to finish carving the fruit on it. I touched up a couple other pieces. I then carved a couple more cornucopia. I do love the way they are coming out.
I carved a polar bear and a couple seals also. It was pretty good production.
Dinner was excellent. My mom usually does the turkey but she was out for several weeks and came home early this week and did not have time to even think about cooking a turkey. My sister in law did an excellent job. while I did not over eat, I did eat far more than I should have. I also, like a little kid, knocked two drinks over, one into my plate, while passing food around. Other than that, this was an excellent holiday dinner.
My brother was doing metalworking. Several years ago, he built a power hacksaw. It uses belts and pulleys to slow down the action, and the saw is moved by an arm just like a steam engine.
He had disassembled it and replaced the bearings and a few shafts shown heavy wear and he swapped them around. After he had it operating again, he saw there was some flexing and decided to fix that. I helped him bend some thick plate on a hydraulic press he had built from plans and he then welded the piece in place. that made a big difference in the straight, clean, precise cutting one can get. Before the repair, he had to hold the blade guide in place as it could wander half an inch in either way. By his corrections and replacements, he could almost just set the blade down without guidance.
His power hacksaw uses regular hacksaw blades and the blades will last for thousands of strokes. The main reason most hacksaws are replaced when cutting by hand is that they get twisted. With this power hacksaw, the strokes are exactly straight and true and the blades have to replaced because the teeth get dull.
A great thing about this hacksaw is that you turn it on and get it cutting, and one can walk away and let it cut. It is nearly silent. It might take a couple hours but it will calmly cut through three inch stainless steel rod with no problems. A cut off saw or Saws-all require you to hang onto the machine and it takes a long time and makes a whole lot of nose that can irritate neighbors.
Power hacksaw, the actual hacksaw is on the arm on the left. It works sort of like a steam engine where a lever moves the arm back and forth
My brother then needed to make a lathe dog. I did not fully understand how one is used so the process of making it was interesting.
He used two lengths of square stock and cut them at different lengths using the power hacksaw. He then drilled two holes in the short bar, and two holes in the long bar to match those of the short bar. He then drilled a third hole in the long bar at ninety degrees to the other holes. He then cut lengths of threaded rod to span the shaft he needed to turn. He then cut a shorter length of threaded rod. He needed several nuts for the rods.
He found the approximate center of the big rod he needed to turn and mounted it between points in the head of the lathe and in the tail stock. He had mounted a face plate that had slots and holes, and the center was open so you could run a piece straight through the head. We found a wobble in point in the center of the face plate and my brother found there was gunk in there and had to clean it out. The point then went in deeper so he had to re-setup everything.
The lone hole had a rod in it that fit into one of the slots in the face plate. With the bars really tight on the rod, and the threaded stuck into the slot, the rod was held on center and turned nicely for machining.
We made just a few passes on the rod when we ran out of time. I would never fully understood how that lathe dog worked until I had seen it in use. I have something like that for my little lathe and now see possible uses for it.
the lathe dog my brother made. the work held between two points, and the lathe dog that is clamped to the work uses the post to actually turn the work around the two centers.
I had some fun watching and helping with metal working, and I made some Christmas ornaments from blanks I made last week. My main project for tomorrow is Christmas ornaments. I need to spend time and carve a bunch more of them.
I will see what I do tomorrow.
Year 11, Week 46, Day Two (of four) (week 620) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 11-25-11 Friday
72 degrees in the morning, 79 late in the afternoon. good moving clouds filled the sky, with a quarter of the sky made up of blue sky. The sun did not show all that much during the day. A nice breeze kept things cool. This weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Beach and the City of Lake Worth Departments of Tourism.
I set up in the morning. The beast of the backyard was nowhere to be seen Scarface was around and he got some petting but was gone before I was ready to feed him. The beast showed up in the afternoon and got a lot of attention, but not as much as he wanted.
I settled down and finished a seal carving I started yesterday and then carved a couple more ornaments.
My main project was to figure out how to do palm trees. My method of using the lathe to rough out the blank was not working. The force of the tail stock ramming into the wood to keep it in place, was causing the wood to break when it got thin. Whitewood is not a strong wood when not worked straight.
I turned to the bandsaw. My idea was to cut the curves of the trunk with the bandsaw. that was not a problem. For the fronds, I cut angles slits into the top of the tree. I would then carve the different layers differently so the fronds would hang in different places.
while Whitewood is a good carving wood, it does break easily compared to basswood. As I was carving, separating the fronds, the wood would break, changing my design with each cut.
One thing I wanted to do was to cut slits to separate the fronds top to bottom. I realized I would have to stand the piece up at the bandsaw blade and that was not going to work as I would have to cut the base too. I realize I could hook blade so it is next to the trunk and cut up to catch the bottom of the bottom fronds. I might try that later.
The layered fronds, even with the breakage I had, makes the carving look more like palm trees. Paint will help too. I should rib the trunks. Not heavily but it will look like some varieties of palm trees.
My dad died five years ago this week. It both seems like not long ago, and also a very long time ago. It is also the anniversary of when my mom met my dad. Her family pulled their trailer into a trailer park and my dad helped them back up. I think that was like 61 years ago. I learned that my grandfather, my dad's father, also died on thanksgiving weekend.
Mom and I decided to go to the national cemetery in Lake Worth where he was buried. It is kind of a long drive and we wondered if the cemetery was open because of the holiday. We started to go to the wrong gate and it was closed, then saw a car coming out the other gate so we knew it was open.
We located the grave immediately now that we know the number and about where it is. They have just about doubled the number of graves in the site since we were last there.
For those who do not know, this is a national cemetery on the level of Arlington Cemetery. There are a couple hundred of these around the country and this is the newest national cemetery site.
We visit dad's grave three or four times a year. Mom was thinking of going and I decided to ask her if she wanted to go since other days would not be as good.
Me standing at my dad's grave stone. I have lost visible weight!
Mom kneeling behind the grave stone. time is bringing out the color of the marble. when it was first put in, it was white.
When we got back, I returned to carving on my trees. At one point today, I tossed the three trees I had in process in the garbage and cut up another eight foot stick of two by two into twelve inch lengths to make more blanks, but then retrieved them and worked on them more.
For tomorrow, I will do some yard sailing if they are available, and then will work on more ornaments. I want as many as I can ready to be painted at one time. I will paint them in batches so I don't have to change colors as often. My cornucopia uses a large number of colors and it is a pain to clean the brush after dabbing a splotch on and then change colors. Doing several at the same time will save time and paint.
Since I won the bring back prize last week at the turning club meeting, I need to make something to give to the next winner. I have a piece of wood in mind and a design in mind.
I will see what I actually do tomorrow.
Year 11, Week 46, Day Three (of four) (week 620) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 11-26-11 Saturday
74 degrees early morning, 80 in the afternoon. In the early morning, the clouds were really sad and a few cried over us. By the time I got outside, the sad clouds had just about left and happy clouds came running in and continued to race by in silent thundering herd. There was sun quite a bit of the day. This weather report is brought to you by the city of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
A little bit of early wetness, Mom needing rest from her trip, and I needing to get to work prevented us from yard sailing.
After petting and feeding the beast of the back yard, I got my stuff out. I was not planning on working with the little lathe, but I had gone to Harbor Freight last night and picked up a belt and a cutting bit. I wanted to see if the belt fit or was a waste of money.
The lathe has a pulley on the motor with several steps, then there is an idler pulley with several steps, and then there is the drive pulley with several steps. The drive pulley is the largest while the idler pulley is the smallest. One can run the belt directly from the motor to the drive pulley, or can run a separate belt to the idler pulley from the motor and the drive pulley. One can get a wide range of speeds with the different combinations.
The new belt does well running on the drive pulley to either of the two pulleys. It is too long to go from the motor to the idler. It does fit nicely though.
I forgot to check to see if the belt fits to the screw drive. The screw drive moves the cutting tool down the bed so you don't have to sit and twist a crank.
New belt and cutting bits. The things with the orange are wrenches to change the bits around.
I decided to test out the lathe dog on my little lathe. Working with my brother on Thanksgiving showed me how it was used. I mounted a piece of Black Walnut in the lathe, held between points with the lathe dog holding it. I machined it at one end, then flipped it around and machined it then, and flipped it a third time to finish it up. On the third time, I kept hearing a ticking sound. Then the wood broke and the lathe dog hit my glasses. It was not hard enough to do any damage to the glasses. I checked the diameter with my knitting needle / crochet hook guide and saw that the center part was a bit thick. A bit of hand sanding brought it to where it would pass through the measuring hole nicely.
Lathe dog and face plate, then installed with a piece of wood to be rounded. the tang of the lathe dog fits into the slot of the face plate to actually turn the piece. The piece itself is really only held between two points- centers. This is a highly accurate way to work with something centered.
The results of turning on center. the upper piece is stock I started with and the lower one is the result. when I make that into a crochet hook, it will be a D hook, which is very small.
I dug out my big lathe. I have to make a BRING BACK prize for the next turning club meeting. I decided to turn an artistic piece. I decided to try a piece that I saw demonstrated which was conical in design, but had scalloped edges. I started making mine and made several mistakes. One was that it was not conical. Another was that I had the piece way too long. Then I had a catch and it came off the lathe. I could have finished it but decided to try it again with a bigger piece of wood.
I cut off a section of a piece I had turned round and decided to use the drive I had made a few weeks ago out of aluminum. I mounted them in the lathe and started turning. At one point, I got a catch and the piece came off the lathe When I was about to put the wood back in place, I saw that the ends of the screws were bent over. I then found that the head of one screw was also bent over. That had caught on the chuck itself. That was a lot of force.
I went to using the drive spur to finish adding the tenon to the wood, then turned it around. I was working nicely then suddenly a piece of the wood came off. I stopped, found the piece of wood. Luckily, it fell down onto the lathe bed instead of going flying across the yard. I clamped the wood in the vice and glued it. I do not know if it is save-able. I might end up cutting the top off the piece . I will see.
In back is the stock material the work in front of it came from. To the right is the broken chunk and a piece I tried first and realized it was not working. Bad design.
This shows some of the damage to the drive spur I made. The screw head was bent by the chuck when it started coming out. The tips of the outer screws were bent over from the force. I ended up cutting the screw points off and then backing the screws out with a pair of pliers. I have to point some new screws for this.
I have a lot of wood in the lathe cart. They add weight to the lathe so it does not bounce as much when out of balance. I found a piece of Sea Grape and decided to turn it. I cut a piece off right at the center shrinkage cracks. It was not anything close to being square.
One surface was cut with a chain saw and was rough. I decided to save that surface. I marked the centers, making adjustments to the shape of the wood and mounted it with the rough side to the drive head. The other side was flatter and I worked that side creating a raised rim for it to set on so the rest of the piece is off the table.
I turned the piece around using the same holes and started hollowing it. The top was at a strong angle so I had to cut down carefully before I got even close to be below the low rim.
The post that my tail stock was holding the piece with broke a couple times. I flattened it, made sure I had the center and then continued to hollow.
I got it down to where I wanted it. The post broke again. Old sea grape tends to be brittle. I was deep enough to call it done.
I used a strip sander attachment on an angle grinder to clean up the posts and remove some tool marks. I still have some sanding to do to remove the marks from the strip sander, but I decided it is close to being finished.
Sea Grape rustic bowl. Needs some more sanding but is basically done. If I made it again, I would do the top flat and make legs for the underside.
After lunch, I carved on a couple ornaments to finish up a day. I laid out the ornaments I have worked on and found several that needed to be finished. they were stopped and set aside, forgetting to complete them.
Saturday's production. I glued the missing piece of wood back onto the piece to the left. The piece to the right was my first attempt. I have a seal, a cornucopia and a polar bear. In back is the sea grape rustic bowl
Tomorrow, My main project is to work on ornaments. I need to finish several that were not completed, and then carve some other blanks I have. I also need to make more palm trees and see if I have them figured out now.
I will bring out the little lathe, not so much for me to work on it, but more to show my brother some things I did.
I will see what I actually do tomorrow.
Year 11, Week 46, Day Four (of four) (week 620) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 11-27-11 Sunday
82 degrees, nice breeze, high and low puffs, mostly sunny. Excellent day to work or do nothing. This weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
The beast of the back yard wanted attention and company. Since I was mostly carving, he was able to lay against my feet for long periods of time.
I carved first on some pieces that needed touching up or were not finished. A couple seals, but mostly palm trees. About late morning, I dragged out the dremmel and used that to help with the palm tree fronds. They kept breaking when carved with a knife. The knife did set the pattern on how they were going to be shaped, and then the grinding wheel on the dremmel removed the wood with less breakage than the knife was doing. I also used the dremmel on the surface of the base around the trunk as there were band saw cuts showing. I used the sanding disk to fix the bottom and sides of the base.
I have some snowmen that I accidentally turned round. I wanted to make them with the feet sticking out. I carved one of them with arms and a face. With these, I decided to leave them as they are so I cleaned up the top of the hat and the base and will paint them as they are.
Total ornament production this year. There are ten palm trees. Two more and that series is done. I only have four bears so I have a whole lot more of them to do. the others are doing well.
After talking with my brother, I took out that piece of aluminum that I want to make into a cross slide for my machine lathe. I took the bandsaw to it, roughly squaring up the sides. they will have to be machined more. My brother read that time with the saw saves a lot more time on the machining.
My brother measured the piece and says that if I am careful, I have enough metal in thickness for the part I am making. Only the tool holder part really needs to be that big. The rest of it can be smaller for the most part.
What I might do is make a piece of wood the size of my block and make the part I am after as practice so I have exactly what I am after. A time ago, I made a version of what I wanted to make, machining it out of wood. Wood does have problems when machining, but it is a quick and easy way to test out designs. Also, if I make my piece out of wood, my brother could sand-cast the parts so the machining would be limited. It is also excellent way to practice for the real project.
I cut aluminum block, my brother and nephew smelted for me earlier, on the band saw to get it closer to being square. I can think more about design now.
My brother was making a new tool for his lathe. it was a boring bar It is to smooth out the inside of pieces, getting them to the final dimension. The design is something I could use on my lathe. He did run into a problem. He has some cutting bits with interchangeable cutting tips. He also has extra screws. He thought he got the right tap for the screws but he found it to be wrong. He will come up with something else. His boring bar was simply a rod with a machined end that holds the bits at the right angle. I can easily make that for my lathe. The fact that I can make my own cutting bits helps.
For next weekend. I need to stop by the antique shop. Unless something happens so I can leave early from work, It looks like I will have to go Saturday. That will cut down on my woodworking. Again, my main project is to work on ornaments. I don't have near enough polar bears. Had I noticed that, and had I noticed I have ten palm trees, I would have at least carved the last two polar bear blanks I have made.
Between now and next weekend, I have to paint, sign, and varnish the ornaments I already have done. The palm trees will then get beads for ornaments and another coat of varnish to protect the glue holding the beads in place.
I will see what I actually do next weekend.