Woodturning Old Fashioned Desk Pen Set

Woof Pen SetThis video may be viewed via YouTube, Vimeo, FaceBook or right here where it is best.

Years ago, I did not use pen kits for making wooden pens like we almost exclusively do today. Still there is a place for an inexpensive yet classy desk pen set.

This pen uses the filler extracted from a plastic pen. Cost was about 1.25 for 12.

The greatest challenge is drilling a hole almost six inches deep of such a thin diameter without the drill bit wandering out the side of the wood. I did several things to mitigate this risk:

  1. My pen blank is straight grained wood that will not cause the bit to wander in the grain.
  2. My pen blank was as deeply seated into my long nose jaws as possible to center and support the wood.
  3. I started the hole with a short bit chucked as deeply in its chuck as possible to reduce the tendency to bend.
  4. I drill slowly and clear chips about every 1/4 inch.
  5. After drilling as deeply as I can with a short bit, I swapped it for the long bit to finish up.

Then I drilled a slightly larger diameter hole for the upper part of the pen’s tip.

The 6″ pen is from a tropical hardwood of unknown species finished with lacquer.

The base is about 2″ high and 2″ diameter. The bottom part is maple burl. The upper part is walnut. Next time, I would make the base at least 3″ diameter but this is as much the burl would allow. The base is finished with lacquer. The pen receiver is drilled at a slant by tipping the base in the chuck.

Useful Links to Previous Videos
Easy DIY Tenon Cutters

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

Multi-Dimension Fin Vase Green Woodturning

Cherry Fin VaseThis video may also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, or FaceBook. But best right here at www.AsWoodTurns.com.

After seeing a demo of this vase at my woodturning club, I searched for a good piece of wood. Ideally, it would be an entire round of freshly harvested wood. With wet wood, I could expect the fins to warp up and down randomly, adding to the visual effect of the fins.

The process is fairly simple:

  1. Rough turn the wood between centers
  2. Cut a mounting tenon. The club demonstrator used a faceplate.
  3. Mount to a chuck using the tenon. (or faceplate)
  4. Tool the exterior but leave large for now.
  5. Drill or hollow the interior. For an even more advanced vase, hollow out the interior to a pleasing curve. However, this will complicate matters significantly later.
  6. Finish shaping the exterior.
  7. Sand but do not finish the exterior.
  8. With the tool rest parallel to the lathe axis, start cutting the fins. Since my interior was drilled to a consistant diameter, I cut the fins to a consistent depth. If I had hollowed the interior, I would have to consider the varying internal diameter.
  9. Part off the vase and clean up the bottom either now or after drying.
  10. Allow to dry. For this vase, I placed the vase in a plastic bag and microwaved it in several 1 minute bursts. I quit when the bottom appeared to start cracking.
  11. When dry, sand again with fine finishing grits.
  12. Apply finish.. Enjoy.

My vase is about 7.5″ high and 4″ diameter finished with walnut oil.

I did not get the warping I expected. Perhaps, the wood was not fresh enough, Perhaps, I could have made the fins thinner. I could have turned it cross grain for more warpage but that doesn’t seem right for a vase.

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

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.

Clink on titles for links to relevant videos.


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


Star Trek NG Alien Probe Appeared In My Mind

Alien ProbeMay also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and FaceBook – But Best Right Here!

While watching a rerun of Star Trek Next Generation, I saw an alien probe with an interesting shape. After the episode, I just had to go back and look at that probe again. My thought – can I make a woodturning that looks like that?

My probe is about 13 inches long and 4 inches in diameter. Each cone is about 6 inches tall and 2 inches in diameter. Each cone is a perfect cone. The probe is finished with lacquer.

The cones mount to a center piece about 4 plus inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. I made a drilling and mounting template in Powerpoint to guide drilling each mortise. To avoid a more difficult layout, each mortise was drilled from the same side and entirely through the section.

To cover the opposite side of the mortise from the cone, I turned little medallions from padauk on my Infinite Axis Chuck. Each medallion has two or three mini features on different eccentric axes.

Links to noted videos.


Remount & Finish Turning Wet Apricot Bowl

Apricot Bowl This video may also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and FaceBook – But best right here.

Five years ago, I scored a batch of fresh green or wet cherry wood. One block looked very promising – it was a crotch with some beautiful crotch figure. I mounted it and started to turn it. I was shaping the exterior when a large piece separated and conked me in the forehead. I hit the floor; wood hit the ceiling; and the lathe started dancing across the floor. I managed to turn off the lathe and collect my wits.

The piece that flew off weighed 10 to 15 pounds. Turns out, there was a very deep bark inclusion. The wood separated along that bark line.

Fortunately, I was wearing my full face shield. The face shield absorbed most of the force. I suffered only a compression bruise right in the middle of the forehead. Without the faceshield, I would have been seriously injured.

This apricot wood is from the same tree, the same trunk. When I see apricot, I cannot help thinking of that day at my lathe. My own Post Tramatic Stress Disorder.

I rough turned this block of cherry wood about at that same time. Then, weighed it at 669 grams and painted it with green wood sealer. For a long time, I stored it in a kraft paper sack. Later, it migrated to an open shelf.

In real time, I decided to finally finish the bowl. It had lost 32% of its original weight and distorted somewhat. I sanded off the peaks on the rim, pressed the bowl against a wood faceplate to trim the tenon. Then went on to finish the bowl with walnut oil. It is seven inches diameter and 2 inches high.

Links to noted videos.

Good turning.

Back To My First Love – Turning Green Cherry Bowl

Cherry Bowl

Video may also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, or FaceBook – Best right here!

I obtained the wood for this bowl last December. At the time, I ripped the wood in half through the pith, waxed the ends, and stored the wood in plastic bags. Then due to my accident, I could not turn the wood as quickly as I wanted to and it stayed in the plastic bags a very long time. I feared that it was ruined. But when I opened the plastic, the wood was still in good shape.

So, off to trim the wood at the bandsaw and turn this 8″ by 3″ cherry bowl finished with walnut oil. The wood still has at least 20% of its weight to lose as moisture. I’m storing it in a plastic bag wrapped in a paper towel. The plastic has a loose seal to let some moisture escape.

This bowl will warp but probably not drastically. It is and will be beautiful

Good turning.