Saturday, October 30, 2010

Winged bowls

Winged bowls?  What are winged bowls?  Bowls that can fly?  Well not with out help anyways.  I like to make a shallow bowl that has the natural edge all the way around it.  But the natural edge has to extend out from the top of the bowl a few inches on a couple of the sides.  Just to add to the challenge, I usually make these wings no more than 1/4" thick .  I look for wood that is longer than it is wide.  Which means that the wings may extend out several inches from the sides of the bowl.  In the case of the two pictured here one is 19" x 15" and the other is 17" x 13".  I also try to find highly figured wood because along with the natural edge this design shows of the figure of the wood to the utmost.  But see for yourself.

Front of a York Gum Burl winged bowl 19"x15"x2"

Back of the York Gum Burl winged bowl

Front of the Maple Burl winged bowl 17"x13"x1"

Back of the Maple Burl winged bowl

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A light smile for you.

When I was taking pictures the other day of the tea lights that I had just made I couldn't resist doing something a little different with the shot.  So here is a smile just for you.  Enjoy!

It seems quite apparent to me that I haven't been getting nearly enough sleep lately. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tea lights anyone?

Original style tea light
Newest style of tea light
Well to say that the last 2 1/2 weeks haven't been tough would be a complete lie.  The hard drive went in my laptop on the 7th and I didn't get it back from being fixed until the 20th.  Everything to do with the business was on the laptop.  Other than a few printouts that I had I didn't know what I had for orders.  So therefore I didn't know what I owed and to whom I owed it.  Don't get me wrong I had Quickbooks backed up but I didn't have anything to put the back on so I had to wait.  Of course once I got the laptop back I then had to load all of the programs that I use back onto it.  All in all a very frustrating couple of weeks however it's behind me now so onward and upward.   Well that was until today when my computer kept freezing up so back to the repair shop it went to see what's wrong with it this time.  Which was probably the underlying problem to begin with that made the hard drive crash.  So I'm doing this entry from my kids apple and believe me nothing is the same as my pc.

One of the orders that I knew that I had was for some Tea lights.  I had a design that I had made a few times so I made those for the order.  I wanted to be able to offer another design in the tea lights and when I was cutting the wood for the original design I came up with a second design.  Both are pictured above.  I hope that you can give me some insight into which design that you like best.  This is just about the shape and not the colors.  Thanks.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The making of a pepper mill for Saltwater Grille

I get asked all the time about how I make a pepper mill.  While I was making a pepper mill for Saltwater Grille in S. Portland, ME I thought that I would take pictures of the process and give a brief explanation of how I go about making a mill.  I know, genius, huh?  So what follows is the process that I used to make an 18" pepper mill.

Here I have roughed the pepper mill to round between centers on my lathe.  I have cut in for the head and will now take it to the band saw to cut off.

There is a lot going on in this picture.  The mill body is being held in a 4 jaw chuck at the head of the lathe.  I have a steady rest (white thing with orange wheels) holding the free end of the body.  I am working at the foot of the body.  I have already smoothed the end up with a detail gouge.  Making it slightly concave so that the mill will sit evenly on a table or counter.  I've sanded the end, drilled the larger hole and what you see is me drilling the hole that goes completely through the body.  I will drill about 3/4 of the way through the body.  Flip it around, smooth the other end making it flat (not concave) and drill in from that end.  I do that because it makes the through hole perfectly centered in the mill body.

With the body drilled out I then work on the head.  In this picture I am holding the head in the 4 jaw chuck and have already turned a tenon to fit inside the through hole of the body.  This helps keep the head aligned with the body.  Then I've drilled a hole for the drive plate (basically a round washer with a square hole in the center) and am now drilling a 7mm hole about 3/4 of the way through the head.  I will flip this around in the chuck and trim the head to the finished length.  Which is about 1 7/8" in this case and then drill in again with the 7mm drill bit.  This hole is for the square drive shaft to come up through body, drive plate and to connect with the adjustment knob on the top of the mill.

Pictured here is a special tool that I made to hold the head so that I could turn it separately from the body.  As you can tell from the picture it's a really complicated tool.  A block of wood, turned down for access to all parts of the head, and a 7mm drill bit epoxied into the wood.

Here is the highly sophisticated tool with the head of the mill on it ready for turning to shape.

Here the head has been completely turned and now the tailstock of the lathe (round cone) will be pulled away so that I can have access to the entire head to sand it.

Here is another highly sophisticated tool.  This will actually slide into and hold the foot of the body without marking up the wood while I turn the body to shape.

Here is the body being held between the tool above and the tailstock for the final turning to shape.  At this time I will cut the shoulder down to meet the head and roll beads or rings onto the body (in this case 3 separate areas of beads/rings) and then turn the areas down to the final shape between the beaded areas.  Everything will be sanded and then a finish will be applied all before it's taken off from the lathe.  Once it's dry I will buff the head and body with 3 layers of wax, the last being carnuba wax.  The last thing that I do is assemble the mechanism into the mill and it's done.

Here is the finished mill.  This one and a few more can be found in use at The Saltwater Grille in S. Portland, Maine.  You can find Saltwater Grille at 231 Front St and on the web by clicking on their name here Saltwater Grille.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Gone to the Beech.

Gone to the Beech tree that is.  In the picture here there are eleven pieces, mostly logs, of a beech tree that I had given to me.  In exchange for all of the wood I have to make a few pieces to give back.  The tree was taken down to make way for development and the developer was glad that someone could actually use the wood instead of it just sitting and rotting.  So I left home this morning and drove the 1 1/2 hours it took to get to the site where the tree is.  I cut up three of the pieces to make into bowls and vessels.  I filled the back of my pick up with short pieces of log and bowl blanks.  In the picture the pieces don't look that big but most are over 24" in diameter.  For instance the piece pictured on the bottom left was about 54" long and about 26" in diameter.  Nice!  Some of the wood has already started to spalt, the process that wood goes through when it starts to break down and rot, which means the pieces are going to have extra character and lines running through the finished pieces.  I'm figuring it's going to take another four to five trips to get all of the wood back home but it should be well worth it.  I will post some pictures when I have some pieces done.