Welcome to my blog. Let what you see stimulate your imagination and inspire your own creations.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Open Segmented Bowl in Woodworker's Journal

For anyone curious about making an open segmented bowl with the scroll saw, check out my article in the October, 2014 issue of Woodworker's Journal.

I was pleased when I finally figured out how to do this type of bowl, and encourage bowl makers to give it a try.  Nice thing about it is that you can use many profiles, not just circles.  The bowl featured in WJ has a wavy edge and curved sides, and makes a nice first project of this type.




Friday, August 15, 2014

New sander coming

I've been working on a "bonus" project, made with wood left over from a new bowl, and I needed something different for a lid.  So, I took the lid I had made, which looked kind of ordinary, and cut it into segments.

As I was sanding the segments, it occurred to me that I really needed a larger inflatable drum than the one from the Guinevere system.  I asked around on the forum to see what's used, and found that I could get one that would chuck into my SandFlee or drill press.  I found a small set at Klingspor that looked like a good place to start, and I should have it next week.

When I needed some small carving burrs, I found that I could use my Dremel and flex shaft, which cut costs tremendously.  I don't mind spending if I have to, but it's nice to be able to work with what I have.

New projects should be appearing in the next few issues of Scrollsaw Woodworking & Crafts, so you can see the results of my new efforts. And I must admit that I'm having a really good time!






Sunday, August 3, 2014

A comparison of rounded sanders

Round-ended sanders are absolutely necessary for sanding the inside of scrolled bowls with curved sides, ripples, or petals.  Before the availability of the Guinevere system from King Arthur's tools, anyone wanting a tool of this type had to construct it themselves.

The specific sanders from King Arthur's Tools that I use constantly are the large and small round inflatable sanders.  The rubber "ball" inflates with a small pump, and uses sleeves of various grits.  Although the sanders can be fidgety at times, they are extremely effective.  In addition, repairs can be made to the inflation mechanism, and the rubber ball itself can be replaced if necessary.  The large sander costs about $44, small about $40, sleeves are about $3.00 each, and the pump is about $11.

I was not aware of any other product that had a rounded configuration until I came across one offered by Seyco, called a "rounded end cup sander". The configuration is similar to the KA product, but it is made of soft foam covered by a non-removable sandpaper sleeve, attached at the top with tape.  It is  available in four different grits, and costs about $7.  Curious, I bought two of the coarsest grits at the Fox Chapel Open House in May, and just got around to testing them out.

To start with my conclusion, if you are serious about bowl sanding, go with the King Arthur product. Although the initial outlay is greater, the $7 replacement cost of the Seyco product will quickly add up.  A set of four sanders, one of each grit, costs $28.  A set of assorted sleeves from KA for the large round sanders costs $11.

In terms of performance, even the coarsest grit from Seyco was not effective for that all-important initial sanding.  In addition, the stem, which is glued to the foam, quickly came unglued.  I did like the size, which was intermediate, but found the longer configuration not as easy to use as the more ball-like KA product.  The fact that it's ready to use is handy, but you pay for it in an inferior performance and greater ultimate price.  And, for many projects, you absolutely need the small size of the KA product the get into those tight lower curves.

If you're curious about this type of sander, there's no harm in buying one or two Seyco sanders to test them out.  And if you already have the KA system, you may find the medium size of the Seyco product handy at times.

However, as most of us quickly learn, there's no substitute for a quality tool!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Drum sander tip really works!

I needed to sand a wide board today, and had not yet tried to remove the dark stripe running down the middle of the abrasive on the drum.

So, following the instructions provided by SuperMax, I used a small piece of plexiglass to scrape the abrasive clean.  It took some work, but I was able to remove the entire mess pretty easily.  If I had removed it when it first appeared, it would have been a really quick job.

Pretty good save of a fairly new sandpaper strip!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

SuperMax sander scores again!

I've been delighted with my SuperMax 19-38 drum sander from the get-go, and am especially pleased with their great customer service.  

Recently I developed a problem with lines appearing on the abrasive that were not from glue.  I didn't think the cherry or hard maple I was using were particularly resinous, so I was clueless.  Here are the photos I sent them:



 I contacted SuperMax, and here's the response I received:

These black lines are build-up on and in the abrasive. Usually caused by a glue line or resin line in the stock being sanded. Easiest method to prevent/reduce these lines are to angle the stock being sanded. A 30 degree angle is ideal. If the stock is too wide for that, any angle is helpful. Even a 1 or 2 degree angle can dramatically reduce build-up.

As for resin lines, Cherry and Hard Maple are the most prone to this kind of build-up. Again, angling is helpful as is less depth of cut and a faster feed rate than used with other woods.

These lines can be removed with using clear plexiglass on edge as an abrasive cleaner. Or the abrasives can also be soaked in paint thinner or mineral spirits, which will dry out the build-up. Then it can be brushed out with a stiff nylon brush.

If the lines are developing from Cherry or Hard Maple and are not from glue lines, the other option is using a cooler running abrasive such as the blue Zirconium… Please let me know if you have questions or if I can be of any service.


If you need a drum sander, I'd suggest you give this one serious consideration.  It's a little more money, but for a lot more tool, and you can't beat the customer service. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Work in process

I've been working on some new projects using a texturing compound that dries hard like wood, but can be applied with a piping bag and tip.  Before doing an actual project, I experimented with the compound, and also with fabric paints, to see what the limitations were.

Here's a picture of some of the preliminary effects I played with, and some wood that's been prepped for an actual project.  When I start off in this way, I never know where I'll end up, and I already have quite a punch list of things to try.  Those that work will probably end up as published articles for everyone to enjoy, and those that don't are still a learning experience!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Outdoor spray booth

Whoever said that spraying had to be a hassle?  At this time of year, I just tape some newspaper to a stool, find a shady spot, do my spraying, then move inside to let things dry.  Of course wind, rain, pollen, birds, etc. can be a problem at times, but generally, the ease and speed of this low-tech method can't be beat!



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Blade update

Continuing my experiment with larger and smaller blades, I added the Flying Dutchman Ultra Reverse #5 (FD-UR #5) to see how it compared with the Polar #5.  It actually gave a smoother cut, and sliced through a little more easily, but couldn't clear out the sawdust sufficiently to prevent burning.

However, I am now convinced that the rule I've been following, to use larger blades with thicker wood, needs to be reassessed.  The importance of this for my work is that the smaller the blade, the smaller the entry hole, and the less sanding away of drill marks.

The lessons learned are that if your favorite blade isn't working, don't be afraid to try other options, and don't be afraid to go smaller if, like me, you've been leaning towards the larger blades.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Flying Dutchman #5 Polar blade

My latest project required cutting 1-1/2" thick hard maple.  My usual go-to blade, Flying Dutchman UR-9, left burn marks all over the place and cut with difficulty.  I knew that many people use small blades successfully with thick wood, so I decided try out the only Polar blade I have, a #5.

The picture shows the cut with the UR-9 on the right, and the one made with the Polar blade on the left.  What a difference!!  The cutting was slow, but dead-on accurate, and left no burn or blade marks.  I've since found out that this blade has become quite popular, and comes in many sizes.  I've used it for corian and acrylic, but never thought of using it for wood.

Hope my discovery inspires you to give this blade a try.  It was a wonderful and unexpected discovery for me.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

New source for veneer

I've been working on some new projects that require colors that don't occur in nature, or tend to fade over time.  I could not find them at Constantine's, my usual source, so I tried to find a place that carried them.

I'm pleased to report that my search located a site that sells dyed veneer  in colors that are absolutely eye-popping, like pink, plum, and two gorgeous shades of blue.  I've already used the blue for a holiday project that should be appearing in Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts, but also have some laminations planned out that will combine yellowheart and purpleheart with some of the new dyed veneer for a project I can't wait to start.

The pricing, customer service, and packaging were all first-rate, and I'm happy to recommend B&B Rare Woods as a good source to consider.