About Alan Stratton

Alan Stratton has been a member since August 11th 2017, and has created 270 posts from scratch.

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

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Solar Eclipse Souvenir Broach Woodturning

Wood Eclipse BroachMay also be viewed via YouTube, Vimeo, or FaceBook. But best right here!

With the eclipse coming, I wondered if I could turn something that depicts the eclipse. After considering several possibilities, this is what I came up with.

The “earth” disk is hazelnut with texturing provided by mini features created with the Infinite Axis Chuck. It is about 3″ diameter finished with shellac. The texturing represents mountains, rivers and landscape features.

The “moon” disk is walnut with texturing provided by mini features created with the Infinite Axis Chuck. It is about 1 1/2″ diameter finished with shellac. The texturing resembles the man in the moon.

On the back is a clip called a finding. This one is from Fire Mountain Gems called something like a necklace and broach finding.

Have a fun time with the eclipse.

Remember the Christmas Ornament Challenge submission period is November. Plan your ornament now.

Links to relevant videos.

Good Turning!


Inside Out Christmas Ornament – Tree and Finials

Inside Out Christmas OrnamentThis video may also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. But best right here!

In this video, I complete my inside out Christmas ornament. Last week, I turned the body; now I’ll turn the interior tree for display, the finials, and everything else to complete the ornament. Last week, I noted that it could become a bell but I decided to stick to my original plan and only include a bell in the top finial.

The top finial is about 1″ long made from a tropical hardwood pen blank.

The hanger is fine wire twisted around a drill bit and glued into the top finial.

At the bottom of the globe is a walnut spacer. It serves dual purposes: 1) to visually balance out the globe; 2) provide a transition to the smaller diameter bottom finial. Otherwise, the bottom finial would have to be a much larger block of expensive wood. It is about 1.5″ long.

The bottom finial is from the same tropical hardwood pen blank about 4″ long.

For children’s safety, I never have a sharp or very fine point on an ornament finial. I believe a blunt end finial is much safer for children.

Remember the Christmas Ornament Challenge submission period is November. Plan your ornament now.

Links to relevant videos.

Good Turning!

Inside Out Christmas Ornament – The Basics

Inside Out Ornament Body MapleThis video may be viewed via YouTube, Vimeo, or FaceBook – Best right here where you are!

It’s time to start planning for Christmas ornaments and the 2017 Christmas Ornament Challenge. To get ready, I’m turning an inside out ornament whose body is maple in this video. In the next video, I’ll turn finials and the central display.

My original plan was for a Christmas Tree to be in the center. But after turning the globe portion and looking at it upside down, it looks like it could be perfect for a Christmas Bell ornament. I’ll have to decide soon.

The ornament body is made from four pieces of 1.5″ x 1.5″ x 10″ maple finished with lacquer.

The process:

  1. Prepare the staves. In this case I used 4 staves that are square. If you want a different number of stages, then divide 360 by your number of staves. This is the angle that will be to the center and then to the outside. 3 staves would require 120 degrees (360/3). 5 staves would require 72 degrees (360/5). Find the two opposite angles by subtracting the first angle from 180.
    # Staves First Angle Second angle
    2 180 180
    3 120 60
    4 90 90
    5 72 108
    6 60 120
  2. Mark an arrow on the end of each stave pointing either to or away from the first angle.
  3. Assemble all staves together. Then spread glue on the last one quarter inch of each end of each mating surface. Clamp together and let the glue harden overnight.
  4. For safety, reinforce each end with fiberglass reinforced strapping tape.
  5. Mount between center making sure the centers are exactly centered.
  6. Turn the center cavity except that right now it is on the outside of the bundle. Be gentle.
  7. Sand and finish this area.
  8. Split apart the staves by tapping a chisel on each joint.
  9. Rotate each stave, ensuring that each arrow is pointing the opposite directing (in to out or out to in).
  10. Lightly spread white glue on mating surfaces and clamp the bundle. Make sure the edges of the cavity align. For some bundles, glue staves separately. Let glue harden overnight.
  11. Turn down one end and form a mounting tenon to fit a scroll chuck.
  12. Remount into the scroll chuck.
  13. Turn down the opposite end to become another mounting tenon.
  14. Now is a great time to decide when to drill mounting holes for finials on both ends. Make sure to drill completely through at least one end to mount the center display.
  15. Finish turning the exterior paying close attention to the thin edges and the interplay of all edges.
  16. Sand while the tenons on each end are still intact.
  17. Part off one end of your choice. Best choice is the one that will have the thinnest finial.
  18. Sand the scar from this area.
  19. Apply finish to the exterior.
  20. Part off the completed inside out ornament body.

Remember the Christmas Ornament Challenge submission period is November. Plan your ornament now.

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Woodturning Training Break For Inspiration and Refinement

May also be viewed via YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook. Best right here!

I could not take video during the workshop, so here is a summary of the week’s activity.

The woodturning workshop: Craft Supplies USA; Intermediate Taught by Kirk DeHeer. Kirk is a practical yet highly skilled turner. There’s a lot I can learn from him.

Poplar Calabash BowlPoplar calabash bowl

A calabash bowl follows the shape of a calabash squash as if the bowl was cut from the gourd. The wood was mounted on a screw chuck to form the exterior including a large (about 5″) dovetail tenon and a step to guide my eye in forming the curve. The bowl is reversed into a 4 jaw chuck for hollowing. The most difficult part is undercutting the reverse curve. To finish the bottom, a new block of wet or green wood is mounted to a screw chuck on the lathe. Then cut a tenon on this wood as a tight fit to the calabash bowl. Be sure to measure the thickness of the bottom before mounting to the jam chuck. Then gently remove the excess wood from the bottom. This bowl is 10″ by 4″; never sanded; no finish applied. It will warp as it drys.

Maple Bowl Rough TurnedSilver Maple bowl

This was the wood for the jam chuck for the poplar calabash. After fulfilling its duty as a jam chuck, I rough turned the bowl leaving the walls about 1″ thick. Exterior turned on a screw chuck; Interior turned while mounted with a 5″ dovetail tenon to a four jaw chuck. This bowl is 10″ by 3″ and coated with Tree Saver to prevent cracking while drying.

Maple Natural Edge BowlMaple Natural Edge

These two bowls are not finished but not by much. The wood was first mounted with a two prong drive center driven into the bark edge. Then while mounted between centers, the bowl is rough turned before balancing the bark edges. Then cut a mounting tenon and refine the exterior. After reversing the bowl, hollow the interior. Then leave for a day to allow surface moisture to evaporate before sanding to final grit. Finally, the bowl is reversed again onto a padded disk to serve as a friction chuck. While held between the friction chuck and the live center, refine the foot but I left the central wood nub. After the bowl drys for another month or two, I will use the nub to center the tail stock for a final sanding. After cutting off the nub, I’ll sand the bottom center with 2″ pads on the drill press. 8″ x 4″ Not quite finished.

Poplar Natural Edge BowlPoplar Natural Edge

This bowl is formed the same way as the Maple bowl. The bark for each bowl was treated with CA glue to stabilize the bark. 8″ x 4″ Not quite finished.

Maple End Grain Box

Maple Lidded BoxA favorite of mine. This one is about 3″ by 3″. The interior is finished with Scratch Freee wax to avoid any residual smell. The exterior is finished with brushing lacquer. Boxes are a great exercise in mounting the wood. 1st (between centers) to rough turn the wood and form tenons; 2nd(chuck) to finish roughing and part the the bottom from the top; 3rd (chuck) to hollow the top; 4th (chuck) to fit the tenon to the top; 5th (chuck) top and bottom together with a friction fit to shape the exterior and complete the inlay and part off the bottom; 6th (chuck) using the scrap from the bottom, form a jamb chuck to hold the bottom while refining the bottom. The exterior is finished with brushing lacquer.

While finishing the top, I inlaid a walnut insert. After that glue hardened, I cut a small groove around the perimeter of the inlay then filled the groove with black CA glue. When that glue was hard, I smoothed the glue and finished the top.

Green Cored Sycamore BowlsSycamore Cored Bowls

The wet wood is first mounted to a screw chuck to form the exterior and with a large 5″ tenon. Then with the wood reversed onto the chuck and using McNaughton coring tools, cut out the small bowl. Then cut out the middle bowl. While still mounted to the chuck refine the interior of the largest bowl just a little. After the surface moisture has evaporated, coat with Tree Saver to prevent cracking. Once the wood is dry measured by when it no longer loses weight, each bowl will be remounted and returned. The largest bowl is 12″ x 4″.

African Blackwood Threaded BoxAfrican Blackwood Threaded Box

African Blackwood is a good choice for threading as it is very dense. It is turned similarly to a non-threaded box. The difference is threading – a process that I cannot explain in print. This 1.5″ x 2.5″ box is finished with Scratch Free wax.

Dyed Maple PlatterMaple Dyed Platter

I started this platter one day with a rough forming of the back side including an expansion mortise for the chuck. Then it rested two days to allow stresses to subside. Then it was remounted to the lathe to refine the bottom side before reversing onto the four jaw chuck to form the rim. After sanding to final grit, I used an airbrush to spray alcohol based blue, red, and yellow dye onto the rim. The three bands bleed together to form green and orange bands. After spraying with rattle-can lacquer, I continued on to hollow the center. This 14″ platter is finished with spray lacquer.

It was a great workshop with a great instructor. I may do it yet again.

Turning American Ninja Warrior Training Gear

American Ninja Warrior Hand GripsMay also be viewed via YouTube, Vimeo, or FaceBook. Best Right Here.

My granddaughter watches American Ninja Warrior. She asked me to turn some training gear: 4 2.5″ balls, 2 3″ balls, 2 2″ pistons, and 2 truncated cones. Who can refuse a 7 year old granddaughter?

I turned them from Titan cedar. The balls are finished with only 80 grit sandpaper and beeswax and mineral oil mix. The others were not sanded and left unfinished.

Videos Noted