About Alan

Alan has been a member since January 5th 2012, and has created 226 posts from scratch.

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This Author's Website is http://www.AsWoodTurns.com

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Celtic Knot Dresses Up Pizza Cutter Handle

Celtic Knot Pizza CutterMay also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook – But best right here!

Remember – this year’s Christmas Ornament Challenge is rapidly approaching – November is almost here.

My wife asked me to turn a new handle for her pizza cutter. The original handle had almost disintegrated.

A handle is a fairly simple spindle project. But I decided to dress it up a little bit. After all, according to my children, pizza is the foundation of all food groups. One can live and thrive on pizza.

This handle is maple with walnut accents. it is about 6 inches long and about 1 inch in diameter. The maple is an example of urban forestry – it came from a tree downed in a storm three years earlier. At that time, it was rough turned and set aside.

The Celtic knot makes a huge difference is how it looks. I choose a three loop knot. Most people recommend milling stock perfectly square to prepare for a Celtic knot. They also always get a four loop knot.

In my opinion, a knot is not restricted to four loops. It can have as many loops as can esthically fit in the wood. The difference is the process.

But first, a table saw sled also helps. For this video, I made my sled from scrap particle board, a scrap 1×4, and a scrap 2×2. To upgrade the sled, use as thin a piece of plywood as can be obtained with a size appropriate for the planned knots. Don’t worry too much about the size. The cost is so trivial, the sled can be re-made if necessary. Then a board is attached perpendicular to the cut line at the top and the bottom. These boards must be taller than the maximum sawing depth. They hold the right and left parts of the sled together after the initial saw cut. My sled rides against the rip fence. To upgrade, add a miter gauge track.

The Celtic knot process is:

  1. Rough turn the timber to a diameter slightly greater than the finished diameter to allow for nicks, defects, and axis deviations.
  2. Prepare two identical paper polygons:
    a.  Draw a circle with diameter equal to the timber diameter.
    b.  Draw a polygon with sides tangent to the circle. The number of sides is the number of loops wanted in the Celtic knot.
    c.  Draw a center indicator to both the circle and the polygon (same spot)
  3. Glue the paper polygons to a scrap piece of hardboard or plywood. Then rough cutout the polygons staying outside the lines of the polygon.
  4. Sand the edges of the polygon to split the edge line on a sander. These are now the Celtic knot templates.
  5. Fasten the templates to the ends of the roughed timber cylinder. Adjust the templates to align with each other. Add a little hot melt glue to ensure the templates will not turn on the timber. On one template, number the verticies in the order they will be sawn. Most often this will be in sequential order.
  6. On the sled, determine the angle for the slices of the Celtic knot. Many will chose 45 degrees but feel free to experiment with greater or lesser angles. With hot melt glue, glue a scrap wood strip longer than the workpiece at the desired angle. Glue another short piece as a stop. Using these two boards, you will be able to reposition the work piece exactly for each cut. Adjust the saw depth of cut to cut thru the work piece but not any deeper. Actually, the cut does not have to be completely thru the piece as long as it is deep enough for the entire finished slice. Count on full depth.
  7. From the markings on the template, determine the bottom or cut side. Using hot melt glue, add a thin scrap piece of wood to the top of the workpiece. This keeps the opposite ends of the workpiece in their original position after the cut.
  8. Place the workpiece on the sled and saw a slot thru the workpiece but not the scrap wood on the top.
  9. Glue in the contrasting wood in the slot. The wood must easily but not slopily fit. Use a glue with a long set time such as TiteBond Original Extend.
  10. After the glue dries, remove the top scrap wood and trim the contrasting wood. Careful work on a bandsaw does the trick.
  11. Repeat Steps 8 thru 10 for each loop. Leave the project alone at least overnight or longer to allow the glue to dry and moisture content to stabilize.
  12. When dry, turn the final profile on the workpiece. The Celtic knot will reveal itself shortly.

That’s one item checked off the honey do list. :)

Previous Celtic Knot videos:

Good turning.

Reclaim Shop Space & Storage With Above Garage Door Shelves

May also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and FaceBook. But best right here!.

Please plan on the 5th Annual Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge coming up in November.

With my new shop area, I need to get organized and stow away both shop and household items that are currently taking floor space. After researching above door commercial storage units, I decided to make the shelves myself from lumber.

Strength comes from:

  1. Mounting on the wall above the garage doors.
  2. Mounting on the side walls at each end.
  3. Posts from the attic about 9 feet on center.
  4. Torsion box effect from sheathing both top and bottom of the framing.

With the shelf there is about 20 inches of storage height – enough for most bins and boxes that would be light enough for me to lift on the shelf. The shelf is 32 inches deep and about 38 feet long. 220 volt electrical service runs to the center with 110 service to both ends.

Cost is about $250 including electric wiring.

One essential tool is my Paslode power nailer. It is cordless and hoseless running on a battery and a fuel cell.

BTW, with a project of this sort, there are no re-takes. No chance to re-shoot a segment. With space so tight and dark, photography and sound was very difficult.

Back to woodturning next week.

Simple Yet Fascinating Desk Toy: Magnetic Hourglass

Magnetic HourglassMay also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and FaceBook. But best right here.

Plan on the 5th Annual Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge – Coming in November

I’ve always been fascinated by the flow of sand thru an hourglass. This hourglass raises the bar.

Instead of sand, it contains iron filings. In the base is a magnet. As the ‘sand’ flows, the magnetic field causes it to stack in different shapes. When weight and gravity builds up, the shape collapses into a more compact shape. New grains then build on that base. Fascinating.

I purchased my hourglass thru Amazon. When in Amazon, search for “Magnetic Hourglass”. There will be several alternatives. This one is “Zicome Hand-blown Glass Sand Timer Magnet Magnetic Hourglass with a Iron Base” There are others now that I did not see previously.

Yet, as a woodturner, I want it to show some wood. However, in this case, the wood is only a simple base.

The base is an example of urban forrestry. A friend’s neighbor cut it down and I was fortunate to get several pieces. Some was not large enough for a bowl. This I turned into a straight cylinder, coated it was green wood sealer, and left it to dry in my shop. It has now been just over 2 years, the wood is dry and can be used for spindle projects like this one. It is finished with Mylands friction polish.

Good turning.

Exploring My Family History By Turning Tall Cedar Bowl


Pedestal Bowl in Cedar

May also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook. But best right here. :)

My mother has had a turned redwood vase for as long as I can remember. Upon reading the inscription on the base, my grandfather made it from redwood they obtained from a visit to the Redwoods two years before my birth.

My mother loves this bowl.

At our home in Portland, we had a large cedar tree that my mother liked when she visited us. We had to cut it down but I’ve saved some of the wood.

I’m going to turn another vase for my mother. This one from the cedar. Maybe she’ll put them together: one from her father; one from her son.

The vase is Titan cedar about 6 inches in diameter and 7 inches tall, finished with walnut oil and buffed. The turning blank was so large, I had to use my steady rest to keep the wood in the chuck. Here’s a link to the video where I updated the steady rest.

I’ve woodburned an inscription recognizing my grandfather in the base.

Good turning.  Don’t forget the Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge coming in November.

Avoiding Stepping On Cracks In Semi Dry Elm Bowl

Elm BowlMay also be viewed on YouTube or Vimeo – but Best right here.

Don’t forget the Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge is coming in November.

I picked up this chunk of wood at a local woodturning club meeting. It was supposed to be green elm. This made sense because the demonstration topic was green wood turning.

However, upon closer inspections and some turning, it quickly became obvious that it had been cut for some time. There were large end checks. Once into the interior of the wood, it did not feel wet enough for fresh green wood. It is elm – just not fresh green.

Those drying checks forced me to turn it smaller than originally expected. Yes, maybe I could have filled them but filling cracks in wet wood can become an issue also.

But the eleven inch by three inch tall bowl, finished with walnut oil, turned out very nice. I like the color of the heartwood.

To summarize the process:

  1. Mount on faceplate
  2. Mark and rough saw on bandsaw.
  3. Remount to lathe and tool the exterior, cut mortise, sand and finish.
  4. Reverse the bowl onto a scroll chuck.
  5. Shape and form the interior, sand, and finish.
  6. Reverse the bowl into Cole jaws
  7. Shape the foot, sign, sand, and finish.
  8. Buff.

Good turning.