Dec 20

Well, poop.

Was bound to happen sooner or later I guess.

So I was mucking around experimenting with some colouring on spalted beech:

Just picked a funny shape because I was experimenting with that as well. Then some yellow stain…

And then some royal blue…

Hm. Potential but maybe not. Sand it all off…

BTW, that’s why I picked this blank – that black line isn’t spalting, it’s a crack. Not sure if this would survive hollowing, so it’s a learning blank 😀

Now, purple…

Eh. Not quite. I mean, it’s okay, but I’d want it lighter. Maybe some gold embellishing wax (or buff-it, since that’s all I had to hand)…

I dunno. I don’t like it much. Too dark. If I’m going to colour wood, I want it to look brighter than that. Personal taste I guess, I always preferred lighter-coloured woods even without staining.

So, next day, I turned all the colour off and made it into a simpler shape, and laid down a few coats of royal blue and a little white to lift it and even a touch of yellow to give it some hue variation.

Still not wild about it, but it’s not terrible. So I hollowed it out and then took the round-nosed scraper to remove the worst of the toolmarks from the bowl gouge and the hollower…

…and I removed the bottom of the bowl as well as the tool marks. Structural toolmarks? Oh well. I guess I had to join the funnel club sooner or later, and at least it was a learning block 😀

Jul 20

Long time no type

So yeah, a whole month went by without posting here. Work was a little crazy. But there was time to turn a few more bowls…

Spalting had gone just a touch far on this beech blank, and a check had formed along one of the spalting planes, so I knocked it off with the chisel and that sortof defined what the final shape would be.

Rather pretty in the end. And there were a few new toys that finally arrived three months after ordering them (they’d come from China all the way to my office… which was in lockdown. But they cleared out the mail room a few months in and dropped everything out to us – thanks for that Robbie, if you’re reading this):

The centerfinder in black also has these raised steps that are set distances apart so it’s both a centerfinder and a gauge to set your calipers against. Useful enought that I’d printed off my own copy of one on the 3D printer a few months ago – that’s the one in green on the far right. The black centerfinder on the far left is a handily sized one for small spindles no more than a few inches in cross-section, and the red one is for larger blanks – very handy for the bowl stuff.

There’s also a longer T-bar for the chuck but despite it being sold for this chuck, it has the wrong size of square bit on the end so I’ll have to grind that down a bit to make it fit right, which is annoying.
Less delayed was a buffing wheel setup which will prove handy for finishing. It’s nothing special, just the chestnut products one:

More than good enough for my level though. Oh and a box of pipettes, a small handful of which are in the cup in that photo and which have so far fallen all over the place three times in the shed. There’s about a kilo more and if you think a kilo of 3ml pipettes sounds like a silly number, you’d be right. Turns out some things you can only buy in bulk before you’re paying a euro or two for one pippette – but order a kilo and you get 2000 of the things for the price you’d have paid for ten of them in a sensibly-sized box. They’re very handy for getting resin into exactly the right spot when filling knots and the like.

There’s been a few other projects since, and I have photos and things already taken on the cameraphone of them, I must spend an hour posting them up here later on. Especially since I just finished a long bout of shed-tidying-up with some nice results.

May 20


I’m progressively increasing the size of the blanks I’m trying on the lathe, rather than jumping straight into a 12×3″ or 10×5″ blank which would be up near the top end of what I think you can safely do on my minilathe. This was a spalted beech blank about 8″ in diameter and 2½” thick. Small by most people’s standards I’d say, but give me time 😀

The blank did come sealed btw, using parrafin I think, but I had one miniature blank check badly on me so I kindof went on a paint-all-the-endgrain rampage 😀

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing…

Since this was another step up in size I kept the shape nice and simple and focussed on not getting a catch and flinging the bowl off the wall and into my face.

I did okay as well, up to this point. The bowl turned out to be too big by a few mm to go into the cole jaws, so I had to use a jam chuck for the first time and my choice of a tennis ball as a jam chuck was not without issues – I managed to get a catch and ruin the foot and it took ages of very shallow cutting to get back to something that was at least usable (but still not right, the damage was too much for that).

Still though. If you use spalted beech, you’re basically cheating off the bat because it never seems to turn out ugly 😀

I’m happy enough with that as a very small fruit bowl 🙂