Turnings for November 11th

With the weather turning colder and the "Turn for the Troops" event, I only had a little time to turn some pens out today. From left to right, a Purpleheart and Yellowheart segmented Classic Fountain Pen, a gold plated slim line dressed with Aromatic Cedar and a center piece of purple acrylic, and an African Blackwood platinum European segmented turning using a white veneer for a classy curve.

Turn for the Troops 2007

Woodcraft in Toledo had their first "Turn for the Troops" event today. I got a chance to volunteer my time to help people who had little or no experience on the lathe. I do quite a bit of shopping there for pen parts, and I often take in my work to show off to the staff. One of them asked me if I wouldn't mind volunteering to help people new to the lathe. I was flattered as I have really only been turning pens since June and I really don't consider myself an expert. I was thrilled to be able to help as it's a really good cause. The least I can do is donate a Saturday. Jen also baked some yummy cookies for me to take in (I think she was the most popular person there). I was able to help around ten people turn out some pretty nice pens which will be sent to the troops overseas for the holidays. I even had time and enough energy to turn one myself as well as taking in four pens from my inventory to donate.

just one more...

I hope you all aren't getting tired of these...just one more from the last Woodcraft batch. This is a Platinum European Ballpoint Twist dressed in an acrylic called 'Azurite'. I am pleased with the lines and curves with this particular turning. Of course it helps that I spent about 20 minutes sharpening my gouges before I started. This particular pen is for sale at Amazingly Rustic! and like all European ballpoints, it uses a Cross-style refill.

ok...time for a pen post

A real quick post of some pens I turned from the past few days. Two acrylics and one segmented wood, all European Ballpoint Twist. The acrylics are the Woodcraft line "Magenta Bliss" and "Summer". The Magenta Bliss has black titanium hardware and the Summer has Platinum. The segmented pen is a combination of Purpleheart and Yellowheart with Basswood bands and Platinum hardware. This was a commissioned job for good friend. The two acrylics are up for sale at my site.

pumpkin!

Just a quick post to show off the pumpkins for Halloween 2007. Click the images to embiggen...

what's this? no lathe chat?

I know, I know. A post without mention of wood turning or lathe work (oops, I guess that mentioned it). In other news, it's been a challenging couple of weeks on a fear level for me. A few weeks ago, I was flossing before bed and popped an old filling out. This is one of the old amalgam type with real mercury (because I don't get enough of that from the sushi I eat). I didn't swallow it or anything, but I knew it was time to get to the dentist ASAP before a simple filling replacement turned into a root canal. You see, the last time this happened to me, I ignored it and that's what transpired.

First, a bit of history. My family has bad teeth. Not appearance, just weak enamel (I think that is the correct word) and very susceptible to cavities. Growing up, it seemed I had to get a filling almost twice a year, despite good dental practices. It also didn't help the the family dentist was a sadist who did not believe in novocaine. Needless to say, I started to develop a sort of phobia, like one might to mimes or clowns.

So, I scheduled a visit with the same dentist that did my root canal so many years ago...approximately seven years ago to be specific. I know, you can say what you like, I was already read the riot act by the hygienist, but as an adult, I can consciously make bad decisions and live in denial. Anyhow, three visits in the past two weeks for a tally of: one periodontal, three fillings (one for the missing, two cracked amalgams that would fall out soon), and two visits for deep (under the gum line) cleaning, each time leaving feeling manhandled by the damn smiling dental hygienist...she is a devil woman...actually she isn't really that bad, she just really enjoys her work. On the bright side, I am done until the end of January, which will be a follow up periodontal and probably a crown for a tooth that is mostly filling. Lesson learned...never again will I go that long...never...

Turnings for the weekend of October 27th

Today I had a chance to experiment with bonding blackwood to bloodwood, a task which gave me headaches this past week. I surmise that the oils in the blackwood significantly weekend the adhesive bond which caused it to fall apart in the drill press. I finally switched to an epoxy instead of a CA glue which fixed that issue. One of the checkerboards uses bloodwood bands, the other a basswood. I wanted to experiment with various color combinations, thus the difference between the two. I also turned a trio of bloodwood slim style pens (I have a lot of bloodwood...woodcraft had a sale).

The rest of the afternoon was spent teaching myself mortis and tennon joints to complete a swank project for Jen for Christmas (no pics yet, I want it to be a surprise for her).

Turnings for the weekend of October 21st

Having multiple social obligations this weekend, I did not have time to turn a lot of pens. I did manage to turn an Acrylic Atlas style pen with a red and black swirl pattern. I'm not a fan of the satin finish on this color combination, but my wife seems to like it enough. I also turned a Padauk European style twist pencil, and the last is a European Antler twist pen. The antler stock was obtained from Augums Penworks and came pre-drilled. One of the hardest pats of turning antler right off the rack is finding a suitable chunk and drilling it straight. The pieces that came were probably from a different animals so the match in color is way off. It is still an interesting contrast.

A couple more for the inventory...

Here are two European style pens that were destined for the garbage can after the twist mechanisms were crushed when pressing the pen together. I found a 5 pack of mechanisms at the local Woodcraft and was able to salvage them. One is a Bloodwood with Platinum hardware, the other a stacked cut with Purpleheart & Blackwood with Basswood and Padauk bands.

Turnings for the weekend of October 14th

Here are some recent turnings from the weekend of October 14th. I used my band saw to cut a wave down the center of the blank using an off colored wood. This creates two blanks in opposite colors. The swirl pens were created using mahogany and ash for one pair and padauk and basswood for the other pairing. The checkerboard pattern pens were created using the band saw and compound miter saw. Checkerboard pens were built up using walnut and basswood with either purpleheart or blackwood bands. The group of Antler pens were commissioned by a co-worker who supplied me with a generous shopping bag of antler from her husband. I have found a vendor who carries pre-drilled antler blanks which I may start using. Antler is easy enough to turn, but it is a complete pain in the ass to prep (find a suitable length for the tube, saw it to size on the band saw, drill out a 7mm hole...straight...set the tubes, mill the blank true...all before you can put it on the mandrel...)



I use antler in all my decorating...

I attempted turning antler (generously donated by my brother-in-law) over the weekend, and again tonight. First impressions: it is hard to locate sections which are "straight" enough to house a brass tube for the barrel, it stinks like burning hair when it is sawed and drilled, voids in the material guarantee a not so smooth surface, it is absolutely beautiful when polished and assembled. Despite the smell and the difficulties setting the tubes, it turns very much like regular wood. The only difference is that I will put on several coats of CA glue and sand it with micro mesh to 12,000 grit before applying a heavy coat of wax.

In other news, I finally decided on a woodworking site name: Amazingly Rustic. It is going to be mostly galleries of past projects, as well as items I intend to sell. I have many people who have been asking for custom turned pens and want to see my work, and my blog site is a little too scattered to navigate efficiently.

let's go back to the lathe...

Last weekend was pretty well consumed by home improvement projects, and any time I did have was spoiled by the excessive humidity. The past week also had me working over into the evenings, so no shop fun for Craig. Today was all about the lathe though. I had a trio of projects I worked on, some bracelet assistants, some mechanical sketch pencils, and some hair sticks for fun. The bracelet assistants have 24k gold plated hardware and I chose aromatic cedar, purpleheart and padauk for the body. The mechanical pencils are what is called a shop or sketch pencil. The cap for the plunger mechanism has a built in sharpener and it has additional graphite refills, as well as some color refills for drawing on glass, metal, and other smooth materials. I chose a stabilized maple burl, acrylic 'cow hide', and padauk. The hair sticks had one made of oak and the other two made of mahogany.

The stabilized maple was interesting, I think there was enough glue and synthetics injected in that it actually turned and polished up like acrylic (using micro-mesh). It is fun, but that stock is a little pricey for my tastes. I am also not liking oak very much for turning. I was impressed by how fast the mahogany turned though. I rather like that material.

I also started constructing the weight for the clock projects and made a small pencil case out of some scrap 1/8" plywood (not picture worthy, but it's cute).

hair pin turns...

get it? cause I turned another hair pin/stick...oh well, lame humor I know...so today from the woodshop I finished turning some blanks I setup on Friday. I had four, but the zebrawood blank was probably a bit on the dry side and blew apart when I was using the skew to smooth it out. The skew is definitely your friend, but friends can sometimes be a mixed blessing. It is probably the single most devastating gouge in the collection, but can really give a great finish if it's not being temperamental that day...today it did not like the zebrawood....but it did like the following:

from left to right: Yellowheart/Walnut slimline, Basswood/Walnut/Bloodwood slimline, Aromatic Cedar Slimline, Oak Hair Stick

notes from the workshop...

Today I spent several hours cleaning up the garage. It really needed it badly as I was having trouble finding tools I needed for projects. Afterwards, I spent a little time setting up some new blanks for a few slimline kits I have left over and turning a few blanks from last week:

Left to right: An oak hair stick (a little on the thick side, but it was fun to turn something not on a mandrel), Bloodwood Fountain Pen, Basswood/Bloodwood Slimline, Oak/Yellowheart "Cross" Slimline, Padauk/Purpleheart Fountain Pen w/Walnut Stripes...

Otherwise, I'm trying to justify/rationalize a purchase of a bandsaw. Anderson's in Maumee has a factory reconditioned Delta 10 inch half horse bandsaw with stand for $129. That's about $70 off the cost of new saw. Beyond the financial cost, I would need to come up with somewhere to put it in the garage. Floorspace is at a premium until I get a dumpster to get rid of some of the old building/demolition stuff from our various home improvement projects...

Jen's Birthday Present

Today I need to bake a cake and take Jen to to the Fulton County Fair. As a sneak peak at one of the items I made for her, this is my first attempt at making a round container/box. I used a router to cut the main components which was well before I purchased a lathe (the would have made it much easier and more accurate). I learned quite a bit while making it...mostly what not to do, but that gives it charm and character. We'll file this under Amazingly Rustic....