As The Lathe Turns

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Blog series by William updated 03-20-2014 12:08 AM 76 parts 209153 reads 1327 comments total

Part 1: How a Good Day Turned Bad

01-25-2013 01:27 AM by William | 36 comments »

In the responses to yesterday’s blog, I told a friend of mine, Grizz, that I would turn him one of my bowls. I don’t know why, as I’m still learning, but he hinted that he’d like one.Also, some things Bearpie said in response to that blog kept sticking in my mind. The main thing is sharpen my lathe tools. I’ve been and am using the Paul Sellers method of sharpening these days for pretty much everything. It works great for all my tools, except those lathe tools. I...

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Part 2: As The Lathe Turns........Again

01-26-2013 11:10 PM by William | 41 comments »

I bugged the boys to get their butts over here early. We replaced the MDF top on the stand and mounted the new (to me) lathe. In case any of you don’t know, fellow Lumberjock, Eddie, gave me the lathe after mine bit the dust. Thank you so much Eddie. You have no idea how much this means to me. So I checked everything out on the lathe. Everything seems to be in good working order. My only complaint with it was the tailstock center. It has the type that does not turn. I do not like that t...

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Part 3: The Lathe Saga Continues

02-04-2013 12:54 PM by William | 13 comments »

I have been working on a project. In the meantime though, my newly found wood turning fascination is still in full swing. What you see here is the corner of my shop over behind the table saws where the lathe always sat. I use the word sat, as in past tense, because you may notice there are three lathes now. The one closest to the camera is the old one that I recently discovered had a bent shaft. I thought of carrying it out back and putting it out of it’s misery, but I think it can stil...

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Part 4: I Feel Like An Idiot

02-10-2013 06:14 PM by William | 31 comments »

I’ve had the flu and haven’t felt up to doing too much. I’m been puttering around though and doind what I can. Yesterday, I pulled out my grinder and oil stones. It was something I could do sitting down. So I got some of my lathe tools sharpened up nicely.One of my older sons had brought me a small pile of firewood. It was still pretty wet, but I remembered someone telling me green wood was a good idea to start with for practice. So, today, I pulled out my electric chain saw...

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Part 5: This Idiot Can Learn

02-11-2013 10:25 PM by William | 38 comments »

In the photo above, you see yesterday’s results. That was yesterday though. This is a new day. If you read yesterday’s blog entry, and then read this one, you’ll understand the idea behind the title of this one. Stefang, I want to thank you for pointing me to Bob Hamilton’s videos. They were a huge help. I’ve read and watched a lot of videos, and you are correct, there are so many techniques shown all over the place that it’s hard to know right from wron...

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Part 6: Lessons Learned In Bowl Turning

02-24-2013 12:02 AM by William | 12 comments »

Learning to turn bowls is becoming quite an adventure. It seems sometimes that the more I learn, the more I have to learn. It is a fun adventure though, so I think I’ll keep at it for a long time to come. Actually, the amount of knowledge and skill required I think is what makes turning even more interesting to me. A lot of wood working skills come easy to me. Sometimes, it seems they come too easy and there just isn’t much of a challenge to it. Therefore, something like turning, ...

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Part 7: The Bent Shaft Lathe

02-24-2013 01:25 AM by William | 18 comments »

You may remember, my recent adventures into wood turning almost ended before it even got started good due to the bent shaft on an old lathe. In that corner, there sits three lathes now, a Ridgid, the big heavy flat bed lathe, and the bent shaft lathe. Every time I looked over at the bent shaft lathe, I’ve considered what to do with it. It sits on a heavy old bar and was just taking up space. While I do have a very large shop, I still don’t like wasted space. I need to figure out w...

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Part 8: Close Only Counts With..............

03-05-2013 12:02 AM by William | 15 comments »

I was going to title this entry, Close To Success. Every time I think of the word close though, I think of my Uncle who used to say, close only counts with horse shoes and hand grenades”. I’ll get to that unsuccessfuly, but learning, experience in a bit. First, I wanted to share a few thoughts of mine as I go down this turning road. First, I’ve learned an important lesson lately. I’ve been down a lot the last few weeks. I’m currently going through a particular...

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Part 9: Now THIS Is What I Call Fun

03-06-2013 01:48 AM by William | 19 comments »

I sat here this morning trying to figure out what I was going to do. I was hurting so bad I couldn’t even put my boots on until my wife got home from her night shift at work to help me. I lurked around Lumberjocks until then. As soon as I got my boots on though, I was determined not to let the day be a total waste. I was going to do something, even if it was wrong. Not only that, but I wanted to do something on the lathe.And I did do wrong. I had a good reason though. I could not bend o...

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Part 10: Round Bowl In A Square Block

03-06-2013 11:02 PM by William | 21 comments »

It’s funny to me. I’ve had several larger bowls thrown at me. I’ve had heavy pieces of wet wood drop on me. I’ve hurt my back trying to lift a piece. Then, after all that, today a small piece of dry wood spinning on the lathe brought blood from me for the first time since I started down this road learning to turn.Don’t worry. It’s nothing serious. It’s just a small nick. I will tell ya’ll more about that later. First, on to today’s adventu...

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Part 11: A Good Day

03-08-2013 02:31 AM by William | 29 comments »

I am not completely over this bad spell I’ve been having, but I did feel a lot better today than I have in about a week. So I went to the shop, all gung ho about doing something with some of those logs. I stopped short though and considered that I am supposed to have three fellow Lumberjocks visiting my shop on Saturday. I’m not completely well, so there is no sense in taking a chance on putting myself right back down by over doing it too soon. So I decided to stick with what I...

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Part 12: Turn, Turn, Turn, And Learn, Learn, Learn

03-11-2013 12:56 AM by William | 10 comments »

I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but even though I’ve been getting better, I’ve only been turning out an average of about one small turning a day. The reason for this is that, being left handed, and with a bad back, the awkward way I have to lean over sometimes to take those hollowing cuts made me have to take frequent breaks. It also was leaving me hurting a lot of times. Then today a light bulb went off in my head and I wondered how anyone could be so foolish. There is ...

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Part 13: The Trouble With Turning

03-12-2013 02:07 AM by William | 27 comments »

Alright, this is getting downright ridiculous. I’m addicted to bowl turning. I’m already in a twelve step program for scrollers, and now I’ve turned a pen, and found it to be just as addicting. I think I’m in trouble. I made a mistake about a week ago. I let my wife look at the Penn State Indutries catalog. She seen pens and started asking when she was getting one. This made it apparant that I’d be making a pen sooner or later. At the moment though, I do not h...

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Part 14: The Disappearing Pen Mystery

03-13-2013 12:35 AM by William | 15 comments »

Since the five pens I turned yesterday were quickly confiscated by my wife, I decided to turn some more today. My idea is to have some in a cup next to my lathe. That way, when certain family members and such come over and hint that they want something I’ve made, I can give them a pen instead of something I’ve got countless hours into. I realized today that, now that I’m used to turning them, I can turn them out pretty quickly. I turned eleven today. One of them left with my...

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Part 15: Move Along, Nothing To See Here

03-14-2013 02:48 PM by William | 12 comments »

I have to apologize. I have no new project or techinques or newly learned advice to share today. I just felt a need to post today about yesterday’s non-progress. First of all, I did not make much yesterday. I did make my kids some sort of spinning top things. I call them “some sort of” because they weren’t great. They were just ideas I was working on as I went along. The kids liked them though. Before I could even think of whether I wished to snap a photo or not, th...

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Part 16: Gluing Up Bowl Blanks, And Some More Of My Ramblings

03-16-2013 03:08 AM by William | 4 comments »

First thing today, I wanted to show the thread adapter and live center that someone sent to me. These come from Penn State Industries. The reason I wanted these was that the Ridgid lathe has #1 morse taper, while my larger lathe has #2. On the headstock spindle, the Ridgid has 3/4”x16 threads, while my larger lathe, and most of my accessories, have 1”x8 thread. Someone had these shipped to me. Whoever it was apparantly did not wish for me to know who, but I do thank you, whoever y...

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Part 17: The First Glueup Results

03-17-2013 03:02 AM by William | 18 comments »

Today has been a long day. As a matter fact, I can’t even believe I made it to the shop today. I couldn’t help myself, and will probably be paying for it in the morning, but those blanks I glued up yesterday were on my mind and driving me nuts.First of all, my wife has been working some crazy hours because her company was short handed. They finally hired someone though. She was able to come home early today. It’s been so crazy lately that I’ve almost felt like a single...

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Part 18: Trying Something Different With The Next Glueup

03-18-2013 02:24 AM by William | 11 comments »

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I glued up two bowl blank. I turned one of them yesterday. It was made of sycamore and it was easy to turn. So I thought I had this thing licked. Then again, today was another day. The second glueup was of pecan, and it did not turn nearly as easily as the sycamore. I already knew that pecan was a hard wood. I’ve worked with it often on smaller projects, and flat type wood work. This is the first time though for me to turn a piece this size...

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Part 19: Why Buy When You Can Make?

03-18-2013 10:56 PM by William | 7 comments »

Since I decided I wanted to turn, I’ve learned how to use a variety of tools. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert at any of them, but I’m learning. I’m also learning what I like and what I don’t like. For example, I don’t like my parting tool. The tool I have works great. I don’t like it because it removes too much material. You see, a lot of times I’m already limited on how thick the material is when I start. I don’t want to have to accoun...

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Part 20: My First Pen From A Kit

03-21-2013 02:18 AM by William | 22 comments »

I was on pens and needles this morning about, well, pens.According to the tracking information I checked on this morning, my package with my pen kits were out on delivery. I went to the shop, made coffee, and sat in the door watching for the UPS guy. I don’t remember watching for a package like that since I was a kid waiting for the X-Ray glasses I ordered from the back of a Superman comic book. I was nine, don’t ask me what I wanted to see with the X-Ray glasses. Anyway, I didn&#...

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Part 21: Solutions, And a Couple Of New Mistakes

03-22-2013 01:18 PM by William | 18 comments »

I am a day late posting this. I got down in my back yesterday evening. Rain was coming in this morning. Changes in weather effect my back greatly. Anyway, I’ll be typing this up as if it was last night. I jumped right into the fray of things today with preparing multiple blanks before doing anything else. I wanted to turn today without having to stop, cut, drill, and wait for glue to set. The first pen of today, I made one of the wood blanks longer by the length of the width of the c...

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Part 22: Learning To Adapt

03-23-2013 01:54 AM by William | 11 comments »

I am always trying to think of little lessons to give out as I learn all of this. Today, I want to share what I believe to be the most important lesson I’ve learned about wood turning. Adapt. If something goes wrong, set it aside and think on it a while. Then adapt it to do something different. If you’re wondering what made me think that one up, read on about today’s adventures.First up today was a piece of bloodwood. I think this is a beautiful wood. I had a tiny piece of s...

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Part 23: People Spoke, So I Listened

03-24-2013 01:35 AM by William | 27 comments »

For several days now, I have been wanting to glue up some more bowl blanks. It has been cool though. When I say cool, keep in mind I live in Mississippi. It has ranged from the forties at night up to around the mid sixties during the day. I know that during the day it is warm enough to glue, but the temperatures fall below what the glue bottle instructions recommend before it is set. I’ve had a past safety issue with trying to glue material in low temperatures before. So, I won’t ...

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Part 24: A Tale Of Two Bowls

03-25-2013 01:58 AM by William | 11 comments »

If you read my blog yesterday, you know I glued up material for two bowls. I got to work on those today.Here is the first one, with an interesting result.The bowl is made of glued up layers of pecan and sapelle. That is not the story though.If you looked at all closely at the photos yesterday and remember them, you may remember the blank was a bit thicker than that. This is my lesson of the day for my friend, Randy. Never stand in the line of fire when turning anything that you don’t wa...

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Part 25: Woke Up With An Idea

03-26-2013 01:15 AM by William | 15 comments »

Do any of you wake up with an idea? Almost like it came to you in a dream? I can’t say it did, because I can never actually remember my dreams, but I woke up this morning with an idea that was driving me absolutely nuts. I couldn’t wait to try it out. Now, I’m not saying that this idea is completely original. I often have brilliant ideas sometimes that I realize much later that I had seen somewhere and must have just tucked it away somewhere deep in my subconscious. As I lik...

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Part 26: Failure Is Not An Option

03-27-2013 12:49 AM by William | 20 comments »

I have been complimented on my “never say die” attitude in the past by fellow Lumberjocks. That perserverence helped me get to where I wanted to be today, but it made me want to share with my friends about my Uncle J.C. My Uncle J.C. was one of the men who helped raise me. He was a twenty three year military veteran. In my eyes, he was what a real man was. He was a hard nosed, gun toting, take no crap off noone kind of guy, who also taught me how to sew, cook, iron clothes, do ...

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Part 27: One Step Forward......

04-07-2013 12:29 PM by William | 11 comments »

I have an opinion of wood working in general. If you’re not constantly learning something new, then you’re doing something wrong. I think that’s what I’m enjoying so much about this wood turning. It always seems to be one step forward and two steps back in the learning process. I am consistently unhappy with the pens I’ve been turning. If I get to where I’m almost happy with the results, I add something new to the scenario to keep the learning curve high. T...

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Part 28: Squaring Solution - Shop Made Pen Blank Squaring Tool

04-07-2013 10:08 PM by William | 16 comments »

If you read the last blog installment, you know I was having a problem squaring the pen blanks to the tube inserts. I don’t like the barrel trimmers. The idea is a good one, but I just didn’t like the performance of the one I have. So I had an idea for a different approach.I have seen some jigs to be used with disk sanders. I have a disk sander. However, I keep course paper on it for another purpose in my shop. The disk sander idea would involve either setting it up with finer pap...

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Part 29: Sidetracked

04-19-2013 12:12 AM by William | 11 comments »

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 wea...

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Part 30: The Lumberjock Pens

05-06-2013 12:15 PM by William | 23 comments »

Most of you know of my health issues. Since we’ve been getting winter in May lately, I have been having some bad days. On top of that, I’m going through just a “blah” spell. I have only done one small project since finishing the modular marble machine. I built Matthius Wandell’s wooden ir engine. It turned into something I call the DODGE, Dad’s Old Dead Garage Expiriment. It didn’t work. I haven’t given up on it. It is something I will rebuild i...

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Part 31: Turning Something Besides Wood

05-07-2013 01:06 AM by William | 16 comments »

This is deer antler. Ever since I first seen this in the Penn State Catalogue I have wanted to try this. I live in Mississippi though. This is arguably the deer hunting capital of the world. There is no way I was paying for deer antlers when I knew that, if I asked enough people, someone around here had some lying around that would let me have them.As it turns out, I kept forgetting about it though and finally got around to asking someone. Or rather, my wife asked someone. The maintenance man...

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Part 32: A Gift From a Friend

05-23-2013 12:15 AM by William | 19 comments »

Recently, I received an unexpected package in the mail. When I opened it, I discovered that a good friend had sent me several packages of Abranet abrasive. I had never heard of it before then, but this friend told me it was supposed to be great for wood turners. I was getting ready for the cradle project at the time though and had no choice to set it aside for the moment.Well, I finished the cradle and was anxious to see if this stuff was any good. Since receiving it, I’d looked it up a...

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Part 33: Promises And Challenges

05-24-2013 03:32 AM by William | 22 comments »

Today I needed to get to work on some deer antlers and fulfill a promise I’d made. You see, I told several people that if they’d find me some deer antlers, I’d make them a pen. I had done one a while back. I still had to make one for my son though who had located me some antlers. I also wanted to make one for my display for anyone who comes to my shop to look at them.This is the one I made for my son. I was only able to get this one pen out of three racks of antlers. I got t...

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Part 34: The One Piece

05-25-2013 07:21 PM by William | 19 comments »

The feedback I’ve been getting on the pens I’ve been making told me that a lot of people, maybe even most, like the pens best without the band, or center ring. I wanted to go a step further though. It absolutely pains me to cut some of the woods to make these pens because, no matter how well you line up the grain while assembling them, the wood never seems to look as beautiful as it did before it was split down the middle to cover the two blanks to be used with the slimline pen ki...

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Part 35: Used Ideas On New Pens

05-27-2013 12:23 AM by William | 26 comments »

I went into the shop today just to fiddle around a bit. I decided to try some things I’d done before, but now on the one piece pens that I done from yesterday.The first pen I done today was zebra wood. The one I done a few days ago with the grain run across the pen looked so nice that I wanted to try out the one blank I had with the grain running the length of the blank. While it is a nice enough pen, I think it pales in comparison to the one I done before.Next, although I haven’t...

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Part 36: Good To Be Back

06-21-2013 02:01 AM by William | 20 comments »

I know it’s been peaceful around here. I got down for a bit, as I sometimes do, and haven’t been able to get any wood work done to show ya’ll.Well I’m back, and boy does it feel good to have something to actually show. It isn’t much, but today was the most I’ve done in the shop in weeks. This post is actually more than just today’s work. I’ve fiddled around a little here and there the laqst few weeks, just not enough for a post. So here goes.Her...

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Part 37: Solving Some Problems

06-26-2013 01:06 AM by William | 13 comments »

I’ve had a few “everything goes wrong” days. I guess everyone has had one of these at some time or another. I’m talking about days where everything you try and do only ends in failure or frustration. Well, when I have days like that, it always seems to end up being several days like that. So, Sunday, I took a much needed day off.Now, with saying that, I have to explain what I mean by a “day off” for me. I have a lot of days I don’t do much of anything...

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Part 38: How NOT To Turn A Bowl

06-27-2013 12:01 AM by William | 14 comments »

In the last entry, I had left the first bowl to ever be pressed in the bowl pressed drying for today. Well I unclamped it today and am glad to report that the press applied plenty enough pressure and I am very happy with it.So I went to chucking it up on the lathe and went at it. I love turning bowls. You may notice it is a little shorter than what was shown clamped up in the press yesterday. I turned about an inch off the top when I messed up. That’s one of the luxuries of turning bowl...

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Part 39: Time To Back Up A Bit

06-27-2013 11:26 PM by William | 10 comments »

Have any of you ever noticed that when things start going wrong, they keep going wrong? For me, once it starts, it keeps going until I just all of a sudden have a victory, or I back it up a bit. Since the failures keep coming, I figured it was time to throw it in reverse. What do I mean by that? I have a tendency to want to do things that are challenging. Some may argue that I sometimes even push the envelope too much, too quickly, on things. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I k...

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Part 40: Not My Best Day

06-28-2013 11:34 PM by William | 5 comments »

If you read my last blog entry, I had left one set of pen blanks curing with the tubes glued in, and another full length blank clamped up in a bench vice. I was anxious this morning to see how they would turn out.Let’s start with the rubbery black pipe blanks.I did in fact get a pen turned out of this material. I must say it was a challenge. Almost nothing I tried worked on this stuff. It is softer than the corian and peeled off rather easily. It peels off so much, in fact, that I had t...

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Part 40: Not My Best Day

06-28-2013 11:38 PM by William | 2 comments »

If you read my last blog entry, I had left one set of pen blanks curing with the tubes glued in, and another full length blank clamped up in a bench vice. I was anxious this morning to see how they would turn out.Let’s start with the rubbery black pipe blanks.I did in fact get a pen turned out of this material. I must say it was a challenge. Almost nothing I tried worked on this stuff. It is softer than the corian and peeled off rather easily. It peels off so much, in fact, that I had t...

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Part 40: Not My Best Day

06-28-2013 11:42 PM by William | 7 comments »

If you read my last blog entry, I had left one set of pen blanks curing with the tubes glued in, and another full length blank clamped up in a bench vice. I was anxious this morning to see how they would turn out.Let’s start with the rubbery black pipe blanks.I did in fact get a pen turned out of this material. I must say it was a challenge. Almost nothing I tried worked on this stuff. It is softer than the corian and peeled off rather easily. It peels off so much, in fact, that I had t...

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Part 41: Walnut And Box Elder

06-29-2013 10:45 PM by William | 15 comments »

Today’s is not a very long post. The title pretty much explains it all. I have somehow gotten on a walnut and box elder habit. I don’t know why besides I like it. In my opinion, it is a beautiful combination of woods for some of my experimentation.I’ve always loved walnut. However, before a friend of mine in Alabama (Grizz) sent me a few walnut pen blanks, I’d never had the chance to work with it as much as I have lately. The box elder came from a friend who lives in I...

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Part 42: A Doctor's Pen

06-30-2013 10:14 PM by William | 15 comments »

I am going tomorrow morning to see a friend who is a doctor. All this week I’ve had ideas rambling around in my head for a pen design for me to take to him. I had these ideas of this wild design on a pen. Then I went into the shop today to actually make the blank, and a thought entered my head as I was getting together material. This man is a doctor. If I make some wild looking pen, he may appreciate it, but it’ll more than likely wind up in a desk drawer. A doctor is not going to...

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Part 43: Hooked On Pens

07-08-2013 11:08 PM by William | 22 comments »

I had a rough week last week and pretty much done nothing wood work related. For a couple of days now though I have been trying to get a project started. I kept getting sidetracked though. Then I would think about pen blank ideas. Anyway, I actually started the larger project. It doesn’t make a difference what the project was. It doesn’t warrant talking about for the purpose of what my over all problem is. As I was trying to start it though, everything went wrong. I blame it on se...

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Part 44: The Results Are In

07-10-2013 01:43 AM by William | 22 comments »

Several people expressed interest in how the blanks I glued up yesterday would turn out. Well, I had a very productive day today and turned all four of them.So, let’s start just like we listed them yesterday, starting from the left and moving right.This one is yellow heart with a center strip made of walnut and box elder. I was extremely happy with this one. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much for my first time ever working with yellow heart. The blank, before turning, looked ve...

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Part 45: A Personal Challenge

07-12-2013 01:50 AM by William | 13 comments »

I’ve had a couple of pretty decent days. When that happens, I usually mess it up by over doing things and making myself hurt worse than ever. Well, so it goes. That’s exactly what I have done. As I sit here in pain though, I am sort of proud of myself. I sort of made myself a personal challenge, and I succeeded. It started with yesterday. I wanted to see how many blanks I could prepare in one day. That was not all of the challenge though. I did not want to simply throw together t...

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Part 46: Counting Blessings

07-19-2013 02:56 AM by William | 22 comments »

Today’s post is quite a lengthy one. It covers several days work. I did not post daily because I have had something on my mind. I have been thinking of all that I have been blessed with since I started turning pens. First of all, I love turning pens. I’m sure that has become obvious. The thing I love about it most is the fact that I get the chance to work with so many different beautiful materials that I otherwise would never get to use. That is just the beginning though.What brou...

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Part 47: More Fun And Challenges

07-23-2013 12:53 AM by William | 15 comments »

I have to apologize for today’s (again) very lengthy post. It started with six pen blanks. Then I was not able to get them done in one day’s time. So it dragged on for a couple of days. I need to start making fewer blanks at once I guess. Another option would be to photograph the blanks separately so I can post daily on just what I do. That would use up even more space though. So I’m torn on how to handle that little problem. Anyway, while I figure that out, let’s get ...

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Part 48: Pen Boxes

08-10-2013 01:31 AM by William | 11 comments »

Not exactly actual turning on the lathe, but since it is for my turned pen, I thought it belonged in the “As The Lathe Turns” series anyway. So here goes.I’ve already gotten a couple of emails about how the jig I posted yesterday could possibly have anything to do with making a pen box. The long piece on the right has knobs underneath to make it adjustable. I put one part of a box in place, tap that clamp block against the part, and tighten the knobs to hold it in place. I h...

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Part 49: Slow Progress

08-21-2013 02:52 AM by William | 27 comments »

It is getting to be normal lately for me not to feel much like getting online late in the evening when I finally get time to do so. I will try my best to start posting more often. I want to thank those of you who have been sending me emails and messages of concern and well wishes though. I appreciate it very much.I have been able to get in the shop a little lately. It has not been nearly as much as I would like, but a little.I made some more of the pen boxes a showed last time. From left to r...

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Part 50: Still Learning

09-22-2013 01:01 AM by William | 25 comments »

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 ...

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Part 51: Newest Antler Pen

09-22-2013 01:39 AM by William | 14 comments »

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...

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Part 52: Shooting Straight

10-04-2013 09:05 PM by William | 24 comments »

I must give you all fair warning. I have gotten way behind on posting my blog as of late. Settle in, grab a cup of coffee, or beverage of your choice, and hang on. This one will be a long one. The thing that has kept me from posting, besides personal problems, is that I have gotten into some pens that have really peaked my interest. I had a birthday last month. My wife asked what I wanted and I told her I’d really like to order some kind of pen kits besides slimlines that I have been...

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Part 53: The Lathe

10-21-2013 12:44 AM by William | 19 comments »

I try my best to come up with catchy little titles for my blog posts. Sometimes though, I just can’t think of anything that does not sound over the top corny. So I decided to title this one simply, the lathe. As such, let’s talk about my lathe. Recently I realized that I was extremely unhappy with the height of my lathe. I was turning a small bowl that I needed to see inside of for those final light passes when it occurred to me, this is why my back is giving me problems after tur...

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Part 54: More Home Brews

10-23-2013 12:56 AM by William | 20 comments »

If you read my last blog entry, you probably remember seeing the above tool. It is a tool sold by Penn State to hold router bits. It is a good idea that did not work too well for me. Well I took that tool and used it for the basis for an Oland type tool. When I posted it, a friend (Stefang) suggested modifying this design to protrude a bit out at an angle. I thought it was a great idea and it got the wheels in the old noggin to turning.It was suggested to drill a hole, split the end, and use ...

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Part 55: Burls

10-29-2013 03:00 AM by William | 17 comments »

If you have been reading my blog, you probably already know that I have a major liking for burls, and I got the chance for this post to work with some new ones. First though, I’ll get a couple of problems I’ve been dealing with out of the way.When turning bowls, I’ve been having a hard time with sanding, especially on the end grain. I’ve read and watched videos online about power sanding and wanted to give it a try. I’ve had in my mind several different ways to m...

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Part 56: Back To Basics

11-01-2013 01:47 AM by William | 14 comments »

As for the title of this blog, I had to get back to basics while turning the last couple of days. Before I get to that though, I want to get the one pen for this blog entry out of the way.This is made from one of the pen blanks I bought on my recent trip to Pickens Hardwoods. I talked about that in my last blog entry. I was excited to turn this because it was labeled as spalted lemon wood. I usually love spalting, so I wanted to see what it looked like. Spalting is like burls, it’s alwa...

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Part 57: What I Like

11-07-2013 01:50 AM by William | 12 comments »

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 ...

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Part 58: Everything Is Experimental

11-08-2013 01:58 AM by William | 14 comments »

After posting yesterday’s blog post, I received several emails with questions about the magnet I used in it, and how well it does or does not work. So today I decided to test it out so I could answer these questions with some kind of honesty instead of simply giving my best guess.If you clicked on the link I provided to watch the video on constructing the tool (video is here), you know that a sphere shaped magnet is what is called for. That was one of the issues I was asked about. I did...

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Part 59: Early Christmas

11-12-2013 02:45 AM by William | 12 comments »

The names and places of this story have been changed to protect the innocent. .I learned early on that woodworkers, in general, were a generous lot of folks. They are always willing to help in any way they can. Some other hobbies have people who protect their methods, materials, and such like it was a million dollar proprietary secret. In the land of wood elves though, we openly share anything we can to help others further along in their quest for knowledge and skill. We want others to know t...

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Part 60: Pens And Tools

11-15-2013 12:15 AM by William | 6 comments »

I wanted to make my son’s karate teacher a nice pen. I was thinking about what to make it out of to set it apart. He seems like the type of guy, to me, who would appreciate something simple, yet different. I remembered that I had been wanting to turn a piece of bamboo that was given to me and thought it was quite fitting for a karate instructor.I presented him with this pen Wednesday night before the class started, and he really liked it.This one I done because it was a special request....

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Part 61: Fixer

11-18-2013 02:05 AM by William | 20 comments »

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 a...

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Part 62: Turn A Turner

11-22-2013 12:47 AM by William | 20 comments »

Turn a turner. I just couldn’t help that corny play with words. I turned a spinning top.I searched high and low for a suitable photo of what appears in my mind when I think of a spinning top. Somewhere buried deep in my memory is a metal spinning top very similar to the one above. It was painted up like an alien space ship.So that may explain why I chose the shape I did for my first turned spinning top. This was one of the kits that Ms. Clause sent me. I chose a piece of a rosewood bloc...

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Part 63: Pens For Sale

11-26-2013 04:27 AM by William | 12 comments »

These little boxes I make are fine for presenting a pen as a gift. In my shop I have a large display case that hold sixty pens. It is fine for showing them to people who visit my shop. The problem is I need a better way to show my pens away from the shop. I hate to admit it, but my pen sales have been dismal at best. If I am ever to sell more, I desperately need a way to take a few with me when I go to town and display them nicely. I looked at various options. There are some real nice commerc...

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Part 64: Higher End

11-27-2013 02:16 AM by William | 15 comments »

As most of you know, I am hooked on turning pens. It is more than an enjoyment factor for me. It is the one thing I have found that bothers me the least when I am hurting in my back. Even on my worst days, I can set a stool at my lathe and still turn a pen or two. So it is the perfect hobby for someone with my health issues.Since I started turning though, I look at the Penn State website on a regular basis and lust after the nicer pen kits. Now, I do not want anyone to think I am saying that ...

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Part 65: More Turning Adventures

12-04-2013 02:18 AM by William | 22 comments »

If you remember the stylus flip pens I made several days ago, I needed to make a couple of more for a friend, and he likes the Celtic knots I have glued up in the past. So that was the plan. However, there is a lot of waiting when gluing up the Celtic knots. So I always try to stay busy on something else while waiting on glue to set.I love my economy chuck from Penn State. I love it so much that I have it on good authority (since I’m the one who placed the order) that I’ll be gett...

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Part 66: Here And There

01-05-2014 02:06 AM by William | 16 comments »

I hope every one of you had a great Christmas. It is now a new year and I am running here and there trying to catch up enough just so I can get back to actually making something. Let’s start by showing a couple of things that I was not able to get into my last blog entry before Christmas.By the way, that last blog entry was so photo heavy that I wound up posting it only on my own blog, not here on Lumberjocks. It is here if anyone wants to see it. This is an example of the new boxes I s...

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Part 67: Flying Pens

01-23-2014 12:25 PM by William | 11 comments »

I received an email a couple of days ago reminding me that I haven’t posted anything in a few weeks. So I decided that the first thing I had to place on the agenda today was to make a post or two showing that I have been active at something.I’ve had a lot going on, both in wood working, and personally. Between all that, I have turned a few pens. The problem with that is that some of them have been flying out the door before I can get a chance to snap photos of them. So let me show...

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Part 68: Tool Addiction

01-23-2014 02:08 PM by William | 15 comments »

This post is supposed to be about lathe tools. I will start off a tiny bit sidetracked though, if for no other reason but to get the admission of my addiction out in the open beforehand.I don’t use them as much as I’d like to, but I do have a thing for hand planes. This is funny, since I used to poke fun at a few of my friends about their own hand plane addiction tendencies. These days, I cannot force myself to pass up a flea market booth or yard sale if my eyes a glimpse of rusty...

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Part 69: Making Tools - Part 1

01-28-2014 02:33 AM by William | 18 comments »

This post is about making tools. It will be several parts to it. With cold fronts moving through the area, I simply am not able to get out to the shop to do as much as I’d like.First, this is what I’ve been using to insert tubes into pens that I make. It is the nozzle that comes with certain tubes, such as automotive silicone. It has worked well, but I’ve been wanting something better. Mostly, I just wanted something with a handle to make it easier to hold. I seen this tool ...

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Part 70: Making Tools - Part 2

01-29-2014 02:56 AM by William | 15 comments »

Today is a continuation of making the Oland tools. If you read yesterday’s blog, I was ready to drill and tap holes for set screws today.My first order of business though was going to be to run to town to pick up some set screws. I usually keep quarter inch set screws in the shop. It is an often used size and you never know when you’ll need a spare. They strip out. They fall out and get lost. I find myself needing them often. I had somehow though allowed myself to get down to one,...

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Part 71: Suggestions

02-04-2014 11:55 PM by William | 30 comments »

I often make the comment that I will try to turn anything once. That statement sometimes brings me suggestions on things to try. Some are obvious good suggestions, and some may make some scratch their heads. Sometimes I like to explore some of these suggestions further though. You never know what may or may not be possible if you don’t try.Recently, while looking at one of the deer antler pens I have made, a friend made the comment, “wouldn’t it be neat if you could make a f...

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Part 72: Pens

03-09-2014 11:33 PM by William | 21 comments »

I’ve been back to doing a lot of pens at once lately. This will be the first of two posts just showing a lot of what I’ve been up to. I am going to separate the ones in this post according to style.. Tec-PensThis is a bolt action tec-pen. I’ve been wanting to do some of these. I’ve had several people who loved the bolt action click mechanism in the regular bolt action pens. However, due to their jobs and such, they did not want to have a pen with a bullet for a tip ...

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Part 73: More Pens

03-10-2014 02:00 AM by William | 19 comments »

I have been wanting for such a long while to do some truly higher end pens, made with some higher quality kits. I have neglected doing so purely for financial reasons. These kits are not cheap, and there is no guarantee I’ll be able to sell them for enough to make it feasible to even be making them. I wanted to so badly though. So I’ve been getting a little here and a little there, working up to making just such presentation as I hope to show you today.So let’s get start...

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Part 74: Sanding And Sharpening

03-20-2014 12:08 AM by William | 19 comments »

Anyone who reads my blog posts know I enjoy making my own tools and accessories whenever possible. This sometimes puts me at odds with some people. I get emails from time to time telling me to try this brand of this, or this brand of that, and that I’ll see how much better it is than what I made. I will be the first to admit that sometimes the people who tell me this are absolutely correct. Other times, well, not so much.When I get a chance to do so though, I do try to give some of thes...

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