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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fixer

I called today's post "Fixer" because the last few days it seems I am constantly having to fix something. So the title seemed fitting.
Everyone seemed to like the cypress flower pot I made a while back, so I decided to try making a cypress bowl. I got the outside turned fine with the tail stock supporting it. Soon after I switched to hollowing out the inside though, the double sided tape I was using to hold on a waste block with a tenon cut into it to fit my chuck  gave way and the bowl took flight. So I decided to use my bowl press to glue the waste block on before continuing. I let it set over night.
Of course I had to retrue the outside the next day and then the hollowing went along without a hitch.
As you can see, this one was going to require a lot of sanding. My powerless sanding tool I made a while back was working wonderfully, then..........
I knew that the thin sides seemed a tad brittle to me. I didn't think they were that brittle though.
So I turned it down to a shorter bowl and went at it again.
Before I could even get back to sanding though, well, you see what happened before I could even get back to sanding.
So I turned it down to an even shorter bowl.
Here, after sanding, I decided I had better snap another photo before something else went wrong, like maybe while turning the waste block off the bottom.
The waste block removal happened without incident. Well, almost.
I noticed a crack on the sides while I was checking my progress at one point. Once you get past a certain point of no return though, all you can do is finish the waste block removal and then take it off the lathe to see what you have.
After all I had been through with this bowl, I really did not want to scrap it. So I used CA glue to fix the crack in it.
I think it turned out ok. I can't gripe about all the wasted material making this tall bowl short. I try to look at things like this as opportunities to hone my skills.
That's what I tell people anyway. Never admit that you just messed up.
Next, ever since Ms. Clause sent my the gift package last week, I've been looking at one of the pieces of mystery wood that was included. If I was correct it was going to be box elder burl. I used elder burl on the Civil War pen a while back and thought it was one of the most beautiful materials I've ever turned. So I was anxious to turn this to see what I got.
If you read my blog, you know I always refer to burls as like unwrapping presents. You never know what surprises await underneath. Sometimes you are greeted with the most fabulous gift a fella could ask for. Well, sometimes you are greeted with a box of rock.
No seriously. You know you have an Uncle Joe who lost his pet rock collection. In his demented state of mind, he has mistakenly wrapped it up and gave it to you for your birthday about three and a half months after your birthday.
No?
Ok. Anyway, the beautiful wood, which did turn out to be box elder burl as I suspected by the way, revealed a knot about halfway into it. It wasn't one of those pretty, interesting knots. It was one of those knots that, if I'd continued, would have flown out and left a huge hole that would have been near impossible to fill with my usual slurry method.
So what to do? Well since the CA glue had worked for my bowl repair so well, I decided to go back to the well again. I really wanted to save this blank.
And I think it worked out real well. Who says you can't turn a gift of a box of rocks into something nice?
This is a .50 Cal. pen with box elder burl, and a, now pretty and interesting, knot in it.
.
So what else could I tear up and fix?
This is a hunk of cedar I had back in the corner of the shop. Actually it is half of a split bowl that I tried turning some time back. I decided to try to turn it into one of those interesting looking things I seen somewhere on the internet some time ago. I would tell you what it is called or where I seen it, but unfortunately, I can't remember either.
HOLY CRAP!!!
Things were going great. I was having fun. The wood was cooperating fine, and I was sure I could complete this project.
Then a hunk off one side decided it wanted to go bye-bye. Luckily, it flew away from me. However, this large hunk all of a sudden leaving the party threw the rest of it out of balance at high speed. Well, let's just say that I'm not sure those pants are going to ever come clean again.
I had not idea that a three hundred pound lathe could hop like that.
I decided to not try fixing this one. This same hunk of wood has caused massive failures on the lathe twice now. I haven't been hurt, but I do not wish to test that three strike rule thing.
Also, something in the back of my head told me to check the alignment on my lathe after all the excitement died down, my heart rate returned to normal, and I smoked as cigarette or ten to calm my nerves.
I'm glad I did. This is the disadvantage to having a lathe with a rotating head. Something like that out of balance hopping dance it was doing earlier throws things off.
So I felt it was a good time to do a lathe tune up. I cleaned it up, realigned everything, oiled everything, and generally made sure it was ready to safely go again.
Then it was time to climb back on the horse and go again.
The deer antler pens, especially the .45-70 pens I've made before, seem popular. So I decided to make one for my display case.
Then, since Ms. Clause had sent me a few .50 Cal. pen kits, I decided that, since people seem to like the bullet and deer antler combination, I should make a .50 Cal. pen with deer antler.
.
So, the lathe is back in fighting shape. We'll just have to see what I can mess up next. Remember though, it's not mistakes, it's learning opportunities.
Till next time, happy turning!
Before I go, you may remember I made a bamboo pen for my kid's karate instructor a few days ago.
For my readers that always ask about my family, my son done his rank test yesterday. He passed and is now a yellow belt.
Oh, he's the little fella on the left in this photo.
 
 
 

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