Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Pots and pens

Hi all,
At last I've got my new computer, the last one decided it had had enough and left me in the lurch. Still, I've got a new one now so I can start posting again.

Of course having no computer to distract me meant that I could spend more time in the workshop. It was there that I decided to have a go at turning a very small pot, which I ebonised with a spray of the same name from Chestnut.
You can see by the size of the two pence piece that it is pretty small. When I showed it my wife she asked if she could have it to do some painting on. Apparently, she had been watching some dot painters on youtube who were painting rocks with dots. She was taken with the idea and, seeing as we were fresh out of rocks, my reckoned that my little pot would be just right for some dot treatment.
Here is the pot with spots. She said she really enjoyed doing this project but it was a bit on the small side. I replied that size isn't everything but agreed to turn her a bigger one.
Here it is.
It's about three times as big as the other one and I gave it to her expecting to be amazed after she'd done her stuff on it.
An hour later she came back with it in a right mess. Apparently, she'd made a mistake and because she was using acrylic paints she was unable to get it all off and start again.
"Can you clean it up a bit and respray it black," she asked.
I did has she asked and gave it back to her again. However, the next day, she came back with the same request because she hasd smudged one of the dots and whilst trying to clean it off she smudged some more.
I just smiled and sorted it out again. The following day she bought it back for the third time.
"You can have your bloody pot back," she said, "I've gone right off dot painting."
She is very arty crafty and is always flitting from one medium to another, but she does produce some very nice stuff.

I resprayed it yet again and it is now sitting on a shelf in my workshop while I figure out what to do with it. Any suggestions welcome as long as they are clean.

Following the pot escapade I wanted to make something pretty and fast so I opted for a pen.

This one is turned from a piece of maple on a Zeta pen kit from
they do some beautiful pen kits.

To give the pen a bit of colour, I divided it into random shapes with my pyrography iron and then coloured them in with various colours of wood stains from the Chestnut sample range. I then sprayed it  with Chestnut Melamine lacquer to give it a glossy finish.
I like it and so did the Mrs, she grabbed it and swapped it for the one in her handbag that she baggsied when I first took up pen turning. And here's me thinking of opening a shop on Etsy, chance would be a fine thing because she wants to keep everything I make, except for the black pot of course.

In my next post there is going to be a word of warning. I was standing at my lathe last week and was almost clubbed to death. I will tell you about sad little episode in my next post.

Sunday, 18 June 2017


Hi all,
Sorry that there haven't been any posts recently. The reason is that my computer decided it had had enough and did a terminal crash. New one coming on Thursday so normal service will resume as soon as I get it running.

I am doing this post on my kindle and it is a bit tedious.
Hopefully things will be back to normal soon.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Something Fishy

Hi all,
I have mentioned before that once I get an idea for a project I tend to draw it. Firstly, because I'm at that age where my brains cells are not at their peak, therefore I can forget any inspiration that comes my way in a flash. The other reasons I like to draw my ideas is to see what they would look like on the object I and doing and for a little practise in drawing the chosen subject.

Anyway, I had this idea to turn a small lidded box from lime wood and decorate it with a shoal of small fish. Here is my drawing, which I did to see how it would look. The box would have an inserted lid with a knob, so that the view from the side would be uninterrupted.
The waving reeds would be draw at an angle to give the impression that the fish are swimming against the current. I was pleased with the drawing, so after turning the box and lid it was time to set about the pyrography.

A problem soon arose; there are fifteen fish swimming around the side of the pot and, because it was supposed to be a shoal of fish, they would all need to look pretty similar in shape and size.To do this by drawing them onto a curved surface was not a good idea because of the difficulty it would involve.

So I took the easy way out and made a fish shaped brand out of some Nichrome wire.  It only needed to be the outline of the fish because I could easily put the fins on after. To make the brand, I drew a fish shape on a piece of cardboard then cellotaped it to a piece of wood. Then I knocked nails in on the corners to give me something to shape the wire around.
Here's a pic.
Once the brand was made, I screwed it into my Peter Childs pyrography pen and it looked like this.
Then I did a few test burns on a piece of scrap wood and modified the shape a little to fit the curved shape of the box that I'd turned.
So that was it, I then used the brand to randomly burn fish onto the box. It was quite satisfying, not only because it was saving me time, but it made me feel like I was a cowboy branding young steers somewhere in Wyhoming. Thoughts of Bonanaza, Waggon Train and Rawhide filled my mind.
 After the branding, I did the fins, then the reeds and the gravel bottom. This is how it looked.
Nice enough, but I wanted to give it a bit more contrast so that the fish popped out. So I burnt in the background which was by turns both tedious and therapeutic. Here is the finished pot, your comments are welcome.

By the way, if you are interested in fishing. One of my books, "Carp Rustlers"

is available for a free download from today, 7th of April until the 9th. Please grab a copy and have a laugh.

Friday, 2 June 2017

The Gift

Hi all,
Recently, I have been turning a few bigger things. Nothing gigantic, manly bowls that were much bigger than lidded boxes and pens. The most recent larger thing I made was a t light holder, which I made for my half brother from Finland. I am giving it him tomorrow when he leaves to return to his family in Helsinki, so he hasn't seen it yet. However, I'm sure he'll like it because it will come in handy on those days in the winter when, in his neck of the woods,  it virtually stays dark all day and he'd have a job to spot a moose in his own garden.

For the pyrography decoration I drew an oak leaf onto some paper and then transferred it to the wood using "tracedown" paper. If you haven't tried this product yet, I can highly recommend it. I wanted to keep the pattern simple and I think I have achieved that. The pyrography work was all done with a Peter Childs machine, which as usual, was equipped with a spoon tip.
Here's a couple of pictures.
The profile of the project didn't quite come out as I wanted it because it should have had more of an ogee shape.
I couldn't manage the ogee shape because the base part was too wide and that was caused by me choosing the large jaws for my chuck instead of the medium ones. Anyway, I was too damn lazy to change the jaws so I had to compromise on the shape. The things is, I reconciled my lazyness by telling myself that the wider bottom would be safer because it would be more stable. The last thing I would need was a phone call from Finland saying he'd knocked my t light holder over and burnt his log cabin to the ground.

I enjoyed turning this item and I enjoyed the simple pyrography, but I didn't like the dust that it created. So I am beginning to understand what type of item I like turning. My favourites are pens, but I have had to slow down on production because I'm getting over run with them. I did open a shop on, but their search facility doesn't work well with the items I was selling. The statistics for my shop showed that I was getting less than one visitor a week, if that's possible. So that enterprise was not a roaring success and I shall just let it wind down until all my listings have expired. I'm still wondering if it worth having a go on which also deals with handmade goods, I will let you know if I go down that route.

Anyway, I have discovered that I have leaning towards turning small items and in my next post I will show you the smallest thing I have turned so far. My wife thinks it's cute and I guess she right.