I took the plunge and decided to retire from my day job. It was not very fulfilling and after 35 years of stifling my creativity by spending 40 hours a week doing mundane work I need to stretch the boundaries and see what I could do in the shop. Consequently I had a string of well-wishers stop by the shop over the weekend and though I had several projects going, this walnut piece was the only one that got to the almost complete stage. The first day of freedom is Wednesday and is already scheduled to be massive shop clean up day which has been totally ignored due to the limited time i have had out there up until now.
I hope everyone had a good Christmas. I certainly did. I received a power carver which i will be using to embellish pieces in the upcoming turnings. I do need a bit of practice on it but with practice comes proficiency. I may have mentioned that my son is a metal artist and blacksmith so he made me a miniature lathe out of steel. It measures about 5″ in length. The amount of detail in this is phenomenal right down to the log being turned and the bowl gouges laying on the bed — we’re taking about a long labor of love. Thanks Nick!
It was such a gorgeous day out yesterday (69 degrees in the middle of December!) that I decided to try my hand at using a spray gun to spray lacquer. I don’t have a proper spray gun yet but tried my “little critter” gun instead. It worked just fine for the lacquer but had way too much over spray so I am ordering a real gun today. The pot to the left was one I experimented with. It had about 8 coats by the end of the day and now has been fine sanded in preparation for some more finish coats. The top shown is actually from another pot and I used it as a test to see what kind of top would look the best on this piece — that’s not what I’ll be using, I have something else in mind. I actually doesn’t look bad with the low sheen but I want to keep the experiment going.
Due to a touch of the flu I only spent a couple of hours out in the shop this weekend — and I didn’t feel well enough to complete any projects. I just poked about and did some planning for when I when I was back to normal again (well as normal as I get). I did try to visualize this piece as my next coloring project. I see the knot looks like a heart so it may get saved for Valentine’s day. I also had the batch of goblets to finish but once again I couldn’t even do small projects like that. With working a full-time job losing a weekend is like losing a best friend. More to see next week — I promise!
I’m toying with the idea of opening an Etsy Store so I need some more standard inventory — which is actually a bit faster to make than art pieces. This candy(?) dish is a perfect example. I have turned lots of these and they are always a big hit. This is Brazilian Cherry and a bit thick because I found it has a tendency to crack if you turn it too thin. Added benefit — it could be used a weapon! The lid is American cherry with a mahogany spindle which is colored with Dark Walnut oil. Still trying to figure out the pricing at Etsy since it seems to be all over the map but I don’t want to work for less than I could make at McDonalds!
I have a new venue for my products now. I had made a candy bowl for my wife to have at work (in Oxford). No one noticed it until the candy was gone and then everyone wanted to know where she had gotten it. She suggested I try to get some of my stuff in the Treasure Chest down on Morris Street street where Joan Nubie stocks lots of locally hand crafted products. Stop in and see her as the inventory is always changing and the work is “gift worthy”.
Sycamore is one of my favorite woods since I found a pallet made from it a couple of years ago. I don’t normally make vessels primarily out of white wood except for an accent or feature ring but who knows. A friend trimmed a great big Sycamore tree and brought me some very nice sized branches. They sat there for a few weeks but I noticed just a small amount of checking so decided it was time to debark and seal them before losing the whole lot. I did turn him a nice little vase which I dried with the microwave technique. I was able to get the moisture level down to about 9% which is as low as most of the wood I turn. Time will tell but I turned it 2 weeks ago and it has not warped or cracked yet.
I just began selling my pieces at the Green Phoenix Gallery in Easton. I was honored to be displayed along with such amazing work from mostly local artists. I started off with the pieces in earlier posts – the Cherry Face Off, Wee Little Honey Pot, Turned Lidded Vessel on one previously unposted piece – The Purpleheart banded lidded vessel below.
Even though I hate to let things go I find if you let the nicest pieces around you have no reason to do better. When nice ones leave the shop you need to replace them with something just as nice or, hopefully, even better.
My wife likes the little birds that nest on the front porch and we do have a couple of small birdhouses out there already but her birthday is next week and I wanted to surprise her with something that didn’t take up more counter space in the house 🙂 I turned this one in the shape of an acorn from a sycamore limb (a big limb!) with a walnut top. There is a little drain hole in the bottom. I wasn’t sure how big the hole should be so I took a wild guess. Also the sycamore was still a bit wet so hopefully it won’t warp too much. I did nuke the wood in the microwave a few times after rough turning.