(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
78 degrees early morning, 90 late afternoon, blue skies with high platelets over the ocean. Small puffs showed up and raced across the sky late morning and high towers and thunder boomers appeared and came close at around four, banging and booming, then raced away over the Everglades to the west. The weather reports I watched during the week looked horrible for Saturday, but Yesterday, the weather report changed to give good weather. I found that if it says “possible rain after noon,” or later the morning will be good and the rest of the day will usually be nice. In this case, it said after three, which the weather showed up near four.
I go to http://www.weather.gov/ and put in my zip code and it gives you on the left some of the day’s forecast. Under the temperature is a link for detailed forecast. This is where they give the seven-day and ten-day forecast.
I find this, for my area, to be reasonably accurate. Days out, it might be off on the timing, but it seems to become more accurate the closer you get to when you need it. One problem is that the stated weather reports are for a large area, not for your specific location. I have had a few times where, like for example, in the county to the south of us, was a stationary front, while where we were was clear. The weather report said a high chance of rain.
I also use motion radar and a few other weather sites to back up my plans, but this is where I start each morning. This weather report is brought to you by The City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
The Gold Coast Wood Turning Club met for our monthly meeting. There are times when it is hard to find people to demonstrate to the club. They could not get anyone for tonight, so they played a video that they had in their library.
Cindy Drozda is a master turner who specializes in small boxes with finials. This video showed how to make a finial. They had about two hours of the videos on the CD, but only showed two segments. One was on the kinds of cuts one needs to know on finials, and really, any other kind of wood turning. There is the V cut (a groove where the sides angle in to a point), the fillet ( a groove where the sides and bottom forms a curve), and the bead (where the top edge or whole top is rounded, as in what you would see in a bead). With these three, plus the plaining cut (flattening and leveling the surface), one can do most any surface shapes of wood turning. One just changes the size
The second segment of the video was on making the actual finial. She showed techniques like starting at the very end and getting a section exactly the way you want it, including finish-sanding it before going to the next section so you never have to touch the previous parts. She also showed that she held her hand on the back side of the work while she made her cuts, supporting the material as she worked. This kept it from bending or chattering. Too much pressure, especially if you are going extremely thin, can break a piece before you made the mistake.
Someone mentioned that she usually makes her finals on the caps of the work itself, but in this case, she was using a jam chuck. She taped it in place and shoved hard on it to make sure it was seated. She said that if it comes loose, she could jam it back in and it will be square again. If you just stick it in, it might not be fully seated and next time you push it back in, it might not be square to where you had it.
A jam chuck is a piece of waste wood that is shaped to hold your work. Sometimes it is shaped to go into the throat of a work so you can finish the bottom. Other times it has a hole to hold the work like with a chuck. One advantage of a jam chuck is that one can cut into and even trim off the jam chuck as needed without any worry about wasting good wood. In Cindy’s case, she had a hole in her jam chuck the same size as the one in the cap she will insert the finial into.
Many people choose finials based on the length of the original. Longer the original, the longer the finial. Someone mentioned that the finials Cindy makes are based on the width of the work instead. It does not have to be very long even on a long piece. Just proportional to the width of the work. I have not compared her work to others so I have no idea whether proportional to length or width is better. Usually, it is suggested is to look at the work of many others and see what you like best. Tastes can change as one gets more experience or gets tired of what you have done so far.
We were given a turning challenge for our next meeting. A turning challenge is where a process or technique is demonstrated, and then everybody is asked to try what was demonstrated. The main idea is to get people to try something they have never done, or have not done in a long time, or to try something differently than they have done before.
The way we usually work it, is that one brings one’s work in and says it is for the challenge. They give you a ticket. When the time comes, everybody tells about their piece, h ow they did it, problems, etc. Then a number is pulled from the “hat” and three winners are selected. Usually they have gift certificates for the winners. They do this so rank beginners and grand masters have an equal chance of winning.
Our challenge for our next meeting is to make a finial using what we learned. Some will just make a finial or a few of them, others will make containers for the finials to fit on for the whole effect. The idea is to try and make it.
When I started in the club, I would try everything they demonstrated, and bring it in the next month. While my results were nothing compared to theirs, I learned a lot and improved quickly. I stopped doing that when I started coming up with my own projects and not have time to do theirs.
Because we are meeting in a high school, there won’t be any meetings for June and July. The school will be closed till then.
Going to Mom’s house, I had seen a sign in an area we regularly visit. Coming back from breakfast, We also saw a yard sale near mom’s house. After a quick stop to get our act together, we headed out. At the nearby yard sale I picked up a large oval crock pot. I really did not need it, but once in a while it is nice to have something bigger than I had. The price was better than I had ever hoped to see. The yard sale I had seen the sign for, was one that always has yard sales and did not have anything of interest.
We then went through several sections of our yard sailing area and found one other yard sale when we were almost ready to head home. Again, nothing leaped into my hands. Mom had enough so we went home.
I headed out on my own. I went through a couple other areas and found only two yard sales. I got a pack of paper clips and spring clips.
I am looking at a possible future secret project that might happen in a few months. I did see several things involving that project, but I have no room to put the materials for the project so I had to simply had to drool and dream. I expect that when it is time for the project, I won’t find the materials.
I saw where a small Norfolk Island Pine tree was cut down in one area I drove through. Norfolk Island Pine trees can get up to three feet in diameter. Itis one of the most popular wood turning woods around. This one was a little over 12 inches, possibly 18 inches in diameter at the base where it was cut down. I stopped and had a look. I decided that the lengths of trunk were too much for me to carry or move. In the past, have used the branches for carving but decided not to get them either. Sad. I still have too much wood.
Once I got back, I did some horse trading with mom on the spring clips, then did some swapping with a batch I had out back. These spring clips have plenty of uses. They can sometimes be used as clamps, and I am constantly seeing videos of how they can be used to do many things I would never have thought of. I already have some at home, but this batch had more sizes than I have to work with.
I could not decide what project I wanted to do once I got out back so I sat with a light breeze and played with my tablet for a while. If in doubt, sit back and relax. I have worked to get used to the heat. When the summer months come, we will have the same temperatures we are getting up to now, but it will be 90% humidity. (At least it feels that way) It is hard to do projects in those conditions unless you are used to it. Given a choice of staying “comfortable” and being able to do projects, I can always return to comfort if it gets bad. Projects don’t do themselves, especially when the weather is not comfortable.
After about an hour or two, of relaxing, I got an idea for a project.
A couple weeks ago, I cut up a two by twelve board. It was rectangular. I kept squaring it, cutting it, then squaring what was left and cutting it again, until I had what was basically a two by two stick left over. I took a five inch square piece and marked the center. I put it in the lathe with the jaw of the chuck open, and the tail stock holding the wood against the chuck.
With larger pieces, one cuts off the corners as it takes a lot of time to knock the corners off to make a piece round. If they are big enough, the corners won’t clear. In this case, the work was small enough where would take about the same length of time to bandsaw the corners off as turn them off.
Because I was not actually holding the work in place with the chuck, there were a few times a corner caught on the tool and stopped the spin. The work slipped on the chuck. I would pull away, tighten the tail stock and gently work with more care for a few moments and keep cutting until it was round (with several more catches along the way).
If the cuts I made when squaring the wood were true and straight, along with being nice and clean, I would have kept the outside square and round just the inside. But I was sloppy in my cuts and too lazy to correct it, rounding it was the best option.
I decided to make this in to a straight sided cup. After rounding, I started hollowing, leaving a stem in the center. Techniques for working small projects like this where it is right next to a large tail-stock, much different than when you are working with a large piece with plenty of room to work. When the work is held on a face-plate or chuck while hollowing is even easier. When working between centers, one has to leave a post in the center to support the work. One has to fit the tool into the small space and get it into a position to do the cutting you are after. I have had plenty of projects where the post broke on me. It is nearly impossible to get it square again when that happens.
I ended up using an angle hollowing-tool, a bowl gouge and a round nosed scraper for the hollowing because of the way they cut the wood, and then a skew-chisel laid sideways to flatten the bottom.
Once I had it to a point where I decided it was good enough, I turned the piece around and got it centered, and finished off the bottom.
I have to remove the post on the bottom and inside, grind them flat, and do a whole lot of sanding, and in the end, I will have nothing more than a change cup, where you toss your change in at the end of the day, but at least It was a quick and easy project to work on.
I might decide to re-mount it on the lathe and so a lot more sanding and a little bit more touch up cutting before I remove the posts. In the corner where the floor meets the walls, it could be made a little bit better,
Within an hour after I packed up and laid down, thunder-boomers banged around the sky, but left nothing for Mom’s plants.
I have some home projects to do tomorrow so I won’t be writing anything about that.
I considered, and talked myself out of making noodles. I can still remember how much work it was, and won’t make any until I forget. It is getting close. I was actually thinking of ravioli or something stuffed on that nature. I did, though, decide to wait on it.
I will have to see what I do next weekend.
large crock pot
rounded yellow pine blank
The start hollowing
nearly done hollowing. note the poste to hold work in place.
working the bottom.
the "finished" inside
The "finished" bottom