Sunday, January 1, 2012

Week 625 Wood Working

Year 11, Week 51, Day One (week 625) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 12-31-11 Saturday

60 degrees early morning, 66 degrees when I got out back, 78 degrees when I left in the afternoon. Clear blue sky with a barely felt wind. This weather report is brought to you by the city Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.


I had finished a short story I've worked on the past couple months and fired it off to the publisher. I don't know if it is worthy of accepting but they have it now.
I decided to paint a scene based on the story. I am using Acrylic paints and I started by adding a light wash of colors. I was thinking of final surface, but after my first session where it was not looking great, it dawned on me that what I started and what I need to continue to do, is a sketch showing tones, and then do my final painting over top that.
I have not done anything else beyond that first session as I have worked late each day and have not had time to work on it any farther.


After breakfast, we checked out a couple yard sales. I ended up getting an ironing board for a dollar. This ironing board is designed to be set on a table, by folding down some small legs. Every once in a while, I have had to iron something, be it patches on pants or heat transfer of something. I decided I might be able to use this ironing board. I also thought that if all else failed, I could use it for holding my stuff I am varnishing. for a dollar, it was worth taking it home.

table top ironing board

I am now in "get ready for art show mode". The LIGHT HOUSE POINT YACHT CLUB art show will be March 11, 2012. I don't have much time to get ready for the show.
I have two main projects to get ready for the show. Anything else I do between now and then will not be of great importance.
One project is a face vase with five faces on it. I have the wood and need start turning the outside shape, leaving the nose high, cut in for the brow, cut in even deeper below the nose for the mouth and chin. I then hollow out the inside leaving just enough wood to allow for carving of the facial features.

My other project is a dragon I started. I decided that was going to be the project of the day today.

Scarland Dragon and Woodley Dragon, Woodley with his wing blanks.

I started by taking a plush dragon named Scarland, that I got up in Connecticut. He has roughly the right kind of body shape to use as a guide for the wooden dragon I am making.
A few weeks ago, I humiliated a piece of wood to get a block that would be my wings for the dragon. Today, I looked at the piece of wood and decided I needed to flatten it and clean it up.
To do this right, I decided to dig out the thickness planer. Now this is a major project. It is buried in the back of Mom's garage with all sorts of wonderful things stacked around and on it.
I went in there and gave it a long look. I decided it would not be quite so hard to get it out if I work logically. I moved things across the pathway that is left in the garage. There were flattened boxes and some boards to shift, then I found safe stacking places for other things. I freed up the planer and pulled it out and took it around back

Planner with some black walnut set inside to show it in use.

I have not used this thing in a couple years and my brother used it early this year. it does not get a lot of use. It was one of those "I want it so bad I could taste it" kinds of things where you get it and seldom use it. The fact that it is buried aids in it not being used.
After the first couple passes in the planer, the block of wood that the wings were in, needed to be trimmed. I accidentally pulled the band-saw blade off the wheels twice. Reinstalling the blade is always a "fun" project.
I decided to use a chisel to remove some cut pieces of wood and then when I returned to the bandsaw, I removed less wood to make the planing work a bit less.
Using a push stick, I made several passes with the planner, flipping it over, until I had two flat faces. I then trimmed one side so it was generally square, and then ran it on the side through the planner until I had two parallel sides. I trimmed the ends and then gave the wood a good look.
My intention was to tip it up on edge and cut it at the top corner on one edge and the bottom corner on the opposite edge to create matching wedges. Mom pointed out that I have part of the center of the tree and it has created a great pattern. I decided to cut the slab in half.
My band-saw is a low power one and the blade is getting dull, so it took some time to "re-saw" or cut in half the slab. I then ran the two pieces through the planer. One piece caught and a corner of it broke off. I finished planing both pieces, each at the same setting s they would end up the same thickness, and then cut both pieces so the missing side matched on both of them.
While these wings are blocks right now, they will be heavily carved, with lots of depth and design to them. I will try hard to make them match each other when done.

Planed oak staves and Norfolk Island Pine wing blanks.

I have some Black Walnut that was out in the weather and was showing some signs of rot. Since I had the planer out, I ran them through the planer, not trying to square them, but just to get rid of the damaged surface. That cleaned them up nicely.

Back Walnut, before and after planing.

A while back, the metal bands failed around a half barrel that Mom had a fountain inside. After messing around, I ended up with the staves.
Since I had the planner out, I decided to straighten them out. The staves are arched, bowing to the outside. I ran the first couple with the outside up first to flatten that side, then I flipped them over and while holding the end down, I started the inside through the planer and then pressed down on the other end as the wood finished. this knocked off the ends first.
After the first few, I looked and saw there was still a bow in the wood. It was then that it dawned on me that the wood would flex as they went through the planer.

Oak staves, before planing on left, after planing on right.

The planer has a pair of rollers to draw the wood through the machine with the blades in between. The rollers have to push on the wood at a certain pressure to guide the wood through.
What I figured out to do, was to send the wood through several times at each setting. The pressure on the wood with each pass would be less and the wood would take on the natural bend rather than being flattened.
When I was done working both sides, there was still a bow in the wood, but not as much as when I started. They were a whole lot thinner too.
I flattened about a third of them so I can put them to use immediately. I now just have to come up with the right projects.

accumulated sawdust after finished working

planter with some old sawdust before, and filled to top after clean up of planing

I got some gift cards for Christmas. I had a $25 gift card from either last Christmas or my birthday. I cannot remember which. I got a $50 card this Christmas. I decided I needed sand paper for my disk sander and decided I would get a couple other things while I was at it if they had it. I wanted to use up the old gift card at least.
While looking through the tool isles, I found the nine inch sand paper that my disk sander uses I noticed they had eight inch sand paper, with a few more sheets at the same price.
My brother gave me back a face plate that came with the big metal lathe I purchased year before last. My brother was going to modify it and never got to it. He gave it back to me last weekend.
It dawned on me that I can make a good sanding disk for my lathe very easily. I then realized that the face plate would be perfect for this project. I would mount a piece of wood onto it and bring it down to the diameter of the sand paper. I would then have a sanding disk on my lathe whenever I needed it. I can slow it down or speed it up as needed. Now all I have to do is to make a table to fit on the lathe to hold the work at the right height.
I also got some metal grinding bits and a cutting disk set for my dremmel. the set which has like a hundred pieces was just over twice the price of one tube of cutting disks.
I stopped at Lowes and realized that I have Home Depot cards so I held off on my purchases. I think I have what I wanted anyway. I will see tomorrow.

nine inch and eight inch sand paper, cutting wheel kit, flap sander and milling bits

I was on my feet nearly all day long, at the band saw, at the planer, along with the stores. I had not been on my feet that long for a long time. My feet were tired. I used to have serious foot problems before I got some medical inserts for my shoes. Now I only hurt if I over-do it like I did today.

Tomorrow, I need to start carving on the dragon in earnest. This is one of those projects that is going to take a couple months to finish. I want to start on the left hind leg and tail tomorrow. The hind leg was something that has giving me problems on getting the position right for the way the wood is shaped. this was a naturally occurring piece of wood that I am correcting to become a dragon.
There are a couple projects I would love to do for the turning club. One of them is the bird ornaments I did this year, but I want to do it a bit bigger.
If I have some stainless steel rod of the right size, I might make it into a turning tool. Some grinding, drilling, and threading will be involved in that project.


Year 11, Week 51, Day two (week 625) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 01-01-11 Sunday

60 degrees early morning 64 when I got out back. I forgot to look at the temps late in the day but they predicted 80 degrees. It felt good. wisps of cotton clouds meandering across a deep blue sky with a really bright winter sun. There was a haze everywhere in the morning. I should have stopped to take some pictures along the way but was in the wrong lane. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach department of Tourism.

I overdid it yesterday on my standing. I stood at the planner, at the band saw, walked several stores all with little breaks. Last night and this morning, my feet let me know they did not like that. after I got going in my morning, though, the soreness of my feet disappeared, completely forgotten.

I went to bed at my normal time last night, and was waken periodically by loud reports of fireworks. I work fifteen minutes before midnight so stood on my fourth floor porch and watched fireworks from my fourth floor porch. I slept in this morning but that was not enough.
I went to Mom's house and after feeding and petting the cats, I laid down for a couple hours. I was still tired and not at full energy but decided it was time to get to work.

I petted the cat some more, then dragged out the lathe I decided to do something simple. I looked over my woods and decided on a three by two and a half piece of wood. I can never remember the name of the wood. I fist lopped off a length off the end sufficient for the project I was doing. I was making a big version of the Christmas ornament birds I made.

I mounted it on the lathe so after turning, I would have a square piece, then realized I should use the bandsaw to square it, save me some turning time.
There is a rule of thumb in metal working and it works for woodworking also, though I tend to ignore it often enough. It says THE MORE TIME YOU SPEND AT THE SAW, THE LESS TIME YOU SPEND MACHINING. The saw is your best friend. In metal working, it takes time to machine metal. Harder the metal, the more time it takes. Using the saw to remove waste materials will save you a lot of extra time when actually making the final cuts.
I use this with my Christmas ornaments all the time. I will use the lathe, bandsaw and other tools to remove waste wood so my actual carving is on the surface rather than removing excess wood.

After cutting a slat off the wood, I re-mounted it in the wood, rounded it roughly, with some of the flats still showing, and made a tenon so it could be held by the chuck. I turned it around, mounting it in the chuck and rounded the end for a distance.
I then pulled the tail stock back and started hollowing the end, making it a cone for the bird's tail. I used the long spade bit drill I got at a yard sale, held in a tool handle I won as the BRING BACK prize in the turning club. I bore it out a depth. I then turned to my turning tools to make the inside a cone going to a point deep inside I tried to make it even as possible.
I sanded that and then started on the outside, roughly matching the inside angle. I went just past the end, and then formed a ball to be the body. I made this one slightly oblong on purpose.
Now as I was working, a crack formed in the cone and a piece broke off. In many cases, that would be a disaster, but in this case, I will be cutting away some wood anyway to make the bird. This just decided for me where I was going to do it. I continued on as if it did not happen.
About the point I was going to part the work off, I started another ball for the head, slightly smaller than the body. Once I had it partly formed, giving me good access to the parting point, I sanded between the two pieces and then parted off the body and then finished the head, making it oblong and the part at the chuck had a slight taper. I finally parted it at off after I sanded it also.
Now I needed to shape the tail better. It would be nice to have a jig for this but I am too lazy to make a jig. I am not sure where I would keep all the jigs I need. I drew a line to show how I wanted the tail to be cut. Since the place where it broke off was fairly flat, I set that up against the bandsaw blade with my finger partly beneath the body ball which is smaller than the cone. I started the bandsaw and while holding it in that position, I cut the cone about on my line.
I touched up both pieces with the dremmel. I carved the meeting point between the tail cone and body ball. I was quite thick on the tail so I feathered back the edge so it looked thinner.
A piece of oak slat I worked yesterday, became a good piece for the base. I measured and cut squared and sanded the oak square. I drilled a hole in the center, though the hole ended up with a slight tilt. I did not use the drill press.
I was going to carve a piece of oak and that was not working so I mounted a piece of oak in the lathe and after knocking the corners off with a knife, I started turning it round. I guess I had a catch as the piece broke. I will work them with the little lathe later.
For the beak and leg, I ended up using a skewer. I also drilled a hole to mount the head to the body and glued everything together.

The bird needs sanding and then finishing.

Finished bird

I have tomorrow off, but since I was not feeling right today, I decided to stay home and do some work around the house tomorrow. I got a whole lot less than I planned to do this weekend.
I do have wing blanks for my dragon. I had my plush dragon with me and saw how I will design the wooden dragon to match the natural shape I already have. I also have something to show at the turning club meeting this month.
Next week, I really need to get some work done on the dragon. If I can make some serious headway on it, that will be good. I have a lot of work on it and three months is not going to be a lot of time. I still have the face vase to turn and carve.
I also need to visit the Antique shop and see what was going on there. That is a Saturday trip unless things really get slow at work on Friday.


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