16
Apr 20

Another small bowl

Just practicing at this stage. There are a few things I want to sort out in the shed like dust collection but I’m waiting on parts, and in the meantime I have some miniature blanks and a bit of practice is starting to make things a bit easier with turning (mainly because I’m not doing anything complicated).

Finally took the bait from all of Crimson guitar’s ads for isotunes and bought a set of the Pros (they’re half price at the moment because they’re now the Old Product πŸ˜€ ). Tried them in the shed tonight, have to admit, they do exactly what I wanted them to do; the air compressor can fire up at my feet and the noise doesn’t hurt my ears, and I can wear them with the faceshield easily and listen to music. Spendy by my standards – forty quid for a set of earplugs is twice what I paid for the J-29s which are the only bluetooth earbuds I own, I normally prefer wired headsets and earbuds. But these aren’t half bad.

And I also got a HSS blank that I want to make a beading&parting tool from…

A metal detector says that the tang from my diamond-point parting tool goes in about as far there as the end of that blank, and that tool length is a bit shorter than I’d like but it’s surprising how hard it is to find 300mm HSS blanks online – 200mm seems to be a standard length for making lathe tooling for metal lathes. Oh well. I also have some carbide inserts and bright mild steel bars in longer lengths coming to make some scrapers. I’ll have to laminate up some beech to make the handles, but I might use that to my advantage and cut a rectangular groove in the mating surfaces of the lamination so I don’t have to use an angle grinder to round over that square section to round for the tang.

3″x2″ blank for this evening’s practice. I tried using shorter screws in the faceplate because of how I’ve been having trouble getting rid of the screw holes in rims – this was as bad an idea as it sounds πŸ˜€ First catch and the thing ripped off the faceplate and jumped at the wall. So I swapped the jaws on the chuck for the larger size jaws and grabbed it with that.

Worked quite well. Oh, and I did something about the lighting as well…

It’s not fantastic, but I’ll get a sewing machine light or something soon and that’ll work better. It’ll do for now.

Turned a recess, cleaned up the base of that recess and added a decorative line or two on the base, and roughed out the outside shape. Then flipped it over, changed out the jaws on the chuck to the standard dovetail ones and grabbed the recess and started hollowing out the inside. Love that S-shaped rest by the way, it’s excellent for this.

Just great support when hollowing out the bowl, and when working on the outside shape as well.

That’s the LED strip clamped to the shelf for lighting the inside of the bowl there btw.

Without that, I can’t see inside the bowl when turning at night (by day it’s grand, the sunlight through the window is enough). I *know* I bought a small LED floodlight for the shed a few years ago for just such a thing, and I *know* it’s in the house with us right now, but do you think I could find it?

Need a better way to photograph these really. Did find something cheap on aliexpress for that, it should get here in a month or two πŸ˜€

Not horrible. Walls are getting thinner and more consistent, those are about 4-6mm thick throughout. Still getting toolmarks left over though. Need to work on that. And the finishing is very basic – tung oil, two coats of button shellac and then some briwax used as a friction polish. Some nice endgrain patterns there. Sycamore really is a lovely wood to turn.


15
Apr 20

Little vase

So two of the miniature blanks I have are quite small (well, the clue’s in the name I guess), and are less than 3″ in diameter – they’re about 2.5″ or so. I was thinking I could try to turn them into very small vases, by drilling out the inside. So that’s what I did this evening.

Too small to put in the faceplate, that one. It’s almost small enough that you could fool yourself that it’s a spindle, but that’d be a mistake, you’re seeing endgrain come round at you there. Even at that size, that’s no fun for a spindle roughing gouge.

So first off, parting tool, and turn a tenon on the base, and chuck it up. Then out with the jacobson drill chuck on the MT2 arbour and a small fostner bit…

Very much pecking with the wheel on the tailstock. Two turns, blow out the dust with the air compressor, two more turns and so on. You can get about 30mm of travel that way, then wind the quill back into the tailstock and move the whole tailstock 30mm forward and repeat, checking the depth with a vernier caliper.

And done. That’s about how deep you can go with those bits as well (70mm). Need a bit extender to go any deeper and I don’t have one. Next up, turn a nice profile into it.

This is kinda belt-and-braces, but, hey, that’s okay. Lots of careful bowl gouge work later (and also some on the inside of the lip after retracting the tailstock) and…

Yikes. I never even saw that splinter on the lip of the vase (it’s the remnant of a knot just off that point on the blank I think). Broke that off by hand.

Bit more gouge work and sandpaper needed for this.

That’s better.

Yeah, this idea didn’t work either. You can’t get a solid grip with these jaws (or my other set). One catch and it’ll be out of those jaws and boucing off my faceshield if I try. So back to centers it is.

And a bit more turning on the bottom to get a nice undercut base and a better curve.

And a bit of work with the parting tool to try to minimise any bandsaw work cleaning this up. Won’t lie, every time I use the parting tool that close to a drive center, I’m just waiting for the loud bang as I shove a tool into the spurs and the lathe tries to push it through my face. But got away with it this time.

Tung oil today, followed by two coats of lemon shellac and some beeswax.

And a nice little burn line to hide a ridge where the two downhill cuts met imperfectly πŸ˜€

It won’t win any awards, but it turned out okay and I still have all my fingers and no bowl gouge through my neck. So I’m calling it a win.

That’s spalted sycamore in case you were wondering, by the way.


13
Apr 20

Busy day

Well, I’ve never clamped anything to this side of the vice before….

I couldn’t move the boxes beneath the bench out of the way because there’s nowhere for them to go, and I didn’t want to spin the piece around because I was using the nailgun and I’m not quite ready to point anything at myself that has the word “gun” in the title just yet. But this worked well enough.

It’s just scraps of pine – that base was actually a board that was in the living room for the last four years and I’d forgotten about it because it was up on top of a bookshelf. Some glue, a few brads and on we go.

Again I didn’t have brads of the right length here so glue and screws provide the holding strength and the brads just pin everything in place long enough for me to get the screws into it. The posts don’t make it up to the top of the edges this time; not all offcuts are long enough. Oh well.

It’s very rough-and-ready and I don’t think it’ll last more than a year at most, but welcome to making do in the Lock-in. It’ll be grand. I slathered it with some BLO so I’ll fill it with compost, coffee grounds, eggshells and plants tomorrow.

Did get a bit of turning in as well today.

I didn’t use the big jaws after all, I wanted to get this piece done quickly so I skipped the experimental bit and just repeated yesterday’s process.

I was a bit more aggressive with the hollowing out this time, with the result that the walls are a bit thinner than the first bowl. And it went pretty well, with almost no catches (and I could recover the one I did get), though I did find myself wondering for a good 20-30 seconds what was wrong with my scraper when cleaning up the bottom of the bowl before I realised I had the sodding thing upside down.

Sigh.

Still, turned out nice.

I like the burn line beneath the rim as well, I only put it in on a whim and it came out well.

It’s only a little thing but it’s grand for use as a salt pig. I like that urn-like shape as well, though the hollowing out with a bowl gouge and a scraper is a bit awkward. I’ve sent away for a few bits and pieces to make up my own carbide scrapers, they might help with that. But for now I’m having fun with this, and I have a few more blanks to get through, as well as an entire green log to break down and make things for Fernhill with. Maybe a bowl would work for that, it could act like a natural birdbath….

Dropped it off with some shopping to Mom&Dad who’re cocooning away at the moment. Who of course immediately picked it up bare-handed, so lots of handwashing all round required. Next time I’ll disinfect it before putting it in a box…