Monday, 24 October 2016

Yet more pens

Hi all, I guess I'll have to apologise because I have got stuck in a bit of a rut making pens. However, you may be pleased to know that I have started a project that doesn't include any pens. I'll show you that in my next post, meanwhile here are a few more pens for you to look at.

The one is made from rose wood. I have used chrome pen parts because I think they suit the dark wood better than gold. I enjoyed turning this wood which has the colour of a dark rich chocolate.
This pen was made from olive wood. I'm afraid the photo doesn't do the wood justice; it looks very nice and it was a pleasure to turn. The wood is warm and smooth and looks like caramel.
This pen was turned from a piece of yew. Nice to turn and a pretty grain pattern.
This was made from a piece of ash.
Here is one turned from a piece of walnut.
Here is the last one for now. It was made from segments of mahogany and tulip wood.
This was my second go at segmented work. I did the first one with the end grain on the sides and it split so that was my first pen failure. All in all I'm very pleased with pen turning. Once the blanks are prepared it only takes about 30 minutes to make a pen from start to finish. I don't know about you but I can get pretty fed up with projects that go on for too long. If you have a lathe I would encourage you to try pen turning.

I once heard about a man who made a model of tower bridge from kangaroo teeth. Not a quick job, but each to their own I guess.

Next time, I hope to have something different to show you.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

More pens

Hi all, I'm still doing pens. Well I purchased 12 wooden pen blanks when I got the pen turning mandrel, so I've got six more in the pipe line before I need to hunt out some more blanks.

The fifth pen I did was from a piece of purple heart. This is a strange wood, because although the wood was coloured purple when I did the turning, when I polished it the colour changed to brown. This was a shame because I like rather liked purple colour. I had seen a couple of videos on youtube where the presenter showed how it was possible to get the colour back by attacking it with a blow torch. Anyway, I didn't think it was worth the risk of putting the pen to the mercy of the blow torch's flame and decided to leave it alone. I'm glad I did because a couple of days later the brown faded to purple again.
The next one I did was a bit plain. The wood was sycamore and although it didn't look stunning it gave me a chance to practice my technique. I also acquired five more pen kits with chrome trimmings as can be seen in the pic.
After that I did another one in maple. This is another plain wood so I did some pyrography on it with the idea of colouring in the pattern with wood dy.e I did jut that and it looked quite amazing, a bit like a stained glass window.
I guess you will have to take my word for how good it looked because as you can see, the dye came off when I polished it. My own mistake, I used sanding sealer before putting the dye on so it didn't get chance to be absorbed into the wood. The rule, is dye first then sanding sealer. I will try again soon and see if I can get it right.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Pen Turning

Hi all,
today's post is about something completely different. Those of you who have been following my progress will know that I started off doing some pyrography, but finding that the sort of wooden blank I required was getting more and more difficult to purchase. Sure there are a lot of hobby shops selling blank wooden items just waiting to be decorated. I've tried them and I don't know what type of wood it is, but when you burn it with a pyrogrphy iron smells like a gone off kipper.

Anyway, I'd always fancied having a go at wood turning, so I though if I purchased a lathe I could make my own blank on which I could do some pyrography.

I have turned a few lidded boxes and done some pyrography on them like this.
I enjoy doing boxes like this and will no doubt do a few more, but recently I've become involved in pen turning. It was never my intention to become involved in this side of wood turning, but I think it might be more addictive than chocolate biscuits.
Here is my very first turned pen, it's made from a piece of zebrano wood.
How cool is that. In fact I thought it might have been a fluke, so I turned another from paduk wood.
Then I tried some wenge.
After that I did one in beech, which is a lighter wood so that I could do some pyrography on it.
So you can see that I'm getting addicted to this craft. The thing I like most about it is that each project is relatively quick. It's not that I'm in a hurry, but I do like finishing the wood with a bit of polish. The transformation of a grotty piece of wood into something nice to look at, and at the same time useful, is quite amazing. The pen parts are not a lot of money and the blank pieces of wood are also relatively cheap.

The time it takes to make a pen from start to finish is less than half an hour so it fits in nicely with my other duties of which there are many and varied despite my retirement.

In my next post, I will show you some more pens and the lovely pen collectors box I've purchased to keep them in. If you have any comments about the pens I have made so far I wold love to see them.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Turning Competition

Hi all,
 I have been a forum member of the Ukworkshop   
for a couple of years now. It is an interesting website with lots of content for those who are interested in wood working. It has several different forums within the website, which I initially joined because of my interest in scroll sawing. However, after buying a lathe, I began joining in the banter with the wood turning members. In fact, I go to the forum almost every day to see what is going on and look at pictures of what other members are producing. It is a very friendly site with lots of help and advice for those who want it.

Anyway, the wood turning forum has a competition every 3 months to see who can produce the best turning in line with the subject that has been chosen. The latest challenge was to produce a wood turning that had some pierced element to it. Most of those who entered just drilled holes in their turnings to comply with the competition requirements, but I saw it as an opportunity to use my scroll saw and pyrography iron.

Here is my entry. It is a lidded trinket box turned from maple.
I was very pleased with the result and I managed to come 5th. Which was very near to last, not because of my scroll sawing or pyrography work, but because my turning wasn't up to the required standard. I've only had my lathe since April, so I can understand that.

Anyway, the whole thing was a bit of fun and it's the taking part that counts not winning, he say's as another tears drips off the end of his nose.

I'm going to have a break from lidded boxes for a while, so if you want to see what I'm getting up to next, please watch this space.