If you've been reading my blog posts, you know I fairly recently tried power sanding bowls on the lathe and liked it. Well, I've had several people suggest a non-powered method that seems to be popular. I checked into it and do believe that it will work just as well as the power sanding, but easier to deal with. I checked on one suggested system. You can see it if you like by clicking on this link. Besides being out of stock at the moment, I simply do not have the money to afford it at this time. I still wanted to try this type system though.
So I watched Captain Eddies video here and built his design. I think the one from Penn State will probably be better, but this one will get me started until I can afford to get it.
The thing is really just a handle with holes drilled into it. Inside those holes is a magnet that is glued into the bottom to keep the sanding attachment from just falling out. While Captain Eddie sells a bushing set that probably works wonderfully for this tool, I did not have the money to buy that at the moment either. So I used quarter inch bronze bushings that I got at my local hardware store.
For the sanding attachment, I read an article here.
They are simple to make really. They are just a piece of three quarter inch plywood cut into a two inch diameter circle. The mandrel shaft is just a quarter inch carriage bolt with the head cut off. The threaded end is used to attach it to the plywood disk using nuts, washers, and a drop of CA glue to prevent the nut from moving once tightened down. The foam rubber and Velcro backing is attached using thick CA glue.
This photo shows the three different locations I can put the sanding attachments. By moving the attachment being used to a different hole I can sand straight out from the handle, at a ninety degree angle to it, or a forty five degree angle.
If this works like I think it will, I think I will like the adjustable angle on the Penn State model better. I can make do with this though until I can afford that. I haven't used it yet on a bowl, but will be sure to report back on the results when I do.
Now, for the meaning of the title of this blog post.
The recent pens I've been making have been made from some very interesting burls and such. While I enjoy using these type materials, it is not what I really enjoy the most. What I like is this, making blanks. I enjoy gluing up my own blanks instead of using solid pieces. While I can never match the beauty that comes from nature in the form of a beautiful burl blank, or some interesting spalting in just the right area of a blank, I just seem to get more satisfaction from gluing up blanks like these. It is fun to experiment and you never know for sure how they will turn out until you put the cutting tool to the wood on the lathe.
You see the blanks in the photo. Now I'll go from the top down and show you how they turned out.
This one is mulberry and bocote. This one was an attempt at making a chevron design. I was recently asked about putting a chevron on a pen. Until I went online to find out what a chevron even was, I was a little lost for words, and that is truly unusual for me. So after seeing what a chevron was, I started trying to get on in a design. I do not know if this qualifies or not. I will have to ask for opinions on that.
With the same chevron styling in mind, I made this one from padauk, ziricote, and hedge apple.
This next one was supposed to be a zig zag down the length of the pen as I'd seen on some other chevron themed items on the internet. Remember what I said about you never know for sure how they'll turn out? I neglected to remember the curvation effect that turning a square blank round has on intersecting lines. I still like the way it turned out though. It is an interesting pen in my personal opinion.
It is made of mulberry and walnut.
This next one is blood wood and mulberry. It is simply another one of my "why not" ideas. When I start playing with these wave designs, it almost always creates interesting patterns. Remember that interesting does not always mean it looks good or is pretty. Sometimes the ones I find ugly as homemade sin are also the most interesting.
Again, I just wanted to see how this idea would turn out, and there is only one way to find out. I cut two blanks, one wild cherry and one padauk, at a long angle and sandwiched a strip of mulberry in there. I do not like this pen, but it is interesting.
Since I did not like this last pen, I didn't bother turning the last blanks in the photo of glued up blanks. I only made that last one to use up the other halves of the padauk and wild cherry blanks that I had cut up to make the above pen. I sandwiched box elder in it. I put it away in my blank pile. One day I'll think of some other embellishment I wish to add to it to make it interesting.
You may notice that sometimes I make pens that I find interesting, if ugly. I actually have a good reason for that. You see, from what I've learned, if a pen is interesting, I may find it ugly while someone else may think it is absolutely beautiful. Therefore, as long as it's interesting, I feel it is a good chance that someone, somewhere, will like it. Then I only hope they like it enough to buy it, because Lord knows I need to sells more of my pens if I am to keep turning them.
That's all for today. Until next time, happy turning.