Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Wild Mango

Hi all,
I've managed to turn a new pen that is of my own design and I've added a bit of pyrography, if only in a simple but effective way.

I have turned a slime line pen already from wild mango and it looked like this.
Notice the gold band around the middle of the two parts. This is a characteristic of a slime line pen. The pen has to be turned thin in the middle to allow for the size of the gold band that comes with the pen kit. My wife refers to it as a Munro pen for obvious reasons.

I can't say that I am over the moon with the shape either, so I decided to modify the design. To do this I made my own centre band from  a mixture of yellow, green and black polymer clay. I stuck this onto the end of the bottom blank and turned it to the size of the barrel that I wanted. Then I removed the centre bush and butted the top blank against the centre band and made it all the same size. Here is the result.
I like it because it has more style than the standard slime line pen. The three black rings were added by burning them in with a wire. I turned a narrow groove around the pen then with the lathe running I strangled the groove with a long piece a of pyrography tip making wire. This techniques gives a nice accurate black ring around the pen. I shall be making more pens based on this design so please watch this space if you are interested in seeing how I get on.

By the way. I am having a free book promotion on amazon from 22nd to the 24th of November. If you would like a free download of my book, "The Reluctant Pom please click on the books tab at the top of the page then click on the book. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Pyro Pen

Hi all,
Another week has passed and I'm still building my collection of turned pens. The scope of pen turning is enormous and my head is full of different designs. Here is a picture of the collection so far.
I have made a couple of others since the photo above was taken that I have put aside for gifts; they will not make it into the collection box so here are some photos of them.

This one is turned from a wood called wild mango and, although it turns well, it isn't anything special to look at. The grain is plain and it has green blotches.
The next pen is turned from  a wood called mopane, which is a member of the pea family. It is a very hard wood and takes a lot of effort to saw and drill it. However, it turns and finishes very well.
The wood reminds me of the semi precious stone called tigers eye. This is my favourite pen so far.

The next pen was turned from a piece of maple, which is not the best looking wood when it comes to turning. The leaves on a maple tree may have fantastic hues in the autumn, but the colour of the wood is down right boring. However, being a light wood does make it attractive for some pyrography, so after I'd turned it I set about it with my pyrography iron. I had in mind a sort of barley twist design making its way around the barrel, and in my mind it looked quite splendid. In reality the design looked terrible, I got about halfway up the pen and decided it was awful. Luckily, I was able to put the pen back onto the lathe and turn away the offending burn marks that I had made and start again.

The reality is that surface of a pen only provides a very small canvas for any type of artworks, so I decided that simplicity would be the best option. With that simplicity in mind, I burnt a number of random circles into pen and I think it worked. Here is the finished pen and your comments are most appreciated.
The only downside to the pattern I burnt onto the pen was the effect it had on my carpal tunnel syndrome. Being a repetitive pattern was a real problem which meant I had to do the burning over several sessions to allow my wrist to have a chance to rest. Regardless of the resting, the night after I did it I still woke up in the middle of the night with terrible pins and needles in my hand and a feeling as if my fingers had been amputated and replaced with a lobster's claw.

One of these days I'm going to have to go to the doctors and get sorted for the operation but I can't face it at the moment.

One last thing, if you were one of the many that downloaded a free copy of my book last week, I hope you are enjoying it.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Small Turnings

Hi all, Some of you may recall that I purchased my woodturning lathe earlier this year and after doing a few practice spindles and some lidded boxes I made my wife a bowl full of acorns for her birthday.
At the time I thought they looked pretty damn cool, but now I'm not so sure. The problem is that they are much too big. We all know what an acorn looks like and they are not 3inches long.

Anyway, I had a small piece of maple left over from the end of a pen blank and being a bit of an old miser I didn't want to throw it way. I scratched my head a few times and wondered if I could turn a small acorn that was more realistic than my previous attempts if only in terms of scale.

I chucked up the small piece of maple and had a go. I was very surprised at how easy it was to turn a small acorn on my lathe. Here is a photo of it.
You can see why I was well pleased, but there were two things wrong with it. Firstly, it seemed rather perverse to make an acorn from maple instead of oak and the whole thing needed a bit of colour to bring it to life.

So, I made three more from a piece of oak. I didn't have any brown stain to colour the acorns, so I mixed some green and orange wood dyes made by Chestnut and painted that on. To give the shell a bit of texture, I drilled into it randomly with my Dremel using a small burr tip. Here is a photo of the acorns.
They look a bit larger than they should on the photo, but being actual acorn size they are very cute. My intention is to make some more from various woods and put them all together in a bowl that I have yet to turn.

It's quite ironic really, I purchased the lathe with the sole purpose of turning some bowls upon which I could do some pyrography. So far I haven't turned a single bowl but I will in the near future. I have a load of pens to turn first for Christmas presents and a nice piece of iroko that is screaming to be made into a lidded box. A bowl may come after that, oh yeah, my wife wants me to turn her some wooden fruit so that should be fun. Please keep an eye on this space to see how I get on.