Saturday 30 July 2011

Spirit Stains And Liming Wax

Although my wood turning classes have finished for this term I couldn't help but email Chris (my tutor) a question or two the other day, I thought he might be missing my thousand questions a lesson. He emailed back that he'd rather come and show me than write it down, so on Tuesday night he came over. This caused a bit of confusion with me as I thought he said for me to go to his and I was over half way there when my wife phoned to tell me my mistake!

We had a good few hours for Chris to show me new techniques involving texturing, painting then liming to give different layers of colour. Using the arbotech and a metal cutting disc in the grinder to give texture and interest. He was quite annoyed at himself when he forgot the blow pipes to show me with spirit stain, but I think we still created an interesting piece. I didn't mind not using the blow pipes as he'd already gone out of his way to teach me all these things, so I was surprised when he phone me up the next night to say we'd have a another crack at it to cover all the techniques. this time though not on oak (as it was too hard for the texturing) so to bring something else to try it on.

I brought round some beech I had left over and we set about making something different, still doing a bit of texturing and liming (the liming was difficult to get right) but working more with the spirit stains on an area that we roughly textured. We used the blow pipes this time and it gives a more airbrushed effect.

Again I know these pieces aren't to every ones taste (Gorges!) but I like them and had a really enjoyable couple of evenings making them in good company. I think I'm very lucky to be friends with someone who's such a good tutor.

Thanks again Chris.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Occupational Hazard

Don't worry I've still got all my fingers!

It's just I smiled inward to myself on Sunday night when my wife said the washing machine had stopped working. She'd been on the Internet to look at the error message and it had told her it was a problem with the pump. Without even look up I said it was a nail. Probably a panel pin.

This is not the first time I have broken our washing machine. Nor would it be the only washing machine I've ever broken. Nor, will it be the last washing machine I'll probably break.

I'd call this an occupational hazard. I check my pockets on a Friday night when I put my trousers in the washing basket, but sometimes one will escape me. Most of the time I'm lucky and I'll find this little Houdini nail the next time I put on my clean work trousers, not this time though.

After about half an hour of slowly draining down the washing machine to get to the pump I managed to find the offending culprit - a 35mm oval nail, sheradised so at least it wouldn't go rusty.

Luckily for me the motor just stopped and didn't burn out, otherwise I probably wouldn't be so jovial about the whole thing! maybe I should try and use my nail gun more - strips of nails are much easier to find!

Sunday 17 July 2011

Reclaimed Pine Bowl

A few months ago when taking down the extension on the Park Keepers cottage I sawed through some big old pine purlins. As I sawed I was greeted with the most amazing pine smell and the grain looked beautiful. I put both 4m lumps of timber to one side not quite sure what I'd do with them.
Knocking off from work on Friday night I decided to saw a bit off one and see what I could make from it over the weekend. I pulled out the nails and cut a blank to have a play with.
Considering it's softwood it didn't cut that easily, with the grain tearing if my bowl gouge wasn't sharp enough. I decided to hide nothing on the timber, leaving all the nail holes and any of the white paint that would stay on. I did treat it for wood worm though.
I had a small incident when turning the back away and got a little bit too confident with the lathe running too fast. They say sometimes something happens so fast you don't know what hit you - I certainly knew what hit me square on the nose! I'll keep my face mask on till the end next time - live and learn!

I finished the bowl with finishing oil and then a coat of wax. It's not perfect but I like the feel of the finished piece.

I've got plenty of this wood to play with so I might try and make a few more that I could maybe sell, although I don't know if people would buy a pine bowl - even if the piece of pine is over 200 years old.

Thursday 14 July 2011

Something A Little Different..

At my last woodturning lesson on Thursday I was challenged by Chris to do something that I don't normally do. "Don't think square and don't think centred".

Easier said than done with my mind! I went a completely different route cutting a piece of beech, leaving the bark on then having a play on the lathe. I even got out the acrylic paints and the blow torch. I know their not to everyone's taste but it was interesting making them and quite addictive once I got going. It's the first time I've used any paints for pleasure in about 15 years! And a blow torch is always good fun to use, although I'm extra careful with all the shavings in my workshop.

I finished the backs off by leaving a tooled edge with my new Arbotech type grinder disc, which leaves a surprisingly clean finish, and fixing a small mirror hook to mount it with. Like I said I don't think these are every one's cup of tea (especially people who read this blog) but it's interesting to try out new techniques and styles.

I've also made a couple of work holding devices for the lath, both to help finish off work and remove evidence of how the wood was held on the lathe. The first is a floor polishing mop trimmed up and mounted to some MDF. This will allow me to press the piece being worked into backing and turn away the waste without damaging the inside, idea for platters and shallow bowls.

The second is for the same purpose but different shaped pieces, This is just MDF glued, clamped up and then turned down to the right shape. With the addition of a sponge between the MDF and the bowl it should work great holding the piece firm.

Anyone else make up bits and bobs like this for work holding on the lathe?

Thursday 7 July 2011

Structural Work On Roof Done!

I managed to work through the list from the structural engineer over the last few days and tick off every item from his list.
The first was to remove a section of the wall plate as the cantilevered section was rotten (the bit sticking out past the wall). This wasn't as awkward as I thought it might be, just a few 6 inch cut nails to contend with. I half lapped the new section of wall plate on, which I planed down to size as it wasn't standard, and added the strap across the top to meet the requirements the engineer had set.
This picture shows quite well why I think the roof should have been replaced- the rafters are cut on to the wrong side of the wall plate creating pressures and forces in the wrong place so its pushing out not down. I know the purlins reduces the load but I just don't like to see work left thats not right!
The next step was to splice the barge board on the end where it had gone rotten, as well as add a new cocking fillet.
I then had to add 450mm new ends to the rafters which had the worst levels of decay.
The worst job was to then chisel a section of wall plate around 4m long and add a ply facing. This was to straighten it up and provide a fixing for the gutting. This job did my chisels no favours as it was full of nails.
I also added a ply soffit to both ends and fitted the a complete new gable ladder with barge board on the far side (not an easy job on your own!).
When I'd finished I couldn't help but add a fineal to both ends just to finish it off (I wont get paid for that bit but I don't care!).

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