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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Scroll a Bowl with Woodworker's Journal

I'm pleased to report that an article I wrote for Woodworker's Journal, which appears in the April, 2011 issue, received a nice mention on their website. It can be accessed through this link. If you receive WWJ and decide to try the project, please let me know any questions you have or problems you run into.

It's always gratifying when the versatility of the scroll saw receives the recognition it deserves.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A useful program for making patterns

I've usually used very low-tech methods for making my patterns--ruler, compass, cookie cutters, graph paper, etc. While that usually is sufficient, it's not the easiest way to make a pattern for a bowl or stacked ring box.

I've recently started using a program called PolyDraw, created by Dave von Ess, available on the scrollmania.com website, which lets you create rings of various shapes and widths pretty easily. There's a tutorial to walk you through creating basic shapes--round, oval, rounded square, ripple--and once you've gotten the hang of it, you can play with various configurations. Patterns can be saved either as files that load right into the program, or as pdf's once you've drawn them.

I used the program for the outline of the 7-lobed box, and was pleased with how much easier it was than trying to draw a shape like this freehand. Dave is very helpful if you run into problems, and there's an email provided for this purpose.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Success story

The project is finally finished, despite the slight warp in the wood. Once the rings had been glued up, I used the inflatable round sander to get the indentations smooth, working through the grits from coarse to fine. Then I used the hook and loop pad sander to smooth the indentations and the lobes. I used the round sander to accentuate the lobes at the bottom, where there's plenty of wood to play with.

I wanted to accentuate the lobes at the top, but needed to keep a flat area for the lid. To prevent mishaps at this late stage, I completed the sanding, but left an extra large flat surface at the top. Then, I made the lid and put it into place. I traced the outside of the lid with a pencil to give me a guide line that would show me where to stop the shaping. I shaped it as before, using both the round inflatable and the hook and loop sanders. When I was satisfied with the shape, I gave it a sealer coat of shellac, then rubbed it down and gave it several coats of spray lacquer.

A lot of work, but you can't turn this one on the lathe!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gluing-up Tip

I was working on a new project today, with three sets of rings. After I cut the rings, I discovered that each blank had a slight warp in it. I tried out a new approach to saving the wood, and it seems to be working.

First, I selectively sanded parts of each ring to get it to lie as flat as possible, rubbing it against sandpaper attached to a flat surface. Then, instead of gluing up several rings at once, I glued up only two to start, to take advantage of the pressure from the bowl press. I then added one ring at a time, correcting any warping by sanding the ring and the glued-up unit.

I'm not finished yet, but it looks a lot better than I thought it would. My last project ended up as "designer firewood", and I really didn't want it to happen again. I'll post a picture when I'm through, regardless of how it comes out.