Welcome to my blog. Let what you see stimulate your imagination and inspire your own creations.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New display case

Like most people who love trying out new ideas and techniques, I keep running out of display room.  Joe kindly offered to build a display case, so we looked at all sorts of plans until we found one that was room but not overly large or overwhelming.

It's made from sapele, which blends in well with the dining room furniture, and is a pleasure to work with.  The glass shelves and absence of a back and sides keep the look light, so it's just perfect for our needs.

And of course it was a lot more work than we expected, down to the half-lap miter joints for the shelves, but the results were certainly worth it.

Of course I don't know what I'll do with future projects, but I'll deal with that when I have to!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

An easy way to figure out the cutting angle

If you're having trouble understanding how the cutting angle for bowls works, take a look at this photo.  The two parallel lines on the edge represent the ring width, in this case 1/4".

To get a rough idea of the correct cutting angle, tilt the saw table, left side down, so that the tensioned blade meets the right line on the top edge of the wood, and the left line on the bottom of the wood.  That angle, with the thickness of the wood in the photo and 1/4" wide ring, is about 20˚.  If the wood were thicker or thinner, the angle would change.

If you go to scrollmania.com and look at the diagram for the Angle Calculator, you can get a clearer idea of what that diagram represents.  Remember, the angle you are computing is actually the amount the saw table is lowered from its normal level position.

Hope this clears things up a little.  And yes, there are people who just use the method in the photo to "compute" the cutting angle.  If you're precise enough, it should work just fine, but I'd rather double check with a calculated angle.  With a neat online tool like the Angle Calculator, there's no excuse for not being precise!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A new type of sander

At the Fox Chapel Open House this year, the SandFlee folks (RJR Enterprises) had an interesting new type of sanding mop.  I was intrigued by the compactness of the sander, and the fact that it came in both 2" and 4" sizes.  I'm always on the lookout for sanders that can be used to sand bowl interiors, especially for open segmented bowls.

I started out with 120 grit for a trial run, and was so impressed that I ordered both coarser and finer grits in the 2" size.  Here's what it looks like, chucked into the drill press, sanding an open segmented bowl.  I still have to test out the other grits for a more complete understanding of when and how to use this new tool, and will keep you updated on my findings.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

End of box saga

Looking for a home for my newest flower box, I submitted the project to the new German scroll saw magazine, Feinschnitt kreativ, where it was accepted and previewed in the current issue.  I only wish I were fluent in German, since there are limits to Google translate!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fox Chapel Open House 2015

Well, the folks at Fox Chapel did it again, with another great show.  I had fun teaching my classes and   helping scrollers with their bowl projects.  When not teaching, I was at my table meeting folks, signing books, and just hanging out with whomever came by.

Here's my table, full of as many pieces as we could safely carry and set up.  Not a bad way to spend a couple of days!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Revisiting an old project

A while back, Woodworker's Journal published an article of mine which gave instructions for making a small cherry jewelry box.  It was one of the projects that had been intended for the box book, but there was no room in the book for all the projects I had planned, and this one was sufficiently different from the others so that it didn't fit conveniently into any chapter.  I was sorry not to be able to include it, because I liked it a lot, but there really was no way to do it.

Fortunately, it found a home with Woodworker's Journal, whose editors did a very good job with it.  I just happened to get a copy of their eZine today, and noticed that they were offering the full article at no charge on on their website.

If you missed the original publication, you might enjoy making this unique little box that is quite easy to do with the scroll saw.

To find it, just click on this link: Cherry Jewelry Box

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Completed box

Here's how the box turned out.  I am really pleased with the delicacy of the flowers, and the use of two types of stamens.  There are still a number of petal designs yet to try before I start on another "series".

This type of project is not too demanding, once you get used to handling the fidgety little pieces, and the compound cuts, even with demanding wood like purpleheart, are not difficult.  To play it safe, I always draw my petal patterns extra thick to allow plenty of wood for shaping and for removing the "uglies".

Friday, April 3, 2015

Designing by trial and error

Sometimes the only way to visualize a new project is to play with the pieces to see what works.

This project will be an oval box with flowers.  I am working out the final arrangement by using replicas of the petals and seeing how they fit together.  Loops of masking tape hold them in place and I can change things around until I get the look I want.

The leaves and petals at this stage are cut but otherwise still unfinished, and the larger flower will be purpleheart, not poplar.  The components are similar enough to the finished versions to give me an idea of what it will look like.

Now that I have finalized the patterns, what remains is to prefinish the box, complete and prefinish the leaves and petals, then glue the flower components into place.  Stamens will be added, and then the project can be given several coats of lacquer to finish it off.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Amazon finally has my books in stock

I will probably never know the full story of how it happened, but Amazon did not have either of my books in stock for many months, along with quite a few others published by Fox Chapel.

Although both were readily available all along, even on the Amazon website, but from other vendors who are always listed, many people apparently saw only that they were "temporarily" unavailable and did not place an order.  The irony is that several of these other vendors met or bested Amazon's price, even for Prime members.

It's not a bad idea, as a general practice, to look at these other vendors, some of whom are well-rated and may not charge sales tax.

I'm relieved that this problem seems to be resolved, thanks to the folks at Fox Chapel, and glad that anyone who was waiting to order can finally do so.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A new kind of press

Finally got tired of lid liners slipping out of position while trying to clamp the pieces together, so I decided to use my 3" pad sander and drill press to create a way of clamping without torque moving things out of position.

I positioned the lid liner in the usual way, marked its location on the lid, applied Nexabond in dots all over the liner, held it in place for a few minutes, then put it on the drill press table that was elevated with a few thick pieces of maple.  I cranked the table up until it held the lid and liner firmly together, and checked with a flashlight to be sure the edges were fully down.

After a few minutes, I could have removed the assembly and clamped it at the edges with spring clamps, but that didn't seem necessary.  I imagine that this could be made more elaborate, but for a small lid, it seems to have worked just fine.