woodbowlsandthings

April 17, 2017

Gravenstein Apple Wood

A few days ago my wife pointed out that someone in our small community was trying to get rid of some fresh cut Apple wood. The party was offering it for free as fire wood. I contacted the seller and asked if she still had the wood and if I could come and pick a few pieces to turn on my lathe? At the same time I offered to make her a small item from the tree as a token of my thanks. Fruit wood is one of my favourite wood to turn. Its dense and hard and turns like a dream when wet. A few of the pieces were too large for me to lift and get to my truck and the yard was suffering from all the rain we have had and was pretty muddy and slippery!

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Early today I began cutting the 9 sections of the tree that I had hauled home. Below is a photo of the last three pieces in the bed of my truck.

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I just love cutting turning blocks from green wet wood. My chainsaw seems to just melt through it as long as I cut with the grain (rip) and don’t try to cut across it.

In a few hours I had processed it all and was ready to coat the end grain with a lumber sealant to try to minimize checks and cracks. Fruit wood is notorious for cracking so badly it is at times almost impossible to use.

Apple often has a really dark center or section surrounding the heart wood of the tree with provides a nice contrast to the light outer wood. This tree had been growing almost parallel to the ground and as a result had the heartwood way over on one side. I have never seen a tree with the heart so much off center. This worked to my advantage as it allowed me to get larger pieces with out the pith!

After I had coated both ends with Log Sealer I put it all under a small deck in my back yard and covered it with a sheet of plywood. I am having a lot of trouble with mould on wood that I cover with a tarp so decided to try the plywood instead to see if it would let a little more air inside. If you look closely you may see that most pieces now have a sort of orange bloom. Not sure what that is about.

Was able to find a little time today to spin a few small pieces. The plan was always to make a couple of small items to give to the family in thanks for sharing their tree with me. Never know how green wood, especially green fruit wood will dry and if it will crack or not and as a result I never know what I will give back to the Tree owners until a piece is complete.

The top three photos are a small bowl and the last three are of a ‘cup’ shape which I hope to try dying. I turned them pretty thin about 3/16 or a little less and set them on my boot/wood dryer to speed up the drying process and to see if blowing air inside a form will help it dry without splitting.

The apple is almost dry and has not split but has chosen a really nice organic shape that it wants to be. I found it interesting that as it dried the dark centre or heart wood became quite light colour. I’m hoping that when a finish is applied it will darken again.

I then made a small handle and a sphere which will be joined but a string to make a game of skill where one tries to swing the ball up and catch it on the handle. I am making this for the young lad who lives at the home where I got the wood. Apparently he was really attached to the tree and I’m hoping that this game will give him some pleasure.

 

I next put the ‘cup’ form back on the lathe and dyed it black. When dry I will sand most of the black off and apply a blue dye which I hope will highlight the grain!

Here’s what it looked like before I started to apply the final finish.

It was pretty cool when I began spinning this piece as I was surprised with a ? mark. Could it be the wood wondering what I was going to make?

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February 16, 2017

To Brand or not to Brand

Filed under: Art, Wood Lathe — Tags: , , , , , , , — peteblair @ 7:49 pm

I wonder how many other artists have wondered if a ‘brand’ might be a good idea? I know there are a lot of Artists whose work can easily be identified but for artists like myself this is a real long-shot!
I really like to identify my art with my name and a number. The number primarily for me to keep track of where my art winds up and to be able to keep a data base of information.
The problem for me was that on occasion I make smaller things to sell and often don’t have the inclination or space to actually sign them.
For about the last 2 years I have been adding a ‘brand’ it is a stylized icon combining my first and last initials. P and B. i have been burning my ‘brand’ with a pyrography pen which is a real pain if I am ‘branding’ 20 or 30 items at a time!
Here is a shot of the ‘brand’ I just bought on line. I was able to purchase just the branding end as I already have a Weller soldering iron I wanted to use.
I am now using on all my art work. I still sign my better pieces, and add the brand, but for craft type items I can now brand a bunch in a very short time.

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December 30, 2016

Darn Mould

Filed under: Art, mold, Silver Maple, Tools, Uncategorized, Wood Lathe — peteblair @ 2:25 pm

I have slowly started using the wonderful light coloured, Silver Maple that my friends helped me collect a month or so ago and today discovered my worst fear. MOULD!!! I really should be sheepish about this as I had been warned but I thought if I stickered it and kept it covered I would be ok. Not so! The mould has not gotten too far, just sort of starting to grey a little on the ends of a few pieces but when I uncovered the pile I discovered lots of whitish blue mold, especially on the bark.?

So what to do? I had been told and read that bleach was an option and so I headed to our local shopping market to get a couple of gallons of bleach but when there discovered that it is being sold by the litre.  AAARG!!! While checking the pricing I noticed Tilex Mould and Mildew. Now, have used this product with great success in our former bathroom, it killed mold and mildew with out scrubbing or brushing, easy peasy. I bought a couple or 4 spray bottles, thinking that I would have to put bleach into a spray bottle anyway and thus could kill two birds with one stone, so to speak!

Well, ‘the jury is still out’ as they say. I moved the whole stack on to a cement pad, off the wood chips and dirt where it was before, after of course building a sort of rack with some old dry cedar fencing I had laying around. As I moved the pile I applied lots and lots of Tiles, turning pieces to try to get it on all sides. I should note here that the ends had all been sealed with wax emulsion and it seems that the mold liked the wax and went right through it into the wood. I could for sure see it had penetrated lots of the end grain that had been treated and was sitting on the cedar strips.

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I sure found a lot of mold and mildew both on the wood I had used under the first pile and on the inside of the tarp.

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I will report back and update this blog as I turn more pieces to let you know if it worked or if there is any issues!

June 30, 2016

Wooden Rings

I have been watching with some interest individuals on the net especially on Instagram who make wooden rings.
I am not much of a jewellery person but I thought I’d like to learn to make wooden rings from woods I have in my shop.
I soon learned that solid wood rings are not really the way to go because of grain issues which make rings made this way quite fragile. I noticed some people adding a thin lining of antler and because I had a chunk of old moose antler laying around I thought why not.
My first four attempts were with an outer ring of solid Desert Ironwood with a moose antler lining. They are a little big and are not that comfortable, but wearable.
Next I thought I should try ‘bent wood’ rings. I have a large pile of veneer laying around from a previous idea and thought I would give them a try but all the boiling and mico-waving etc. etc. I soon gave up on that idea.
The next method I decided on was ‘bent wood’ rings made from shavings or curlies that are cut from a suitable piece of wood with a sharp wood plane. These are just outright fun to make. I have now settled on this process and am really enjoying the exercise.
Here is a photo of the strips I am using.

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And a shot of the ‘pink’ one I made for my Grand daughter!

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Lastly, three rings, the left one is one I made for myself with Desert Ironwood c/w a moose antler liner. The middle ring is a ‘tie dyed’ one that currently lives in my lovely wife’s jewellery box, when she isn’t wearing it and the right one is similar to the first only much larger (although unfinished in this photo it is now done) which I made for, and gave to my son today!!

If anyone is interested in the process I will be adding another blog with photo’s of the process I use.

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February 8, 2016

Which came first?

This question has been asked about the chicken and the egg for a long, long time. I think I finally have the solution.

If you have followed my blog at all, you will know that I really appreciate the art and turning skill of Betty Scarpino. I sat in on a wonderful all day Demo of hers and the next day was lucky enough to spend the day in a workshop with her as well.

Betty informed us that during the workshop we would be making and egg which would be finished with Liming wax, a pod and a candlestick holder.

After watching her demo I had a hard time sleeping that night as I was determined to use some or all of her ideas but bring my own slant to them. After all, I sure didn’t want to do a Scarpino, because no one could do one as good as she.

Sometime during the night I came up with a plan.

I would make an egg as per her suggestions and make a pod but my pod would be turned with more than two centres and would house the egg.

A little head scratching during the work shop but in the end I came up with this piece.

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The pod is maple, turned and hollowed wet. I finished it with a light coat of yellow glue and wood filler to give it some texture. Usually we texture by taking material away but a fantastic turner by the name of John Keeton suggested that I should try adding texture instead. The feel of the pod is really interesting, what a great idea John. Then with acrylics I painted the inside, added the branch from my driftwood collection and put the egg inside.

My solution to the age old problem is, the egg came first, it came from a pod . . .

 

Thanks Betty!

Don’t you just love a new Journey?

Filed under: Art, Wood Lathe — Tags: , , , — peteblair @ 4:32 pm

Well I sure do, especially when it starts and ends with turning on my Oneway wood lathe.
Recently I decided I wanted to see if I could find a way to turn a wooden spoon completely or nearly so on a lathe.
I made a few attempts and got some advise along the way but in the end I discovered that the inside of the scoop of a spoon can only be turned from the end of the spoon. As far as I know there is no other way to do it.
I tried turning the scoop part first as and ‘inside out’ turning where one turns a piece then takes it apart and uses the first turned part as the inside and then finishes the outside.
Sounds like it would work but nope, at least not for me.
Next I tried glueing two spoon blanks together. I left the spoon end square and drilled a hole then held the blank in a chuck with extra support for my steady rest and hollowed the inside of the spoon. Well I sure found out in a hurry that my hollowing skills are not the best. When split the two blanks apart the spoon ‘bowl’ was not quite what I had planned.

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I soon decided that I needed glue the two blanks together with a filler through which I could hollow the spoon ‘bowls’. Once again my hollowing technique let me down.

Back to the drawing board. I realized that all I need is spacers on the ends of the two blanks. This allows me to see the line of the bowl through the space as it turns and now I can shape the bowl good enough that all it takes is a little sanding and its done.

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I discovered that drawing the shape on the outside of the blanks was not the best so I made up a bunch of different size oval patterns and drew it on the inside with a felt pen.

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With this new found knowledge I can easily shape the bowl of the spoon, remove my steady rest and re-support the blank with a ball bearing tail center which then allows me to shape the outside of the spoon bowl.

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The next step was to try to get the handle of the spoon offset from the bowl part. I wanted to make the relationship between these parts more like a kitchen spoon.

I next cut the spacers in half with my bandsaw.

I then mount the spoon blank back on my lathe with the center of the handle in my drive spur and offset the handle near the cut line where I split the spacer.

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I wind up with a nearly finished spoon which only takes me a few minutes with a belt sander etc. to complete.

 

I’m quite happy with the result. What I have discovered is the depth of the spoon ‘scoop’ is relative to the thickness of the spacer and the width is affected accordingly.

One other benefit from this journey is that my wife is most delighted with all the spoons that I made along the way but which I was not quite satisfied with.

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She now has them having in the kitchen . . .

January 5, 2016

Straw/Blow Painting on Turned Wood

Filed under: Art, Tools, Wood Lathe — Tags: , , , , , , , — peteblair @ 3:51 pm

I find I am much like a butterfly, flitting from idea to idea and technique to technique. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

The latest ‘flower’ is Straw or Blow Painting. I’m always looking for something new to entertain me and this is yet one more way to add interest to my turnings.

I saw a couple of beautiful wooden cups that had been embellished this way and immediately thought that I just had to try that. If you google straw or blow painting you will find it is often undertaken by young children. To me the meant that it probably was something that I could do if a 3 year old could, why not me.

 

Below is my first attempt. I seldom practice any new technique, just usually jump right in but there were lots of ideas going through my head and thus a practice piece. Turned out pretty good I think.

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My next experiment was to see how it would look on the outside of a bowl. This particular bowl was from some wood that I was given by a fellow woodturner. It’s about 9” in dia. It was turned green and dried in my microwave it has a nice gentle organic shape. On this one I wanted to try come color.

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I like it but being on the outside of a bowl it is sort of hidden.

Next was a nice Vase from the same wood I was given. I had plans for this and the practice was aimed at this piece. In Montana there is a wonderful lady who for some reason or other really likes my turnings and is in need some pieces to go along side a beautiful sculpture in her entrance way. She likes green and this is what I have come up with.

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I emailed her a photo and she is excited to see how it looks in her home.

 

September 5, 2015

Bark Bark

I’m not sure but taking a fairly quick look on the internet I can’t find anyone else who has used a wood lathe to turn bark.
I just love a stroll on the beach where I frequently pick up material for walking sticks, and sometimes even find a newly washed up tree that I can salvage for my wood lathe.
Lately I have also been collecting tree bark. I believe it is from Fir trees but it is quite possible it is from Spruce or some other closely related species

183 – 11 x 3 x 1 – Cedar bark shallow bowl turned with bowl on outside of bark -$60.00

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Here are a couple of shots of my first attempts at turning it.

182(3) - 11 x 3 1/2 x 1 - Cedar bark - shallow bowl with two ring details. This was turned with the outside of the bark as the bottom of the piece - finihsed with Rattle can Lacquer- $75.00

182(3) – 11 x 3 1/2 x 1 – Fir or Spruce bark – shallow bowl with two ring details. This was turned with the outside of the bark as the bottom of the piece – finihsed with Rattle can Lacquer

183 - 11 x 3 x 1 - Cedar bark shallow bowl turned with bowl on outside of bark -$60.00

183 – 11 x 3 x 1 – Fir or Spruce bark shallow bowl turned with bowl on outside of bark

I am now in the process of taking this experiment further.

Stay tuned for the next step, laminated bark pieces of art.

June 28, 2014

Great Store

Filed under: Art, Wood Lathe — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — peteblair @ 2:20 pm

I have just reached an agreement with Cathy Goodman to sell some of my pieces in her new store here in Ladner at the  “Muddy River Landing”.

She has a wonderful store offering BC Coastal Curios and Bling including lots of local artists work!

If you live in the lower mainland of BC and would like to see or purchase any of my work this would be a great place to see it first hand.
Cathy has also kindly offered to exibit some of my whimisical wooden walking sticks.

June 16, 2014

Sanding the inside of a Hollow Form

Occasionally I really want a really good finish on the inside of a Hollow Form no matter how big the opening is. An example would be when I want to pierce the form with some sort of art that would allow people to get a good look at the inside. Another might be when I make a Hollow Form influenced by harvey Fein. His work frequently has openings in the shape of slits or slots that go all the way through the piece.
To this end I read somewhere that if pieces of broken tempered glass are put inside and slowly rotated they will eventually finely finish the inside.
I am presently experimenting with this process and have rough turned the inside of a couple of blocks of Birch. I used my Kobra hollowing system and made no attempt to get a smooth interior. I did perform a final light cut with a freshly sharpened cuter. The intention was to leave some roughness and some ridges.

The blocks are about 3″ square and 5 1/2 long.
Here is a photo of the devise I cobbled together with parts I had laying around.

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It enables me to angle the turning if I want more finishing done towards either end. The original BBQ rotisserie motor turned twice as fast as my current one. I had planned to turn a week with it slanting towards the top and a week towards the bottom but during the process I decided I needed to keep track of revolutions rather than days/weeks.
Here is a picture of one of them prior to beginning the process.

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Here is a photo comparing the one on the left (unsanded) and on the right the sanded one.

This was accomplished in about 8600 Revolutions.

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As you can see the section on the left does have a much nicer finish and actually feels as if it has been sanded quite well. It did not however remove much of the ridges. I think I will devise a faster turning model and give it a try again. Sanding with more revolutions this time.

On another thread someone suggested the addition of marbles along with the glass and this I will try next.

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