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Thursday, April 18, 2013


I know. I am supposed to be working on a marble machine. I have a little, and I promise a post on that a tad bit later this evening. The thing is though, I have gotten sidetracked. I hate to sound like I'm making excuses, but I've had a rough week so far. I have been in a lot of pain. Sometimes the pain gets to me and I'm easily distracted from something I am supposed to be doing. Recently I have learned that turning is a favorite diversional tactic of mine when the pain wears on my mind. So I have a few turnings to show.
I became tied up over last weekend. Then, early in the week, someone I consider a good friend and I exchanged visits between our shops. Upon going to his shop, he gave me some wood. All of it was beautiful, but one certain piece offered a specific challenge to me. It was a piece of cherry with a knot in it that made most of the wood around it seem unusable. I was determined to get something done with it though. The twisting grain in it just intrigued me.
Most of the board could easily be cut into pen blanks. It was that area around that knot I wanted to get at though.
I chopped around it. Some of it shattered into pieces, flying off my saw as tiny projectiles that scared the living daylights out of me. I was able to get some small piece though just around the inner part of the knot. None were long enough for full pen blanks, but I had an idea to add accent pieces to them to give them enough length.
The above photos show the first pen I made with these pieces. The cherry offered some absolutely stunning grain. The middle, lighter colored wood on both side of the metal ring, is maple. The dark rings at each end are ziricote.
My friend also know someone who needed some drumsticks. As usual too, I went a little overboard with that. I had never turned drumsticks, but seen it as a learning experience. The most important thing I learned was that I can turn them, but if I was a good finish I'm going to have to build a steady rest to cut down on the chatter. That's alright though. My friend also gave me some bearings to build the steady rest with. That is a future project I will design in my head until I can get to it.
I made drumsticks in several different species.
This is mystery wood.
I am calling it mystery wood because I haven't been able to identify the exact species yet. It looks similar to mahogany, but I'm reluctant to call it that until I am more sure.
Here is a better shot of it. It is hard to see the grain in the drumstick photo. It is straight grain, very hard, and as I said before, an absolutely beautiful piece of wood.
I then had fun with a screwdriver. This is an old screwdriver. My friend bought it at a flea market and it wasn't working right. I disassembled this antique with pleasure. I have always loved working on anything mechanical in nature. I got it to working, but the handle was worn out and badly cracked. So I decided to also turn a sapelle handle for it. Upon returning the tool, my friend surprised me by giving it to me. So this goes into my working collection of antique tools. What I mean my usable collection is that I would never own a tool that I can't use, no matter how old. If I can't use a tool, I find someone to give it too who prefers collecting. I'm a user, not a collector.
So, the last couple of days I did get back on track. I wanted to show you all what I was doing though while sidetracked off of what I was supposed to be doing. 


  1. Your mystery wood looks like the hickory in my firewood pile. It may also be juniper.

  2. Thanks. I have a small bit of hickory. I will do a side by side comparison and see if they match.

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