The Simple but Ubiquitous 3 Legged Stool

Prologue I created my first 3-legged stool over 25 years ago. It was turned from poplar on an ancient Craftsmen lathe that my dad had bought for me some 25 years earlier. It was and still is “ugly” from a … Continue reading

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Online Smoothing Plane Class

The online smoothing plane construction class with Scott Meek (@SMeekWoodworks) begins tonight so this morning was about preparation and shop setup. I have found a gorgeous board of quarter sawn oak when I took the road trip last month to a sawmill run by Lumber By Lance in Ft White Fl. Now its time to get that board into the component parts for my first every wood smoothing plane built by me.

myWPEdit ImageWhen I got back to the shop from the road trip I sectioned the board into rough cut pieces and stacked and stickered them to acclimate to my shop. The lumber had been kiln dried at the mill and even with the higher humidity the past week the pieces were in perfect condition with very little movement.

The slide show above shows the four step process I used to mill and prepare the individual plane pieces. Each needs a reference edge and then over to the table saw to be cut to width. After each piece gets cut to width its back to the joiner-planer to flatten one face and make it square to the reference edge. The third machine process is to setup the thickness planer and plane each board to almost finished thickness then back to the joiner to smooth the second face. Finally each piece is cut to length and back to the table to await tonights class.

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Sometimes you have to try something new

Turning with a lathe is an interesting experience and so totally different from doing traditional wood work. Traditional or flat work is about addition. You add pieces and parts until the project is complete. Wood turning is about subtraction. You remove material until the final form appears. It often appears that all we do is “round” since that is the direction wood turning leads you. However, every so often one sees a demonstration that makes you say Wow! I can do that on a lathe.

I was reminded of that feeling earlier this year when I attend a demonstration by Al Stirt. I first met Al in 2009 when he did a workshop and demonstration for the Chesapeake Woodturners in Annapolis, MD. This time it is for the Tri-County Woodturners and the venue is Florida. Why am I telling you this — well part of Al’s demonstration is “turning” a square bowl or vessel. Thus my Wow moment.

Looking through my wood stash I found an 10″ by 10″ by 3″ block of walnut that I brought with me from Maryland 3 years ago – Perfect. Now putting turning tools up against a whirling block of hardwood usually begins by turning the square block into a circle and quieting the whirling “propeller” that is emerging on my lathe.

myWPEditImage ImageThis first image shows the vessel with a disposable oil candle installed. This candle will burn for up to 8 hours and replacements are available. the oil candle nestles snuggly in the bowl surrounded by concentric rings that are also carried into the inside top of the lid.

 

 

 

 

 

myWPEditImage ImageHere is the finished vessel with the lid installed. The domed lid is embellished like the bowl itself with concentric grooves and is topped with a turned and carved “handle”. This complete unit is turned from a single block of Amrican Walnut including the carved handle that graces the top of the lid.

 

 

 

 

 

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We finish with a closeup of the bottom of the turning. The bottom or underside of the vessel is finished with a “bowl” bottom protruding from the wings and again is enhanced with concentric grooves, my signature mark and the creation date.

This vessel also finished second in a monthly contest for members of the American Association of woodturners and appears in the October issue of their journal. It will soon be on display at teh woodturners exhibit at the Florida Stae Fair in Feburary 2013.

Thanks for viewing

Mike

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Chairs, Benches and Stools

For as long as I have been involved with woodworking I have had a fascination with objects we sit upon made of wood. Everything from simple stools to intricate chairs are fascinating. Not the the heavily upholstered or ornate versions but the cleaner simpler creations draw the eye an invite a curiosity as to the construction, joinery and style.

I doubt I can remember all the chair makers and woodturners whose work has caught my eye or influenced some of my work but the notables such as the late Sam Maloof with his signature rocking chair comes readily to mind.

 

Early in the American experience the classic lines of Windsor chairs, benches and stools with finely turned legs tenon set into a solid wood seat with an eye pleasing splay are still popular and reproduced today. Wood workers flock to schools and workshops hoping to master the techniques and subtleness of the Windsor style.

Another influence comes from the simple lines and practical funtionality of the Shakers. Shaker furniture and handcrafts were also influenced by the concepts of order, utility and durability. As with their architecture, the discarding of any unnecessary ornament resulted in distinctive furniture of simple forms and proportion, often colored with a thin Venetian red or yellow ochre wash. Craftsman did choose some of their most beautiful woods for their furniture such as maple, birch, chestnut, butternut and honey pine.

So here’s the plan. I will be creating and building several stools, benches and maybe even a chair over then next few months and will chronical that journey here. First roject will be some simple 3 legged stools from a miniature doll or teady bear size, through a woven seat stoll that every child and grandchild needs , to a chair evey child would love to have.

Hope you will follow me on this journey and maybe find a future heirloom for your family or friends.

Cheers and Happy Holidays

Mike

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Fountain Pen Care

Basic Information

All of our fountain pens are offered with optional ink pump or a standard ink cartridge pre-filled with either black or blue ink. The ink pump enables you to use a variety of water based inks in a rainbow of colors. Where indicated in the pen gallery both are provided with each pen. Fountain pen ink to use with the ink pump must be purchased separately.

Using an Ink Cartridge

The cartridge is the easiest to use. Simply unscrew the nib from the body of the pen and gently push the cartridge into the base of the nib. To get the ink started, gently squeeze the cartridge until a drop of ink appears at the tip of the nib. Wipe off any excess ink and replace the nib. You are now ready to write. When the ink runs out, clean the nib, as described below, and install another cartridge.

Should you decide to use the ink cartridge, remember to save your ink converter for cleaning purposes.

Using a Ink Pump

Always use fresh fountain pen ink which is less than a year old. Ink will evaporate overtime and become thick and clog your pen.

Using the converter is like using an ink cartridge that you fill with ink yourself. It is very simple to do, once you know how. First, unscrew the nib from the body of the pen, then gently push the converter into the base of the nib, just like you would with an ink cartridge. Next, twist the top of the converter counter clockwise until the piston moves all the way to the base of the nib. Place the nib of the fountain pen completely in the ink well. Twist the top of the converter clockwise with the nib still in the ink well and the ink should fill the reservoir as the piston moves back up. You may get nothing but air at first, don’t worry. Just bring the piston down again and repeat the process. When you have the reservoir full of ink, wipe excess ink from the nib and replace the nib on the body of the pen. You are now ready to write. When the ink runs out, clean the nib, as described below.

Cleaning

You should clean your fountain pen nib every time you refill it with ink by flushing cold water through the nib section. Never wash with hot water or alcohol. If the nib is dirty, use a solution of two-thirds cold water and one-third household ammonia. Fill the converter with the solution and flush the pen several times, then repeat with cold water to remove the solution. If the nib is clogged with ink, soak it in cold water for 24 hours. Fountain pen ink is water soluble. Allow the nib to dry thoroughly before filling with ink.

General Information

If you will not be using your pen for several weeks, empty the ink and clean the pen by flushing with cold water.

When not in use, store your fountain pen in an upright position. Storing your fountain pen on its side or in a downward position may allow the ink to dry and eventually clog your pen.

When traveling by plane, carry your fountain pen with the nib up. To prevent air pressure from forcing ink through the nib, the ink cartridge should be completely filled or left empty. An almost empty cartridge, where the amount of air is greater than the amount of ink, is more likely to leak than a full cartridge.

Remember, Do not press hard when you write. The beauty and advantage of a fountain pen is that it flows with the touch of paper. Pressing hard may result in ink flow problems.

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