Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Thoughts on Turning, Solar and Kickstarter

I've come to the realization that for the next few weeks, I've got three big projects going on in and about the shop. One feeds my woodworking muse, the second will allow me to woodwork beyond November this year and the third will hopefully allow me to raise funds and get some new tools.

1) Turning

I've finally fallen off the deep end of the spinny slope and am turning as often as I can. I"m still making 'practice' pieces, as evidenced by my last post: First. I've owned my lathe for quite awhile now, it isn't fancy, and it is my First lathe. If I have my 'druthers' it will be handed down to whichever of my sons wants to learn how to turn.  (Boys if you're reading this, don't all speak at once...)

I have a largish pile of wet maple and cherry wood sitting out in the back yard at the moment. I'm going to 'lose' some of it, as I know i can't turn it all in time before it dries out and starts to check. So mote it be, I'm having a ball turning as much of it as I can.  Up until now I've turned perhaps half a dozen pens and precisely One bowl thanks to my friend Don Orr. I Really can't count that one bowl, as he drove, I just held the tools. 

 Here is a photo of the results when I borrowed an electric chainsaw and went to town on several maple logs from our side yard. Our neighbor decided to clearcut his land, and we have lost three lovely maple shade trees. The only Good thing  to come of it is that I have several logs to work on. His clean-up crew were nice enough to cut the logs to rough length for me, and after borrowing Scott & Helen's chainsaw for an afternoon, I wound up with a bunch of shavings and a pile of turning stock

while I 'knew' that turning wet wood was fun from a visit to my friend Bill's shop when he first got his Robust Americna Beauty Lathe. I was fortunate enough to be invited to his robust warming party, and took a few cuts on a truly massive hunk of cherry. 

It was enough to 'hook me'. It took awhile, but I've been turning on my own little midi lathe this week. In addition to my first funnel, I have 4 bowls in various stages of drying out. Eventually I'll re chuck them on the lathe, get them back to round and get them turned to finished thickness.

 Same bowl... different view

My first maple bowl roughed out.
Not a bad curve. My buddy Vaughn over on Family Woodworking commented on my funnel that the form was wonky. He pointed out here that most newbie turners make wide flat bowls, as we are thinking more about the tool, less about the form.  I wholeheartedly agreed.
There is the maple bowl on the lathe, as you can see I tried to have a pleasant curve, and the foot/tenon for the chuck is fairly well integrated into the shape. 

2) Solar wall

I hope to get the last couple of boards installed on the north end of the shop this weekend. I'm going to enlist my son Adam's help on this. He's fearless on the ladder and allowed as how he could get that done for me in short order. 

Once that is done, I'm going to be putting tyvek on the entire  south end of the shop as I mentioned a couple of posts back as preparation. Once I have the tyvek up,   I have several sheets of the t-111 handy.  I'll be putting that up on the wall as the 'back' section of the solar wall. I'm going to focus on the lower 10' or so of the face, as that is where I'll be putting up the solar collection.  I've got to see how much the glazing will run me, if I can swing it, I'll order enough for the project this week, and pick it up next paycheck a week from now. 

3) Kickstarter Campaign

I'm in the process of starting a small Kickstarter campaign. I hope to raise enough funds to get a few new tools for my shop. Depending on the success of the campaign I would like to pick up at least a Grizzly 12" Belt Sander,  this will allow me to safely and quickly surface my cutting boards, increasing production in my hobby shop. 

I have a couple of other 'gee that would be nice' tools in mind as well, but at the very least I'm aiming at that sander, possibly adding a Ridgid Oscillating Belt sander and a set of Gripper push blocks. 

If things go truly nuts, I'll be replacing my jointer next, but I'll of course be very happy if I get just the one Belt Sander. I'm fortunate enough to live within an easy drive of one of Grizzly's showrooms, I'd just have to steal Lori's SUV for the day.  More on this as things finalize in the coming weeks. My plan is to do a thirty day window, and then ship the rewards to my backers just in time for the holiday season. 

At the same time, I also expect to be opening up an Etsy shop and stocking that for the holidays as well. Going to be a busy fall.

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