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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Trains And More Trains

Any of you who regularly read my ramblings have seen and heard all about these Rocking Iron Horse trains before. You've also may probably remember my fascination of trains in general. For several weeks though, the train building have went off the rails (lame joke fully intended).
The one you see in these photos is the one I built first, which was completed a couple of weeks ago. Well, the guy who it was for liked it. He liked it a lot. He must have, because.........
He wanted two more.
All three trains are built entirely of cotton wood except for the train frames. The frames are made of sapelle because I did not have any other material thick enough when building them and did not want to run all the way to town for material when I had these sticks under a table that would work just fine.
 The different colors are obtained with different stains. The red and blue is tinted, waterbased Minwax stain. After they are assembled, they are finished off with Polycrylic, a water based clear coat.

Lantern Boxes

Sitting on top of this wooden box is the plastic holders that I've had for some time to hold my Coleman lanterns in. I have always hated them. They are flimsy, cheaply made, and have on at least one occasion come loose from the bottom and broken the globe on one of my lanterns. I just never have taken the time to build something better.
Well, after going fishing a few weeks ago, and the latch mechanism completely failing on one of them and me almost breaking another globe, I was not putting it off any longer.
Here is a view of the top with it open. The lantern sitting on top is the newest lantern I have. My wife and kids bought me that one for Father's Day several years ago. Most of my lanterns are old ones. I prefer the old ones because they can be rebuilt. The new style, the ones that run on propane, are pretty much junk if they ever act up. On these old style ones, you can replace the globe, pumps, generators, and I also have a few extra lanterns around for the odd parts that you cannot buy in the stores, like lids and such.
I have several old lanterns that were made over thirty years ago. I pick them up at yard sales for a dollar or two a piece. Usually, you disassemble them, clean the dirt dobbers out of them, reassembly, put new mantles on them, and fire them up.
This is my small box. It holds three lanterns. I carry these three, my favorite ones, when I go night fishing. They are my go-to lanterns. The fourth compartment accessories like extra mantles, a lighter, funnel for adding fluid, and an extra pump (just in case).
Here is the small box with the lid shut. I added a hasp and pin clip just to make sure it stays closed until I am ready to open it.
Next I built a long box. This one holds the lanterns we carry when the whole family goes camping. These don't see much use, but I wanted a safe storage place for them as well. Since these only get used when we go as a family, I made one long box that holds them all. The lid opens in three sections so you can pull out just a couple at a time. The ends have hollowed out handles so one person can get at each end and carry the box.
The long box holds seven lanterns. When we camp, we'll load this box and the small one. This makes ten lanterns. Since I think that's enough to light up a small Army camp, I believe it'll be enough.
These boxes were made from cottonwood, using hardware that I've saved off of old junk (I'm a pack rat), and plywood lids. They aren't pretty, but that is the point of why I built them as I done. Every piece of wood in these projects is wood that I would have normally cut up for fire wood. So I wasted no good wood to make them. That makes them even better for the purpose they serve in my opinion. I do want to go back at a later date and add some kind of exterior wood protection on them.

Newest Antler Pen

I've done several antler pens in the past. However, I have not been completely happy with any of them. They are antler, but they have been from very small tines, and I've had to make odd shape pens to be able to include any of the outer "bark" to make them even resemble antler.
Recently though, I was given a pretty large rack and couldn't wait to see what I could do with this one.
I was able to get a solid piece off of this one to be able to make the whole pen from one continuous piece. This makes it easier to match the two pen halves in appearances.
This allowed me to leave much more of the bark than I have on past antler pens, and be able to stick with the pen shape that I also like. It is a little fatter than my other pens, but I am just happy with the overall results.
On the other side of the pen, I guess because of the large size, it did become a little soft on me while turning. I had to keep soaking it in CA glue as I went, and this left a yellowish look where the soft area was, but I like this look as well.
So overall, this is my favorite antler pen so far.

Still Learning

I mentioned some time back that I was going to try to get into segmented turnings. I have been reading and getting advice everywhere and anywhere I could on the subject, along with doing a lot of reading. I felt I was ready to start a simple bowl to see how it would go.
Things got off to a rocky start right from the beginning. While trying to make an eight piece segmented ring, I happen to discover that my Incra sled was one half a degree off from square. This had never presented itself as a problem to me before now and therefore went undetected. However, when you consider a half degree per side of each joint piece, times eight pieces, this made for an eight degree gap overall in the ring. Now, a half a degree is tiny, but eight degrees, well, let's just say that glue is not going to cover that gap.
Anyway, after fiddling with the sled for a couple of days, I was finally able to get it to where it was accurate enough for the segments. The Incra sled is a great piece of equipment, but I have found out that if it ever gets a tiny bit out of square, is is a pain in the rearend to get it perfect again.
The bowl press I made a while back made the glueing up of the stacks of rings much easier.
I allowed this to set up overnight and was ready for the turning to begin.
The biggest difference I found with doing the segmenting over simply turning a bowl from solid wood is that there is nothing in the middle on one end to keep everything securely on the lathe until you get everything balanced well enough to spin safely.
You may also notice I glued a piece on the bottom for no other reason that to have something to attach to the chuck without having to get into the material of the bowl itself. This I planned on turning off later.
Here is the bowl. Well, here is what is left of the bowl.
Everything went fine until I started turning the inside. I had nothing but problems, catches, and disappointment when I tried doing the inside. My tools were sharp, but I ran into other issues. The biggest of them being I need a better technique for getting into these smaller diameter bowls. When I work off the end of my tool rest, I'm kind of out there in no man's land because there is not enough room for my rest, my tool, and my hand to steady the tool. There has got to be a better way to do what I'm trying to do. I just need to do some more research and watch some more videos to figure it out. As usual though, it's always a learning process and I will get it one day.
The bowl isn't a complete waste. Since all my past "reject" bowls that I put next to my bench to hold small tools always seem to get snatched up by family members, I needed a new small tool catch-all anyway.