Thursday, 29 March 2012

Having Fun for a Good Cause

I spent last weekend at the Matisho Memorial benefit for cancer research.  This is a two day get-together for woodturners to turn, learn, and socialize.  The price of admission is a cheque made out to the Canadian Cancer Society.  The event is open to anyone who wants to attend and is not limited to turners.  Carvers have been coming for years.  A couple of girls demonstrated marbling last year and this year they were kept busy marbling all sorts of turnings.  This year also had people doing inlay, airbrushing, and even a blacksmith.

Encouraging new turners is also a big part of the weekend.  This year there must have been at least 20 kids from eight to fifteen that came in to try their hands at turning.  Last year a man came in with a beautiful chunk of spalted maple and asked if anyone could make a bowl for him.  Of course someone will, they said, and that someone is you.  He soon found himself in front of a lathe turning his first bowl.  He was back this year with his own lathe and brought his kids with him.

I would love to show you a lot of pictures of everything that went on this weekend but my camera simply would not co-operate.  It seemed every time I wanted to take a picture I had to take the batteries out and switch them around.  It made it almost impossible to catch any of the action, but here are a couple of shots I did get:

It's a pretty relaxed weekend and there is not any pressure to get anything done.  you can turn for a while, grab a coffee and a snack, wander around and watch or ask questions.  People come up and chat with you while you're turning and it's kind of like blogging except you know someone is listening.

I did manage, with several tries, to get a few shots of what I was working on.  When there are a lot of people around to ask for advice I like to try something new.  This time it was multi-axis turning.  I had a blank about 1-1/4" square by 12" long that would make a good stem for a candlestick.  I started by marking the centre at each end and then marked out eight more points along the diagonals as shown in the picture below:

The inner points are about 3/16" from the centre and the outer one about 1/2"

My plan was to make a crankshaft-sort-of-looking-kind-of-thing with larger and smaller diameters stacked up with various offsets.  I would always use the same offset in the same direction so the axis I was turning on would always be parallel to the original centre line.  I rounded off most of the blank leaving the ends square so the outer points would have more support.  Next I turned a tennon to attach the top off the candlestick.  Then I moved the blank to a set of the inner points and made a round section centred on that axis.

It became clear in a hurry that I was not going to be using the outer set of points.  I was really surprised how much smaller the diameter became with such a small change of centre.  Once my focus readjusted I changed the centres again and made another cut.

I proceeded, then backed up, and proceded again, working my way down the blank.

Once I had finished the stem I moved on to the base.  First I turned it round and then I offset it a bit and turned a short tenon on the bottom.  This is the best picture I was able to get.

You can see the second centre point and you can almost see the offset tenon.  I mounted the tenon in my chuck and turned a hole in the top side of the base that matched the bottom tenon of the stem.  After I had a snug fit I turned the rest of the base.

Believe it or not it took me all day to get that done. 

The next morning I started on the top of the candlestick.  Again I started by turning the blank round between centres but this time I turned the tenon on the same centreline.  Before I mounted it in the chuck I took it to the drill press and drilled a 1" offset hole in the tenon.  I then took it back to the lathe and turned another hole to match the tenon on top of the stem, then rounded off the shoulders.

Once this was done I changed my regular chuck jaws for pin  jaws and stuck them into the 1" hole.  I then made a cove cut on the inside of the blank to give me this result:

And here it is assembled:

I felt that a piece this wonky needed something special for a finish so I headed over to the marbling station.  I really don't know too much about the preparation of the marbling bath except it contains something calle 'alum'? which allows the acrylic paint to float on top of the water.  The paint is then added by whisk and stylus a drop at a time until you feel you have enough.  It is best to use at least three contrasting colors.  When you feel that you have enough paint you may or may not 'comb' the paint.  I did, and this is what the bath looked like just before I dipped:

And here are some shots of the finished candlestick:

I did get started on another multi axis turning but none of the pictures I took survived.  I'll finish it at a later date and post it then.

1 comment:

  1. That is very neat! My dad was a carpenter/fine wood finisher, and this brings back many memories :-)