(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
86 degrees early morning, 96 degrees as a high. Blue ridge mountains with strange growths on them over the ocean at sunrise. They faded away. At about ten, a line of puffs formed at the edge of the Everglades and they stayed, growing taller, then a lot later slowly leaving to the west The blue sky had a slight haze to it so it was not a deep rich blue. This is normal. We get a lot of dust from Africa which is why we could never meet the Environmental clean air regulations. Humidity was thick in the morning but a good breeze picked up after noon which helped dry the air out. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach department of Tourism.
I got the idea that each time I see a really good looking cloud figure, I should take a picture of it. I saw a cloud of an old lady on the way to Mom’s house. It was ahead of me when heading North. I had passed one off ramp when I saw it and was going to take a picture when I got to the next off ramp. By the time I went the couple miles and turned the corner, all the details of the old lady was gone. It looked just like a tower of clouds. That was just like three minutes. I have seen such cloud pictures change radically in just a minute.
Our first yard sale stop was nearby. She didn’t have anything I could not live without. She had several pictures of some goofy guy. It is always embarrassing when they tell me it is a mirror.
Our second stop was a the woman with the art stuff. Mom was picking through some drawers of a bin and I asked how much the whole bin was. Cheaper than the individual price of just the things Mom really wanted. Mom is holding that for me and someday I might actually get some of the stuff in there...... I got some MAD MAGAZINES. It had been a while since I had read one. I also got some tools I don’t need.
We hit a couple other yard sales. Nothing memorable at them EXCEPT.
One yard sale had a roll of leather, likely 30 or 36 inches wide. It looked like quite a few yards of it. It was a thin pliable leather, likely for furniture and there were some seams in it. The price he asked for it was a steal. It hurt, but I decided I would rather spend the rest of my life kicking myself for not getting it. It is a trade-off. If I got it, It would likely never be touched. If I don’t have it. My imagination will go wild for all the things I want to do with it. Because I don’t have the leather, I cannot make the bellows for a forge. Because I don’t have the leather, I cannot make all sorts of ornament animals with leather ears and tails. Because I don’t have the leather, there is a whole bunch of other things I cannot make. Of course, that is assuming they would ever get made should I have gotten the leather. I doubt they would, so I am not storing it.
Even with the car air conditioning, the humidity was oppressive. One problem I run into on days like this is, when we got out of the car, the thick part of my glasses fog up, they being cold and high humidity outside.
When we got home, we all decided to relax and cool down. For me, it extended until lunch time. After lunch, which was about two, I headed out to get to work.
I can see an efficiency in my wood turning on these platters. It is not taking near as long to make them as it first did. That helps.
These boards have that kerf from the saw that cut them. The kerf is off center so the tail stock point I am using (which has a sharp ring around a tiny center point, so it does not bury itself into the wood as a single point would do) is on solid wood at the thinner part of the board. If the kerf got into the area of the point, I would just use my knife to flatten just at that area.
My first step was to round the board, removing all corners as it spun, then to remove the high wood on that side. I then looked at the growth rings to decide which would be better as the bottom of the platter. I chose to have this side as the bottom. I made the bottom of the platter, sat down and rested while I marked the center on the other side. I mounted the platter and turned the inside. That went pretty good.
I was feeling good so I started on the second one using the same procedure. Now when I flipped the platter around. I did not get it quite centered. As I turned it, there was a bit of a wobble and when I got the inside done, I found that there was an obvious thick and thin around the edge. To solve that, I flipped the platter back around again and touched up the backside.
Both platters are still rough, but I am getting a better feel for making these.
It dawned on me that I am missing some lessons in the process and am making some mistakes as I am working. One can be too concentrated in the act of making to notice things in the process.
For one thing, when I do the bottom, I thinner than I should. I am left with a only a small room for error on the inside. Each cut, even a very light skim of the surface to clean it up, removes some wood. I think the platters would be better a bit thicker.
Another thing is that I run into problems with warping when working the inside of the platter. I am thinking that if I do the inside first, any problems I run into on the bottom won’t be as noticeable. One simply does not look at the bottom when using a platter.
One problem I see with this is that it is very easy to go too deep with the inside. After I do the bottom first, I follow that angle and that dictates how deep the inside is going to be. A much more care will be needed on the depth when working the inside first.
I want to see if working the inside first will effect how the wood reacts when the stresses are removed. I have seen that the vast majority of the wood is removed on the back of the platter. The platter is a whole lot lighter when the back is done. The wood that comes out of the inside is nowhere near as much, possibly a quarter of the wood overall.
This is a learning process. So far, I really have concentrated on the shape and the basic process, along with developing muscle memory. Now I need to work on problem solving skills.
Next weekend, if I do some work, I will be working differently to see how it effects the process.
After I finished turning I did a rough clean up. One nice thing about working outside, is that a fine cleanup is usually unnecessary. Some of the fine stuff gets into the cracks and gets blown around. Usually to settle elsewhere unnoticed. Also, another nice thing about working outside, is that clean air is not a problem. A breeze carries the fine dust away for the most part.
I sat outside under the awning with a fan blowing on me for a while. I was not quite ready to go in. Other than the heat, it was nice out.
I went inside and relaxed and cooled down with my feet up and napped a little until it was time to leave.
My brother is not coming up tomorrow and I have some running around so I won’t be doing any projects tomorrow.
I will see what I do next weekend.