Tuesday, 27 December 2016


Hi all,
Hope you had a splendid Christmas, Mine was quit hectic during the run up due to me having so many Christmas presents to make. For other folk I made  9 pens a lidded box and a spinning top with a base. These were all well received so I'm pleased about that.

My biggest problem came with trying to turn items for my wife without her knowing about it. My workshop isn't exactly private because the entrance to the house, the extra fridge/freezer, tumble drier, and some cupboards are all down the other end. This means that she is popping in and out on a regular basis.

I had a number of items in mind to make for her, all of which would be surprise presents. Turning wood on a lathe was hard to keep a secret, but here is what I managed.

Firstly, I turned her a nice pen from a piece of yew. I had made almost 30 pens so far, but this was the first that I had made especially for her.
It is made from a modified slimline kit and I have added 4 pyrography burnt bands to give it a bit of style.

My next two items were pieces of fruit. My wife has always like bits of false fruit made from clay etc and has always liked wooden fruit. So I had to give it a go even though it was new to me. The first piece I tackled was an apple.

The turning went very well until the last minute. I had shaped the apple, sanded it, sealed it and polished it. The only thing left was to part it off. Parting it off, is just the term used for cutting away the bit of wood that attaches the item to the lathe. Using a parting tool, one cuts through the wood until it is held by a small piece of wood about as thick as a pencil. The lathe is then stopped and the last thin piece of wood is cut through with a hack saw. The problem is, that one doesn't want to do to much sawing and with the lathe spinning at 2000 rpm it is possible to cut to far and have the item leave the lathe and shoot across the room. This hasn't happened to me before, well not until I was doing the apple, I cut too far and it shot off the lathe and went spinning around the concrete floor of my workshop like a whirling dervish. When I picked it up I could of wept, it had more scuffs and bruises than a boxer who had done a dozen rounds with Mike Tyson.

 If I could have mounted the apple back on the lathe I could have rectified the situation but in the end I had to just patch it up and tell my wife I wanted to make it look like a apple that was wind fallen.

Thankfully the pear went much better and I'm proud of that.

Overall, I was pleased with my efforts and was spurred onto the next two items on my list. These were to be a wooden bowl/dish and a few acorns to put in it. In my mind I could see the item which I was going to decorate with some nice pyrography. I will show you how I got on in my next post.

If you would like to see some more of my pens I have made a short Youtube video which can be accessed by clicking here

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