Woodturning My Grandson’s Wood Ball With Bell Inside

Cedar Bell BallMay also be viewed on YouTube – But best right here!

After visiting my grandson I wanted to turn something appropriate for his age. However, he’s 18 months and probably too old for a typical baby rattle. He’s very active so I decided to make a ball. However, a wood ball can be quite heavy and potentially destructive. A hollow ball reduces this risk. However, a little noise to go with the ball. A metal bell does the trick. But since the ball could break, I need the bell to be big enough that he cannot swallow it since everything and anything goes into an infant’s mouth. So I used a larger bell at 1.25″.

To be food safe, I finished the ball with mineral oil and beeswax which turns out to be my sanding media. So, as I sand the ball, I’m finishing it also. A fringe benefit is to soften my hands and scent the air with a little honey smell.

My ball is 3″ in diameter from cedar harvested from a tree in my backyard.

Here’s a link to the octagon chart.

Good turning.

Woodturning A Summer Ice Cream Delight

Ice Cream Box

Video may also be viewed on YouTube – But best right here.

I’m still not at home in my new shop but that is not going to stop me from turning.

After enjoying ice cream with my granddaughters, I decided to attempt to turn an ice cream cone.

My ice cream is turned from cedar for the cone and oak for the ice cream. Both woods are products of urban forestry. The cedar came from a tree that was in my back yard. The oak came from a friend’s neighbor after a storm damaged their tree.

The complete ice cream serving is about 5 inches tall and 2 inches diameter finished with Mylands Friction Polish.

The question now is along the ice cream theme. What else could I do to transform or enhance my ice cream? Hmmmm.

Good turning.

Woodturning Small Bowl – A Surprising Beauty

Pine Burl Bowl

May also be viewed on YouTube – But Better Right Here!

Finally, the intermission is over and I can turn again. I cannot find all my tools yet but here goes.

I don’t know for sure what wood this is or where I obtained it. After turning it, I believe it is pine based on the smell like turpentine.

At the start, I did not know what it would look like. It was a mass of branches coming from a small slice of the edge of a tree.

However this 8″ by 2″ bowl surprised me with it convoluted figure and grain. Some of the bark inclusions were soft and punky — these I gently scraped out.

The bowl is finished with beeswax and mineral oil. Once I find my buffing wheels, I’ll buff it for a great sheen.

Meanwhile, I need to work on re-establishing my turning studio – aka shop.

Good turning.

Airbrush Acrylic Finish To Enhance Plain Wood Plate

May also be viewed on YouTube – Be better here. :)

Poplar with AirbrushHappy New Year.

I started work on this poplar dish to prepare for a airbrush workshop taught by Jay Shepherd at Williamette Valley Woodturners. The poplar is approximately 9″ diameter and 2″ tall. Initially, I finished it with shellac friction polish to seal the wood.

Then at Jay Shepherd’s workshop, he recommended that I paint only the interior of the dish with an iridescent brown acrylic paint with my airbrush. That part was easy. The harder part then is to apply a rattle can clear lacquer and wet sand between every 6 to 10 coats.

I’ve made it thru 220 grit wet sanding and have added new layers but not enough to sand with 400 grit. Sanding is to remove any imperfections and orange peel and build a finish so that the surface reflects like a mirror.

My last sanding will be with 600 grit paper.

For the lacquer spraying, I made a stand to hold the dish while I spray the lacquer.

Good turning.

2015 Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge Results

May also be viewed on YouTube – But Best Right Here

Official Challenge Playlist at this link.


  • Craft Supplies USA –www.woodturnerscatalog.com
  • Robust Woodturning Tools – www.turnrobust.com
  • Chefware Kits – www.chefwarekits.com
  • Pony Tools Inc. – www.ponytools.com
  • Easy Woodtools – www.easywoodtools.com
  • Lyle Jamieson – http://lylejamieson.com
  • Hunter Tools – http://huntertoolsystems.com
  • Konifer Watch – www.koniferwatch.com
  • Zack Fuller

Challenge Victors

  1. Justin Fiaschetti
  2. Jose Alberto Giordano
  3. Daniel Vilarino
  4. Sam Angelo
  5. Terry Vance



Inside out

LED Globe





Plan now for the 2016 Christmas Ornament Challenge.

Molly Winton Demonstrates Wood Burn Basket Weave Brand

Molly Winton Vase

May also be viewed on YouTube – But please stay here if you can!

For this video, I have a special guest, Molly Winton. I recently attended one of her workshops where she taught pyrography or woodburning. She was a great teacher and gave me the bug — I have to incorporate wood burning into some of my projects.

In this video, Molly demonstrates making her basket weave tip and how to best use it. She uses 20 gage wire (sometimes 22 gage). She uses a hex drill bit as a mandrel that is cut off where the flutes begin. A vise grip holds nichrome wire to the hex part of the mandrel. She wraps the wire five times, removes it from the mandrel, then straightens and trims the leads.

Molly’s website: http://www.turningmaven.com/

Molly’s email: TurningMaven@hotmail.com

If you have a chance to attend one of her demo’s or workshops – DO IT!

If you want woodburning tips pre-made by Molly visit Packard Woodworks at http://www.packardwoodworks.com/

Here’s a link to my Vaporizer (power supply) video
and a link to my woodburning pen and a link to my first woodburning project.

Good turning.

Christmas Drum Ornament For Little Drummer Boy

May also be viewed on YouTube – But best right here.

Drum OrnamentThis video uses the third and last pieces of wood glued into a stave segmented block: The first was a traditional globe ornament; then a vase ornament; and now a drum ornament.

I do not know the pen blank wood – this wood was part of a “exotic tropical wood” pen blank Black Friday sale a couple of years ago. However, I did use Padauk in between each pen blank.

The tropical wood is quite soft and tears out from end grain very easily. This ornament is finished with Mylands Friction Polish.

To finish turning the exterior of my cylinder, I needed to customize a chuck to hold and center the hollow wood. The chuck is a threaded wood faceplate with a t-nut to receive a bolt from the other side. Small adapters turned from cedar center the cylinder. Check out my video of February 2013 for how to make threaded wood faceplates. I use them all the time.

Walnut discs form the drum heads.

The drum is for the Little Drummer boy who beats his drum for the baby Jesus.

Good turning.

Check out the Christmas Ornament Challenge playlist here at this link.

Christmas Ornament Vase Reminds Of Spirit Of Giving

May also be viewed via YouTube – but best right here.

Christmas Vase OrnamentThis Christmas vase is turned from mixed “tropical pen blanks”. I had glued up the pen blanks for an earlier project and had ample left over. Move than enough for this project.

Since the wood was already glued up, this was a simple project. I hollowed it, then added a top and a bottom to the vase.

It reminds me of the gifts given the the Christ Child.

Good turning.

Meanwhile, we’re starting the judging for the Christmas Ornament Challenge – What a tough job. :)

DIY Pyrography Pen And Tip For My Woodburning

Pen Still 03 WSMay also be viewed on YouTube – But Better Here!

There’s still time to enter this year’s Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge. See this year’s challenge playlist here for all ornament video submissions.

We appreciate all skill levels and all types of Christmas ornaments.


As promised, this is my build video for my DIY or home made pen for pyrography or woodburning on my woodturning projects.

This pyrography pen uses;

  • 6″ ¾” PVC pipe
  • 6-8 feet 14 gauge insulated stranded wire – Ace Hardware
  • ¼” Male Power Jack
  • 4 PA10HDS-R connectors from connector strip – #215029 TERMINAL BLOCK,12-POS,10MM, $2.3900 – Jameco Electronics
  • 8” – 1/8” brass rod
  • JB Weld Epoxy
  • 1 cotton ball
  • 1–strip thick veneer, popsicle stick, or solid wood a little longer than the brass rod plus connector length
  • electrical tape.

The most difficult item to source are the connectors. I could not find them in local stores such as Radio Shack or Fry’s. I ordered them online from Jameco electronics. Others from my club found them at a commercial electronics supply firm.

The connectors are sold in a block of connectors. I tried to unscrew the screws to extract the metal tube but could not remove the screw from the plastic housing. Then I succeeded when I tightened the screw then clipped the plastic and pried back the plastic. Then I could easily remove the screw and slide out the metal connector.

I soldered the wire to my 1/4″ power jack which matches the jack I installed in the vaporizer.

I cut two pieces of 1/8″ brass rod about 4 inches long and tightened a connector to each end. Then I glued the flats on the metal connectors on one brass rod to a piece of veneer. After the glue dried, turned it over and glued the other rod with connectors to the other side. Then I wrapped both ends with electrical tape.

With my sub assembly complete, I connected the wire and inserted the rod assembly into the PVC pipe. After stuffing cotton into each end, I filled each end with JB Weld epoxy.

This completed the pen.

Home made tips are made from nichrome wire 18 to 22 gauge. Molly Winton recommends 20 or 22 gauge.

My pen can use both Razortip commercial tips and home made tips.

This is a great project, very economical, to create a variety of effects applied to woodturning projects. My “Vaporizer” packs enough power punch to drive even larger pens.

Good turning.

Home Made Vaporizer for “Pyrography”/Woodburning

May also be viewed on YouTube – but better here!

There’s still time to enter this year’s Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge. Follow this link for details and and this separate link for this year’s challenge playlist for all ornament video submissions.

We appreciate all skill levels and all types of Christmas ornaments.

VaporizerAs promised, this is my build video for my DIY or home made power supply to use for pyrography or woodburning on my woodturning projects. Graeme Priddle is the source for this design that he called a “Vaporizer”.

This vaporizer uses a battery charger modified to remove much of the internal circuitry with the addition of a household dimmer switch.

  • 1- Harbor Freight – 10/2/50 Amp 12V Manual Charger With Engine Start ~$39.99 – watch for a sale and/or coupon.
  • 1- Ace Hardware – Lutron Push On/Off Dimmer (D-600PH-3K) ~$9.49
  • 2- ¼” Female Panel Mount Jacks

In Graeme Priddle’s notes, he often uses a NAPA battery charger. I don’t believe this matters as long as you can figure out the internal wiring that needs to be removed. He also hard wires his pyrography pen to avoid any power loss from the connection. However, I chose to mount two 1/4″ sockets in the front panel to enable two pens to be plugged in at once. However, only one can be used at a time. I used a switch from the battery charger to control which switch is powered.

The most difficult part was routing power to the switch and to the power sockets. Had I used a single in-line connection, the work would have been much simpler.

At the input to the battery charger, I removed a circuit board and wired the dimmer switch into the black or power input wire. I had to use additional wire to make the connections since there was just not enough extra wire.

On the output side, I traced back the wires leading out to the battery clamps. I was able to remove a couple more pc boards that otherwise control current.

After removing these components, I soldered a wire leading from the front meter to the center connector of the switch that originally controlled amperage. Then I soldered wires from the two poles of the switch to the power socket terminals.

I cut these wires from the output cable running to the battery clamps. This wire is heavier and should handle the power adequately.

Another couple of wires from the other connectors on the power sockets and connected to a wire that originaly lead to a component.

For operation, power is controlled by the push on/push off operation of the dimmer switch then by rotating the dimmer clockwise to increase power. It’s best to start with the dimmer rotated completely to the left.

The front switch controls which power socket will receive power. Two pens can be plugged in but only one will receive power.

This power supply has ample power to drive a large pen tip and to quickly reheat a tip after a touch to burn wood.

Please remember to unplug when not in use. Rotate the dimmer counter-clockwise before powering up. Let tips cool before touching. Whoever uses and modifies a commercial unit to adapt its use has to take full responsibilities for maintenance, safety and proper operation.

That said, this is a great project, very economical, to create a variety of effects applied to woodturning projects.

In another video, I’ll show how to make a pen to use with this power supply. Don’t worry, the pen is easier than the power supply.

Good turning.