Monday, 12 March 2018

Mirror Carp

Hi all,
 At last the weather has warmed up a bit. For a few days I thought a second ice age was upon us.
A couple of post ago I shared with you the first stages of a mirror carp that I was carving. Well I am pleased to confirm that it is finished.
I'm very pleased with the outcome. It was carved from a piece of lime using hand tools and a Dremel. I then used my pyrography iron to burn in the details. The biggest challenge was the eyes, which I made with some punched card using my wife's leather punch. It worked really well. I glued them on using Superglue and also used that to seal the cardboard. I wanted to keep the painting subtle because I didn't want it to look like plastic, so I used some diluted inks The only exception was the large mirror scales which I did with a metallic acrylic paint.

All in all it was a satisfying process and outcome and I may well do another spiecies. Now that the warmer weather is here I should be banging away at another project but it will have to wait a few days. We have just had some new garden fencing and my wife wants me to make trellis for the top so she can train some roses up it. So she has put an order in for 50 feet of the stuff, which means I'll be busy for a while. Who knows perhaps we'll get some rain and I can get back into the workshop.

By the way, 2 of my books will be free to download from Amazon over the next 3 days. The first is called "Fishing, Learn From The Tips" and the other is, "No Fishing In Here, Just Short Stories."
Please download a copy and have a laugh. All you have to do is, click on the books tab at the top of the page and then on the appropriate book cover. That will take you straight to Amazon for the download. Please enjoy and I will be back soon with another project.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Hip Hip Hurrray

Hi All,
At last it looks like the cold weather is finally going. It's been a very cold and long winter, I'm in my sixties and can't remember a worse winter than the one that is just ending. There may have been of course, but I can't remember weather like we had last week.

The only good thing that has come out of my cold enforced with drawl from my workshop, is the fact that my art work is getting better. I have been experimenting with acrylic inks and pencil sketching.

The image above is a clematis that I did with acrylic inks. I use them like watercolours but find that the colours seem much brighter. The downside is that they dry very quickly and once dry you can't do anything with the pigment because it is permanent. That is why most watercolour artist stay away from them. To me it is a blessing, because once they are dry and permanent I can put another glaze over the top and be sure that the layer underneath won't be disturbed. In the past, when I've done this with watercolours, the bottom layer has mixed with the new layer and the whole thing turned a bit muddy. This doesn't happen with acrylic inks.

Here's a couple of anemones also done in acrylic ink.
I have also been doing a bit of sketching with a pencil.
These are fritillaries and were quite fun to do.

So I have enjoyed the benefits that the cold weather bought, but I am desperately hoping to get into my workshop this week to make some shaving. Please keep come back to see how I get on.

Sunday, 11 February 2018


Hi All,
Sorry that it's been so long since my last post but this damned cold weather just won't go away. I know it's winter and cold weather is expected but we should have a had at least one or two decent days this year. I guess I've spent about three hours in the workshop since Christmas and I'll show you the results in a minute.

You may be wondering how I'm spending my free time while I'm not turning, carving or burning wood. Well the answer is, I've been concentrating on drawing and painting. I'm getting old now and unable to stand at the lathe all day so I need a hobby which allows me to be seated. My thinking is that over the next few years I will do less turning and more artwork.

Anyhow, let me show you a couple of the arty things I've done while taking advantage of the cold weather. Here's a couple of tulips that I did recently and I'm quite pleased with them.

The tulips are very colourful but sometimes it is nice just to do a sketch using graphite and pencil. Here's a couple of fritillaries done using that medium.
Right, going back to the three hours that I managed in the workshop, here's what I've got to show for it.
I'm having a go at carving a small wooden carp that is about 2.5 inches long.
Here it is after cutting it out on my new scroll saw.
After that I managed to carve the main shape and sand it down a bit. I have also marked out the space for the eye.
For those of you who don't recognise the shape, it is going to be a mirror carp and I' hopefully going to do the scales with a gilding past. Not sure how that will work out and I'm not sure about the eyes either. Should I buy some, try making some out of resin or just paint them in? I'm not sure myself yet so please watch this space to find out.

I've got lots of projects waiting to be tackled as soon as the weather warms up, I'll keep my fingers crossed, perhaps it will be next week.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Last Earings

Hi all,
You may be pleased to note that this will be the last earring post for the foreseeable future. Not that there is anything wrong with earrings, but I need a change.

Here is a pair I turned from a walnut pen blank.
They came out rather well and look quite nice on my wife. I also made a pair out of an ebony pen blank; I love working with this wood. I wanted a white band in the earrings to contrast with the black of the ebony, so I cut a thin groove with my thin parting tool and filled it with white Milliput. Milliput, if you don't know, is a two part epoxy putty. You simple mix equal amounts of the two parts, fill the hole, or in this case the groove. Then leave it overnight to let it set, then you can carry on turning in the normal way.

Here are the finished earrings.

They look quite classy even though I do say it myself. So that was it for the end of the year and since then I've only managed one other items. It has taken the best part of three weeks to complete because the amount of time I can spend in my igloo cum workshop has been hampered by the ridiculously cold weather we have had this winter. Or am I just getting nesh?

Anyway, I decided to have a go at turning a pen and carving a snake on it.
The markings are done with my pyrography iron and I think it came out well. I'm not sure about the head of the snake, I think that could have been better, but for a first attempt it isn't bad, certainly a change from earrings.

By the way, the inspiration for the snake came from a You Tuber called Mike Stinnett, who carves snakes on walking sticks. Here's a link to one of his fantastic videos

So that is us up to date. Rumour has it that we might be getting some warmer weather this week so I might be creating something. Not sure what yet but if you come back in a few days who knows what you might find.

If you've got any comments on the snake or anything else please let me know.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Earings and Pendant

Hi all,
The weather is still grey and cold and my workshop is still colder than a penguin's pecker. I haven't turned a stick since Christmas and I'm getting lathe withdrawal symptoms. I promised to show you a few of the jewelry items that I turned for my wife's surprise Christmas presents so I will do that shortly. However, before that I'll show you what I've been doing indoors to keep myself sane.

Some of you may already be aware that I like doing a bit artwork. Not that I'm good at it, but it keeps me happy and in the warm. I'm trying to improve my skills by doing a bit of a sketch everyday and here is one of the first that I have done.
It's a goldfinch painted using Winsor and  Newton water colour markers. I hadn't used watercolour markers before, and to be honest, I couldn't understand why anybody would use them instead of traditional watercolour paint. My wife gave me a a set of 12 for Xmas so I had to give them a go. Actually, I was quite surprised at how easy they are to use and so very convenient, especial if like me, you have a shortage of working space. All you have to do is put a bit of colour down and then blend it in with a waterbrush. They work like magic and I'm very pleased with them,

The reason I did a bird was, (if ever the weather warms up) I'm going to have a go at carving a bird out of wood, so I thought that drawing one or two would give me a feel for the shape when the time comes to get my knife out.

Right, back to the jewelry I made my with for Christmas. The first is a pair of earring, turned from a piece of sapele and burnt with a wire.
They came out quite nice although I did have trouble with the CA glue finish. I had to revert to friction polish to get a good shine.

The next thing I made was a pendant, which the photograph below fails to show properly.

Although it doesn't look like it on the picture, I can assure you that it is perfectly smooth with a CA finish that came out like glass. It is a really nice thing and just goes to show what can be turned by sticking a couple of pieces of 6mm plywood together.

I'll save the other two pair of earrings for my next post because I've seen this weeks weather forecast and it's going to be another cold one. Roll on Spring and I might be able to get some more turning done.

Sunday, 7 January 2018


Hi all,
Christmas is well and truely behind us now, where the hell did those two weeks go? It only seems like a few minutes ago that I was beavering away trying to get some surprise presents turned for my wife.

So what did I make her? Well, her main present was a box with a surprise inside. Here is athe outside of the box which is turned from a 3 inch square of lime. I carved the heart and then textured around it with my pyrography iron using a stippling method. Here's the top view. I know I'm an old romantic, but what can I do.
Inside I wanted to give her a surprise, so here it is.
A bumble bee in a box. You don't see many of those about. The bee is turned and carved from lime. It has wire for legs and wings made from a plastic tomato box. He is resting on the centre portion, or seed head of the poppy and he is well and truely fixed with epoxy glue, so he won't be coming out in a hurry.

I think it is a reasonable try for my first attempt. I might do another and make the bee smaller and more refined, but that will have to wait until I have some time and the weather warms up a bit. At the moment my workshop is colder than a penguin's pecker so I'm not getting anything done.

By the way, I was worried that when my wife opened the box that she might get a shock and chuck the thing up in the air, but she didn't. In fact she was quite overcome at the efforts that I'd gone to for her and it bought a tear to her eyes.

I did also make a few bits of  wooden jewelry for her and I'll show you them in may next post because if the weather doesn't improve I won't have anything new to show you..

I leave you with another picture of the bee in a box.