Sunday, December 8, 2013

Anti-Hand Burning Device

As a spindle turner on occasion I have to turn something longer than should be turned between centers. This was the case last week when April made the spinning wheel and we had to turn a wool bar the was over 40'' long and only 1 1/2'' in diameter. Needless to say I almost burned up my hand trying to keep this thing from vibrating. It just flexed way too much.
 I am sure many of you have seen different ways to dampen vibration with a steady rest. There are several commercially made versions that cost more than I could rationalize. Making one seemed the only option. The first thing to come to mind is the old in-line skates that me and my wife purchased in the early 90's and no longer use. I can't believe we still had them. Gravity has made it unsafe for me to skate anymore and my hockey career never took off. So lets see what a steady rest looks like.
 The wheel come off easy with an allen wrench. I took off the spacers and a 5/16th bolt fits perfect. Next I mapped out my design on poster board and cut out the body out of 3/4 plywood.
 Some scrap wood and some hardware and I was in business.
 As you can see the adjustable wheel mounts are set in dados in the body. This keeps it lined up and strong. One wing nut to adjust and it stays very firm.
 I built the base so everything lines up with the drive centers on the lathe. One bolt to hold this in place.
 In use it works really well. I have several cant hook handles to turn which are 42'' long so now I won't burn my hand trying to hold out the vibrations.
 Last week I made a trip to Johnny Watson's farm in Dickson. He wanted to show me the wonderful hardwood forest he has. To my surprise it was covered up with these perfect white oaks. Johnny just became my best friend.
 Here is a shot of one of the sheds at Johnny's farm. He has lots of old tools that need handles. I guess that steady rest will come in handy.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Classes Offered for 2014

Here are the classes I will offer for this coming year. I may add to this later if needed. All chair classes are $1000 including materials unless otherwise noted. Turnings will be provided for every chair class. Lunch will be provided each day. Send an email to hold a class. I can take up to 4 students per class.

Jan and Feb classes are full.
March 10-15- Sack Back
May 5-10-Sack back
June 9-14 Continuous-Arm

July 7-9 Solid Wood Dovetailed Cabinet....$395   Cherry or Walnut included.
 August 8-10 Windsor Live Edge Bench.........$350 including materials
I will also be teaching this class at Marc Adams School of Woodworking  October 18-19
 November 9-16 Writing Arm (8 day class, longer if needed). $1650 including materials.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Spinning Out of Control

Everyone has probably heard of a spinning wheel but I bet few have used one and even fewer have made one. April asked me if I thought we could build this version of a spinning wheel. As usual without hesitation I agreed we could. I mean, why not? It's just wood, right? Right from the start I thought the biggest challenge would be this wheel but this proved to be one of the easier parts to this extremely advanced project. Don't get me wrong, I have really enjoyed this journey and have great appreciation to those that built these generations ago.
 Wheel assembled and cut out ready to be turned by my good friend Barry Werner(professional turner) who did a fantastic job. My lathe was too small and Barry is a perfectionist.
 Here is the grooves that Barry turned, sweet......
 I have to jump ahead because I did not take many pictures. April did an awesome job on the spindle turnings. There were lots of metal fabrication that we did. Nothing pre-fab here. Everything was made from scratch.This project has taught me a lot and I hope to make one for myself someday. I live next door to an alpaca farm so I could make my own socks.
 April seemed very happy with the results.Tonight  Ziggy and April have moved on to start their new life in Berea, Ky. I enjoyed having them in the shop again and look forward to seeing the finished spinning wheel on my next visit to Berea. Best of luck you two!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Timber Frame Update

Work has been slow on the little timber shed. The frame has turned a nice shade of grey. Recently I had two red cedar trees that had to be taken down at my parents house, (my childhood home). These trees grew deep in the woods and were estimated between 120-150 years old. They were about 40 feet tall which is tall for cedar. The upper logs made nice front porch post for my shed. 

 All I had to do was draw knife off the bark and cut to length. They peel like potatoes.
 My good friends Ziggy and April have stopped by and offered their help with this process. I wish I had their energy. be young again.
 April peels the last log. Looks like she is having fun.
 They teach timber frame workshops up in Missouri which they are moving from on their way to their new home in Berea, Kentucky. It's always great to have fresh ideas from people who live these methods of work. Using hand tools and working by eye is something not many people do anymore.

 The post are notched at the top to house the top plate. Easy to accomplish with square timbers but round post require more thought. Notice the cool log dogs that Ziggy uses to keep the post in place while working.
 All the post fit like a glove. Today we cut and fit all the wall girts. I will be ready for wrapping the building with 4/4 lumber as soon as I can get back to the mill which is still in Indiana. Thanks again for the great work Ziggy and April. You two are the best!
 I have started the tool cabinet for Jet and hope to post more on this soon.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Camping Boxes-What?

Let me introduce you to Hendersonville native Johnny Watson. Johnny is a retired police officer that works harder than most people I know. He has some really cool tractors and I help him bush hog on occasion and he helps me pull trees from creek beds. He came to me and wanted to know if I could build him some camping boxes that he could pack on mules to carry through the rocky mountains when he goes elk hunting. This was a first for me but boxes? How hard could it be? 

 After following some very strict measurements this is what we came up with. Being the woodworker that I am I had to dovetail the drawer and burn an elk on the front. I think it adds something, don't you?

 Four boxes, two for each mule. They stand up when at camp to make a kitchen. These will be going to Montana soon. Actually as I am writing this they are probably there now. I hope Johnny brings back some elk steaks to cook on the Kamado Joe grill!
 I do still make chairs and just completed 4 sack backs for a lady in Nashville. Soon I will schedule a class for the sack back probably in March. My comb back rocker class is full for January. Next week I'll be building a tool cabinet like the one in my shop for Jet to use for a photo shoot. More to come.....

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Burgess Falls

Fall break is coming to an end and soon everyone will be back in school and getting back to normal (whatever that is). Today was the day to spend away from the shop so my wife, Kim, decided we should take a hike up to Burgess Falls. I had not been there in 20 years and I new Logan would love everything about it. We packed a picnic lunch and drove up to Cookeville and followed the signs to Burgess Falls State Park. It is only 8 miles off I-40 and well worth the drive. I took the tripod along and tried my hand at waterfall photography.

 I wish I could build my shop next to this fall. It is a thing of beauty and the sounds are incredible.
 Logan shows the scale of this thing. There are 3 main waterfalls down this trail and this is the big one at the end.
 Logan collected a rock to add to our collection from around the country. We had a blast today and my stress level has washed away with the falls. We may have to come back when the leaves change in a few weeks. I guess it is good that the government didn't shut down state parks.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Comb Back Rocker Class Opportunity

Here is a rare opportunity to build your very own comb back rocking chair. I have a few spaces open for a class January 13th-18th, 2014. I usually don't teach this chair due to the level of difficulty but I have had lots of interest and can't say no. We will start with logs and complete every step to complete this classic rocker. I had a student who completed this chair in 5 days but we will complete it in 6 days. It will be lots of work but I promise we will have fun. I can only take 4 students so don't put it off if you want to make this chair. The best part is I am only charging $1000 for the class which includes materials and lunch everyday. I will supply the turnings due to time restraints but we will cover turning basics. I have 3 spaces left so contact me by email or phone soon. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Logan's First chair

My son came to me one day and wanted to learn to build a chair...............

 I apologize for all the photos but I am a proud father. Logan took this chair to school as a school project in history. They were studying the period 1700-1800. He asked his teacher if he could make a chair for his project and the teacher simply said, "If you can".........well, he did.