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

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fox Chapel Open House 2015

Well, the folks at Fox Chapel did it again, with another great show.  I had fun teaching my classes and   helping scrollers with their bowl projects.  When not teaching, I was at my table meeting folks, signing books, and just hanging out with whomever came by.

Here's my table, full of as many pieces as we could safely carry and set up.  Not a bad way to spend a couple of days!



Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Revisiting an old project

A while back, Woodworker's Journal published an article of mine which gave instructions for making a small cherry jewelry box.  It was one of the projects that had been intended for the box book, but there was no room in the book for all the projects I had planned, and this one was sufficiently different from the others so that it didn't fit conveniently into any chapter.  I was sorry not to be able to include it, because I liked it a lot, but there really was no way to do it.

Fortunately, it found a home with Woodworker's Journal, whose editors did a very good job with it.  I just happened to get a copy of their eZine today, and noticed that they were offering the full article at no charge on on their website.

If you missed the original publication, you might enjoy making this unique little box that is quite easy to do with the scroll saw.

To find it, just click on this link: Cherry Jewelry Box

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Completed box

Here's how the box turned out.  I am really pleased with the delicacy of the flowers, and the use of two types of stamens.  There are still a number of petal designs yet to try before I start on another "series".

This type of project is not too demanding, once you get used to handling the fidgety little pieces, and the compound cuts, even with demanding wood like purpleheart, are not difficult.  To play it safe, I always draw my petal patterns extra thick to allow plenty of wood for shaping and for removing the "uglies".




Friday, April 3, 2015

Designing by trial and error

Sometimes the only way to visualize a new project is to play with the pieces to see what works.

This project will be an oval box with flowers.  I am working out the final arrangement by using replicas of the petals and seeing how they fit together.  Loops of masking tape hold them in place and I can change things around until I get the look I want.

The leaves and petals at this stage are cut but otherwise still unfinished, and the larger flower will be purpleheart, not poplar.  The components are similar enough to the finished versions to give me an idea of what it will look like.

Now that I have finalized the patterns, what remains is to prefinish the box, complete and prefinish the leaves and petals, then glue the flower components into place.  Stamens will be added, and then the project can be given several coats of lacquer to finish it off.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Amazon finally has my books in stock

I will probably never know the full story of how it happened, but Amazon did not have either of my books in stock for many months, along with quite a few others published by Fox Chapel.

Although both were readily available all along, even on the Amazon website, but from other vendors who are always listed, many people apparently saw only that they were "temporarily" unavailable and did not place an order.  The irony is that several of these other vendors met or bested Amazon's price, even for Prime members.

It's not a bad idea, as a general practice, to look at these other vendors, some of whom are well-rated and may not charge sales tax.

I'm relieved that this problem seems to be resolved, thanks to the folks at Fox Chapel, and glad that anyone who was waiting to order can finally do so.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A new kind of press

Finally got tired of lid liners slipping out of position while trying to clamp the pieces together, so I decided to use my 3" pad sander and drill press to create a way of clamping without torque moving things out of position.

I positioned the lid liner in the usual way, marked its location on the lid, applied Nexabond in dots all over the liner, held it in place for a few minutes, then put it on the drill press table that was elevated with a few thick pieces of maple.  I cranked the table up until it held the lid and liner firmly together, and checked with a flashlight to be sure the edges were fully down.

After a few minutes, I could have removed the assembly and clamped it at the edges with spring clamps, but that didn't seem necessary.  I imagine that this could be made more elaborate, but for a small lid, it seems to have worked just fine.



Friday, February 20, 2015

Using the Wixey on aluminum or non-metallic surfaces

I think I forgot to post this useful tip I discovered quite by accident, so better late than never.

My Jet belt-disc sander has only one cast iron table, and I use that with the disc sander.  The table for the belt sander is probably aluminum, and has no angle guide for tilting.  While this seems inconvenient, the trade-off is that as you tilt the table, you can also adjust it to keep a very small space between the table and the belt.

This is essential for the type of sanding that I do, which often involves tiny or very thin pieces that could easily get caught in a wider space. However, sometimes I need to set the table angle accurately, and holding the Wixey in place is very awkward.

My "aha" moment came when I realized that the miter gauge that comes with the saw and fits into the table slot will hold the Wixey securely.  I usually don't use the miter gauge, so this never occurred to me before.  Such an easy solution, and it was there all the time!


Saturday, January 31, 2015

The glued-up bowl, completed

Thought you might like to see the results of the glue-up featured in the prior blog post.  This basket-weave bowl required two different blanks, rings stacked alternately, to get the gradually sloping sides.

I gave it a wax finish, which I think worked well, and was practical since I only spray outdoors, and certainly can't do that in sub-freezing temperatures.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Some tips for better gluing-ups

In working on a new bowl lamination, I realized that I now do some things automatically that are important in obtaining a good glue-up. Here's a video that contains some tips that you might find helpful.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Blooming Petal Bowl

Just in case you were wondering, here's the project whose leftovers are used for the bonus box.  It's not "quick and easy", but if you take your time, you should be able to produce a bowl that will be the envy of your wood-turning friends!