Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I feel like such a bad-ass...

... now that I can sharpen my own tools. Sharp tools are way the hell better than dull ones, and now I can just run downstairs and play on the lathe any time I want to, rather than try to figure out how much I can do before I need to run off to Woodcraft.

Case in point: before dinner tonight, I ran downstairs and turned another padauk bottle stopper top. The color in this wood is quite interesting - it's a bright orange fresh off the lathe, but after some time and two coats of butcher block oil, it's a deep rust-red color.

Padauk - oiled on the left, fresh off the lathe on the right.
And - I've been spinning! This came off the Lendrum this past weekend, and is now fluffy and dry. That's 300 yds of 2-ply in 103gm of Tunis. (It's from Gnomespun Yarn, if'n you've got a desire to obtain your own fiber.) I don't have as much experience with down-type fiber, but this was a lot of fun to spin and I love how it turned out.

Handspun Tunis yarn - 300 yds, 2-ply, 103gm
My two get-yer-ass-up-at-4:45am days this week are over - awesome.

Tuesday: Garmin says 5.5 mi in 1:03:08 (5 mi = 57:19)
Wednesdays-always-suck-days: Garmin says 6 mi in 1:09:18 (5 mi = 57:22).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ol' Sparky is Ready to Go

And ... the last part of the lathe triad is in place... my grinder is here! You need sharp tools to do woodturning. Dull tools are both inefficient and dangerous. And with some hard woods, you need to sharpen after each small project, or several times during a  larger one. The grinder had a back-order date of the 27th, but I got a shipping notice last weekend, and it arrived mid-week. Today I finally had time to set it up, and get the grinding jig base in place.

Woodcraft 8" Slow-Speed Grinder and Wolverine Grinding system
I ordered the Wolverine Grinding System (including the Vari-Grind tool) because I'm sure I'll suck at grinding free-hand and wanted all the help I could get. The black bases under the wheels... yep, that. It holds the tool at the right angle to grind the edge correctly. I already sharpened my spindle gouge before I used it on another bottle-stopper top, and it made a huge difference already. I'd really dulled it on the last one I did - Zebrawood - so having it sharp for the Carob was awesome. Dull tools suck.

More bottle stoppers
I still need to work at making sure the base is level so the stopper part sits right up next to the wood - EVENLY - all the way around.  And - see those rain drops in the stopper pic? The weather has been craptastic all day. I put off my morning run because I did the Elliptical Machine of Death yesterday, and just could not make eye contact with the dreadmill. And once I got started doing things, I needed to do ALL THE THINGS and just kept working through my mental to-do list.

So, last week's abbreviated run/EL list:

Tuesday: Garmin said 6.0 miles in 1:06:55
Wednesday: Garmin said 5.25 mi in 1:01:21 (5 mi = 58:20 - yeesh)
Friday: Garmin said 5.5 mi in 1:00:44  (5 mi = 55:00 - better)
Saturday: 5 mi on the Elliptical Machine of Death in 66:48 - way faster than last time
Sunday: pffft - blew off the run to Do Things since I'd already run in the rain on Friday

Sunday, April 15, 2012

As The Lathe Turns, continued

One more piece of the puzzle is in place... a 'starter' drill press. Just big enough to do what I need it to do, which is drill a hole in the CENTER of something. Apparently I can't do that with a hand-held drill to save my life.

Does one thing - drills holes - and does it well.
In the last week, I did find time to keep practicing on my between-centers turning. The bottle-stoppers are quick little projects, and let me practice cuts with various tools - mostly the roughing gouge, spindle gouge, and - when I'm feeling brave - the skew chisel.

Far from perfect, but fun practice.

I picked up a bit of a head cold late in the week, and ended up blowing off Saturday's run. But that morning I did head out to the Waterloo (IL) sheep and craft festival. It's a fun little event at the Waterloo fairgrounds. Lots of fibery things to buy, from raw fleece to spun yarn; sheep and goat judging for the kids; sheep-pellet bingo for everyone; herding dog and sheep-shearing demos; and a nice selection of lamb chops, roasts, sausage and brats. Yeah, I know... petting the live ones and then buying some for dinner. Ironic or just sad... you decide.

Anyway, it had poured rain all morning, and was still raining by the time I got home. When it finally quit mid-afternoon and the sun came out, the humidity was high enough to choke a fish, so I retreated to the basement to set up the drill press. So... all I had last week was:

Tuesday: Garmin says 5.5 mi in 1:02:06 (5 mi = 56:28)
Wednesday: 5.25 dreadmiles in 1:01:xx (5 mi = 57:49)
Friday: Garmin says 5.55 mi in 1:01:35 (5 mi = 55:29)
Sunday: Garmin says a slow 6.25 mi in 1:13:44. But, it counts.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Little Workshop of Wood Shavings

Woot! Electric is in, all the correct accessories obtained (including face shield and fire extinguisher), and the home lathe shop is ready to go. After finishing assembling all.the.things, I finally got a chance to turn something at home. First up... a big pile of wood shavings.

Go big, or go home
LOL - there's actually a small project in that mess... I did an easy piece to get the feel of my own tools. It's a top for a bottle/wine stopper, out of padauk. Nothing like starting off with a colorful bang.

Bottle stopper top out of padauk
We'll see how long the current shop vac survives with all the woodturning clean-up.

Still keeping up with The Schedule... at least it's been nice enough outside that I haven't been on the dreadmill in quite a while.

Tuesday: 6 mi. in 1:07:21 (5 mi = 55:55)
Wednesday: 5.5 mi in 1:01:43 (5 mi = 56:13)
Friday: 5.5 mi in 1:01:32 (5 mi =56:03)
Saturday afternoon: 5.5 mi in 1:00:57 (5 mi = 55:22)
Today: 6 mi in 1:08:32 (5 mi = 57:04)

Not much progress in the speed department... time to work on that, probably.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Warped - but not just me this time

The last few woodturning classes - we're now learning bowls. On 24 March, we turned green (fresh) maple blanks. After class, we were told to put the green bowls in a paper bag covered with their own shavings, to help them dry more slowly. Mine sat for a week. When I opened the bag again, the bowl had dried nicely, but had warped into a slight oblong shape... it was 1/4" wider along the grain line axis! That meant it could definitely not go back on the lathe. I ended up sanding the outside of it with the ROS, and leaving the bottom tenon as a "foot" for the bowl.

Green maple bowl - still a bit rough outside, but looks like a bowl, right?

The bottom - you can definitely see the warping (longer right to left).
But - after sanding and some butcher block oil, it looks fine for a first attempt.

In the 31 March class, our sub instructor, Matt, gave us some walnut to work on. Here I did a bit better... and finished the bowl in class, so I wouldn't have to worry about warping later. This is the little walnut bowl, also with a coat of butcher block oil.

Small walnut bowl (5-5/8" x 1-3/4")
Small walnut bowl
Last week's running was pretty good - nice mornings. Saturday and Sunday were a bit of a challenge... Saturday because I didn't go out until mid-afternoon, after turning class, and Sunday because it's just not right to have 80F + days already. I'll have to work on the heat-acclimation stuff. (And hope that it's not in the 90s all summer long!) Plus, I admitted that two pairs of shoes were past their use-by date, and were causing left achilles problems. On to new shoes.

Tuesday: 5.5 mi in 1:01:22 (5 mi = 55:44)
Wednesday: 6 mi in 1:07:18 (5 mi = 56:15)
Friday: 5.5 mi in 1:00:49
Saturday: 5.5 mi in 1:02:40 (5 = 57:02)
Sunday: 5.5 mi in 1:04:15 - at CCL. Car said 85F when I left the park.