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

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

When you need to go really basic

Sometimes simple is the best solution!  And Mikasa does make a really round salad plate!

Still trying to learn GIMP . . . . .

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Flattening cupped wood

It's always a pleasure to work with perfectly flat wood. However, sometimes the piece you want to use is cupped. Here are some suggestions you might find useful for flattening the wood.

If the piece is thin, try moistening the concave (incurving) side then clamping it firmly until dry. Often, this is all it takes to flatten the wood to a point where it can be used. However, try to use the wood as soon as possible, since it will tend to revert to the way it was originally. I do this with wood for box and bowl bottoms, and once glued into place, the wood becomes quite stable. I would not use wood that has been cupped and flattened this way for a slab lid or other unsupported use. It might remain flat, but it also might not, and why take the chance?

If the cupped piece is thick enough so you have wood to spare, place it cupped side up so that it is stable and put it through the drum sander. Eventually the top surface will flatten out. When this is achieved, invert the piece and sand the other side until it is flat.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Next generation vase

This was a tricky one to do--it took a different approach to cutting rings, one that I used in the bowl book, but never fully appreciated in terms of its versatility.

Center ring is laminated redheart, rings are black walnut, generously donated from a local lumberyard.

It will be a good piece to use in my advanced bowls class at the 2016 Open House.

Here are three different views. It's interesting how the grain varies so much, making it really important to be careful about matching.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Variation on a theme

As usual, I try to work with a project until I've run out of ideas.  This box of bubinga, maple and black veneer, is not quite finished--I haven't yet decided on a handle, and I'm taking my time with it.

This is now my fourth hinge lid box, and I must say that there is definitely a learning curve. Sanding the hinges is a bit out of my comfort zone, but I am definitely getting better. I'm also finding that I'm exerting more pressure with my right hand than my left hand, and I'm trying to be aware of it so I can feed the wood more evenly.

Still have the vase I'm trying to update waiting patiently, but at least I'm not bored!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Success at last

Still working out the last little tweaks, but I've finally got this one figured out. It's really a neat little design, and not too fidgety. I'm learning to tolerate the frustration of projects taking longer than I've expected. Gotta keep moving on!

Monday, October 12, 2015

A new project, finally!

I've been having a really frustrating string of projects fall apart at various stages. My standards are pretty high--the project has to be attractive, different, easy to replicate, and not require extraordinary skills or unusual equipment.

This one looks hopeful, so I'm moving it out of the prototype stage. It's a box with a hinged lid, where the hinges and lid are from the same piece of wood. The prototype posted is a simple version, but I plan to use a "jazzier" lid, and fix some problems I had with the prototype.

I'm overdue for a success!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Face grain segmented bowl

Quite by accident, I tripped on a way to make a segmented bowl that had only face grain showing, without needing to cut angles.  This one was made from some 1/2" oak and padauk strips that I had lying around.  It's meant as a prototype, but I plan to see how far I can push this technique now that I know it works.  So many new things to explore . . . . .

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New source for graphite pads for Jet belt sander

A while ago, I posted a photo showing severe areas of wear on the graphite pad of my Jet belt/disc sander.  Until then, I was not even aware that there was such a pad, or that the deep indentations were the cause of my inability to sand vertical sides.

I had called Jet to help me troubleshoot the problem, found out about and ordered the pad, and installed it with a great deal of difficulty.  The old adhesive was almost impossible to remove, even with Goo Gone, and the new pad had the same type of adhesive on it.

Recently, the same problem sanding problem reappeared, not as bad as the first time, but still problematic.  However, in the interim, I had discovered that Klingspor's Woodworking carried short rolls of cloth backed graphite in 6" widths, and ordered a piece large enough for two complete applications to keep on hand.  Not surprisingly, it was far less costly than ordering the single piece from Jet.

However, the real bonus was the discovery that it was applied using spray adhesive.  I removed the old pad, with the same amount of difficulty as the first time, cleaned the bed thoroughly, and applied the new pad, cut to appropriate length, using repositionable adhesive.  The instructions specified spray adhesive, and this was what I had on hand.  It's been completely trouble free, and I'm now considering replacing just the lower part when needed, rather than the entire pad, since removal should not be such a production.

Nice to find a really good solution to a recurring problem.  I do like the fact that there is an interface between the sanding belt and the metal bed, which not only keeps things cooler, but protects the bed from "dings".

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New display case

Like most people who love trying out new ideas and techniques, I keep running out of display room.  Joe kindly offered to build a display case, so we looked at all sorts of plans until we found one that was room but not overly large or overwhelming.

It's made from sapele, which blends in well with the dining room furniture, and is a pleasure to work with.  The glass shelves and absence of a back and sides keep the look light, so it's just perfect for our needs.

And of course it was a lot more work than we expected, down to the half-lap miter joints for the shelves, but the results were certainly worth it.

Of course I don't know what I'll do with future projects, but I'll deal with that when I have to!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

An easy way to figure out the cutting angle

If you're having trouble understanding how the cutting angle for bowls works, take a look at this photo.  The two parallel lines on the edge represent the ring width, in this case 1/4".

To get a rough idea of the correct cutting angle, tilt the saw table, left side down, so that the tensioned blade meets the right line on the top edge of the wood, and the left line on the bottom of the wood.  That angle, with the thickness of the wood in the photo and 1/4" wide ring, is about 20˚.  If the wood were thicker or thinner, the angle would change.

If you go to scrollmania.com and look at the diagram for the Angle Calculator, you can get a clearer idea of what that diagram represents.  Remember, the angle you are computing is actually the amount the saw table is lowered from its normal level position.

Hope this clears things up a little.  And yes, there are people who just use the method in the photo to "compute" the cutting angle.  If you're precise enough, it should work just fine, but I'd rather double check with a calculated angle.  With a neat online tool like the Angle Calculator, there's no excuse for not being precise!