woodbowlsandthings

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.

 

 

 

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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:

https://woodbowlsandthings.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=188&action=edit

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.

May 20, 2017

Inspiration is where you find it

I am lucky that I seem to be able to find inspiration for my art everywhere I look but lately I have been trying to use nature’s beauty to embellish my work. It all started last fall while I was exchanging some pieces with the Kizmit Gallery in Fort Langley I noticed that there were some fabric scarves on which an artist (whose name slipped my mind) was using leaves and flowers to enhance her pieces. I was so impressed that I wondered why no one in my art space was doing the same thing. And so it began. I immediately started experimenting with methods to transfer vegetation patterns to wood.
I was lucky enough to have been given quite a large quantity of Silver Maple that for the most part is very light in color and has little character. This of course means I get to add my own embellishment.
Fall in BC provides a multitude of natural color options and I began by trying to ‘pound’ leaves from a small maple tree onto some of my work with limited success. Firstly, the wood I was using was not as light as I would like but non-the-less I was encouraged that I was able to get some crude patterns and colors onto a few pieces.
Recently I have made some inroads and am becoming, at least in my mind, a little bit better at getting a reasonable likeness onto wood.


I use a multitude of aids, mostly various types of paper, from wax to paper bags both brown and white, copy paper and paper towels depending on how ‘damp’ the petal is. Sometimes I get a better transfer to the paper than I do to the wood. I’m sure I haven’t exhausted all paper options but for now I seem able to get a reasonable transfer.
I use a small hammer I purchased from Lee Valley which I believe is Japanese and has on one end a slightly semi-rounded face, which seems to work about the best for me. I have tried tapping and rubbing with steel ball bearings of various sizes, rubbing with a short section of smooth drill rod and I continue to experiment.
Here is a shot of the items that I am currently experimenting with.

The process begins by turning a piece of wood with little color and grain. I think a cup or vase shape works best. I have found that if I leave the hollowing for later it is easier for me to do the transferring on a mostly solid piece of wood. I did discover that the surface that works best for me is one that is convex. I generally sand to about 800 but have had some success with 400 as well. After my recent experiments where I tested on wood from straight from a skew to 600 grit I believe better detail is achieved on the more highly sanded wood.
Next I choose a flower petal or petals, so far, Pansies have worked the best particularly dark ones with lighter highlights.

The process is fairly simple, I place the petal or petal cluster on the object where I think it will look the best. If care is taken a small piece of masking tape on a stem might secure the petal. I then carefully cover it with whichever paper I have chosen, wrapping it around the piece and holding the ends of the paper tightly with my fingers without any wrinkles. Masking tape might work to hold the paper here as well.

Now comes the difficulty/exciting part. With the small hammer or other tool, gently tap tap tap the petal trying not to pound too hard while still tapping all parts of the flower. It is easy to pound too hard and wind up with a sort of mushy mess. In the end, the petal or flower part is stuck to the turning and I gently pick it off with a pair of fine tweezers.

Sometimes it doesn’t all come away cleanly, in those cases I don’t scrape it with the tweezers I just leave it to dry and then gently rub it off with a finger or paper towel.

I would still like to be able to add leaves etc. but to date have had little success. I think this is mainly because leaves are too moist. I am presently experimenting with drying them a little in a microwave or just letting them sit for a while before using them but with little success.

If you decide to try this technique please let me know about your successes and failures.

A good way to test this process is to turn a cylinder of the same or a similar wood to that on which you want to transfer and do tests on it. Take notes and then you can later refer to this sampler.

It is quite easy to re-sand and start over and I’m certain that you will have quite a few failures. Keep notes with details such as time of year what wood and which paper you used especially for the times when you are able to get it just right.

Here is a shot of the ‘aftermath’ of my experiments yesterday. I did get some good results and after I let out Pansies produce few more flowers I will be ‘imprinting’ on a few more pieces.

Incidentally, last fall I discovered that I had to hit the item a lot harder to get it to transfer than I am doing this spring. I suppose the colors have set or at least have lost some of their moisture.

 

January 23, 2017

Freeze Drying Wood

Filed under: Wood Lathe — Tags: , , , , , , — peteblair @ 4:49 pm

I know this will not put all the questions about this method of drying wood to bed but I may answer a few of the questions.
My wife decided that she would rather have an extra refrigerator than an extra freezer. So I was charged with emptying the wood I have been storing out of the freezer.

I am not really good at keeping notes and as I age my memory hasn’t seemed to improve and as a result I am guessing about the length of time the wood has been in the freezer. There are lots of different sized pieces of Vine Maple, Big Leaf Maple and Cherry. The best I can do is to say that all pieces have been frozen for at least 3 years and I suspect more like 5 years.

I have 2 x 2 spindle blanks, large cut pieces about 8 or 10 wide by 8 to 14 inches long. In addition I stuck a few uncut pieces of the main trunk of a vine maple.

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I do need to qualify that a year ago we had a mishap and the freezer was unplugged for a week in which we lost a lot of frozen fish.

Some of the pieces of wood were actually frozen in the bottom of the freezer in the water from the mishap. Some pieces seem to have spalted during their time in the freezer.

I moved all the pieces out of the freezer to begin to thaw. It should be noted that the weather in here has been cool from about 0 and night to 8 or 10 during the day.

Removing the wood from the freezer the only checking I saw was in two of the larger blanks where the wood in two blocks has split on the annual rings. img_3570Absolutely no checking was seen on the ends of any of the whole log sections, these all still have bark on them.

Today I took a number of the spindle blanks and turned them round. I coated half of the rounds with Anchor seal, at the same time I coated about half the rest as well.

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Time will tell if either the coated or untreated will check and/or crack.

I did notice when turning the spindle blanks that the wood while still partly frozen seemed quite dry and the curlies felt dry. Quite unlike some other wood that I have been turning that was cut recently and frozen as a result of our cold spell. That wood all felt wet and the curlies did as well.

I am keeping most of the wood outside on a concrete pad, sitting on some cedar strips under a tarp.

Tomorrow I will bring a couple of pieces into my shop and weight them to allow me to judge exactly how dry they are after the freezer treatment.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave me a note.

I have since turned and finished two of the pieces from he bottom of the freezer. These both have lots of salting. I noticed they were VERY hard, such harder than any spalted maple I have ever turned. The were absolutely dry as a matter of fact they were so dry it was difficult to turn them without a very sharp gouge and very light cuts.

I have lots more to turn but believe the freezer dying, if the wood is left in it long enough is a very good way to dry wood.

March 6, 2016

Oneway Easy Core Laser aid

I have and love my Oneway Easy Core System. Before I purchased it I watched a video on the Oneway website which really got me going in the right direction and help me decide this was the coring system I wanted.
In the video were instructions to make several spacers that enable the user to position the cutter appropriately for whichever set of knives were being used.
I made dutifully made the spacers

IMG_2228and labeled them although they worked as advertized they never really worked as well has I had hoped, primarily because I often use different chucks and sometimes want to position the cutters off center.

Whenever I would use a different chuck or a different location for the cutter I was mostly guessing what the core would look like and exactly how thick the bottom would be.

At first I would position the system where I thought it should be and by holding the cutter over top of my wood, sort of swing it back and forth and look down from the top to try to guess what I would wind up with.

Next I made a pointed stick with a metal rod attached that I could position over the cutter and adjust it for each size of cutter. This actually gave me a better idea of where the cutter would cut, but still not quite what I was looking for.

I soon realized that I wanted a better ‘mouse trap” and realizing that I could easily adapt the laser from my Kobra Hollower to accurately position the cutter without the concern that I might cut too thin a bottom or even go through and hit my chuck.

Here is a photo of the set-up I am now using, it’s fantastic! Quick to set-up and adjust no matter which size cutter I’m using or how I have the blank mounted.

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I simply measured from the center of the pivot to the outside edge of the cutter and scribed these distances on the arm of my Laser. I have the three smallest cutters. Measured from the center of the pivot to the outside edge of the cutter they measure 5″ – 6 1/8″ – and 7 7/16″.

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I am lucky that I use a 1″ threaded bar to adjust a router table when I use it on my oneway and was able to utilize it on the end of my Kobra Laser.

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While taking these photos I thought why don’t I also do a mock-up that could be utilized  by turners who either don’t have the same laser set-up I do or don’t already have a laser.

Here is a similar design that anyone with the Onway Coring System can easily make and use to take all the guess work out of the process.

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If you decide to make this tool, don’t forget to make the upright long enough for the biggest bowl that you can turn on your lathe.

Here are the components. First the bar to hold the laser and enable it to be adjusted for each cutter. I left mine a little long just in case I ever get a larger lathe. I drilled a hole for my laser a little smaller than it’s diameter, cut a slot with a hole at the end to allow the bar to open and gently pinch the laser. I then drilled holes for a screw to allow for the adjustment for each cutter as described above.

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These are all the components. I suggest that if you are following this design you fill the hole in the end of the upright with superglue to strengthen it(don’t insert the screw until the glue has hardened the wood around the hole). This will allow you to use it many times without stripping the screw hole.

IMG_2225In use, both designs work wonderfully. Here are a few photos of them in action.

One other major advantage of this design is that if a blank has bark or a natural edge it is easy to see exactly where the cutter will cut relative to that.

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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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January 11, 2016

Spoons

Filed under: Wood Lathe — Tags: , , , — peteblair @ 7:13 am

I’m trying to find a method by which I can turn a complete spoon on my lathe. presently I am turning the shaft and outside of the bowl but can’t get my head around where centres need to be to allow me to turn the inside of the bowl in spindle orientation.

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Here’s a shot of a couple of spoons I am working on. Right now I use a Foredom and course burrs and sandpaper to finish the bowl but it is sooo dusty and a pain I really want to find another way. I do have a router setup for my lathe and wonder if that might be the way to go . . .

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.

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