Saturday, March 2, 2024

Sanding on the lathe


I made this sanding bed to go with the wheel I re-did yesterday for my lathe. It seats pretty firmly against the ways of the lathe for the moment, but if it gets looser with wear I can easily hold it in place with a little g-clamp.

It's all perfectly square, both horizontally and vertically, which will be a boon when it comes to truing up frame mitres and what-not. Also, with the Jacobs chuck on a #2 morse, I could use it as a horizontal borer, with a bit of faffing about and packing and stuff.

Something I discovered in the making of this is that the ways of my lathe are not symmetrical — the near side splays out to its feet at 10 degrees, while the far side is only eight degrees. That was unexpected. That means that the sanding bed can only go on one way, though that's not really much of an issue.

The wheel was one I made a while ago to go on one of my faceplates. But bolting it and unbolting it again when I wanted the faceplate for something else got to be a bit of a pain.

So I bought a M30x3.5 nut and epoxied it into an inset on the back.

Inevitably it wasn't absolutely 100% square and true, so I had to strip off the old sanding surface, re-true the face, and then put some more sanding belt strips on.

I think it took me about an hour and a half to get a successful emplacement of the nut, and it's a little bit frustrating to think that it's a job that could have been done — and probably done better — in five minutes with a welder and a bit of steel plate. However, I don't own any welding equipment, nor do I have anywhere to store it if I did.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Turning Tool Rack


This morning I whipped up a little rack for my carbide turning tools, plus the centring drill I made the other day, and a couple of skews.

It's just 12mm plywood, but it will do the job and should last longer than I will.

The carbide scrapers are very easy to use, but they are not the greatest of tools for leaving a fine surface, and I pretty much use them only for rough shaping.

The majority of my tools — the ones I use, anyway — are hanging up beside the lathe.

They're very convenient there, but I've run out of hook space.

I've got a bunch of miscellaneous others stored in a drawer, but they are pretty junky and I seldom use them.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Front Porch Knob


I'm stuck at home waiting for firewood to arrive (some time between 0930 and 1530, they say). So I'm pottering about filling my time by building firewood-stacking things to make my eventual firewood-stacking more stable.

I whipped up that little railing extension beside the porch upright, to support the firewood stack so it doesn't all tumble out into the driveway. The decorative knob was something I did ages ago when I was just screwing around on the lathe.

I still haven't built my side-of-the-house firewood shelter, because I keep putting it off due to the cost of materials, and by the time I'm in a position to make a start on it, the materials are even more expensive. Doh!

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Depth Drill


In keeping with my tradition of spending more time making thing for making things than actually making things, today I made a hand-held depth drill, using a 12mm twist bit I had lying about, some oak, and a bit of copper tube for the ferrule.

These things are used to bore a hole to a given depth for lathe work. This both makes it easier to hollow out the form with gouges, and also gives a visual indication when you've reached the chosen depth for the bowl or whatever.

This particular one will go to a depth of about 105mm, which will probably be fine for most of the work I ever do on the lathe.

Bowl of Mystery


I don't know what timber this bowl is made from. Beech, maybe. It's small, only 160mm in diameter. I've polished it with beeswax.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Piercing Cradle


Made another job-doing tool — this time a piercing cradle for accurately stabbing the stitching holes in signatures for bookbinding. It's just MDF and hardboard, so nothing pretty, but it does the job well and makes the task 100% easier and better.

I've made it large enough to cope with A4 page signatures, though since I only have an A4 printer (and thus can only make A5 or smaller folded signatures) 99% of my work will be A5.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Little Rimu Goblet


For no particular reason today I whipped out this little goblet made from a chunk of a reclaimed rimu joist.

It's not very big, only 90mm tall and 65mm in diameter, so not much bigger than an egg-cup. You'd need a fairly big egg though.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Another Oak Platter


This is about as big a disc as I can manage on my little lathe, and it's only about 225mm. It absolutely maxes out at 250mm, and its motor is so gutless that it tends to stop a lot when I'm working out towards the perimeter. If I ever come into a massive bunch of moneys, I'd like to buy a bigger, fancier lathe. 

I normally try to aim to turn things pretty thin, but this time I wanted to go a bit chunky.  It's 35mm thick, and I've only gone down 12mm or so in the middle, so there's still a decent mass of oak left there in spite of the big knotty chunk out of the rim.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Kwila Thing


My latest attempt at turning some wood is a chunk of kwila, a very hard, brittle timber much used these days for decking. It's quite tricky to turn, and I found I eventually got the best results with scrapers rather than gouges.

I'm not sure what it would be; a vase maybe? Or a cup? It will probably just end up having knick-knacks kept in it. It's just under 115mm in diameter.

I didn't hollow it out right to the bottom, because the piece of wood had some pretty bad checking, and I think it would probably just have flown to pieces if I'd tried to cut it around the cracked area.

A profile view
The nasty and dangerous cracks

I like the waisted shape of it, and I think I might try it again in some timber that's a bit easier to work.

I find kwila a very attractive timber, but it's not the most amenable.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Another Oak Platter


Sometimes things don't fly apart, and sometimes the centre can hold.

The bigger platter is still small, only 200mm in diameter. Like the earlier, smaller one, this one is also not suitable for oozy foods due to a dirty great crack. Also, I'm pretty sure the wax finish I used on it is not food-safe, so there's that too.

The one I did yesterday definitely did not hold.

It also had a large crack in it, and when my gouge caught as I was attempting to under-cut the rim, it flew into two parts. One of the parts stayed in the lathe, the other ended up down the other end of my workshop.

The catch would have ruined the rim in any case, but if it had stayed in one piece I could have trimmed it down and salvaged something of it.

And another...

This will be the last of them for the moment, until I can prepare some more blanks. This one actually has no cracks in it, so it could conceivably be used to eat from, so I just finished it with beeswax. The other two are done with a tinted Liberon wax finish, called Black Bison I think.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Oak Dish


On a whim this afternoon I turned a simple little oak dish from a piece out of the scrap pile. It's not very big, only 170mm in diameter, and definitely not watertight due to the knotty bits leaving holes through it. I haven't thought what I might use it for, probably nothing much.

Sunday, January 21, 2024



This weekend, on January 20th, we had a memorial gathering for my mother, Hilary, near Kawerau in the bay of Plenty. She'd stated that she didn't want a funeral, but she did want a good party.

Lots and lots of people obliged.

I made this casket for her ashes out of reclaimed rimu, and engraved the brass plaque with the aid of my friend Ozy's computer-controlled router thingummy.

My sister Leah, and Mum's oldest and best friend Colleen, gave beautiful and moving eulogies, and several other people spoke as well. The weather behaved, the food was plentiful and good, and the day went off very well indeed, not least thanks to the good offices of Ren & Maria who provided the wonderful venue as well as the lion's share of the organizational labour. Excellent people.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Trophy Chalice


Annette wanted a trophy cup for her work quiz champions, so I made her this chalice.

The timber is pink birch, and the cup stands about 200mm tall.