Thursday, September 1, 2011

Road Trip

Once again I have been procrastinating with the blog. Busy? Yes. But I really have no good excuse but being so focused on other things.
Speaking of focus, Jake Wiens stopped by the shop to shed some light on photographing chairs. We used the youth high chair as a specimen. Below are two examples of his work. He gave me some good pointers on how to use a cheap flash and poster boards positioned above the chair to bounce light in the right places. He took these photos which brought out the detail better than I normally get. Jake works as a professional videographer and photographer for promotional programs out of California. Good job Jake.

Recently I went to Jonesboro to meet Curtis Buchanan to shop the log yard for sugar maple. He was so kind to give of his time like this. He knows how to find the really good stuff and it's only 20 minutes from his shop. We found 2 perfect logs and one slightly stained but still very straight for turning stock. I love the shot of his shop in the background. It looks as if it grew there.
This is what I brought home. You can see the flared out stump end sections I cut off. I give these to bowl turners.
Below you can see how Curtis lays out the log to split with the froe. No doubt this is the best way to follow the grain but I use another method using the saw mill. I don't think Curtis likes my process but let me plead my case.
First I cut the log into two 6 or 7 foot lengths and mount on the mill. Then simply measure and level the piths with shims on each end of the log. This method only works this well with really straight logs so only buy the best.
I saw the boards into heavy 8/4 or 9/4 thickness.
Then I chop saw the boards to length according to what I need ( legs, arms, stretchers. etc.) and carefully follow the grain with a straight edge to band saw the individual turning blanks. Don't forget to seal the end grain or you will find yourself in "Checkville".
Then simply round them all and stack to air dry. You can see the grain running true through the piece. Are they all a 100% perfect? No but those who don't make the chair will create lots of heat. Sometimes I get blanks at the butt end of the log with flare-out and cross grain but I still end up with hundreds of turning blanks really fast. If I didn't have to supply so many chair classes then I would just rive them like I do the oak for bending and spindles. But I have hundreds of turnings to complete so this will be my method. Sorry Curtis.