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Texas ebony bowl

Texas Ebony Bowl

Texas ebony bowl
Texas ebony bowl
Texas ebony bowl
Texas ebony bowl

This project was a challenge in more ways than one. First of all, Texas Ebony is very hard and will be a challenge to turn in any case. But this piece came as a crotch log section that I have to figure out how to mill. On top of that there is insect damage and rot in the heart of the pith areas on both branches of the crotch. Once I had the bowl blank milled then I had to figure out how to hold the piece on the lathe.

The inside of the bowl blank had cavernous voids like the Grand Canyon running through the heart of the crotch grain pattern. Last, but not least, was the horrid stench that I had to live with in my shop for a couple of days during this project. Keep the air freshener handy, folks.

Despite all of the challenges this is a beautiful bowl and one of my favorites. Actually, my wife has claimed it and she likes it even more.

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Small Ash Bowls

This is a little project using some fresh Ash that I harvested from the streets of Dallas. Curbside finds you might say. It is beautiful wood but I am not sure I did it justice. But this was more of an experiment or more precisely a comparison of several things: 1) work holding methods, 2) bowl orientation, 3) bowl form, and 4) colors on Ash.

Log sections

This is a little project using some fresh Ash that I harvested from the streets of Dallas. Curbside finds you might say. It is beautiful wood but I am not sure I did it justice. But this was more of an experiment or more precisely a comparison of several things: 1) work holding methods, 2) bowl orientation, 3) bowl form, and 4) colors on Ash.

Both bowls were made from the same log but in different orientations. One was made as a natural edge bowl and the other as a traditional bowl. In the pictures below you see the ash log cut into two sections. This is fresh, wet wood with the bark intact. I simple sawed the log section in half lengthwise on my bandsaw. The second picture shows the two finished bowls held in the orientation as they came from the log - the top one with the natural edge rim and the foot is from the middle of the half log section whereas the bottom bowl is traditionally turned with the foot at the outside of the log section and the rim coming from the interior of the log section. A traditional bowl cut this way utilizes the log section more efficiently since its curve mimic the log shape more so than a natural edge bowl.

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Ring Turned Flags

What do I mean by 'ring' turning? I am not turning rings for your finger. This technique refers to turning shapes in a ring form on the lathe and then cutting them out on a bandsaw.  I have done some ring turning previously and this idea came to me after reading a bit more about it.

As you can see if the photo above there are many flags. In fact, I got about 80 usable flags from this one turning. I decided to add magnets in the back so that they could be used as a fridge magnet or using a small strip of metal you can wear them as lapel pins. 

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Spindle turned Pod covers

This project, although relatively simple, is vital to my woodturning career. Why you ask? Because it is on the “honey do” list. You know the list of things your wife or partner asks you to do. The result of letting this list get to long is a not healthy. I am of course joking about the health risks but there are consequences to not supporting your partner.

I have been happily married for 25 years and my wife has been very supportive of my hobby for many years. Now that my hobby is morphing into a real business, I cannot lose sight of the fact that she is still supporting me, literally. So I have always tried to ensure there is headway made on the ‘honey-do” list.

My wife has been a little obsessed with hydroponic gardening. I know the first thing you may think about but it is not that. A couple of Christmas’s ago she got two small Aerogardens which are LED based hydroponic gardens systems. My wife now has nine systems and grows tomatoes, chives, arugula, basil, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, jalapenos, and probably something else I am forgetting. These are great systems and produce lots of edible veggies and herbs for us. Since we live in Texas with unbearably hot summers these systems make it easy and comfortable for growing a small amount of plants.

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Rough Turning (or Step 1 in Twice Turning)

This article is a continuation of the previous post – Harvesting a Silver Maple – Issue #68 of ‘The “Lathest” News’, in that we are turning the wood we just harvested but now we are inside the shop. There will be a follow-up article to this where I finish the second step in the Twice Turning which will be a few months away – stay tuned.

So the first stop is the bandsaw. I got this circle cutting jig from the “Tips & Jigs page of the South Auckland Woodturners Guild Inc. website. I am not sure how I found this site; I was probably directed there by one of the woodturning forums. Either way thanks to the Kiwis, although I am sure there are many variations of this jig all over the place. I drilled the wood bowl blank with a 5/16” hole about an inch deep. I use this diameter of drilled hole because it will work with the wood worm screws of wither the Oneway or Vicmarc chucks.

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Harvesting a silver maple tree

I am a member of the Dallas Area Woodturners (DAW) club and being in a large metropolitan area we get a good number of calls from folks announcing that they have free wood available from urban tree harvesting. The club webpage and Facebook page are good contact points for folks to find one of the club board members. Then our communication director sends out an email containing all the particulars of the free wood or urban tree harvest to all club members.

In late March, one such email hit my inbox. There was a silver maple tree that was being taken down in Bedford, TX. From where I live it is about a 45 minute drive one way. I contacted the tree owner directly and he sent an image of the tree and what was already on the ground. I believe the tree was suffering from the start of a disease and some root rot so it was necessary to take it down. You can see in the photo above that more than 90% of this large silver maple has no buds or green and yet in the background every other tree is flourishing – this is a sure sign that this tree was not healthy. Continue reading “Harvesting a silver maple tree”