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Carly’s Wedding Present: Peppermill and Salt Shaker 126/127

November 21, 2012

My wife asked me to make a peppermill for her friend’s wedding present.  I managed to finish gluing up the blanks by the wedding, but I was a wee bit late in completing the mill.  I felt so bad that it took me so long, I decided to turn a matching salt shaker.  The blank was glued up from some padauk, maple, and a black veneer.  I used a new finishing technique I learned from Stephen Hatcher to fill in the pores of the wood.  I then sprayed them with an instrument grade lacquer.  I wet sanded them with 1500 grit once the lacquer had cured.  Then I buffed them to a beautifully smooth glasslike finish!  These are my favorite so far.

It is unbelievable how much wood can differ. This base was made from the same board as all the laminations in the mill. And yet it is a completely different color!

I use the “Crushgrind” peppermill mechanisms and really like them. I really like using the tops cut off of water bottles for the bottoms of the salt shaker.


Bowls for Charity

April 19, 2012

My local turning club, SPSW, split its membership into 5 regional groups in March.  These five groups were asked to turn as many items as they could for the charities we support (Empty Bowls and Blinded Veterans Association) by the April meeting.  The group with the most turnings would recieve a prize.  I decided to turn a couple at the last minute.  The first piece I grabbed was a piece of Magnolia that I won at our last Christmas party.  The bowl is 8 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep.   The second was a piece of Western Maple I had laying around.  This one was about 10 inches in diameter and 3 inches deep.  I finished both bowls with walnut oil.

A few new Bottlestoppers

March 8, 2011

A coworker asked me to turn a few bottlestoppers for him to give as groomsmen gifts.  The lighter two are some spalted red gum and the darker ones were an experiment.  They are turned from purpleheart, then I fumed them with Muriatic Acid.  This is supposed to turn it to more of a cranberry color.  I am a little dissatisfied with the results, but I still think they look good.

New Salt Shaker for my wife!

January 18, 2011

I have been away from the lathe for a very long time, too long!!!   A while ago my wife broke her ceramic salt shaker and I told her not to buy a new one.  I went out to the shop to find some remnants from the neighbor’s firewood pile that I turned her peppermill from.    I then turned this salt shaker to mimmick the shape of her peppermill.  I finished the mill with Danish Oil then followed with wipe-on polyurethane.  I purchased the metal top from Craftsupplies USA.  Rather than using a traditional rubber bung to seal the bottom, I used a lid from a plastic water bottle.  I forgot to take a picture of this one, but you can see it on another salt shaker I turned previously.


Delay in Woodturning: Hot Rod in need of Repair!!

July 17, 2010

So the wife and I decide to take our ’65 Malibu out to a nice Saturday night potluck when a nice loud bang came from the rear of the car about 2 miles from the house 😦  I managed to get the car to the side of the road and call my dad to come tow us home.  While waiting for my dad to show up a nice fellow car guy stopped and looked under the car while I put it in gear.  Well, the drive line was spinning but we weren’t going anyware!!  My dad showed up and I got the car home and grabbed the wife’s car, luckily we have wonderful friends who didn’t mind waiting 1.5 hours for all the hamburger fixings so they could eat.

I wasn’t able to break into the rearend right away since I was in the middle of finishing the bowl for the June wedding.  I finished the bowl as quickly as possible and then jacked up the car and got it on the stands.

Once I got under the car and looked at rearend cover I knew things weren’t going to be pretty inside.

Those copper colored markes are dents from something hitting the cover inside.


So I got the cover off and found the spider gears lying on the bottom of the case.  NOT good!  The pin holding them in place had sheared off and let the gears fall to the bottom.  Luckily while towing the car home the axles didn’t move inward letting the c-clips fall off and letting the axle then pull out into the fender of the car.

After getting the broken gears out and looking at the rest of the rearend, both the ring and pinion gears had broken teath.  I now had to replace all of the center section.  I figured it was just a matter of time, this is the only mechanical part of the car that had not been replaced over the 45 years of its life.  I decided to take this opportunity to upgrade the stock 3:08 gears to a posi unit with 3:55 gears.  This will make the car a lot more fun with the automatic and will work well with a future manual transmission! 

I forgot to take any pictures of the cleanup of all the grease on the rearend and the installation of the posi, but I will have to get a nice picture a pair of rubber stripes on the road 🙂 🙂

Best Wishes Eric and Lynn!!

June 28, 2010

Congratulations Eric and Lynn!!  Hope the two of you have a wonderful marriage together!!

Eric and I have been friends since highschool when we helped his step dad run a front engine dragster. 

 I wanted to give him and his new bride a gift that they could cherrish everyday at their dinner table.  So, I made them a nice Maple bowl.  The bowl is about 12″ wide and 3″ tall.  I turned it from some local curly Big Leaf Maple.  I sanded the bowl to about 800 grit.  I finally got a rotary adapter made for my vacuum pump, so I was able to add some nice detail rings to the bottom of the bowl.  I added my signature, bowl number, and wood species to the rings on the bottom with my dremel engraver. 

Then I finished the bowl with 3 coats of Danish Oil.  Once that had cured for a couple of weeks, I buffed the bowl on my Beall buff system.

Vacuum Adapter Finally Made!!

May 21, 2010

I have been away from the lathe for several months and I finally got to the turn a bowl in early May for a wedding gift in June.  I picked up a vacuum pump in January, but never got around to using it.  When I turned the bowl for the wedding I wanted to add some details to the bottom, so I finally went to work on the vacuum pump.

I have a small metal lathe, so I chucked up a piece of aluminum rod and turned it to fit in the opening in the headstock spindle.  I added two grooves for some o-rings to seal the adapter in the spindle.  I happened to have a sealed bearing in the hardware drawer, so I just bored the other end of the rod to fit the OD of the bearing.  I then bored a center hole through the adapter for the vacuum.

After cleaning up the adapter I epoxied the bearing in place.  I had to run to the hardware store to find a brass fitting that was just bigger than the id of the bearing.  I then chucked the brass fitting in the metal lathe and turned the threads down until it fit in the bearing.  Again I used the epoxy to fix the fitting into the bearing.  I threaded a couple of additional fittings on and gave it a test run. 

I needed to get the bottom of  the bowl done fast, so I grabbed some MDF and closed cell foam and made a simple flat vacuum chuck to turn this bowl.  I still need to make some kind of mount for the vacuum and filters, but it works great!!

I put the bowl up against the chuck and turned on the vacuum, there was only 15 inches of Hg, but with such a large surface area, I couldn’t break the vacuum no matter how hard I tried.  I forgot how porous MDF really is, I will have to work on doing something different for the chuck.

Here is a close-up of the detail rings I added.  I will put my signature in the center, the bowl number in the middle ring, and wood species in the outer ring. 

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