Woodturning For Pure Art

Turned Wood Art

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This piece is not functional. It is only for viewing as art. But art is useful in its own way. It challenges the mind and pleases the eye.

This art is made from walnut using segmented woodturning. It is formed 76 segments with 8 more segments used as temporary support. It is finished with sanding sealer and wax.

This piece is a challenge to create. Since it is fragile, I will not be letting my grandchildren play with it. They’ll have to play with otherĀ turnings. :)


Woodturning Is For The Birds

Wood Birds

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I turned these two birds to answer the challenge by my local woodturning club. The club often challenges its members to bring in a challenge turning after a presentation on the same topic. Last month, Kathleen Duncan demonstrated turning wood birds. Hence the challenge topic.

These birds are about 3 inches long turned from walnut and elm and finished with shellac.


Woodturning A Hollow Reversible Tea Light

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Walnut Tea LightAfter I made the UFO spaceship for E.T. a few weeks ago, a viewer suggested it could also be a tea light.

Well, how do you turn a UFO into a tea light? Tough question.

So, I started over with a new piece of walnut about 7″ x 3″. I wanted a recess to hold a LED tea light. As the design evolved, I realized it could also be reversible. I’ve hollowed out the interior to make the form very light.

However, there is no access to the interior.

How did I do that?


Update To My DIY Lathe Steady Rest

Steady Rest

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I’ve been using my home made steady rest for over a year. During this time, I’ve thought of a couple of improvements:

  1. Use locknuts in place of the nuts. Vibration in use caused nuts to come loose and fall off.
  2. Replace the base that mounts it to the lathe so that I can place the tool rest closer to the project and the steady rest.

Other than the nuts, replacing the base was the easy part. I still needed the steady to be adjustable so the key upgrade was a coupling assembly. This assembly enables the steady upright to be attached to the base but enables adjustment without any tools.

I used the original steady replacing the base, adding the coupling assembly, and shortening the steady’s upright. Here’s a link to the original steady rest. Here’s a link to the original post.

I hope you will find this upgrade as useful as I am.

Please be sure to understand this project completely so that you can adapt the measures to your lathe and so that you can use it safely. When you make your own tools you have both the opportunity to make quality tools adapted to your own projects and the sole responsibility for safety.



Revisit Mixed Open & Closed Segment Bowl

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Mixed Open & Closed Segment BowlA few weeks ago I made this bowl for my neighbor who had moved away. But, before I could give it to him, segments in the base separated. Likely, the wood was not a dry as I had assumed.

So, to fix this problem, I made a new segment ring. I planned to leave the very center open and fill it with casting resin. I could have cut the entire old ring off but decided to inset the new ring inside the old base rim. However, creating two tenons with a shoulder between was problematic. The joint inside the bowl was too wide for my tastes. So, I opened the top portion of the joint a little more with a parting tool. Then I filled the entire bottom, both center and ring with casting resin.

Meanwhile, it seemed that my segments were taking on moisture my the glue and warping while gluing. This may have been the cause for the original failure. I took extra precautions to maintain pressure while gluing to avoid the warping. We’ll have to see if this works as planned. I’ll hold off giving my former neighbor the bowl for a few more weeks.


Hollow Form UFO Spaceship For My Old Friend ET

Walnut UFOI 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.


Woodturning Open Segment Hollow Form Vase

Segmented VaseI 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.


Woodturning Cat And Mouse Children’s Game

Cat and Mouse Game
In preparation for my family reunion, I turned 11 mice and one (cat) bowl.

To play:

  1. Each player has several tokens. Little chocolate candies are my favorite.
  2. All mice are placed in the middle of the playing area. Each player holds on to their own mouse’s tail.
  3. One player is the cat. The cat has five chances to roll a single die.
    1. If the roll is a six, then the cat pounces on the mice with its bowl trying to capture as many as possible.
    2. When a mouse is caught, that player gives a candy token to the cat.
    3. If the cat pounces when it should not, the cat gives each mouse a candy token.
  4. 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.


Woodturning Skew Practice – A Wedding Ring Holder

Ring HoldersMastering 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.


Woodturn A Mixed Open & Closed Segmented Bowl

Segmented OakI 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.