woodbowlsandthings

March 15, 2017

Drying Wood

Like many if not all wood turners I often get lucky and am able to turn green wood. Of course this means that we need to find a way to get it dry after we either rough turn it or turn it to finish. Sometimes I turn hollow forms so thin that they are almost dry when I finish but more often there is still some moisture that needs to be removed without the piece cracking.
Some turners let it dry by gradually allowing exposure to the air by many means such as bagging, boiling, putting in shavings, setting on the floor and gradually moving them higher in the shop. Most of the methods take a while and we really want to hurry the process.
Most turners agree that if the inside of a piece dries faster than the outside the wood tends to sort of compress and limit cracking. Some people wrap with the outside with plastic wrap, some coat with paint or a wax in emulsion. This lead me to my new method.
This winter has been pretty damp with lots of snow and rain and we were often drying boots and runners etc with a relatively cheap ‘Boot Dryer”.

The one I have is adjustable as to time it runs and has the option of using heat or not.
By adding hollow sections of plastic pipe etc to allow the air to get into and circulate inside the bowl or hollow form the drying process is sped up.


I am not a scientist and have a very limited knowledge of it’s principals and as a result I am unable to actually quantify the results of my method. All I know is that pieces treated like this tend to dry in about half the time of pieces left on their own.
I have only been trying this with fairly thin hollow forms and bowls that I will return to the lathe to sand and finish.
I have no experience with twice turned pieces dryed with this method.

By using the weight of the item I now am confident that the pieces I dry this way dry twice as fast as they do if just left to dry on their own.

I now have a little more information. The week before last I used my boot dryer to dry some small fairly thin bowls made from Gravenstein Apple wood and again the wood dried about twice as fast as a piece I left on its own and I had no cracking. At the same time I dried a small cup shape, it can be seen on the other blog (https://woodbowlsandthings.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/gravenstein-apple-wood/ ‎) about Apple it was dyed and then sanded. I sort of messed up as I didn’t manage to get the bottom as thin as the rest and after about 12 hours on the dryer I noticed some small cracks on the inside. I stopped using the boot dryer and the cracks mostly closed up and never made it to the outside. d

February 16, 2016

Pro-forme Hollowing tool

Last week while I was hollowing an 8″ tall cup form I decided it was past time that I tried the Pro-Forme Hollowing tool that I bought about 5 years ago.

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It has been sitting mixed in with the rest of my hollowing tools and every once in a while I would take the plastic cover off of it and then put it back. I had read that it was especially nice in end grain and even better if the wood is green. Today was the day for a trial. I put it in my Kobra Hollower, but before I started to hollow I drilled a hole with one of my modified spade bits to the depth I wanted to go. The Pro-Forme was set at the factory and worked like a charm. With practice I’m certain I could get as good or better finish inside than is possible with a scraper. I did notice that as I got beyond about 6″ the 1/2″ bar I experienced a little vibration but I was able to go the full 8″.
Thinking about how much I liked the way the tool worked and seeing that I had a spare cutter I felt I should do something to help with deeper hollowing. My first thought was to ask a friend of mine if he could make me a 1″ bar with the end modified to fit the Pro-Forme but this of course required me to buy a 1″ polished steel bar and seemed like it might be more work than it was worth.
I realized I already had a 1″ bar for my Kobra and all I needed was a short extension that could be installed in that bar to which I could attach the Proforma.
Luckily I have a few pieces of drill rod hanging around my shop and was able to find a 2 1/2″ long piece of 1/2″.

I clamped it in a vise and proceeded to notch it out with a zip cut blade my cordless grinder.

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After some grinding, polishing and filing I completed the adaptor and hopefully can now go up to about 14″ deep.

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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!

October 29, 2014

The best wood lathe drill . . .

I’ve been away for a while and am very pleased to see that I am continue to get a few hits on this site.
As a wood turner who generally uses a drill to set the final dept of many of my turnings I have always struggled with the center hole and the square sides that most drills leave at the bottom of a hole. Another problem I was always dealing with was the heat build up from friction and the difficulty in removing bits once the hole was complete.

I have now developed a way to make a nice round bottomed hole by repurposing a wood drilling “Speed Bit”.

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These reshaped bits drill really well and easily with very little heat,to just about any dept a person could want to drill. There are lots of extension available which allow holes as deep as one would want to go.

The cutting action is smooth and clean in hard and soft woods when these bits are held in a chuck in the lathe tail stock. They cut beautifully in end and side grain.

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I currently make them in three sizes 1/2″ – 3/4″ – 1″.

If you ever use a drill bit to set the depth of a bowl, box or hollow form you must try this bit!

Should you wish to try one, please email me for pricing and shipping costs.

June 28, 2014

Re-cobbled

The continuing saga of my path to discover an ‘easy’ way to sand the inside of hollow forms.
If you read the previous post and are following along then here is the next edition.

I previously purchased a rock tumbler at a garage sale this is a much faster turning devise than either of the BBQ motors I was trying earlier.

With the increase in speed I can in two days get the same revolutions I was getting in 2 weeks. I do realize that at some point if it spins too fast the glass will just cling to the outer walls and not tumble or grind the inside of the hollow form as I intend to.

The rock tumbler uses a 1725 rpm motor connected to a 1.5″ dia pulley which is then connected with a vee belt to a 9″ pulley. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong but by my calculations this devise now spins my hollow forms at  287.5 RPM. I wondered if it might be too fast but I can hear the glass and marbles (yes I have included marbles this time around) sliding and grinding as it spins. I am certainly not a machinest and the part that is in between my chuck and the shaft of the pillow block is not a tight fit and as a result the chuck ‘wobbles’ a little which i believe may add to it’s ability to sand.

Here’s a shot of my ‘re-cobbled’ devise.

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I tip it slightly toward the bottom and alternately the top in an attempt to get the glass and the marbles working more on the ends where the torn grain is. I try to tip it about about 2″ and run about half time with it tipped each way.

Here is a comparison shot of one piece before sanding and after about 300,000 rotations.

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And a closeup of the one on the right.

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I think you can see quite an improvement as far as sanding and removal of ridges goes but as you can see it hasn’t cleaned up the torn end grain.

If I was to do a finished Hollow form I would spend a little more time with my tools to try to minimize the torn grain prior to using my sanding devise.

Please feel free to email me if you have any comments or questions.

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.

May 26, 2014

More of Molly’s Influence

I continue to enjoy making miniature and smaller size hollow forms adorned with some of the pyrography techniques which I learned in a all day workshop with Molly Winton. This series includes Orca Whales.

Thinking about Molly’s influence I am not too sure how she feels about the work I am producing in her shadow. Sometimes I wonder if the artist(s) whom influence my work would really rather I didn’t mention their names or if they might be embarrassed by my attempts to incorporate some of the details which they use. At any rate, until I learn differently, I shall continue to list those whom have influenced my techniques and design features in the pieces I show here.

I have apparently started a series, not planned but because there are some similarities I will also post a series on this blog.

of  related Blogs.

This piece is the first in the Orca Series. It includes a four ‘lip’ opening influenced by Molly(she does a 3 point) as well as the sort of basket weave that she uses on the lower part of the piece.

On this piece I used a small round “writing point’ burning point to detail at the dark parts of the Orcas. I then stained the maple around them. This left the whiter parts of the Orcas the natural maple color although not as white as they are in nature.

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I have completed a few others in this series but will post them individually.

My work can all be seen on my Web Site woodbowlsandthings.com

Please feel free to comment or send me a note if you wish to discuss my work or would like any more details.

April 28, 2014

Molly Winton’s Influence

Filed under: Art, Wood Lathe — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — peteblair @ 2:30 pm

I have become enamoured with turning miniature hollow vessels after the full day Workshop I took with Molly Winton, see earlier post. These very light, small turnings are textured with a burning pen similarly to how Molly does hers. I would be flattered if her influence can be seen in my work I just adore what she does.

I am not totally pleased with this piece but I do believe it is a good beginning. I plan to incorporate a more West Coast theme in my future work.

These are turned from green Cherry, about 2″ tall and 2″ wide with my rendition of Peace Doves flying around the top.

To view more of my work please visit my website woodbowlsandthings.com.

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April 6, 2014

Molly’s Influence

Since spending a very delightful day with Molly Winton at a one day workshop I have been busy trying to put a little of what I was shown to work. I love to turn but it is almost as much fun to pyro-texture.

As you can see, from the photo’s below, I have spent several hours with my burning set-up. I must admit that I still have a VERY long way to go until I can pryo something to be especially proud of.Small Maple Hollow form(1) Miniature Hollow form(1) DSC_7860 DSC_7861

March 16, 2014

MOLLY WINTON – WORKSHOP

Friday last was the day I had been looking forward to for a couple of months. My date with Molly!
Well I was not to be disappointed.
After the 1 1/2 hour drive including having my GPS take me to the wrong address I finally wound up at Bow River Woods. I never did find any sort of sign the establishment but those in the know seem to be able to find it with little directions.
There were 10 attendees in all.
Molly started off, after introducing herself, by asking each of us why we were there and what we hoped to gain from the experience. From there she tried to accommodate all interests. She started by turing a miniature hollow form. Molly turns most of her miniature pieces in spindle orientation and really likes to turn green. This is the type of work she is most known for. Her communication and lathe skill are really good although I believe the small hollow form really didn’t let us get too good a look at all her abilities. Through out the turning she would stop and talk about tools, good design and what works especially for her.

She didn’t have a good torch but described the process of making hollowing tools from Allen wrenches, which she used to hollow the miniature form.

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Once the hollow form was complete we moved back to our tables and were coached in burning techniques and preparation of tools. Then were given some time to practice. From there we were shown her method of making the ‘brands’ she uses to embellish her work. Including a ‘basket weave’ brand and a ‘spiral’ brand. She had both for sale but suggested that we should probably save money by just making them ourselves.

She briefly discussed the tricks she has developed in making her own buying hand pieces, pretty cool. I will certainly try to make a few myself. Just cause I’m cheap!
Molly spirit and easy manner made the whole experience most satisfying, it was almost as if it was just a bunch of long time friends getting together to share experiences.
Molly then demonstrated how she carves the tops of some of her forms to make here signature three cornered top. This was pretty cool and she completed it in the wink of an eye.

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She followed that up with tips regarding a whole lot of specialized finishing and colouring techniques which I found most interesting.

I had taken a strange burning tool I had bought at a garage sale, manufactured in Columbia, which had about 100 brands, Molly as well as other attendees found very interesting,  toward the end, Molly offered to trade one of her miniatures for several of the brands which surprisingly fit in her burning hand pieces. I was most happy to bring one of her signed pieces home.

All in all it was a great day!

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