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Like most amateurs in any craft, I rely heavily on my maestros and gurus, and for me, help comes in the form of YouTube videos more than anything else. When it comes to hand tool woodworking, I invariably turn to the likes of Paul Sellers and Tom Fidgen. When I need advice about woodturning, my ‘go to’ guys are Mike Waldt and Martin Saban-Smith.
The latter of these chaps is the developer of Hampshire Sheen, a woodturning finishing wax which I highly recommend, and he has recently opened a woodturning workshop at his family’s garden centre called The Black Dog Workshop. The workshop provides tuition for beginners, as well as a place to turn for those who may not have their own facilities. It is also designed to cater for people who suffer with depression and other mental health problems, focussing on the therapeutic benefits that any creative pastime can provide.
I have followed the progress of the workshop on its dedicated YouTube channel since it began, and I think it is a fantastic idea. I wanted to show my support for the project, as well as my gratitude to Mr Saban-Smith for the help his videos have given me, so I decided to make him a gift.
As he is an accomplished woodturner, there seemed little point in turning him something, so I decided to go down the hand tool route. In the past, I have made a fair few mallets, and I suppose they are the closest thing to a speciality that I’ve got. And, every workshop should have a mallet. The Black Dog Workshop mallet is made from walnut and beech, and I dabbled in some pyrography and added the workshop logo.
Here are a few photos of the build (click to embiggen):
I finished the mallet with three coats of my home-made varnish/linseed/turps blend, and packaged it off this afternoon.
I hope it goes down well.
Filed under: Uncategorized
Nearly a year ago, not long after I had my lathe set up, I was looking around for a turning project, and I stumbled across some plans for a candlestick telephone. At the time, the project was far beyond my capabilities, so I only got as far as picking out the timber before shelving the idea until I had more practice under my belt.
Well, as 2017 arrived, I decided that I was proficient enough to give it a bash, so I dug out the timber, walnut I think, and set to work.
My design sticks fairly close to the original, but my shapes and dimensions are slightly different. This is due in part to some intentional design decisions on my part, as well as a few cock-ups unforseen design opportunities. All of the turned components are finished with Yorkshire Grit and Hampshire Sheen. The other wooden components just have the Hampshire sheen.
I began with the base and the stem. The base looked a tad bulky, so I ended up making more of a sweeping round over after this picture was taken.
The mouthpiece is made from two parts: the bowl and the cone. The bowl was turned first, with a recess that will accept a tenon on the cone. The recess also meant that I could flip it round and finish the bottom. I also bored a small hole in the bottom to accept a connector piece that will join it to the stem
I then turned the cone piece, forming the tenon first and checking for a tight fit with the bowl. I made another recess that would accept a brass disc later on. Then I could flip it round to hollow out the cone itself.
Next came the receiver, which was again made in two parts: a ring cap and a cone. The ring cap was turned first, with two recesses – one to accept the cone, and another to accept another brass disc. Then I turned the cone, first creating a tenon for the ring cap, and then hollowing out and shaping before flipping it round, boring a hole for the cable and finishing the end.
On the side of the stem I drilled a hole to accept the cradle. I then turned a matching tenon on a block of walnut before removing it from the lathe in order to shape it. I bored out the bulk of the waste and then broke out the saws, chisels, rasps, files and sandpaper. This part of the project was a real ball-ache.
The wood working for this project was almost over. The only part left to make was the small connector piece that would join the mouthpiece to the stem. I turned a ball and small tenon on the lathe, then removed it and removed the sides of the ball to create a disc. I cut out a corresponding slice in the top of the stem and bored a small hole in both components to accept a small brass pin, so that the mouthpiece could pivot.
Moving onto the brass components, I cut out some discs for the mouthpiece and receiver, and drilled some holes in them. I cut a small pin for the connector piece and then readied the brass plugs that would provide an interface between phone and cord. The plugs are small brass inserts for compression joints on small bore gas pipes. I hammered some walnut dowel into them and drilled a small hole to take the cord.
With all the pieces complete, it was time for assembly. I decided to line the base with a piece of leather, which was spray mounted into position and attached with brass pins. I used a guide to help me position the pins evenly.
And here we have it: The Candlestick Telephone. First project of 2017.
Filed under: Projects, Woodturning Tagged: brass, leather, walnut
Well, 2016 is about to bow out, and so I thought I’d put together a little slideshow of what I have been up to this year.Click to view slideshow.
Now I’m off to raise a glass of the particular and usher in 2017.
Happy New Year folks! Let’s make it a good one.
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: self-indulgence
The glue up for this project was a long drawn out process. I had to break out all my clamps, even the homemade ones. The first glue up was the main tool box and the tray.
Once the glue was dry, I planed the dovetails flush and moved on to the next stage.
The handle and base were glued in place together, and then the tray runners on the main box.
Then I installed the handle components, gluing and temporarily screwing the supports in place and gluing and wedging the handle.
When the glue was dry, the screws were replaced with dowels, which were cut and planed flush. I also applied my mark to the bases of the box and the tray.
Finally, I glued and doweled the base to the main box, again cutting the dowels flush once they were dry.
I decided upon my oil/turps/varnish finish for this piece. It is a tad more hard-wearing than shellac, and a toolbox is likely to get scuffed and dinged with use. I did not apply any wax either, for the same reason. An oil based finish can be reapplied when the box is looking a bit tired, without the need to remove the wax first. Three coats of finish, 24 hours between each, and I was ready to add one final little touch.
In order to tart up the handle a bit, I thought it would be nice to add a leather grip. Using hemp string, I simply made a few holes in the leather and stitched it on in a crisscross pattern.
Another project completed.
All boxed up and ready for delivery in time for Christmas.
Filed under: Projects Tagged: leather, oil/varnish
As I mentioned in my last post, the dry fit of the toolbox seemed to be missing something. Eventually, I decided that it needed a lift-out tray. Just a small one, not one that went the entire length of the box, but a little one that could slide back and forth on runners so that items could be retrieved from the box even with the tray in place.
I planed up a couple of ash boards and edge-jointed them for the base…
…and while they were drying I moved on to the joinery.
For the handle, I decided that a 1″ thick piece of ash could serve as both handle and divider, so I made a paper template, transferred the shape onto the wood and cut it out, refining with a spokeshave and files.
The handle/divider is held in place with housing dados.
I then spent a bit of time refining the shape of the main toolbox components. First, the sides of the box needed to have a section cut out to make it easier to remove the tray.
Second, the handle supports needed to be rounded off and tapered.
Finally, I cut a kerf into each of the handle tenons, so that they could be wedged during the final assembly. I also planed up some pieces of walnut for the tray runners.
A request from the customer was that the box should have his son’s racing number on it. To achieve this I decided on a little bit of scorching. I had some small pieces of aluminium sheet, so I cut out some numbers from them, laid them on the sides of the box and used them as a mask while attacking the wood with a blowtorch.
With all the components ready it was time for the glue up, but that is for another post.
Filed under: Brace and Bit, Joinery, Projects, Pyrography Tagged: ash, blowtorch, walnut
Following on from the last project, yet another commission came my way from the self-same chap who commissioned the Biltong Slicer, the Treasure Chest, and the Jewelry Box. This time it was a gift for his son and my remit was virtually non-existent – carte blanche you might say. In the end I settled upon a tool tote, because I know that the lad enjoys dirt bike racing, and would need a stout receptacle in which to store spanners and sockets and pliers and such.
My design was fairly simple: a dovetail box with a single divider, and a handle consisting of two supports connected to the box and a large dowel. I began by selecting timber and settled on ash for the main box and handle, and walnut for the divider and handle supports.
The usual dimensioning followed (reference face, referance edge, opposite edge, opposite face, ends) and then I could move onto laying out for the dovetails.
…then the pins…
…and finally, a dry fit to check that all was well.
Which it was.
Next, I moved on to the base, and here I had to edge-joint two boards together.
Whilst they were drying, I turned my attention to the divider. After preparing the board, I cut some housing dados in the end panels of the tool box.
Then, I started work on the handle supports. Made from walnut, these supports are designed to lap the ends of the box (see above diagram) and extend up to support the handle. After dimensioning them, I marked out for the final shape, removed the necessary material for the lap joints…
…and then drilled out the mortise holes.
Finally, I turned a piece of ash for the handle.
I decided to dry fit the box using screws to hold the handle supports in place. The screws will be replaced with dowels at the glue up stage.
The dry fit went very well, everything fitting together nicely, but something felt wrong. Even allowing for the fact that the base was not there, and the divider was not yet fitted, still, something was amiss.
At this point I began to think about a design alteration, but I’ll cover that in the next post.
Filed under: Brace and Bit, Joinery, Projects, Woodturning Tagged: ash, dovetails, edge-jointing, housing dado, lap joint, walnut
To finish things up with the jewelry box, I fitted the hinges and put my maker’s mark on the base so that I could apply the finish to the outside of the box.
I used my homemade shellac, but this time I applied it in several thin coats using a ‘rubber’, which is a pad made from a lint free cloth, carefully folded around some cotton wadding. The shellac can be added to the rubber with a pipette, and it goes off very quickly so several coats can be applied in an hour.
I finished with a light coat of wax, and the box was done. Time to turn the contents.
Having roughed out three blanks – walnut, sycamore and kingwood – I parted off and hollowed out the lids, sanded through the grits and finished with wax. Then I hollowed out the boxes, checking that the lids fitted snugly and, again, sanding and finishing with wax.
I decided to burn a little image onto the top of each box to match the image on the jewelry box lid. Then I returned the lids to the lathe to sand and wax the outsides.
Finally, I flipped over each box so that I could finish the bottoms.
So, there we have it: one jewelry box with three lidded box accessories…
…all ready to be packed up and delivered.
Filed under: Finishing, Pyrography, Woodturning Tagged: kingwood, lidded box, rubber, shellac, sycamore, walnut