Year 15, Week 13, Day One (week 710)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
Early morning tornado warnings heading East. That broke up as it crossed the Everglades. The worst of it broke up before it arrived while we were having breakfast. The wet stopped coming down by around ten, but that ended any concept of going out yard sailing. The temps got up to 84 degrees and the sky became blue from horizon to horizon. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
GOLD COAST WOOD TURNING CLUB REPORT.
We had a wood turning club meeting Thursday night. They had their normal wood INSTANT GALLERY, where you set your pieces out and people can examine them carefully, and then later you tell about the pieces, what you did, how you did it, and any particulars such as type of wood and type of finish.
We also had a turning club challenge. This is where the club demonstrates a technique, and then everybody who wants to participate, will try to make something using the technique. They give out tickets to all people who brought something and then draws a ticket and the winner gets a gift certificate. The main purpose of this is to get people to make something different than they normally do.
Finally, they also had a tool sale. Many members makes tools, others have extra tools or tools they don’t ever use. Those who are interested in the tools can buy them. We have beginners who don’t have many tools and this is a way to get something they would not get at that price. This time, not only were there the normal turning tools, there was also a strip sander, a scroll saw, a chipper (looks something like a dremmel but the chisel vibrates, making it slide through wood). There was also a tenoning clamp and a dovetail set.
I never did anything for the turning challenge. I never had the time. I brought the six plates I finished up last time. I described how I had made a disk sander for the lathe, and then how I used it to set the plates against when sanding. I heard two people say “I never thought of that.” The sand paper holds the piece firmly so it does not slide, and it does not mar the work. One then only has to think about the marks the tail stock might make.
One of my friends got some Sea Grape wood. Sea Grape grows like a vine most of the time and naturally grows near the beach. The highway department plants it along side the road at the cloverleafs as a barrier. They can also be trained into a tree and can get two feet in diameter. I was given two logs about two foot long. One was about a foot in diameter, the other was about nine inches.
Someone brought a scroll saw to the tool sale. They were from out of town. They said that there were a couple pieces missing from it and would give it away. When no one showed interest, I said I would take it. I dropped it off to my brother the next day and he said it was the top of the line Craftsman saw, with an extra wide throat. It was missing two levers to hold the blade and the plate that goes over the hole.
I looked at all the tools and there were three pieces I almost got. I just could not bring myself to get them. It looked like everybody enjoyed themselves.
Because of the early morning storm, I napped until the wetness nearly finished. The smaller of the Sea Grape log had some center checks. I wanted to make some drum sticks making use of the grain so I dug out a hatchet and a big hammer. I pounded on back of the hatchet, driving it into the wood like a wedge or fro. The wood split fairly easily. I split the log in half, then started splitting one half in all sorts of sizes. I was shocked at how easy it split. I had never tried splitting a log before.
At one point, the hammer hit right at the edge of the ax head. Something bit onto my hand at the base of the thumb. I looked and a piece of metal was sticking out of my skin and I was bleeding. I pulled the metal out, put a Band-aid on it and went back to work. It bled nicely and I had to replace the bandage a bit later, but then it stopped. It also hurt every time I bumped it and every move seemed to be aimed at that spot. It took me a bit of looking to figure out where the piece of metal came off the edge of the hatchet head. I just hit it right to knock a chip off. I was more careful with my pounding after that, making sure I hit on the solid surface.
A FRO looks like a sickle, but the cutting edge is on the top- outside, rather than the bottom- inside of a sickle. You set that on the wood and you pound on the blade, which usually sticks out both sides of the log to give you places to hit, and then pry the handle to guide the cracking. I cannot remember which way you pry, but you can guide the cracking so it is straight and true.
I am used to dry Sea Grape where it is slightly brittle and very hard. I found out that fresh green wood is soft, easy to work. I could even carve it, though it is not the absolute best wood for that. The dry stuff is not something one wants to carve. When fresh, the wood is white, but it oxidizes quickly to a wine brown. When dry, the color is dark and consistent all the way through.
I was done playing around by a late lunch time and had cleaned up.
I am not sure what I will do tomorrow. I do have the larger log and might try something in that. I will see what I actually do tomorrow.
Year 15, Week 13, Day Two (week 710)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
70s early morning, 84 in afternoon. Some idiot broke the solid clouds of the early morning so they split up into half blue sky in the afternoon. I don’t remember any sun at all during the day.
I stopped at Brandsmart to get a grill set (3 different heating plate sets). The only one they ended up having was the display model. I got it at half price and I was really happy. I saw my first one about five years ago and kicked myself for not getting it. At the time I was short on money and could not get the other stuff I was getting and that too. I almost got one for Christmas but decided to hold off. The money and opportunity came up so I went to get it. It is without the box and has an extra waffle plate, but otherwise is perfect. It was at a price I could well have spent at a yard sale so I am really happy. That is the only “yard sailing” I did this weekend.
The first thing I did after I got set up was to drag out the electric chain saw and the 100 foot cord and set up at the back of the property to saw a slice off the large sea grape log. I first intended to slice a bunch of plate blanks off, but when I got ready to cut, I decided to slice only a two inch slice off the end.
Even with the good blade on the chain saw, it took some time to slice through the log. I am working on the ground so it is a bit tougher than it could be. I finally got the slice off, then went to the lathe.
The fresh cut side was a bit better than the raw edge so I found the approximate center of both sides of the disk. Because the wood was not exactly round, it was approximate. I set the fresh cut side against the sand paper and the tail stock in the center of the disk, and cinched it up.
It took some time to get rid of the wedge, and get the back flat. I then started shaping the inside of the platter. When I got that just right, I had to remove most of the center post where the tail stock was attached. This wood was showing shrinkage checks already. Sea Grape checks from the center and they radiate over time to the outside. An old log might look solid, but when you cut into it, you find it is well checked on the inside. I most likely will split this log in half.
I took the disk off the lathe, replaced my chuck for the sanding disk, and opened the chuck as wide as possible. I then placed the tail stock about center, which was fairly close to what it was for the front, and then shaped the bottom.
When I was done, because it is wet, I worked glue into the checks, which had a little give, gave it a spray coat of varnish, and then set it to dry completely. I will finish it after it has dried a while. I have some thickness left to work with over most of it.
I took one of the splits I had created yesterday, and rounded it. It is not exactly round, but close. I decided to let that dry before I do anything else with it also.
By the time my brother arrived, I was cleaning up. I was also hurting. My legs, my back, my shoulder and elbow let me know I was not used to doing that much work. I was doing some things I had not done in a while. That may well have been my longest turning session in at least months.
I will see what I actually do next month.
I have no idea what I will do next week. I most likely will do something with the sea grape wood. I have loads of other projects.