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Wood Turning and other wood matters

Life as a woodturner can be fun and hard work. I always say that wood turners don't make mistakes they have design opportunities. Well sometimes. This blog will perhaps give some insight to the ups and downs.It will be fed by both me (Pete) and my partner & wife Mo who collaborates and acts as quality control. Hope you find it interesting and perhaps a little amusing

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  1. I have spent an enjoyable couple of days making three hollow forms / vases in holly. I had acquired a decent log of dry holly that had already been turned round and fortunately dried without any splits so what to do with it? I am always on the lookout for wood that Mo can pyro and colour and holly seemed ideal. She wanted a few pieces to work on that weren't bowls so I decided to use the holly to make these. They will be a challenge as two have knots that she will need to work around or incorporate the design but clever lady that she is I am sure she will work something spectacular out. Apologies for the picture, just a quick snapshot to show the shapes etc. They are left on the tenon in the image as I had  brought them in for approval prior to turning off and finishing the bottom. Something I have learnt from experience is a good idea. Often something can look good in the workshop but in the cold light of day, or under someone elses scrutiny faults or tweaks to shape etc can be seen.

     

    holly hollow forms

  2. As a woodturner I try to make things as well as I can and as a skinflint I also try and make them as economically as possible. One of the things I like to do is use and adapt items that often get thrown out or broken. This is a good example. The globes and funnels from old oil lamps are often just thrown out but when I can get them I use them to make candle and t light holders. This one is in cedar and can hold either a 1 /2" dia. candle or a standard t light. The base is cedar and as with all my t light and candle holders has a metal insert to take the wax.

     

    cedar candle pillar 4  cedar candle pillar 3

  3. Last couple of days have been spent putting things in the shop online and updating the events page. The web managers have upgraded the site making it a learning curve again LOL. Things change so fast in the techno world. Got a few of Mo's pieces there and some of mine. Taking the pictures is the really hard part but I am determined to get it done. Got most of our shows for the year sorted now, just possibly one or two others at RHS sites which have proven to be good for us.

  4. As a professional wood turner I feel guilty if I am not involved in actual making something or teaching. Daft I know. I am spending the next day or two getting my web site and shop up to scratch and it takes as long to photograph pieces and get them online as it does to make them and I feel guilty because I am not making shavings. I always said that the marketing is a lot harder than the making. As shows are declining I am determined to focus more on selling online so needs must. I have managed to spend a few days in the workshop now all commissions are fulfilled and slowly they will get on line. Here's one example, a gorgeous piece of yew I got hold off recently. It measures 13 1/2" diameter and has come up like glass with a carnauba wax polish.

    yew bowl 8  yew bowl 4

  5. "Could you make a base for my Globe?" Of course says I. It was a large celestial globe that had to revolve on three bearings inset into the base. so perhaps not so easy as at first thought. The customer already had a world globe on a base and so the new one needed to be the same shape but as it was larger I had to expand it proportionally. The original was in walnut and I had to laminate two pieces together to get the right height. In the end it wasn't as difficult as I had at first thought. To get the inner curve I used a draughtsmans flexicurve to get the right diameter and made a plywood template from that to shape the inside. The customer was very happy with it which is what is important.

    globe stand 6  globe stand 3

  6. Had a wonderful day yesterday getting my tax sorted and off. Every year I am determined to get it done in April and usually I have it ready to go and then for reasons beyond me it gets left until the last moment. This year I am determined to get it all done and off in April so I am now up to date with the current one. Just a couple of months to add and then off it goes....maybe. Being self employed has many benefits and advantages, sorting out the tax is not one of them. Perhaps if I sold a lot more and had to actually pay tax I could afford an accountant but selling is much harder than making things LOL. Still, all done and up to date, just a couple of commissions and another tuition this month and maybe I will be able to get in the workshop and play...I mean make some things that I want to make rather than have to make. Not that I am really complaining. Much rather be self employed than work for someone else in a 9 - 5 job. been there, done that, no thanks.

  7. Been awhile since I posted, apologies to anyone who reads this. A combination of things have got in the way. My brother in law passed away boxing day and I have been making a pair of funeral urns for the family and for some reason January, usually a quiet time, has been extra busy with students and commissions. Got most of the commissions out of the way now and the urns finished. .

    urns. 1

  8. WOODCHIPS IN YOUR KNICKERS

     

    I'VE DONE IT AGAIN ! FORGOTTON TO SEPARATE HIS WORK CLOTHES FROM THE REST OF THE WASHING. ALL THE DARK COLOURS HAVE GONE INTO TOGETHER AND I'M STOOD HERE PICKING WOOD CHIPS OUT OF MY LACE UNDIES....SIGH.... WILL I NEVER LEARN.

     

    A MATTER OF A FEW OF YEARS AGO I COULD MIX AND MATCH MY WASHING AT WILL. ALL DARKS TOGETHER, ALL WHITES TOGETHER, ALL COLOURS TOGETHER. SINCE BEING WITH THE MAN THAT TURNS, ALL THAT HAS GONE OUT THE WINDOW.

     

    THERE IS A PERMANENT TRAIL OF CHIPS IN VARYING SIZES THROUGHOUT THE HOUSE. THEY TUMBLE FROM HIM AS HE WALKS THROUGH, THEY SPILL FROM EVERY POCKET, FOLD AND TURNUP. THEY CLING TO WOOL, LACE AND CARPETS LIKE LIMPETS TO A ROCK.

     

    THE BIG ONES AREN'T TOO BAD, YOU CAN SEE THEM EASILY AND PICK THEM UP BEFORE THEY HAVE WHEEDLED THEIR WAY INTO WEAVES. THE WOOD DUST GETS SWEPT UP, HOOVERED OR WASHED AWAY. ITS THE SPIKEY LITTLE SO AND SO'S THAT CAUSE THE TROUBLE, THE GROWN UP SPLINTERS. THEY HAVE THE ABILITY TO CLING IMMEDIATELY TO ANY FABRIC AND WORK THEIR WAY IN HANGING ON LITERALLY BY A THREAD AS THEY ARE WASHED, SPUN AND DRIED IN THE MACHINES. THERE THEY NESTLE HIDING BEHIND THE WEAVES AND IN THE LACE READY TO WORK THEIR WAY OUT AT THE MOST INCONVENIENT TIMES.

     

    I MEAN, THERE YOU ARE SERVING YOUR CUSTOMER, YOU MOVE, AND DARN IT SOMETHING THAT FEELS LIKE A SPEARHEAD STABS YOU IN THE BUM. YOU WRIGGLE A BIT TRYING TO DISLODGE IT AND ONLY MAKE IT WORSE. YOU DARE NOT SIT DOWN IN CASE YOU RAM IT INTO YOUR FLESH. YOU TRY TO DISCRETELY TUG AT THE LACE TO LIFT IT FROM YOUR SKIN AT LEAST, BUT NO IT'S STILL THERE. SO YOU CARRY ON WITH THE CUSTOMER YOUR BUTTOCK INVOLUNTARILY TWITCHING WITH A MIND OF ITS OWN TRYING TO DISLODGE THE INTRUDER. YOU EVENTUALLY ESCAPE TO THE CLOAKROOM STRIP OFF AND INVESTIGATE ONLY TO FIND WHAT SEEMED LIKE A DAGGER PRODDING YOU IN THE BUM, TO BE A TINY 5MM SPLINTER OF OAK.

     

    AS FOR THE POOR OLD TUMBLE DRYER. MY FRIENDS DO BATTLE WITH FLUFF IN THE FILTER, I ON THE OTHER HAND PRODUCE A CARPET CREATED WITH THE UBIQUITOUS FLUFF ALONG WITH WOOD CHIPS WOVEN TOGETHER AND COMPACTED. I'M SURE THERE MUST BE SOMETHING USEFUL I CAN MAKE WITH IT. RUGS FOR A DOLLS HOUSE MAYBE ? I'M TRYING NOT TO THINK WHAT GOES DOWN THE WASTE PIPE FROM THE WASHER. ONE DAY WE WILL GET AN ANGRY HOUSEHOLDER FURTHER DOWN THE WASTE PIPE CHAIN COMPLAINING THAT THEY HAVE SOMETHING JAMMING THEIR SEWER PIPE OUTLET WHICH WHEN DISLODGED WILL LOOK LIKE A CHIPBOARD LOG.

     

    I HAVE LEARNT THAT FITTED CARPETS ARE A NO NO. WOOD, STONE OR LAMINATE FLOORS ARE THE ONLY ONES TO HAVE WITH A TURNER IN THE HOUSE. AFTER THAT IT'S A CASE OF HOW MANY RUGS YOU ARE PREPARED TO MAINTAIN BY VIGOROUSLY HOOVERING IN BOTH DIRECTIONS, THEREFORE TWICE THE WORK, TO DISLODGE THE CHIPS FROM THE PILE ONLY TO FIND WHEN YOU LOOK FROM ANOTHER ANGLE THERE ARE STILL SOME DIEHARDS CLINGING ON FOR DEAR LIFE IN THERE. I SUPPOSE THE ANSWER IS SHAG PILE IN A MIX OF NATURAL COLOURS SO THE LITTLE DARLINGS CAN BURY THEMSELF DEEP OUT OF VIEW AND HAVE A PERFECT DISGUISE, THAT IS UNTIL YOU WALK BAREFOOT ON THEM.

     

    BETTER NOT GO ON TOO LONG OR SOMEONE MAY RETALIATE WITH HIS VERSION OF THE AFTERMATH OF MY SEWING. BITS OF THREADS EVERYWHERE, STRAY PINS, HAVING TO ACT AS A MODEL WHILE I PIN UP THE HEM. OR MY JEWELLERY MAKING. OFFCUTS OF WIRE ON THE FLOOR, SLIPPING ON DROPPED BEADS AND MY STOCK TAKING UP EVERY SPARE SPACE.

     

    FOR ALL THAT I WOULDN'T CHANGE HIM FOR THE WORLD, BUT DON'T TELL HIM THAT OR HE WILL STOP SHAKING HIS CLOTHES BEFORE HE COMES INTO THE HOUSE AND EMPTYING THE POCKETS OR DOING THE HOOVERING ON A REGULAR BASIS. THE PLUS SIDE IS I LIVE WITH A CONTINOUS STREAM OF BEAUTIFUL OBJECTS THAT EVOLVE AND CHANGE AS HE DOES IN HIS WORK. I HAVE LOVELY THINGS TO USE AND CHERISH AND PIECES HE MAKES JUST FOR ME. I HAVE BEADS, DROPS AND FOCALS MADE FOR MY JEWELLERY WITHOUT COMPLAINT. ALL IN ALL A SMALL PRICE TO PAY FOR A FEW WOODCHIPS IN MY KNICKERS.

    Decorated Maple platter

     

    Thank you george.

  9. This slack period gives you time to think back, to look at where you were and where you are now. When I got back into turning some 12, 15 years ago I was doing something that I had loved many years earlier in school but to be honest I was playing at it, never dreaming that one day I would be earning a living at it. I used any old wood I could get my hands on, often rotten, damaged, found on the roadside it wasn't the ideal material to start back with. Living in the wilds of Exmoor at the time I didn't have any contact with other turners apart from a forum I found online and there I started to get critique and helpful ideas. It was mainly technical and not to do with design etc so I developed my own ideas which were at time off the wall. I knew then that doing the normal bowls etc wasn't really what I liked or wanted to do and started trying different things that looking back were the foundation of where I am today. I was fortunate to end up with a partner and wife who had both a history in design and an ability to criticise in an encouraging way and so was able to develop my ideas collaborating with her. My first love has always been the challenge of making something from wood that others would reject and surprisingly I find that often these are the pieces that sell at shows though other turners perhaps are less enthusiastic LOL. Anyway here are a few examples from the last ten years.

    DSCF3277  lidded bowl 3  seriously rustic vase

    apple on walnut (3)  mulberry on oak (2)  burr oak on slate copper leaves 2 (6)

  10. Christmas was postponed for a few days in the M-Jury household for family reasons, We opened our gifts boxing day evening instead. Got a fair number of surprise gifts as well as enough port to keep us going for a while. January, usually a quiet time, will be a bit busy with four commissions and three tutorials which is good.After that, time to start rebuilding stock and thinking about what shows to do. We will be dropping a couple we have been doing for years as one has become too big, competing for sales with 50 other turners including clubs doesn't hack it. The other one has become too orientated towards bought in goods which we can't compete with. Got a few new ones in mind though including an earlier than usual one at Wisley in May. Also going to try and get organised and focus more on selling online through the shop which will involve a lot of decent quality photographs, time consuming but necessary. Watch this space for details

    A happy and prosperous 2018 to anyone who reads this.

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