August 9, 2018

Paint or Dirty Paint Pours on wood turnings

Filed under: Wood Lathe — peteblair @ 2:02 pm

Have you ever taken you time and finished a piece and no matter what you did it just was an ordinary turning not the ‘special’ piece you had planned? If so you might consider a paint or ‘dirty paint’ pour. I had spent many hours on two pieces that I had dyed blue, one a hollow form and the other a cup shape but even with the dye I just wasn’t happy.

Enter the paint pour. Dirty paint pours are all over the internet and social media and I am always looking for something new to try. I googled Dirty Paint Pour and got a load of hits. I watched a few, especially if they were pours on wood. Mostly the Dirty Pours are on a flat pieces of art canvas or occasionally on a round slightly convex wood turning. I think the one I enjoyed the most was from a well known kilted wood turner, Ronald G. Campbell. After watching some of his videos I thought I would give it a try.

Before I was willing to try it on the blue pieces I thought I had better do some experimenting on a few other unfinished pieces I already had in my shop.

I decided that if I wanted to do a hollow form or cup shape I might need to do it a little differently than the inverted cup or colander method. The cup shape I had would not allow me to invert a cup of paint on it unless I was to do it from the bottom up and for some reason I just feel that the paint should run down the piece not up it. This may or may not be the best way, you be the judge.

The wood should be finished with a sealer or finish prior to beginning or the base coat will soak into the wood and prevent an nice pour, don’t ask me how I know this.

First for the hollow form, I started out making a sort of colander from a small plastic cup that would sit over the opening in the hollow form. I heated a small awl and made small holes around the base of the cup. I have found in some instances the holes work better around the perimeter of the base actually in the bottom instead of the sides. I use both styles.

I knew that if I poured paint into this cup while it sat on top of the form it would likely slide around and possibly even fall off. My solution was to hot glue a short section of dowel that fit into the opening of the hollow form onto the bottom of the cup. It can be seen as the light coloured section in the center of the cup. I soon discovered that this also allows me to rotate the cup to assist in placing the paint. I sometimes just put drops of paint into the cup after the initial pour to add color, variety or detail to specific areas.

I love to work with Jo Sonia acrylic iridescent paint and decided this was what I wanted to use. Knowing that these paints look their best on dark or black surfaces I began with black and dark colors as the base coat. The piece below is coated with a wet base coat and is ready to have paint poured or placed into the cup.

The small cups let me place paint in any area I want and to watch the result and make adjustments as the paint flows through the holes in the cup and down the sides of the piece.

After the paint has dried for several days I wet sand with 800 grit and apply about 10 coats of spray on Lacquer. This is then sanded back and the process is repeated several times. The high gloss finish is then buffed to get an even more glass like finish. I was shooting for a piece that looks like fired glass or porcelain.

For the cup shape I turn a plug for the top of the cup that fits flush to the edge and is sort of tapered from the top down to let the paint flow. I use the inverted cup method for this but find it a little less controllable and much prefer to do hollow forms. I did find a small screw in the top made removal of the top easier to do before the paint hardens and makes it a permanent top.

Above, paint has been poured into the cup in layers. The cup and lid are inverted and the cup of mixed paint is placed against the top and then all the pieces are inverted. The cup is then lifted allowing the paint to flow down the form.

I have experimented with other acrylic colors and find that they just don’t seem to retain their color and randomness when they are dry. I do admit however that they are fun to do and exciting to see the paint flow.

Paint mixing – There are many ways to mix and apply paint. I like to mix the iridescent paint with water and acrylic base paints with water and Flotrol or any other medium that slows the drying process. I usually mix the base coat to a light cream consistency. It’s painted onto the piece and the the other paint is allowed to flow into and onto it. Silicone can be added to any of the top paint to allow them to form ‘cells’. I bought a tin of spray silicone and sprayed it into a cup from which I poured the silicone into a dropper bottle to allow me to accurately add it to the paint. I find that this process is hit or miss with me, sometimes it seems to help separate the paint into cells and other times not so much. I also on occasion briefly pass a propane torch over the surface which seems to help add cells. Another tip is that once I am happy with the paint flow I can slow or stop it by the use of a hot air gun held at a distance so as not to spread the paint. I believe this helps me ‘set’ the paint.

Here are some in progress shots of my favourite pieces. These are all at the wet paint stage.

The ‘cells’ are really visible in the above photo.

I did also try a pour and then blew the paint around with an airbrush for a much different look. The air brush tends to blend the paint. I’m not fond of this one but some of my friends and family love it. There is obviously lots more experimenting to do.

Until you try a pour, whatever method you decide, you can’t fully imagine the fun it is!! It can be a little dirty so grab a pair of


Give it a try and don’t hesitate to email me for more information of just to share photos of your work.



June 1, 2018

String Pull Painting

Filed under: Wood Lathe — peteblair @ 4:37 pm

I have begun a foray into String Pull Painting. After seeing a few videos on Utube I thought I would like to try this process on some of my wood turnings.
After some or should I say lots of experimenting I have been able to add this style of painting to a few of my pieces.
I did a couple of monochrome and one on clear coated Silver Maple. None of these pieces of Silver Maple had much character and by adding some paint I think they are now something anyone would want to own and display in their home.
I started out thinking I had to trap the string between the object I wanted to paint and some sort of flexible pad. At that time I was trying to paint multiple colors at once as well but have since decided that by the time I get the string ready I have lost the effect. But I will still pursue this because I am intrigued by the second photo below.

Next I watched more video and found one where the string was just set on the wooden object and pulled without being trapped. This process seemed to me to be much more ‘user friendly’. Bending a pad around a turned object to trap the string was not an easy task. I did try to use some foam sheets and you can see the results above.
I have probably pulled 50 strings on various turned pieces over the last few days and have only 11 ‘flowers’ that I felt were successful.
Thankfully acrylic paint is fairly cheap and easy to remove if washed promptly with water. In some instances I waited too long and had to sand the paint off with fine sandpaper or a fine abrasive pad. In these cases I was forced to refinish the item either by applying more lacquer or spaying on another coat of paint.
I have tried painting over a fine sanded surface (1000 grit), straight on a painted surface and on top of several coats of lacquer. If you decide to try this technique I would recommend that you have 5 or more coats of finish sanded between coats to keep the surface fairly flat this will allow you to sand off the ‘oops’ without going through the finish. Be sure to allow whatever finish you choose to fully dry or the acrylic paint will be very hard to remove.

So many variables!

– SURFACE PREPARATION: this seems to make a difference in how the sting slides or doesn’t slide and also in how much paint is left behind. I would imagine that temperature, humidity etc. might also impact the technique.

– PAINT: I am using cheap acrylic paint. I find it a little thick from the container but found when thinned with a little water and then mixed about 3 parts paint to 1 part Flotrol  works good for me. The final thickness of the paint is going to impact the work depending of course on the string as well.

– STRING: this is a very interesting aspect. I read where people use thread, string, wool, chain etc etc. Most of my work is on the smaller side and what is needed for this is a material which when loaded with paint bends easily so it can be placed where you want it to go and not where it decides to go. The work I show here was done primarily with a single strand from a string of what I think is cotton. I did try cotton thread but found the paint tended to ‘bead’ along it’s length and I had trouble controlling the amount of paint but I intend to see if I can find a bit larger cotton thread. Cotton seems to be more easily positioned.

-OTHER ITEMS: I tried a few different sizes of small chain without success but it may be something you might like to try.

I usually place a small plate under my turning which is mounted in some manner on the lathe. You might notice that I have a tray under the work to minimize water getting on th lathe ways and I have also added a slide-on extension table the can be positioned along the ways to give me more ‘table’ space.

Using my lathe to hold the piece allows me to lock the spindle and thus have the piece held firmly so it can’t rotate while I apply this technique. I put the mixed paint onto the plate and lower the ‘string’ into the paint. I have found that when lifted the first time there may be voids so I lift it and gently run it between my gloved fingers to evenly spread the paint. I usually dip it twice but at this point I found that there is wayyyy too much paint on the string and this make a really dark ‘flower’ without much detail so I very gently draw it through my fingers again before placing it on the piece. It’s easy to remove too much paint which leaves what I deem too faint a ‘flower’.

The string is placed across the piece starting at the top and weaving to the center of the bottom. At this point I like to try to ensure the string is touching the piece along its entire length. I will tap or press it lightly with a mixing stick or other small item to make sure it contacts the piece over it’s entire length. This seems to help make a more defined ‘flower’. The string is then held by gentle finger pressure at the bottom of the item to ensure it gets pulled off the piece in the same location or there will be a wide band of paint at the bottom. I found that if I was able to add a bit of wood at the end of the piece (see photo below) and hold the string away from the base of my piece, I minimize paint blobbing at the end of the base. I did also find I could very gently wet sand the base (with 1000 grit) to tidy it up a bit and when the final finish is applied the sanded area blended well into the rest of the piece.

I found it really easy to overdo the effect and place too many ‘flower’ on a piece especially when the piece is of a smaller nature.

Here is a progress photo of the piece that was left natural with a green/black flower which I highlighted with a little pink after I took the photo.

If you decide to try this technique I have a few suggestions:

  1. Don’t be afraid to remove/wash off what you don’t like and don’t get frustrated if you don’t get what you consider a good ‘flower’ the first few tries.
  2. Leave a small, smaller than the base, tenon on the piece. This tenon will allow you put it back on the lathe if you need to re-sand and refinish the piece AND it is a good place to hold the string when pulling to keep paint blobs off the bottom of the piece.
  3. Experiment with the paint and string to find what works best for you.
  4. Don’t limit yourself to anything you see here or elsewhere experiment and be prepared to fail. I often try different techniques on paper first to see what effect I might wind up with.
  5. Have all your supplies ready and handy. Lots of paper towels, water and string to try.
  6. Have FUN!!!

May 3, 2018

Carbide cutters

Filed under: Wood Lathe — peteblair @ 4:46 pm

I am now part of the EZCarbide family, selling to turners on the west coast of Canada.
If you have ever wondered if going the Carbide route is for you here is your opportunity to give it a try.
Check out these sites:
Pricing here is in US $$ and is way better through me than if you buy direct.
Contact me for details.

February 13, 2018

Colouring Wood

Filed under: Art, Silver Maple, Wood Lathe — Tags: , , , , , , , — peteblair @ 12:41 pm

I know it’s probably been done to death but here is how I add color and pop to some of my wood turning.
I first start by turning to shape and sanding to about 220.

This piece is destined to have some sort of blow paint applied after the dye and then a shallow bowl turned in the center. I want a dark green for this piece.

Next I apply black Leather Dye.

Once this is dry I then sand it back quite aggressively with 220 grit.

At this point the piece could be complete. Ed Pretty from my Guild has finished at this stage and the piece was wonderful. I plan to go further and on this piece I wanted a little more black so another coat of the Leather Dye.

This is again aggressively sanded back.

I like this better and stopped  here. While most people seem at this point to go with the darker color I sometimes go light first and then the dark. In this case, Yellow and then Blue for the dark green I’m after.

Sanded back again but less aggressively leaving quite a lot of the yellow showing. I then applied the dark blue dye.

Doesn’t look like too much here but after a very light sanding with 400 here is what I have. A Hair dryer is sometimes used at various stages to hurry the project along.

A couple of coats of sanding sealer with light sanding in between.

Then on to my finishing turntable and a few coats of clear lacquer.

Now all it needs is the blow paint. I’m thinking gold iridescent but I might add a little yellow. Sorry no finished piece yet because I am in Hawaii and this piece will have to wait another week or so for me to get to it. I’ll add photos of the finished piece as soon as I have it done.

February 6, 2018

Horizontal spinner for wood art

Filed under: Art, Silver Maple, Tools, Wood Lathe — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — peteblair @ 7:04 pm

Ok, starting over, yesterday I  began this blog and something went wrong I lost the last half of my text and all my photos . . . . . . .

Greetings again from Kauai. Today we did manage to see and sit in the sun for about 2 hours, now that’s progress.

Wow, two blogs in two days (or three now) I often don’t do two in a year!

Killing time during another rain storm and waiting for spuds to cook on the BBQ.

Todays topic has been rattling around in my head for more than a year. Some time ago I decided I wanted to be able to mount finished or partially finished items on a horizontal speed controlled turntable. This I felt would allow me to add color in a more controlled manner than when I do this on the lathe with the wood vertical. I wanted a device that would spin horizontally, be easy to adjust it’s spin speed, be reversible, be cheap and dependable. This is a photo of my first attempt. I’m utilizing a small chuck I use on my mini because it is easy to get threads to match from readily available bolts and threaded rod not like the M33 on my oneway.


I started out thinking that I could use a fan motor and have collected a number of them over time but it soon became apparent that they were not as powerful or controllable as I wanted, primarily because they are not ‘brush’ type motors. I then switched my focus to an overhead fan. Knowing that people remove and replace them occasionally I advertised locally for a free used one but had no luck. There were a few that came available for a small cash outlay but being the cheap guy I am I stuck to my guns and decided not to pay for something I wasn’t certain would work for me.

In the end this all worked out for the best. I am known to peruse and buy on line from several local auctions and wound up with a “tool lot” that had an old beat up cord shredded 1/2″ drill. Ok, this should work fine, it was cheap, easy to control speed (brush type motor), reversible and top speed was about 1000 rpm.

I changed my mind about mounting the a lathe chuck directly on a motor as I did with the fan motors and instead decided to use an old Pillow block I had laying around. I took a section of 1″ 8 TPI threaded rod and turned it to fit thought the bearings of the pillow block on my small metal lathe. I turned a short section on one end to 1/2″ so it would be easily gripped by the drill. I then mounted it to a section of plywood and discovered that with a small piece of rubber under the drill it lined up perfectly with the 1/2″ end of the shaft. As can be seen below this tool will now function as a lathe as well should I want to spin wood while finishing it or ????

By mounting it on the edge of my heavy bench I thought it just might be able to take the shake it might get if the turned piece wasn’t quite balanced. Much to my surprise it spins with hardly a shake.

For now I am just clamping it to the work bench but soon will add some sort of fastening system. As you can see from the photo I utilized a dimmer switch in the supply line to the drill but soon discovered that I needed to be able to control the speed from above the table.

I now have a plug, on/off switch and the dimmer on long leads, these boxes are held together with a couple of magnets which allows me to separate them for storage.

Ok all works great but the dimmer I have, has the off position next to high speed and so I added an on off switch to the plug in box. The only really remaining issue is that I may want to move the reversing switch from the drill handle to the top with the rest of the controls. For now I simply use a small clamp to hold the drill switch in the full on position, and when I want to change the direction of rotation I have to remove the clamp, slide the reversing switch on the drill to the other position and re-clamp the drill switch. When I need to reverse the direction it is never in a situation where it has to happen quickly so this set up may continue to work.

Here’s a shot of my first piece with just a piece of cardboard as a table, I have since added a piece of MDF that screws to my bench top giving me a much more stable work space.

To control the paint/dye splatter I simply cut a couple of slots in a scrap piece of wood and bend a section of plastic laminate into the slots. Easily taken apart for storage. The photo below shows my first try at this when I was working with the fan motor above the bench top. I now have done away with the legs which are redundant.

Here are a few of my first attempts. I don’t consider anything I do a failure just an opportunity to learn. The photo of the unpainted/dyed silver maple was just that. It was easy to remove the unsightly dye and start over.

I am most interested in the ability to have the paint/dye move from the center or other locations in curved line.


February 4, 2018

Buffer for Wood Art

Filed under: Tools, Wood Lathe — Tags: , , , , , , — peteblair @ 1:22 pm

I am sitting in Kauai waiting for the rain to stop. I know, poor me, right? At any rate, I thought this would be good time to let anyone who is interested know what I have made to buff my wood art.

I should start by saying my journey started with the Beale Wood Buffing System. That’s the one with the three 8″ buffing wheels. It works like a charm but for me the closeness of the wheels to each other and the fact that I had to use my lathe made the system somewhat less than ideal. I do however continue to use the Beal Balls to do the inside of bowls, this I now do very infrequently.

I often watch local Auctions and saw a really nice two wheel buffer for sale. It had 2 12″ wheels, a 5 hp motor all on a stand etc.  I just had to have it. It was ok except for the fact that the buffing wheels were meant for metal or something and were sewn together in a spiral patters. I took a sharp knife and removed most to the sewing to make them a little softer. As you an see from this photo I had to make a few  modification. The wheels were set up to be in the center of the stand which wouldn’t allow me to access the buffing wheels as much as I needed. Another issue was the the motor needed to be physically moved to a different location any time I wanted to change the speed.

This buffer had 3 step pullys which did allow me with a little fussing to get a speed that worked. The problem was that the stand and set-up was just a little big for the space I have in my shop so I advertised and sold it locally. In retrospect I probably should have kept the parts and junked the stand but that’s water under the bridge.

I kept watching auctions and soon located a older but still very nice long shaft Baldor buffer. Got it home, set it up with my existing wheels but quickly discovered that the 3350 rpm speed was way too fast. I did a lot of research on the net to try to find a way to slow this puppy down without success. I must admit what with the technology available today that no-one (read here the Chinese) have not come up with a cheap speed reducer for a 110 brushless motor.  So once again this one went on the market and was grabbed right away. Oh, in the background you can see the Danish built bench grinder I also got at another auction. I didn’t even know it was included as it was hidden in the bottom of a metal cabinet I bought. Adding to that I didn’t know the Danes made stuff like this but it is a gem! Quiet, powerful and runs as true as any bench grinder I have see.

Before selling the Baldor I had decided that what I need to do was to build my own. Over the past many years I have collected quite a few bits and pieces of tooling and felt confident that with a small outlay of cash for a few items I would have no trouble making exactly what I need.

I should mention that while I had the Baldor I made 3 attachments one for each of the three buffing compounds I use Brown (tripoli), White (rouge) and Wax (carnauba). To make these I simply cut the heads off of 3 3/4″ bolts. I think I use 4″ bolts. I then drilled a 1/2″ hole it the end without the threads and drilled and tapped for a set screw to hold them in place on the motor shaft. By adding two nuts and washer I had easily replaceable arbours for my buffing wheels. I knew that my next model needed to be able to utilize these pieces.

On to the build. From Princess Auto I purchased two 1/2″ pillow blocks and a 5′ section of 1/2″ steel rod. I already had the bench, I wanted to share with the Bench Grinder so all that was left was to put a motor on the lower shelf, cut a slot for a V-belt and mount a length of 1/2″ shaft and the pillow blocks. I had a motor (1725 rpm) I had saved from a clothes dryer and also had a couple of 1/2″ pulleys. I didn’t take a photo but I do keep all three buffing heads in plastic bags to ensure I don’t add bits of metal or other items that might scratch my turnings. I raised the pillow blocks to get a more comfortable height for me and hinged the motor to allow it weight to tension the belt automatically. The pulleys are the same diameter providing me 1725 rpm but should I find the need to change speeds a simple pulley switch will do the trick.

Please don’t hesitate to ask or make suggestions for future posts or to comment on this one.

January 29, 2018

Hollowing Rig

Filed under: Tools, Wood Lathe — Tags: , , , , , , , — peteblair @ 3:33 pm

For a couple of reasons I have spent a few hours over the last little while making my own Jamieson style Hollowing rig.
One reason is because I just like to make stuff and another is because I wanted to see if this style of hollower would be easier to set up and provide more tactile feel when I hollow small vessels.
I am lucky in that I have a Kobra Hollowing System and find it great when hollowing larger forms but sort of clunky and overkill on small forms.
I also am the sort of person who has never liked to do anything twice if I could avoid it and so wanted too be able to utilize some parts from the Kobra and anything else I already have on hand.
I did test it today and found it easy to use but possibly not as easy to set up as I had hoped.
OK, here we go. I first decided that I needed to make only the two major components (the frame and arm) and as I said, I wanted to be able to adapt what I already have in the shop where possible.

I planned to use existing cutters and cutter holders and now know I want to utilize the laser and camera I already have as well as the tool post support from my Oneway Easy Core jig and the tool support from the Kobra.

I hunted around the shop to see what sort of material I had on hand that I could use. I found a three foot piece of 1/2″ steel rod and also a three foot piece os 1 x 1 x 1/8 angle iron. These two pieces should fit the bill.

My first dilemma was to decide if I should cut and weld the tool holder arm or just bend it. I know of others who welded theirs but thought what the heck I have a small torch with Mapp gas which I felt would do the job. I marked the 1/2″ rod to allow me to produce three bends and have a little stub left for attaching the tools holders to. Oh, by the way, the tool holders I am using were made for my Kobra by a good friend but because they are designed for smaller cutters I seldom used them. I had to drill a 1/2″ hole in each of the four different size ones to allow me to hold 1/4″, 5/16″,3/8″ and 1/2″. After drilling the hole I also needed to drill and tap two holes in each to allow me to  fasten these to the tool holding section.

I think I may have just been lucky when I heated and bent the three bends I did the bends only by eye and they came out flat and the final bend actually came out just about exactly the right length. I drilled a hole through the rod and into the end of the bent section and tapped in a ‘1/8″ Roll Pin.

Next to make the support stabilizer. Again I was lucky enough to find a section of 1″ diameter solid steel about the correct length. I cut a notch in one end about 1/2 way through and about 1″ deep.I had planned to bolt the bottom section of angle into this notch but changed my mind and got help from a friend to weld it instead. Glad I did this as it is much much more solid. The bottom was drilled and tapped to take a 3/8″ grub screw. I need to do this I think because when I change sizes of cutters I also have to change the height of the holder to ensure I am cutting on or just below center.

Next I needed spacers that were just slightly longer than 1/2″. Here my small metal lathe really came in handy. I was able to chuck up a couple of short pieces of 1/2 tool steel and precisely make the length I wanted. Because I am not planning to do any larger work with this tool I wanted the two parts to slide easily inside one another.

After bolting the angle together with 1/4″ bolts and lock washer with my prepared spacers in between it was time to test the rig. Today I chucked up a small piece of Gravenstien Apple and began the test. I want to be able to work through a small as possible. This means that I can use 1/4″ tools through a 1/2″ hole but even at this the tool does drag a little on the bottom of the opening. I believer the ideal size of opening should be just larger than twice the diameter of the cutter bar.

It worked really good but I soon realized that the continual stopping to test wall thickness and starting again was as pain and I needed to add either or both my laser and camera set up. To allow this I found in my stock a 3/8″ joiner nut which I cut in half then faced off with my metal lathe. I took it to the local Machine shop and paid the grand sum of $5.00 ( no receipt of course) for them to weld it to my rig. This is the same thread as is on the post that holds my laser and video camera.

Here’s what the setup looks like from a couple of angles and then with the laser and camera. It does appear overkill but you know what? I don’t care. I may make a new shorter support bar to get the laser and camera closer but for now I think I can work with it just fine.

November 11, 2017

Video Hollowing

Filed under: Wood Lathe — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — peteblair @ 4:03 pm

I know that there are lots of turners who are either already hollowing using video of are thinking about trying this technique. This Blog is meant to be a jumping off spot for those who are still contemplating the process. It’s only the way I do it and not by any means a difinitive way to proceed. I do not plan to share the details of the equipment I use because there are so many choices and I purchased so many years ago the items may no longer be available.

As far as I can remember, the use of video in hollowing became known about 5 years ago when a world renown turner began demo’ing and selling his system.

For those of you how have been living in a cave or on another planet for the past 5 years the technique involves positioning a camera above the cutter and then drawing it’s outline on a sheet of mylar which then appears on the video screen when the cutter is actually in the form. I hope I have explained it well enough but please feel free to contact me should I be able to add anything or help you better understand the technique.

So about 5 years ago and being the cheap SOB that I am, I thought I could hack together my own system. I had an old MS laptop laying around and I had WIFI phones and cameras with the ability to connect to it, but, of course that wasn’t enough for me. I soon was scouring Amazon for cameras etc. I found a very cheap, new I was told, Colonoscope camera. I sure hope it was new!! It had it’s own light but the picture was a problem.
Anyway, to cut a long story a little shorter, I found that the Lap top was a pain to set up and take down and by the time I ran the software to get everything working I could have hollowed several vessels using my laser. In addition, the web WIFI cams all had a short ‘lag’ which drove me nuts!!  This led me to stop trying the process and continue my old ways using a laser.

I hadn’t totally given up though as I discovered that several turners were using Back-Up Automobile camera set-ups which included a small monitor and camera. Yep, a few were even shown with the lines to back between which I apparently were pretty easy to ignore when hollowing.
So of course, I had to try those as well and also found a really cheap video surveillance camera without the monitor and bought that too.

When the part arrived I took a quick look and with all the wires etc. it all seemed way too involved. I’d just rather be turning than messing with all those wires!!

It might be my age or ?? but I have a great deal of trouble remembering peoples names and the turner who demonstrated his video techniques at the last meeting of the Vancouver and District Wood Turners Guild has fallen into that category.
It’s too bad because it was his demo that got me thinking a little more about utilizing this technique.

So the next day I hunted around my shop, it took me about 2 hours to remember that I had stashed all the parts in an old sewing box.

The only easy to hook up was the surveillance camera because it came with a 12 volt brick power supply. The back-up-system was designed to wire directly to the 12 volt of a vehicle. Lucky for me I have ‘bricks’ of all voltages and designs in boxes and drawers. I found a 12 volt one, cut the cord and wired it to the back-up system and hooked up the surveillance camera and quickly discovered that the distortion was way too much at close range to be usable.

So with wires going every which way I connected the complete back up system. Dragged it over to my lathe and with a few minor modification had it up and running in no time. It worked great but the back up monitor is only about a 7″ screen. I need something bigger.

I remember that we moved a cable box from a 17″ tv in our kitchen to a room where one of our grandsons ‘hangs’ so he could use it on a large tv that his dad has left for us to store. My wife was quite happy to have it out of the cabinet that it was in now she has more shelf space to display her ‘stuff’.

Ok, so now I am really on to something. I quickly disassembled the foot that the tv stood on and made an aluminum plate from which I could hang it on my exhaust fan box right at the end of my lathe. With a few quick changes it was up and running perfectly.

As you can see from the photos I hold mylar film on the tv with magnets and draw the outline of my tool on it with a sharpie. One cool thing about using the magnets as opposed to tape or ?? is that I can easily reposition it  should I change the angle of the cutter. In addition I can keep all the old sheets to reuse anytime I am using this system and thus don’t need to keep redrawing the cutter. If I like I could actually leave the TV in place but I need to come up with some sort of cover to keep the dust out so for now I stash it on a shelf. The camera and arm it is attached to simply hang on the wall behind my lathe. The camera does have a small lens cover. I’m not totally convinced that the camera is totally suitable and I continue to search for a cheap replacement. What I believe would work even better is what is termed a ‘closed circuit’ camera.

A couple of ideas that were shared at our last meeting that are exceptionally helpful are to place a white or black piece under the turning to provide contrast at the edge which helps to see where the cutter is. Another is if a round magnet is placed on the screen over the cutter and extending outward it provides a means to ensure the finished thickness is easily delineated.




November 10, 2017

Negative Rake Scraper

Just a quick note to let anyone who might be interested, know that I now use a negative rake scraper with my hollowing rig. Up till recently I was using a tear drop shaped scraper sharpened in the standard manner but found that on occasion it was just a little grabby.
I thought why not make it into a neg rake scraper so I ground it to about a 60 degree included angle.
After changing the angle the center of the scraper was no longer on the center line and to make up for that I just added a small brass shim under the scraper. I think it is still slightly below center but it seems to work just fine for me.
Seems to work just fine for me.


November 6, 2017

Update on Bottle stoppers

Filed under: Wood Lathe — Tags: , , , , , , , — peteblair @ 2:45 pm

I am back by popular demand. Actually it was just one turner Dave, who recently took the time to contact me and ask if I was still doing this. I’ve been pretty busy over the spring and summer finishing up work for some very nice clients. I am shutting down my small business at the end of this year and wanted to get as many small jobs done as I could before then.

I have also had some interest shown in the Golf Ball wine bottle stoppers I make and sell at various craft fairs usually this time of year, but I am just too busy to attend any this time around but do want to share with anyone interested in a quick and easy Christmas Gift you can make for a golf nut. Most golfers I know have settled on one particular ball and it is usually a nice treat for them to get a Wine Stopper made from their favourite ball.

This Blog is actually a follow up from:


If you check this out you will see where I started and now I will add a few details for anyone interested in making a Golf Ball wine stopper. Incidentally, most of my friends wonder what these are for as I am told they NEVER have any wine left on which to use a stopper.

I do use a wood lathe but a metal lathe or even a drill press with a means of holding the ball for drilling will work.

I get most my ‘corks’ Widgets.com but have found that if I am just making a few the plastic ‘corks’ that are used in liquor bottles are the best. They use a synthetic cork that fits nice and tight in a wine bottle allowing the user to lay the bottle on it’s side in the fridge if they want. The one on the left is from Widgets.com the other is from Grey Goose Vodka, it’s the type I prefer.

I drill a 1 1/8 hole in the golf ball about 1 1/4″ deep. Be sure to measure the stopper before drilling and I have found a few wine bottles that will not fit into a 1 1/8″ hole, For these I drill two holes a 1 1/8 hole 1 1/4 deep and a 1 1/4″ hole 7/8″ deep, This allows me to set the ‘cork into the smaller hole to ensure it is centered in the opening.

After that, all there is to do is to rough up the plastic end and sides of the ‘cork’ and glue the it into the golf ball. I use JB Weld Plastic Epoxy. I’m sure that any good glue would do the job.


One added benefit to this type of stopper is that it will sit flat on a counter or display, most stoppers today need a stand with a hole for them to sit upright in.

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