I worked for Atari, the video game company, when the movie ET came out. The movie was a blockbuster. Our CEO immediately purchased the video game rights and shoved it thru design and production in record time to have the game in stores for Christmas. We made millions of the ET game.
Alas, ET the game was a dog, the biggest video game flop of all time. Christmas sales were fantastic. But, customer returns in January were incredible.
What were we to do with all those games? We tried everything we could think of: dis-assembly, recycling, crushing, and landfills. Theft was always a huge concern.
Once, we waited until the landfill opened up a new deep area. We sent around twenty truckloads of games including ET to be buried. But word got out anyway and people showed up with shovels to dig up games. To prevent this scavenging, we ordered trucks of concrete poured over the games that had been dumped. To add insult to injury, we had to pay dump fees for the concrete in addition to the games.
Recently the news featured an archaeological dig at the landfill with great mystery. They got it all wrong.
In memory of ET, I made this spaceship or UFO from walnut. It is about 3″ high and 7″ in diameter finished with walnut oil.
I appreciate the form of classic vases and decided to turn one using open segmentation. This vase is walnut and cherry. Maple would have contrasted more but I think the tonal shades of the cherry blend nicely with the walnut. It is about 9 inches high and about 5 inches in diameter.
This vase has 17 segment rings made up of 265 segments: 7 solid rings at 12 segments; 10 open rings at 18 segments; and one center base plug. The vase is finished with sanding sealer and wipe on polyurethane.
I used an 18 segment SegEasy template to position the open segments and a Stomper Pro to assist in positioning and gluing up the rings. I used white glue for open segments so that any squeeze out would be clear. I used Titebond Original Extend to glue all other segments where squeeze out would not be a problem.
In preparation for my family reunion, I turned 11 mice and one (cat) bowl.
- Each player has several tokens. Little chocolate candies are my favorite.
- All mice are placed in the middle of the playing area. Each player holds on to their own mouse’s tail.
- One player is the cat. The cat has five chances to roll a single die.
- If the roll is a six, then the cat pounces on the mice with its bowl trying to capture as many as possible.
- When a mouse is caught, that player gives a candy token to the cat.
- If the cat pounces when it should not, the cat gives each mouse a candy token.
- After 5 die roles, a different player becomes the cat.
Many variations adapt the game to older or younger players.
In the past, I tied small corks to string to be mice. We used a cottage cheese bowl for the mouse.
This time, I turned the mice from pen blanks. Each is a little different to provide unique personalities. I used acrylic texture paint for eyes and noses and plastic lace for tails. However, plastic lace is too stiff, string would be a better tail material. I sanded the bottom of each mouse so it could sit up and pay attention. Mice are finished with friction polish.
The cat bowl is turned from a small chunk of apricot that has been drying in my shop for two years. The cat is finished with walnut oil.
Mastering the skew takes continuous practice to develop and maintain skills. Alan Lacer recommends turning an egg. To this, I’ll add this ring holder for woodturning skew practice.
In addition to convex turning from the egg, I need to practice concave turning with this wedding ring holder. It’s a simple spindle project and only takes a few minutes to turn out a beautiful project from scrap wood.
I gauge my success by how many spiral catches I experience and how smooth the concave curve it.
Give it a go. A little skew practice goes a long way.
I made this segmented oak bowl for neighbors who recently moved away. The wood came from leftovers that they had stored in their crawlspace. I wanted them to have something from the house to remember their home and the neighborhood.
The bowl is oak; 7 rings: 6 closed segment rings of 12 segments each, and 1 open segment ring of 18 segments for 91 pieces including one more in the base of the bowl. The bowl is finished with walnut oil. I could not bear the thought of filling the oak pores for a smooth shiny finish. I like the feel of oak with its pores.
Sometimes the best project is a simple project to help someone else in a small but critical way. This is the case with this project. My mother has a sentimental attachment to a stone clock that her brother in law made for her many, many years ago.
Unfortunately the clock stopped working. Testing revealed that the problem was the movement. I wished it had been the cord that would have been easy to replace.
Searches at local stores and internet sources could not find a similar movement – one that plugged into a wall socket. Searches for a battery operated movement could not find one that exactly fit the hole in the stone.
My solution was to turn a walnut ring that fit the stone and that a movement could fit into.
I glued up a 12 segment walnut ring with a rabbet on the back and a simple raised profile on the front. It is finished with shellac friction polish with no sanding.
While at the Utah Woodturning Symposium I picked up a book about Ray Allen showing his segmented work. It was inspiring and inspired this project.
Normally, segment rings must have perfectly parallel faces or else the bowl looks weird. In this case, I want the bowl to look weird — the rings are deliberately not parallel.
After gluing up the rings, I sawed them on the band saw in a somewhat diagonal manner. Then proceeded to glue up the rings to make a droopy bowl before turning it.
Woods in this bowl are: cherry, maple, padauk, oak, walnut. There are 112 segments plus 1 plug in the bottom. It is 8 inches in diameter and 5 inches high.
I’ve invited Russ Coker from a local club to turn one of his favorite projects, a fence post vase. He salvages old fence posts from Wyoming that are mostly cedar and turns them into a vase. The wood is weathered and very, very irregular.
His process is:
- Mount the wood between centers.
- Evaluate the wood for features and where to turn.
- Glue down any loose wood with CA.
- Turn a vase neck.
- Turn a dovetail mounting tenon and remount the timber to a 4 jaw chuck.
- Drill the top.
- Flare the hole and form a neck.
- Sand the turned areas.
- Apply a solution of boiled linseed oil to the weathered wood.
- Apply French polish to turned areas.
- Saw off the tenon and sand the base.
His primary tool is a large skew. He does not want to call it a weed pot because a fence post vase sells much better.
This piece of wood was scary due to its shape but turned out beautiful.
I’ve needed a set of large chuck jaws to remount bowls in order to turn their bases. I’ve used jamb chucks successfully but want to expand my options but not pay the high price of commercial cole jaws. So, I’ve made my own 17″ wood jaws to fit my vicmark chuck.
- Cut plywood to the size desired. Do NOT cut into individual jaws.
- Layout the center, 45, and 90 degree lines.
- Position a set of metal jaws on the plywood and mark the hole positions.
- Punch and drill holes for mounting to the chuck. Counter sink.
- Mount plywood to the chuck base.
- Using the lathe, mark concentric circles 1 inch apart.
- Saw the jaws apart and shape them.
- Center punch the intersection of the 45 degree lines and the concentric circles.
- Drill a 1/16 hole at each intersection.
- Drill a shallow hole for the t-nut flange on the reverse side — using the small hole for guidance.
- Drill holes for the t-nut shaft at each intersection.
- Epoxy t-nuts to jaws ensuring no epoxy gets onto the threads.
- Slide vinyl tubing onto a dowel.
- Cut the dowel and tubing to 1 inch lengths for posts.
- Using the lathe, center drill each post.
- Glue the vinyl tubing to the dowel
- Sand and finish to taste.
- Baltic birch plywood
- 8 bolts matching those used for your chuck for longer for the additional thickness of the plywood.
- 8 Cap screws long enough to go thru the post and the plywood base but no further (safety)
- T-nuts for all intersections
- 1 piece 3/4″ hardwood dowel
- 12-16″ vinyl tubing 3/4″ ID
Turn a beautiful bowl base.
Be Safe – Use slow speeds appropriate for wood jaws.
This is a followup on the rough turned green bowl of a few weeks ago. The bowl is now dry after having been soaked in alcohol. This is about six weeks instead of the year typical (for me) of air drying an typical bowl.
In this video I remount the now dry bowl to reform the tenon and the exterior. Then flip the bowl over into a chuck to turn the inside down to about 3/8″ wall thickness. Finally, I flipped the bowl back around again into a set of home made cole jaws to turn the foot.
After this experiment, for green turned bowls, I’ll:
- Rough turn the bowl.
- Soak overnight in denatured alcohol. (minimum 4 hours)
- Remove and let the alcohol dry from the surface.
- Weigh and record the weight.
- Wrap the rim with brown craft paper.
- Put latex tube loop around bowl’s rim.(optionally) Still skeptical whether this helps.
- Weight periodically until weight stabilizes.
- Remount and return the bowl as in this video.