Friday, July 21, 2017

Lid from the Lathe

Yesterday I went into my shop and stayed there until I got a result that pleased me.

  This is a lid for one of the cute little bottles, turned on the lathe from elm and finished with bee's wax polish.  The lid fits tight enough that is  won't fall out if the bottle is turned upside down, but not so tight that you have to worry about breaking the bottle when prying it off.

  The road to that lid was multi-staged.

  First I needed to figure out how to hold the wood without a multi-jaw chuck. I have used false face plates before with the work piece glued to paper and then to the face plate.  I wasn't comfortable with that method this time because there would be very little surface area for the glue. The inside tenon is only 1 3/4 inches in diameter. My solution was to make a 'screw chuck'.

  Making this chuck wasn't difficult, but it did involve several steps. I worked slowly and carefully so that everything would line up and the face plates would run smoothly.

  I screwed the 3/4 plywood onto the face plate and rounded it and squared the face. Then I brought the tail stock down and used it to accurately find the centre of the plywood.

  Next I drilled an access hole into the plywood, exactly in the centre, based on where the tail stock aligned.

  That hole will give me access to the head of the screw which comes through the second section of the face plate.  I glued and screwed another, smaller piece of wood to the face plate.  I drilled a small hole through the second piece of wood and inserted a screw through from the back.  The screw is aligned dead centre and I threaded the piece of elm onto the screw to hold it while I turned it to shape.  As you can see I needed to do this because the work piece is so small, turning it on the standard face plate would have been possible,but awkward.

  At the roughing stage I had the tail stock support the work piece in case I gouged the piece and split it away from the face plate. While the piece was mounted like this I also cut the tenon on the small end.

  Once the lid was round and running smoothly I moved the tail stock out of the way and finished the piece. I cut a shallow bowl into the centre of the lid to clear away any evidence of the tail stock.

  I am pleased with the end result and will now make two more, same size, different woods.

cheers, ianw



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

'A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum'--workshop actually

  This morning after breakfast I went down to the shop to do a small lathe project.  I have got three cute little bottles and decided that I should make some lids for them. I had decided on three lids with the same shape from three different woods.  The bottles could be used for something stylish like fancy salts or  spices. 
  On my way to turning the lids two bowls and a spindle got in the way, and the lids are put off until tomorrow.

  The bowl is maple and turned out pretty well. I turned it using a variety of my carbide tipped scrapper chisels.  Initially I used the monster roughing gouge that I made a couple of years ago at a blacksmith work shop.  Once I got the lump of wood round I switched to my 'Easy Wood' tools and then used bee's wax as a finish.  I guess the bowl can be used for keys or spare change or something.

  Why did I make a bowl, when I wanted to make three lids?  I found that my face plate was screwed to the wood and I had begun shaping the bowl, last winter, I guess.  If I took the face plate off I might not get it remounted accurately later so I decided to turn the bowl and be done with it.

  The spindle was the result of me changing my mind once the bowl was done and planning to make all three lids the same. Sadly, once I got the interesting piece of fruit wood round, it was just a little to small to be used for the lids. Now the spindle is in a bin awaiting an unknown future purpose. Man turning it made a mess.  I started with the bark on, for future reference, that really cries out for serious dust collection.  

  My other face plate had a small bowl on it.  It was an experiment to see how small a bowl I could turn on my face plate.  I am trying to avoid the cost of a multi jaw chuck, so far, I've managed but......

King 4 Jaw Chuck 6 inch KW-007
I do like playing with my lathe.  I should also buy a dust hood , by the time I was done playing today I was covered in chips and dust.  I did wear a dust mask and safety glasses, they increase health and safety but won't reduce cleaning time.

  Last week David and I made a flower trough/deck planter.  

  Since we began with a carefully drawn plan, we ended with excellent results.  Nice finishing job guys.

cheers, Ianw

Friday, July 14, 2017


  Yesterday was our fifteenth wedding anniversary.  Eva gave me a cool card, treats and some interesting beers. ( thank you Sweetie)  I gave her chocolates, a glass pitcher for summer drinks and a maple 15. I'm not much for cards.

 The 15 is nothing clever but...the vise I used to finish the 15 is.

  This vise is my DIY version of a  Moxon Vise.  My vise is strong and flexible and can be mounted almost any where using a variety of clamps

 Because of the design I could slide the "15" down in the jaws and have it supported while I filed the saw makes away.

   The other bonus is I mounted the vise on my stand up bench section so that I was working at chest level while filing, not hunched over.  My back troubles me less when I stand up and sit up straight.

  That is the assortment of rasps and files I used to remove the saw marks and smooth the wood.  One of maple's great virtues is that it will finish as smooth as glass if you take the time.

  As a foot note:  here is the Wedding Guest Board that I made a couple of weeks ago.

  I hope they still have it 15 years from now.

cheers, ianw

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Flower Box

  Yesterday my friend David came to my shop with the detailed design of a planter box for their front porch.

  I like building projects for David and his wife.  She always provides a very detailed and useful plan for their projects. 

 We began this project with four 2x3 by eight feet.  We cut the 2x3's into 1 1/4 inch square boards on the table saw.  My table saw acted up again and the ripping of the boards was finished on the band saw.  This time the table saw's troubles became obvious, the wire in the plug end had shorted and burned. Today I replaced the plug and the saw is fine. 

 Anyway, I joined two edges of the 2x3s and ripped the boards to size and used my sliding mitre saw to cut the pieces to length. With a well drawn plan it is easy to create a cut list and prepare the material for assembly.

one side screwed together.
  The project is going to be painted black so all the joints are butt joints, held together with 2 1/2 screws and glue.  This is quick and easy project.  Another thing that makes the project easy is having David's pair of hands. Usually I work alone and everything  has to be clamped while I work. With help the entire project took less time and needed no clamping. Those extra hands(apprentices) were the back bone of traditional shops. Machines are good, good people are better.

 The off cuts of the 2x3s were kept and used in three different places on this project.

  The short side connecting pieces were ten inches long and rather than cut into another long board we glued two of the off cuts together to make a wide enough board. We glued and nailed the boards together and  screwed the planter together.

  We opted for vertical slats to match the vertical lines on their porch.  The slats on the side and bottom are the off cuts from ripping the 2x3s in the first place. The back of the planter is to be against a wrought wire railing so it didn't need slats. It took David and I and a couple of hours to built the unit. It went home to be finished: sanding and painting will probably take as long or longer than  building.

  I was thinking of this project with hand tools.  It would have taken as long to prepare the materials as it did to build the whole project. I guess we would have bought 2x2 lumber instead of 2x3 construction lumber to reduce the amount of time spent ripping the material and maybe changed the design making the upright slats heavier. It could be done.  If I were making this project by hand I would have used nicer lumber, used dowels or floating tenons as fasteners and used stain and varnish for a finish. A cedar planter box could be pretty nice....

cheers, ianw


Monday, July 10, 2017

Pochade Box Complete

Yesterday I cut the Pochade box in two on my table saw, and then cut it down slightly since I didn't need the total depth of the 2 x 4.

  The box is filled with the things I use for water colour painting. I have both transparent and opaque paint as well as Derwent Inktense Blocks. I used double sided tape to stick some bubble wrap down to keep the bottles from crashing around. The dividers are glued and pin nailed in place and won't be difficult to remove it the design needs changing. The angle of the photo effects perspective, the dividers are in the box square even though it doesn't look like it.

  I used 1/4 in Baltic birch for the top and door skin for the bottom.  The sides and dividers are re-sawn 2 x 4. Once the wood was planed and sanded it was perfectly adequate for this project.  There are a couple of knot holes that I could fill, but I don't see the need.

 To attach the lid I opted for two latches and a couple of alignment dowels.  I figured a lid that came off rather than hinged would serve my use better.  I paint water colours on a flat board so there is no purpose to having lid hinged acting as an easel.

   In this photo you can see the latch and two of the alignment pins. I used my self centring dowel jig to place and drill for the dowel pins.

 BlackJack, 16227 Dowel Jig Self Centering 14574

  This jig is another of those tools that I use once in a blue moon, but am really pleased to have available when the time comes.  By pushing it tightly into the corner the dowel pins aligned quickly and easily.  Between the dowel pins and the two clasps the lid is perfectly secure.  

  The latches were in a junk drawer, I'd saved them from somewhere and I honestly have no idea where. Having collected all these things over time means that this project cost almost nothing to make.

  There is space in the lid half for a small drawing board and several pieces of 8 x 10 water colour paper. 

  Once the box was complete I sanded it with 120 grit paper and used a block plane to break some of the shape edges.  On the cheap again I used a Danish Oil finish, walnut colour from a tin that I bought at the Re-Store years and years ago.  The Danish oil takes a long time to dry, I supposed that is why it was on clearance.  Everyone wants their finish to dry instantly, or faster.  My pochade box can sit in the garage and dry for a day or two, no sweat for me.

  I haven't decided what to do for a carrying strap, or handle yet.  I think for a while I will just carry it under my arm or in a bag to see how it works out.  A while ago I made a brief case  sized box to carry oil paints. and canvases and it was/is useful but big. This paint box is light and more portable and I am looking forward to using it for a long time.

 cheers, ianw 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Pochade Box

  I have been drawing and painting for a couple of years and now and I've got good enough that I am not embarrassed by my efforts.  Sometimes I try to on paint outside  and have decided to make myself a Pochade Box.  If you do a search of pochade box plans or complete boxes for sale on the internet there are 100's of different boxes available.

Image result

  The first part of the project was deciding what I wanted included in the box.

  In my box I want water colour paint, water bottles and the leather pencil case has pencils, pens, brushes and other tools.  I decided that I needed a box that was 10 inches by 12 inches.
  To make the box I used a piece of 2 x 4.  Once the 2 x 4 has been jointed, sawed and planed it is actually pretty nice wood with which to work.  I used all the power tools at hand to get the wood ready. I used my King Jointer to get a flat face and edge and then cut a parallel side on my table saw. Once I had a square board I sliced the 2 x 4 into 1/2 inch boards on my band saw I ran the thin boards through my Planer.

  I have my box nailed and clamped together while the glue sets.  I will cut the box apart tomorrow.  At this point I like the grain of the sides, this 2 x 4 was a nice bit of wood.  Once I get every thing sanded on the out side I will glue dividers on the inside and then I have to decide what I want to to about the lid.  I don't think I am going to hinge the lid, thought that is the traditional method. I think I will making the lid a 'fit over' type.

 Tomorrow I am at the kids house for a birthday so it will be Sunday before I can get hardware and carry on with this projects.

cheers ianw

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A String of Small Projects

  I was away on holiday for much of June and so several repairs piled up at 10,000 Villages. They had a window leak and some of their products got stained or rusted.  I had a couple of things to clean up for them. 

Forney, 60003 1-1/2'' Shanked Brass Wire Wheel End Brush
  Every shop should have a selection of wire brushes. Wire brushes are the best tool for removing rust or staining on metal.  A wire brush in a drill driver can also be used to texture soft wood to create an interesting effect.

  The other day a friend dropped by to have some 1 x 4 ripped and cut to length.  As he said, it is so much easier and accurate to have these cuts made by  a table saw and a mitre saw than to fuss around with a circular saw.  Especially as he is not a handy man type. 


  While in Sweden I picked up a couple of heavy bladed utility gardening knives.  The knives were cheap but didn't have sheaths.  This morning I glued up some wood and made a solid wooden sheath to protect the blade and the user. 

  The other thing I did this morning was whittle another spreader knife.  These latest few things have been whittled  (carved)  from split out pieces of fire wood.  I have made spoons in the past but have come to believe that the best wood for spoons is split wood rather than cut. Wood that is split follows the grain and makes the whittler follow the grain too. Things look nicer and are stronger.

  I have a baby's crib to rebuild and a flower pot stand to build as my next larger projects but for now I am pretty happy with these smaller things. My grandson is coming for a while later in the month and I think we need to make some Bee Houses. 

Image result for bee house 

  I think that should be fun.

cheers, ianw

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Shop Trays

   I saw an Instructables post on how to make a folding valet tray from leather and immediately thought about how to change the materials but keep the idea. 

Image result for valet tray
  I liked the folding tray idea for keeping small items from rolling off my desk or bench and generally controlling small parts and tools.  When carving I usually use four or five knives and chisels repeatedly and when painting often have a couple of brushes on the go at once. Gluing small parts is another time that I need to protect my bench top and control the mess. If these things are in a small tray like this they could be kept close at hand.  And if the tray wasn't leather they can be used for paint and glue and all types of mess, then be laid flat and washed out. 

Two Trays, one with two inch sides,
one with one inch sides.
Folded flat for storage

  Making these trays was easy, all it took was a sharp knife,duct tape, a straight edge and a bone folder. ( at an art supply store)

First I cut the coffee bag square, it is more or less 12 inches each side.

I used a coffee bag because they are quite tough and we've got lots of them. Also using a coffee bag to back onto the duct tape means that cost is reduced by one layer of duct tape.

 Next I taped the bag down in the middle, taping it to my cutting mat.  This way the bag doesn't move around while I add the other strips of tape. It is easier to tear the duct tape than to cut it with scissors or a knife. I left extra on the edges and then cut the excess off with a knife and a straight edge at the end.


  A bone folding knife is what I used to put a deep crease along each side. A bone knife is nice since it scores deeply but won't cut into the material, book binders use them all the time. To use the tray it is folded along the crease and held up with paper clips. When not needed the tray folds flat and stores out of the way.

  Since these trays  are quick and easy to make when they get messed up with glue or paint they can easily discarded.

  Making this spoon is partly want drew my attention to the tray.  It was a lovely day yesterday and I took my wood carving out to the back deck. I had a couple of knives and an couple of small gouges and some sand paper.  If I had, had a tray the knives wouldn't have rolled off the table and onto the deck as often. Also it would not have been a juggling act to get the various tools upstairs and out the back door. 

  You don't notice how often you drop things until you develop back trouble and the floor gets to be miles away. Anyway to keep things on the bench is worth the effort.

  I think that most anyone making things could use trays like this.

cheers, ianw

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Sow's Ear?

  The expression making a silk purse from a sow's ear has a hint of irony to it that makes me think it is impossible, not just difficult.  For a family wedding happening at the end of the week I have a silk/sow sort of assignment.
  I am turning, up scaling some pallet boards into a wedding guess signature board. A board where guest will write messages for the bride and groom rather than a guest book. It seems like a good idea, it may get put on a wall some place and be seen, unlike a guest book that is buried in the bottom drawer in the back room and never seen again.

It is going to look something like this.
  Image result for wedding guest board ideas

  Never discount just how much work goes into making tired old wood look nice. 

  I used my King KC-150C jointer to get straight edges for gluing. Then I added faux breadboard ends just to give the planks a little bit of style.  I used my KREG pocket hole jig to attach the edges.  You can see the edges held in place but the KREG Right Angle Clamp.  I did not use a face frame clamp because these pieces are wood aren't the same thickness, the face frame clamp would not have held things in place as well. 

  All that remains is a whole bunch of sanding.  

  On a lighter note. On the weekend I worked to my grand daughters design and made her a turtle.

  She drew the design and I cut out the legs,head and tail on the band saw.  Currently the turtle is downstairs guarding her bed.  I think I will give it a bit more attention before she comes back to paint it, every turtle needs a bit of sanding I believe.


  Just a horse foot note.  We brought home the small horse, but the big on was way cool too. I suppose the large horse is for sale but I didn't ask.

  Lots of sanding to do tomorrow.

cheers, ianw

Image result for dala pig

In case you thought the Swede's are one trick ponies. 
They do pigs too. This pig is about five feet tall. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Dala Horses

  Two Dala horses, technically one Dala Horses and one Hamilton Horse. The horse on the right is right off the band saw from the Dala Horse Factory in Sweden. There has been no craving done to it. 

  The horse on the left is my version of the famous horse.  I copied the general shape and cut it out on my band saw then I finished it with my Mora wood carving knife. 

Mora 120
  The standard Dala horse is carved from local spruce, then sanded and painted and sanded and hand painted.  My horse is aromatic cedar with a couple of coats of Clampham's Bee's Wax Polish. I've got a spoon roughed out and ready to carve but the last couple of days have been taken up with catching up with the local stuff.
  Things should return to normal (?) on Monday.
 cheers, ianw

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The End of Radio Silence

  In the old days of cool movies the leader of the intrepid band of heroes would call for 'radio silence' as the closed in on their target.  My silence's reason  hasn't been as dramatic.  For the first time since I started this blog January 29-2011, 885 blogs ago I took a couple of weeks holiday. For the first time since this all began I didn't look for anything to post while away on holiday.

  Yesterday we got home from three weeks in Sweden visiting our kids and grand kids. If I had been looking for blog things I would have talked about the three wooden spatulas that I whittled from fire wood at the kids cottage. Don't let limited tools keep you from wood workings. I used a fixed blade Mora 511 sheath knife,

carbon steel, delivered razor sharp and currently
on a sales deal of 3 for $15.00 Cdn in Sweden. Yes, I bought a few.

 the small blade on my Swiss Army knife 

Victorinox Spartan PS in black - 1.3603.3P
I have owned and lost more of these knives that I care to remember. But...always replace them.

and a bit of sand paper to make two small spatulas for the little girls play kitchen and a full sized one for their Mommy's kitchen.

  I also wandered through every tool and hardware store I could find. I really liked the Bauhaus in Uppsala, it has a large selection of wood working tools.

  For me the highlight of the trip, after my daughter-in-law defending her Phd thesis and being awarded her degree by the medical faculty at Uppsala University was a trip to Mora Sweden to see the Dala horse factory 
Image result for dala horse
all made and painted by hand in the factory in Musnas, near Mora.

was the stop in Musnas to buy a horse and some knives from a Mora/Frost knife clearance store.

the yellow handles knives were destined for Iceland
fishermen but the deal fell through. I got the knives for 30 SEK ($4.55 Cdn)
each. The blades are stout and very sharp, the handles will be replaced. The red knife is a Mora 511 and the blade a single bevel chisel knife. 

These four kitchen knives cost 50 SEK each, ($7.59 Cdn).
 Also very stout and very sharp, used in Iceland to clean fish.

 Northern Sweden looks like a giant plantation forest and much of their world is wood. Houses have wooden siding instead of vinyl and most of them are painted red or yellow.

Image result for swedish houses 

Image result for swedish houses

  Anyway, we are back home, unpacked and trying to catch up on things.  It is nice to travel, it is great to see the grand kids, but it is nice to come home too.

cheers, ianw