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Friday, July 20, 2012

Some Things are Turning

The Oddblock Station has welcomed a new arrival.

Fresh out of the box a few minutes earlier and no parts missing. I haven't even plugged in the cord yet to see if this works. That machine weighs just over 100 pounds! A few days earlier I had to reinforce the work area to prevent any possible vibration or bouncing.

Lathe levelled with wood squares cut and ready. The lathe has now been tested. No vibration or bouncing at all. From this angle all the wood looks the same. The large square on the right is Rad Oak. The other 4 squares are Ash. These woods came from Woodworker's Paradise in Rumford, Maine.

Here is another view of the same squares. Ash and Oak do not look very different from each other aside from the colour. Their grain patterns are almost identical. If the block on the left was turned the other way, the grain would look the same as the other four squares

Why wait for later? After setting up and levelling the lathe I put it and me to work. Hard to believe but 35 years have passed since I last used a wood lathe or any type of lathe. I hadn't completely forgotten how to use it including the wood set-up, but I was quite rusty using the tools. Anyway, no scratches, cuts, bruises, injuries or deaths so far...and the first turning is cut, ready for sanding.

Quite a few woodchips later...the completed nostepinde finished with linseed oil. After a day or two for drying out, Kie can put this to use to wind her wool. Prior to last week, I had never even heard of or seen a nostepinde before and now I have made one. This was supposed to be a test/practice piece but it turned out okay...literally.

The Oddblock Station Agent

Addendum: May 19, 2013 

Not yet a year later and a lot (really a lot) of wood chips later a few things have been turned out.

Practice piece made with Alaskan yellow cedar with one coat of linseed oil added.

Addendum: November 09, 2015 - Lilac 

Lilac was never a source of usable wood/lumber that I ever considered until three years ago when I had a conversation with Mike Chase, a professional wood turner displaying his skills at the Farmington Fair. He enthusiastically spoke to me about the merits of lilac as one of the best woods for turning and suggested I give the wood a try.

Three years intervened before I was able to revisit Farmington, Maine, and have another conversation with Mr. Chase. In our subsequent discussion about woods and wood turning, I mentioned our previous conversation about lilac but had been unable to source a piece. 

Upon hearing that, Mr. Chase generously offered me one of the two lilac squares that he had with him. I accepted his kind gift and promised to get back to him with the results, which I have since done. This said, I decided to add this update to my previous post, simply because lilac is unusual.

Surprisingly, to me anyway and flowers aside, hundreds of images and posts appear on Google relating to lilac wood itself... meaning that I am not adding anything new or profound.

Lilac is indeed an excellent wood for turning. Yes, wood from that same bush/small tree that flowers every spring.

The square that I accepted had a couple of cracks and soft spots so I allowed it to acclimatize for about a month before working with it.

The checking cracks did not extend deep into the wood and one soft spot (embedded decay) is the only remaining unusual characteristic. Most may simply label that soft spot a defect but I prefer to see it as an unusual characteristic unique to this piece of wood. True, some spots may cause problems or tear-out, but in this case it did not, as the above photo shows. 

I've since completed turning the piece round just to try the wood but haven't decided what to do with it. I suppose in the back of my mind I'm thinking about using it in a walking stick; I make those and this piece will be ideal for that.

Conclusion: lilac is indeed an excellent wood for turning, one of the best I've worked with. 

Addendum: September, 01,2017

The idiosyncrasies of glued-up stock...

Soft Maine maple and black cherry matched up.

This piece shown was turned to 3/4"

One of the exasperating challenges that turning longer thinner pieces presents is bouncing or chattering against the chisels; no matter how sharp. The results of course are tear-out or flat surfaces and often both together.

I know that stabilizers are available to address this problem, however, I've not yet been able to find one on the market that will fit my mini-lathe.

Anyway, these small pieces were glued-up like a shish-kebab on a 3/8th inch maple dowel running through. I'm not sure if that assembly helped or hindered the flexing while turning issue but I'm leaning toward the latter.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Arrival - Jonah

The youngest member of our family arrived at 01:43 on June 30, 2012.

Here are a few scenes from the first eight days in Jonah's life.

Jonah with Mom and Dad a few moments after his arrival into the world and prior to transfer over to the Hospital for Sick Children.

Grandpa holding Jonah. That is a tiny feeding tube in his nose, one of a few of the things that were hooked-up to him while he was in the Cardiac Unit at the hospital

First day at home. Grandma holding Jonah while Kiera feeds her young brother.

Grandma holding Jonah

Big sister Kiera holding Jonah. Maybe this is a sign of things to come in the years ahead: the older sister telling the younger brother what to do and the younger brother voicing out his honest opinion.

He is awake! Mom playing with Jonah.

Grandpa holding Jonah. "Spout-plug" in place and sleeping like a baby...I had to say it. Not much bigger than a football.

Shh! Just don't make any noise. 

We all know what will happen if you do...and then I'll have to hand him back to his Mom. This is one of the good things about being a grand-parent.

The Oddblock Station Agent

A few updates 

If babies could talk...then Jonah to Mom:  Do I have to listen to all that baby talk?

November 2012 - Life is Good

Quite a contrast at nearly half a year later: from after birth wondering about possible heart surgery in the Cardiac Unit to healthy, happy and developing normally.

Second addendum August 13, 2013

January 2013 - life is just filled with troubles, for example - Where is my spout plug!!?

Now you know why it's there - the spout plug that is.

Third addendum December 21, 2013

Ready for Christmas 2013 - and only 15 more years before I can drive a real one.

Addendum December 27, 2013

December 25, 2013 - Stressed out on Christmas Day

...but it was not all tears on Christmas morning.

Jonah to Mom & Dad: Do you really think that I don't know how it goes together? I just take it apart and leave it for someone else to fix. Oh, were you looking for something to do?

Addendum November 18, 2014

A summer Saturday at Grandma's - with spoils of from a garage sale down the street.

Addendum December 06, 2014

Jonah, a few hours after arriving in Cape Town, South Africa.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Strawberry Picking at Grandma's House

When Kiera comes to Grandma's house to visit I never know what to expect. That's right. Grandma's house. In Kiera's mind, Grandpa does not have a house. He only has a shed that always has a lot of sawdust on the floor.

Anyway, some ideas probably sound better than they actually turn out to be in practice. That is what I discovered when we went in search of wild strawberries.

Following is what really happens when Grandma sends Kiera outside with Grandpa.

Beyond the station...the gateway to the wild domains of the big back yard.

What did you say we were searching for?

Kiera really liked the idea of picking wild strawberries in the back yard...until she discovered that wild berries were not so easy to find and grew on the ground along with everything else.

A wild strawberry...really as small as it looks.

We did find a few but...

I'm not sure about this. Maybe I don't want to pick strawberries. the end she did not even want to taste one.

What would you rather do instead? 
Need I have asked?

Racing at the high speed of pedals with the deafening roar of plastic wheels on cement.

Learning to park. Just wait until she wants her own car... I can wait.

Now what do you think about going back to pick those strawberries in the back yard?

Don't mess with the little person

Kiera:        Grandpa, I want to go in the shed.

Grandpa:   What do you want to do in there?

Kiera:        I want to clean up sawdust.

Grandpa:   Okay.

Kiera cleaning up sawdust...something she always insists on doing.

How events actually unfolded: 3 minutes spent berry picking, 35 minutes spent racing on the neighbourhood sidewalks and 15 minutes spent cleaning up sawdust.

Kiera:        Grandpa.

Grandpa:   Yes?

Kiera:        Let's pick strawberries again.

Grandpa:   Okay.

Kiera:        What's Grandma doing?

Grandpa:   What about the strawberries?

Kiera:        I want to see Grandma. 

In Kiera's mind, berry picking seems to be anything but picking berries. I wonder though, who finally ended up with the strawberries...the squirrels or the rabbits?

The Oddblock Station Agent

Addendum July 10, 2015

Better pickings this year...

Wild strawberries from the backyard.