(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
66 degrees early morning, 80 in the afternoon. A small cloud needed a diaper early in the morning over part of the area over and just to the south of us . It messed up a couple yard sales where they were unable to open early because things could get wet. A Light breeze was nice during the day. The combination of low and high clouds kept it cloudy all day long. Almost from the moment I left my house, the sky had a pretty color coming beneath the clouds. It shifted from purple, to red, to a light pink at the time I got to Mom’s house. If I was using a film camera, I would have shot two to three rolls of film of the sky. Digital just does not handle sunrises right. I did not even bother to try. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Department Of Tourism.
The sky was dripping lightly when we went out after Breakfast. We were not expecting much in the way of yard sales. About eight blocks north of our area, the ground was dry.
We found several yard sales in Light House Point and Deerfield Beach. One guy had several telescopes, one with one of those motor drives so it will follow the start as it moves across the sky. Back in the 80s, when I was heavily in photography, I would have sold my soul for one of those. He also had some boat stuff. One thing that caught my eye was a fishing pole in a case for back packing. It was not something I really, really wanted, it was just a “nice to have” item, that was why I decided his price was higher than I wanted to go.
In other yard sales, everything that I saw that was interesting, was stuff I already know not to get. I did get a couple items nothing worth mentioning.
I headed out back soon after a quick nap.
This was a day of “Dumb Rookie Mistakes.”
A friend gave me some posts he removed from a bed. I had told him I would make something from some. I decided to make a set of tiny goblets copying the shape of the balls on the posts. I started working from it and realized it was way too long for the lathe to hold the wood while I was hollowing out the bowl.
The chuck uses only a tiny bit of metal to hold the wood in place. The farther the work is from the chuck, the less pressure it takes to move it. In this case, I was actually holding the work by the base of the jaws, not the “teeth” There is nothing in that part of the jaw to dig into the wood to hold it. It is pure friction of smooth metal. It does not take much force to cause the wood to slip. The reason for holding the work there was that the piece of wood was too small to fit properly. SOMEWHERE, I have a set of jaws designed to hold small items, but I am way too lazy to locate them and then remove eight screws to swap them out for one project. SOMEWHERE I also have another jaw and should get that set up for the “pin” jaws. I think that is going to require me to unload my tool cart. That sounds like work!!!!
I took a chance and started hollowing it with a post in the middle. One can always grind that away later. I got partway in and the knob broke. That was the first of my Dumb Rookie Mistakes. There was several ways of doing it without breaking the stub, which includes using proper tools, using a light touch, paying attention to the angle of the tools, but I was not using any of those methods. With this kind of work, these breaks don’t go very far or do too much damage. I have had it pull the tool on me before, causing my hand to hit the tool rest hard, but it did not do that this time.
I cut the piece shorter and mounted it in the lathe. I then got it roughly centered and then worked on the inside of the bowl. It was not exactly centered and had a slight wobble (possibly a 64th off), but I got the inside nice and clean, then started working on the outside. This made it a bit thinner than I intended, but was thick enough.
As one develops skills, one tries to get thinner and lighter. If you make a usable bowl, you might get twenty bucks for it. Make it very thin and one might get a hundred dollars. Pierce and carve it and one can get thousands. The more air the piece has, the more it is worth.
Before I went any farther, I sanded all I had done pretty well. I was not about to sand when it is held by a really thin stick of the stem.
The stick of wood I worked with had white paint on the outside, so I had to shave that off as part of the process. I was not going to try to sand it off. Just remove a thin layer of wood that had the paint. Since I am not spectacular with the use of my tools, I lost a bit of the original shape, but felt I had something good. I then worked on the stem, shaving down the wood until I got to the right diameter. Mistakes with the tool lost the original shape of the lower bead on the bottom of the cup. I sanded the stem after I had gone part way, then continued on, sanding at each stage as I went, leaving a lot of stronger wood to hold it in place before I cut farther.
I had the stem the way I wanted and started sanding all the stem to make sure it was the same the entire length. I was using a light touch..
I did not have enough of the waste wood sticking out in order to part the base the way I wanted. When I had started, I removed too much surface length when I was working between center before the nub broke. That caused the Second of my Dumb Rookie Mistakes
NEVER EVER wrap anything around your fingers when you are working with the lathe. If you make handles for sanding strips or burning wires or other strip style tools, make them so they can slip out of your hands!!!!! Otherwise you can easily lose a finger or even worse damage!!!!!
I was using a strip of emery cloth. I do this all the time. I strictly use the friction of my fingers on the strip to hold it but it is not wrapped around anything on my body. While trying to sand the bottom as close to the chuck as I could, the chuck caught the sandpaper.
The chuck jaws are four pieces of metal that when closed all the way form one tight ring. The gaps grow larger as they are opened,. When chucks are made, they are usually a solid ring that is machined to shape. Then they are cut apart to become individual jaws.
The jaws were slightly opened to create a small gap. It was just enough. I had the lathe at 2000 RPM which is the fastest this lathe could go. The slowest is 500 rpm. Not a good range of speeds. The gap in the chuck caught the edge of the cloth sandpaper strip and pulled it in as it spun. The strip came out of my hands but not before giving my right thumb enough speed to slap against the wood and bruise it ever so slightly. Then the sandpaper slapped around until I stopped the lathe. Also a piece tore off the strip. After I got my wits together, I sanded some more before I called it good enough.
I then found the center of the base, which was just a hair off but not bad. A 64th of an inch looks really badly off when it is spinning. I set the tail stock center to my mark and set the cup against the chuck. Only friction and a slight pressure was holding it in place. I started it spinning and started the process of parting the excess wood.
This is where my Third Rookie Mistake came in The goblet is delicate. One ABSOLUTELY DO NOT apply any force to It at all. Never twist. In reality, You NEVER mount the work of this kind this way. What I was dong is an absolute no-no. There is other, safer ways of doing this part of the project. I was smart in cutting the slot really big to prevent binding. It is just that I made a little mistake. I somehow caused the parting tool bind in the wood. I may have twisted slightly or pushed in too much. The goblet itself split into three pieces and all three pieces separated from the stem. I broke it big-time.
I took the stem to the bandsaw and sliced off the worst of the waste wood. I then dug out the dremmel and cleaned out the stub at the bottom of the base This is never as good as if it were turned off. The dremmel, by nature, makes it rougher than it should be. I fitted two halves of the bowl and glued them together. Later I glued the third piece to the first two. I had many options with the resulting bowl. One, which I was going to try, was to reattach the stem. Another would be to make it into a flower with a little bit of carving. I would see what my results were after I was done.
I drew on a piece of whitewood how I wanted the new angel wings to be. I then took them to the bandsaw. If you remember, previously I added a meat cutting blade in the bandsaw. It does not do curves because there is no set – outside bend – to the teeth. I cut the shape of the wings out of the block of wood, I mainly did straight cuts. For the parts in deep, I would cut wedges off so I could get better angles and then scraped the wood back and forth on the blade to help clean it up. The blade is not square, top to bottom. It cuts a little deeper on the bottom than to the top. This bandsaw should be replaced, but it works so it stays.
I put the sanding disk on the lathe, since it has newer sandpaper than the disk sander has (Reminder, buy another package). I cleaned up the shape of the wings with the sanding disk.
I then marked and then sliced the shape into four sets of wings. Since the bandsaw needs some adjustments and the throat plate has a big gap, I did not get the cuts parallel and clean. I used the sanding disk on the lathe to clean them up. I needed to take some thin sheets of wood I have and clamp them on each side of the blade to give me a tiny slot so the pieces don’t fall into the gap. There are times one is too lazy to do what would save a lot of effort....
I decided I would make a second set. I used the best side of the first wings to draw the second set. I followed the same technique on them. I got the spacing wrong and two wings were thick, but one was really thick. I started cutting it and the blade twisted slightly (which was why it was too think in the first place) and I could not go straight. Instead of coming up with two wings, I shaved the wing down in thickness, and then had to sand quite a bit to make it even.
I sat with the dremmel and ground some spots to clean them up, especially where the bandsaw could only cut straight in. It was rough there. Here is where I made My Fourth Dumb Rookie Mistake.
My hair is kind of long and pulled back in a loose pony tail. I usually tuck it in the back of the shirt. It was not in place at this time. A chunk came off one wing. I bent over with the dremmel still running, and reached for it on the ground. My hair got caught on the grinding bit I was using. Luckily, the dremmel is not a strong machine. The hair stopped it. After turning the switch the wrong way once (it only moved a little before it bound, I turned it off.
NEVER EVER WEAR ANY LOOSE CLOTHING, HAIR OR JEWELRY around machinery. It is a great way to get seriously hurt. After a tiny bit of tugging and pulling, I unlocked the bit from the dremmel and then slipped the hair off the shaft itself and finally the bit itself. This bit has little points sticking out that eats wood nicely. They also hold hair well. Once I got the bit out of my hair, I ran my finger through my hair to loosen tangles. Except for a tiny knot, it all came apart with no problems.
I have a machine called the Fordum. This is a stronger version of the dremmel, but it uses a foot peddle for power and a flexible shaft to bring the bit to the work. The motor is usually hung next to you. The fordum, being a more powerful motor, could well have done damage if it caught in my hair. I don’t use it as it is a hassle to set up and put away. I also lost a part to work the chuck properly.
The piece of wood I reached for was not the one that came off. I found the other just moments after I stood up. It had gone beneath the table. I glued that back on.
The wings need shaping. I intend to give them a cup form so they look like bird wings at least in rough shape. As they are, they are way too thick. Shaping them will also reduce the thickness and make them look even better.
I finished up the little project I had, and cleaned up. Many wood workers do their work in a shed or garage, basement or some other well enclosed place. One can simply stop and walk away for several days and pick up where they left off. They can also hold off on cleaning for another time of the day or another day. I cannot do that. I have to clean up and pack up everything before I can call it a day. That includes sweeping down the equipment and the work area before putting everything away. Everything has to be covered or deep enough beneath cover to be out of the weather. It is usually the clean up that does me in at the end of the project. I tend to stop on the project when I have had enough. Then it is too late.
I laid down and did my FIFTH Dumb Rookie Mistake. I have a little fan blowing past me for fresh air. I decided to move it. I reached up and my finger went into the hole of the protective grid that is SUPPOSED to keep hands away from the blades. My finger went deep enough in to contact the really fast moving blades. The blade speed was transferred to my hand as I jerked back and away from it. The blade slowed to a visible spin, then sped back up. Other than a tiny nick on the end of my finger, I was all right.
I WAS REMINDED.....
One should think about what you are going to do, not do it automatically.
One should take a moment Before doing anything to make sure nothing is hanging out to get caught.
One should watch carefully what you are doing and not just reach.
One should remember the suggestions, rules, lessons, others have learned by hard experience so you do not have to repeat it.
I was lucky that all my “injuries” was mostly to my pride.
I have several projects in mind for tomorrow. I will have to see what is going on as to what gets done.
Year 16, Week 08, Day Two (week 842)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
66 degrees early morning, 75 when I hit the road. It stayed there all day. The light breeze made the clean blue sky nice to be under. This was a WINTER DAY that makes Florida so wonderful to live in. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Department Of Tourism.
My brother and I spent most of our time talking. Yesterday I realized I had some files and rasps in my tool cart (the box they were in had fallen during the week). I dug them out and we examined them. My brother took two files, one is almost knife like already as it was a triangle (I had two). He will have to see how well they clean up. If they clean up, he will use them. If not, he will make them into a knifes. He found he had a file at home worse than the one he got from here last week. He decided to weld some soft metal to the file and will forge them together when he is making the knife. The hard file metal will end up being the hard metal for the edge and run through the core, and the soft metal on the outside will give the knife flexibility. He has been watching some knife making shows and has learned quite a bit. He knew mistakes they made as they made them. My brother might not be able to hammer much but he thought he would try this project. At the moment, I am not really in the need of another knife but might make one a bit later. I have the materials available anyway.
I fitted the stem into the goblet bowl. There are bits of wood missing. I decided to use a water resistant wood glue to fill the gaps. The dried glue seems to be close to the color of the wood itself which helps hid the repair. I doubt the glue will take a good finish, but dry, it looks pretty good. I have a bunch of sanding to do to clean it up. I have a dremmel at home and might use that to speed some of the work up. I did use the glue to fill gaps so they are not as noticeable. One thing I have done before was to paint the glue to give it a color closer to the wood color.
Last night, I went to the Dollar store and got some small clear bowls. I now have a project to do. I need to turn a wood cup or pedestal that will hold that glass bowl, and add that to the platter I made last week, the one with the knob in the center. It will become a chip and dip platter. I will have to do a glue-up of a couple pieces of wood to make it work, or might be able to do it in one piece of wood. To make sure the new piece of wood stays in place, I am thinking of using a dowel or a hidden screw to hold the two pieces together more firmly than just with the help of glue. I have several ideas of how to make this and will have to see what ends up working. I want to make it out of the yellow pine the platter is made from so it has some continuity.
I have another weekend to get these projects ready to show off at the Turning club meeting. They can be raw and unfinished wood, but must at least be presentable.
I will have to see what I get done next weekend.
The original post along side the mate I was working with.
I cut the excess off and readied to hollow the cup
First batch of new wings for the angels. Shows how my first angel had fairy wings.
The nub broke while hollowing.
I was cutting the base when I broke the bowl.
The platter with the clear cup on top. will have a wood pedestal to hold it
The goblet reassembled.