Wednesday, April 19, 2017


 Look at what my Granddaughter Alyssa gave to me.

It is 12 by 16 by 3 inch piece of Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum).

The wood contains both burl and fiddle back figure.  The figure in this piece of wood is shallow. Back side of the piece has almost no figure.  I turned the bowl so that the figure was on the bottom and as I hollowed out the inside of the bowl the figure was exposed.

The bowl is green and is rough turned to about 1 inch thick, 8 to 10 days in the dryer and it will be ready to finish.

I think she is going want her wood back.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spalted Wood

Spalted wood is partially decayed wood, that changes color as it decays. The wood fiber is still sound and can be used is a variety of projects, the decaying stops when the wood moisture content is below 20%.

This is a slab of Oregon Myrtlewood.  Spalted Myrtlewood produces colors that range from cream to black with shades of green, red, orange and brown; in various shapes and streaks.        

The spalting process can produce some very dramatic colors and patterns.

Remember that spalting is decay which is the wood tissue breaking down because of the interaction with fungus.  It is always prudent to wear a breathing mask when working (sanding) spalted wood. Some people have an allergic reaction to spalted wood.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Curly Redwood

Curly Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens).

I have several of these Redwood planks lying around the shop; for years. They are two inches thick and range from 12 to 14 inches wide.  Being shut in for the weekend I decided to turn a couple of platters.  I started with a face plate; turned the back and bottom and do all the sanding because your won't be able to go back.  Then I used a 6 inch vacuum cup to hold the platter and finished the inside.

Second platter.

Side view, they are only about 1 3/4 inches thick.

Redwood varies in color from dark red / brown to an light brown as you seen in the photo.  I alway start with a heavy coat of spar varnish; apply heavy and wipe off after a few minutes it seals the wood and brings out color and depth.

Anybody have any wood they want to trade?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Old Wood

Pacific Madrone Burl (Arbutus menziesii).  This was in my Father's shop and when he passed in 2008, it came to my shop shortly thereafter and I have been moving it around my shop to different places. Only because it was from my Dad's shop kept me from throwing it away.

Yesterday I decided to turn the burl, my only regret is I did not take a picture before I started. The bowl is 13" in diameter and 3.5" deep.  The wood has been kicked around a shop for at least 20 yrs. and is very dry, cracked and badly checked.  There was even termite channels in the wood. This has turned out to be a very usual piece, I am very glad I did not make firewood out of it.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sharpen Your Bowl Gouge

This is my Bowl Gouge, it has an 60 degree angle; which is often referred to as an Ellsworth Grind.  I have reshaped the profile a dozen times so that it fits my woodturning techniques.

Once you arrive at the desired profile it's important to replicate the same profile each time you sharpen the chisel.  The least amount of material you remove during the sharpening process the longer your tool will last.

I use a Tormek Super Grind and since I purchased this system several other sharpening systems have entered the marketplace, not sure which is best but this is what I have and I like the various jigs for the different angles and profiles.

I use a 2 1/2 inch distance between the grinding wheel and the jig.  I set up a little gauge so I can set up quickly and at the same distance each time I sharpen the tool.

Use a felt marker and color the profile.

Adjust the tool rest to fit the profile and rotate the grinding wheel against the tool by hand.

If the jig and tool rest are adjusted correctly, the felt marker will be remove from top to bottom of the profile.

Three or four pass's accross the grinding wheel, the gouge will be sharp and you will have replicated the previous profile.  This technique will work on any tool.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Man Cave, Messy

Here's my shop, I have spent many years and dollars acquiring the tools and machines but it has been well worth it.
Have been working on Segmented Bowls, several orders for Christmas.  My next goal to upgrade the lathe to a 20" model, not sure which one.  This Jet 1442 has been a very good machine, I just want to turn bigger bowls.  Notice the LED flood light on the camera tripod, very effective way of lighting my work and it is movable.
 Picture of associated tools for woodturning
 Notice all the small pieces of wood, this is the result of making segmented bowls.