Woodturning overview

In 2013 I somehow managed to acquire a wood turning lathe. Turning is a hobby that people normally take up after they retire and I have always been reasonably skeptical about it (possibly because I’d only seen people make mushrooms). However, I was surprised by how satisfying it was to be able to start and finish a project in a matter of minutes / hours - rather than weeks (c.f. projects like the workbenches). Added to this, because the lathe is doing all the work you can get an amazing finish with a few bits of sand paper and some beeswax.

This is another example where the Internet, and particularly YouTube, accelerates the learning curve. Rather than peer at library books or stab dangerously at the wood with a bewildering array of extremely sharp tools, you can now scrutinise the techniques of experts that have uploaded videos. Carl Jacobson is particularly easy to follow but there are many excellent channels..

Oak 3d electron orbital

My first proper project in hardwood. I didn’t want to go down the traditional turning route - so went for the science angle instead. This is a model of a 3d electron orbital with detached ring of electrons. Not yet worked out how to do an sp3 tetrahedral version…

Ash spatula handle

A simple proof of concept in Ash - to replace a plastic handle.

Oak coffee tamper handle

An oak handle to replace a plastic handle on a free coffee tamper.

Ash bee candle holder

An ash candle stick holder for some beeswax candles made by my mum. The flat design seemed to work as the candles are quite short and wide and didn’t look right with a tall candlestick.

Ash bowl

An ash bowl that is now being used to keep kiwi fruits under control.

Walnut bowl

Another bowl, this time in walnut.

Ash tealights

A set of ash tea-light holders. I tried to keep the design simple and avoid frilly coves and beads. These gave me my first glimpse of how hard wood turning actually is - making one thing is relative easy - making two identical is much more tricky!

Sorby ProEdge

This is a Sorby ProEdge Sharpening System, which I finally bought after a ridiculous amount of research into slow speed grinders, different sized grinder wheels, water-based grinders, cubic boron nitride grinding wheels, and a myriad jigs. There doesn’t appear to be a clear answer to what is the best sharpening system and there is a lot of “my system works for me” going on. There are also people who will swear black is white, whilst other are equally vehement that black is not a colour (actually it turns out that there is no pink light). Anyway, the Sorby seems to work well and I’ve now sharpened everything in sight with it. It does a good job of hand planes, flat chisels, kitchen knives and even garden implements.

The machine in question is an old Clarke CWL12 that needed a few tweaks but seems to work well enough for a complete beginner like me.

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