Wood Run

Two weeks ago I had a very bad day of office computing. I left the office in a foul mood and headed home. If only to keep from going home in such a piss poor mood I missed my turn and head straight out of town. I cranked up the rock and I gave myself a 30 minute drive window. I soon found myself in a rural area. After I'd calmed down enough to be civil to my bride and understanding with my children I started to head home.

On the way back I stopped on the side of the road in the middle of a small patch of redwood forest. On the side of the road was a rather large redwood log and spalted maple branch. Both found there way home with me. Honestly that might have also had a lot to do with my improved disposition!

I just cut them both up yesterday on the band saw. No rot, and some cool looking grain. Not bad for a mad drive detour.

Hairbrush Handle

I'm kicking myself for not snapping a picture, but here is the scoop. The wife has a cheap plastic brush that broke. I found that she had been using it without a handle for a while. What in the world?! So in about 30 minutes...

I drilled out the brush head with a 1/2 forstner bit, then chucked up a maple branch that's been drying in the shop since about October. Turned a 1/2 tenon. and rough shaped the handle. reversed on the tenon and finished up. Sanded to 320 and finished with beeswax. CA glue and 10 minutes later it was in use.

As if anyone in a turners house should have a brush without a handle!

Domestic Turnings

Every once in a while we are called upon to do something so completely uninteresting that it's hard to care. Such is the case with this new handle for one of my lovely brides pots.

Honestly though it's good to work wood and do your best to duplicate a form without anything but the naked eye. Again as a firm supporter of "no unneeded math at the lathe!" I'm pleased with the outcome.

More Pens

No matter how hard I try to avoid it, most people are still enamoured with my pens. For whatever else I try to produce off the lathe, nothing sells as well as the pens.From left to right: walnut & maple, mopani, lignum vitae & maple, tuplipwood & blackwood, black & white ebony, yellowheart & blackwood, walnut.

So here are a few more.. One with a Celtic Knot. Perfect for St. Pats!

bud vases

Something new on the horizon. I've made one bud vase in the past. Just on a whim. It was out of Cocobolo and Red Oak. It was a bit on the small side, but still rewarding.

Now I'm thinking of trying my hand a some to sell. I've found a local surgical shop that sells test tubes. We'll see how it goes. I'll keep you posted.

Turned Goblet

There are few things as enjoyable as transforming something as dull as a 2x4 into something as interesting as a goblet. I turned it a bit different as I was just beginning to turn at this point.

I turned a lot of the handle before scraping out the bowl. I got quite a bit of chatter during this. Something that would be minimized if I'd hollowed the bowl section first.

Turned Necklaces

These are a blast to make. So super simple! I found a local shop that sells the necklaces for $2.50, add the .04 cents for a 1/2 slice of wood for making the pendant and my $12.00 price tag is looking like a pretty good profit margin.

Yeah capitalism! Here's the how-to I used, though I simplified it slightly, As a tend do.

Wine Bottle Stoppers

These are fun to make. I use a 1" forstner bit to drill 1/4 on the end, and then clean up the drill marks with a scraper. After that, just shape as you see fit.

From Left: cherry & purpleheart, juniper, spalted purpleheart & aluminium can, cocobolo, walnut, redheart

All except the cherry are a CA finish. The cherry is beewax. It just felt right.

I'm pretty sure this design is what got me into the gallery I currently sell bottle stoppers at.

20 Amp Celebration!

Back in January I got an awesome deal on a dust collector and air filter for the shop. The 1.5HP Delta dust collector and Delta air filter was mine for $75 a piece. It was awesome!

That is until I found that I couldn't use the dust collector. Turns out I was running the whole shop on a single 15amp circuit. Bummer! So for the next two months I agonized over the cost of upgrading my shop. This Friday I finally had an electrician out. New 20amp circuit delivered to the garage? $125.00

I love the sound of all these tools running at once!

Kids Toy Shelf

So far this is my quickest completed project to date. That is save any lathe project. This one got done one weekend before my wife's family came to visit us at Christmas. I was in a hurry to move the old plywood eyesore out before anyone saw it!

This is simple case construction with rabbits dadoes and an oak face frame assembled with pocket holes. I made the frame from leftover pieces from my cabinet build. The case was assembled from one $23 piece of cabinet grade pine plywood. It cost less then a dinner for two to make. The finish is three coats of sprayed poly. Ready for all the abuse the kids can throw at it!


Potentially this could could be just about anything. At this point it's loaded with potential. Potentially it was a new juniper box. Loaded with cool checks and an amazing smell. Potentially it would have sold to some aristocrat who would show all their friends who would each commission one!

In reality though, it was a explosion of wood off my faceshield and a dark cloud of curse words. Apparently I should have left it with potential...

Wet Bar Rehab

When the wife and I moved into our current house it had a wet bar. A nasty brown affair with four large mirrors and glass shelf back splash. A sink in the hallway! For us, this was a very pointless addition. Everything else about the place was right, including the price and so we dealt with it. We ignored it. And for four years it worked. But last year it was too much.

We'd finally had enough. So I set off to build my largest project to date. A set of kitchen style cabinets. I don't have a before, but I do have an after. With my two new oak cabinets and a huge 55 gallon fish tank. No more eyesore. A lovely wet bar rehab!

Laser Engraving

I just recently sent out my first pens for engraving. There is something scary about this. I mean you spend the time to make some stellar pens you polish them up and get them all gorgeous and then box them up to a man with a laser cutter...
Well no need to worry. They came back beautiful! I'm as pleased as punch. Even more so now that I've got some green in my wallet.

Bottle Stoppers

A while back I posted about the Ruth Niles stainless steel bottle stoppers. They are an excellent product. I made ten and had no trouble getting them into a shop (Once the owner saw them) and there they sat for 7 months. In that time I only sold 2.

This had little to do with the stopper and everything to do with the economy. In order to make a profit I was collecting $13 per stopper. The store tacked on another $13 for them. Add in Uncle Sams portion and a pretty gift turned into a $30 luxury that shoppers just weren't buying.

Enter the new wave. Classic cork stoppers. They aren't anywhere near as fancy looking as the sleek stainless stoppers, but they have an advantage. I can make them for about $2-3 a piece. Now I ask for $6 per stopper and with the shop and Sam we are still way under a $20 bill. Or as a previous boss called them, "Yuppie Food Stamps"

I've been three weeks with this new model, so we'll soon see if the change pays off. I'm rather hopeful.

From Log To Shroom

I found these pictures last night. I love working green wood, its just so fulfilling to see shaving flying all over the shop! Kinda fun to see the progression...


Turning shrooms for fun and profit. These were all turned from green branches gathered from town. I literally stopped my truck on the side of the road, turned on the hazard lights and threw storm torn branches into my bed. It was a hoot!

Sold a good portion of these to people. No one could tell me why they wanted one...

Death Of A Bowl

When good bowls go bad...

AKA, your 1/4 spindle gouge might not ever bend back straight again...

Sharpening Jig

I'm a firm believer in simple. In fact if its not simple odds are I'll do my part to make it simple. It's not that I don't think difficult is worthy, I'm just too stupid to do anything difficult. So, it's simple or nothing for me!

As such I needed to make a sharpening jig I looked for the simplest solution I could find and it worked fine for my gouges, but not for my scrapers or skews. I needed something better. This jig by King Heiple was my solution.

I dismissed the math completely and just assembled it as I saw fit. I hate math, which is why I turn. I certainly don't want to ruin my hobby with numbers. It turned out great. And as you can see, very sharp skew chisels and a great burr on my scraper. I'm quite pleased!