Category Archives: Woodturning

Yarn Buddy

At my wife’s suggestion, I made this yarn buddy. I used some pine I had lying around, thinking it was just going to be a prototype, but it worked out well enough that I may not need to do another one.

Yarn Buddy without yarn

Getting the Lazy Susan bearing perfectly aligned is not a trivial matter, but the two discs are perfectly concentric… in this position… As it rotates, there’s a little tiny bit of an eccentric wobble, but that’s just part of its charm. The centre spindle is friction fit and can be removed for packing the yarn buddy in a suitcase and taking him on a trip.

Yarn Buddy with yarn

Grinders with Trays

I recently ordered ten more grinder kits. One is currently in use by me, one is not yet built, and the other eight are here. These four sets (chrome handle for salt, black handle for pepper) also come with a small tray to keep the stray salt and pepper bits off the table.

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Eight Grinders and Four Trays

Salt and Pepper Grinders with Tray (1)

Salt and Pepper Grinders with Tray (2)

Salt and Pepper Grinders with Tray (3)

Salt and Pepper Grinders with Tray (4)

Spice Grinders in progress

Working on some pepper/salt/spice grinders, shown here in progress.

Grinders in Progress (1)

The laminated blanks are done, holes drilled, and corners cut off. Ready for turning! (One is already on the lathe and rounded). The wood is maple, walnut, and lacewood in the middle.

Grinders in Progress (2)

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Recent Turning Projects

Here are some recent projects from the Barkwhistle Wood Shop, while we wait for the Winter That Never Ends to, um, end. Outdoor projects await!

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Three Walnut Bowls
Three Walnut Bowls. One of these we saw in the previous post, A Simple Walnut Bowl. The other two are just slightly less simple, so I simply call them bowls.

Salt Grinder
Salt Grinder. Could be called a pepper grinder or spice grinder, but currently it has hot spicy salt in it. Yum. The chrome handle is new; previous grinders had the black handles (e.g. these Lacewood Grinders), but I thought I’d do some chrome ones for a change, maybe make salt and pepper matching sets with chrome and black handles to tell the salt from the pepper. The wood here is zebrawood in a maple sandwich.

Canarywood Bud Vase
Canarywood Vase. I still have a whack of test tubes for bud vases, so these will appear from time to time. This is canarywood. I’ll probably do some laminating soon, make some slightly bigger ones.

That’s it for now, still waiting for the snow to melt so we can get on with rebuilding the grape arbour.

A Whirl of Turnings

(I don’t know what the collective noun for “turnings” is, or if there even is one, so I just made this up. A “whirl” of turnings sounds at least somewhat appropriate, I think.)

So I’ve been puttering about in the shop, as one does, gravitating towards the lathe and smaller projects (tiny little attention span). First up, and most recent, is this prototype of a bud vase, made from maple. I thought I’d test the process before I break out the fancy schmancy wood, although the understated elegance of maple is not misplaced here. I think it does need to be a wee bit taller though.

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Bud Vase

Before the bud vase, I made these three small (about four and a half inches) maple and walnut bowls. I laminated the maple and walnut boards, then cut them into three equal pieces to form the blanks. They’re not meant to be a matching set, I was trying out different thicknesses and shapes.

Three Small Maple Walnut Bowls

One of them, if you look very closely, contains the remains of a tiny drop of my DNA (a kind of signature?) I broke the cardinal rule: “Don’t get blood on the work piece!”

Lastly, and least recently, a trio of acrylic pens. I love the names of the acrylic blanks, despite being a bit of a pain to turn. Two of these are called “Harley Flame” and the other is “Licorice Allsorts”. They are “Streamline” pen kits.

Three Acrylic Pens

Not sure what’s next, but I do have a whole box of the test tubes, so expect more bud vases…

Tiny Walnut Bowl

Back in the shop today after a lazy January …plus a lazy first week or so of February… seems to happen that way every year… I decided to try something with some chunks of a walnut tree that was harvested last summer.

Small Walnut Bowl
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Those are mints, not eggs, by the way. This bowl is about 2 inches in diameter, by about 2 and a half inches tall, and would probably hold ONE egg just nicely. I’m pushing the process a little, in that the walnut was only cut 6-8 months ago. I rough-turned three bowls from the same wood not too long ago, and put them away for another 6 months or so, but I thought I’d go ahead with some small turnings, just to see how it would work out. I think it’s small enough that nothing too dramatic will happen as it finishes drying. Time will tell, as it does.

Three Stoppers

Just a quick inventory shot of the only three wine stoppers I have left…. better get busy, people need to stopper their wine…

Three Stoppers
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The little gearshift stoppers are adorable. I’m down to the last one now, which surprised me until I remembered that I pulled one out to keep for ourselves. NOTE: resist the urge to shift gears while it’s in the bottle!

More Fun With Plastic

Well, I don’t know if “fun” is exactly the right word. I do like the end result you get with acrylic blanks, very shiny and dramatic. But it’s a long, hard slog to get there compared to turning most wood species. While there are no grain issues with acrylic blanks, they are very brittle and hard, and on three of these four, I had chip-out around the ends, taking out several big chunks in an instant. Fortunately I was able to turn down past the chunk-holes, so it wasn’t fatal.

New Acrylic Bottle Stoppers
New Wine Bottle Stoppers (Click photo to view larger on Flickr)

A fresh carbide blade on the Easy Wood Tools Finisher is the key to my success with turning acrylic blanks. Wood too, for that matter. I love these things. They do have their limitations, and I still reach for other tools once in a while. But not often — aside from the parting tool, I use these for just about everything.

Another Fine Mess

When you turn acrylic on the lathe, it doesn’t get more or less messy than when you turn wood. The problem is, I use the vacuumed-up wood shavings and sawdust as mulch on the paths out in the back 40, and I don’t really want multi-coloured plastic mulch out there. Tends not to compost and might be harmful to critters. So therefore I don’t run the dust collection, or vacuum up the leftovers. So therefore I don’t turn acrylic pens very often.
Acrylic Pen - The Aftermath

Despite the mess that turning acrylic makes, the results can make it worth the effort. These are a new-to-me kit called “Stratus” in a “Gun Metal” plating. I like the style. It’s masculine without going all the way to being one of those obnoxious lock-and-load bullet-style pens. They’re a decently large size, for those with larger hands that tend to swallow a lesser pen.
Two Acrylic Pens
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