Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Back in November I mentioned that I had ordered pen making supplies and I hadn't posted about turning pens mainly because I've been to busy turning pens. Making stuff on the laths is a lot of fun.

I've been making pens and pencils for gifts and have made several for other people to give as gifts. I am looking forward to making more pens to sell and custom orders after Christmas.
A apple wood Designer pen 

Mechanical Pencils

These are more of the walnut that my Grandpa cut down from his farm. I turned 7 of these in March when I was learning to make pens.

In the new year I want to expand the styles of pens and see where it all leads. I've a had a lot of fun the last month turning pens.

I am going to have to do some modifications to the lathe though. The lathe had a dead center on the tail stock and the pen mandrel has wore away the point. I have made a spacer/bushing that is working for now, but I plan to have the tail stock machined to take a morse taper so it can then use modern live centers and accessories like a modern lathe can take.
This is the tail stock quill that I need to have a taper bored into

There should be a sharp point in the center of this.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Black Friday Shop-ing

I didn't see anything I had to have from the black Friday ads so instead of venturing out into that mess I went to my messy shop. It was a good day in the shop, I worked on the lathe and turned a maple Christmas ornament and made a pine snowman. The snow man didn't come out how I saw him in my head but my wife liked him.
this is my favorite ornament yet

snowman in the rough

 After I painted him my wife painted on a face and buttons. Still needs some sticks for arms and I am going to carve a nose for him.
I had some good help painting the snowman.
The kids came out and worked in the shop with me for a while. They colored, and played with blocks, and then we built some of the build and grow kits from lowes.

Friday afternoon I took advantage of the warmer temperature and put Christmas lights on the house. I like to think this is just Phase 1 of lights because I would like to add more.

My supervisor kept an eye on me while I was on the roof.

I don't enjoy going up on the roof but it is a nice view from up there.
It was a decent day and this kind of shop-ing is way better than the other. (unless you are buying tools, then its okay)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More of Grandpa's tool

Grandma had told me a while a go I could have grandpa's drill press and with some of my up coming projects I was needing it so over the weekend we went to see grandma and to pick up the drill press. I haven't been able to find how old the drill press is, but it looks to be in good shape.

While I was getting the drill press I found a bench top belt sander and grandma let me have it as well. It is a Dunlap 4"x36" belt sander. I looks to be around a 1950 model from what I can find. I plan to clean it up and build a stand to hold it and a motor.

Several of my tools used to be grandpa's having them and using them is a wonderful feeling. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More Ornaments

I am still playing with the lathe in between other task or when I have a little extra time. Last week I brought a load of fire wood into the shop and picked a few pieces of spalted maple to try make something out of.

I used a hatchet to rough out a blank before putting it in the lathe. I turned two ornaments from the piece of firewood. The first one I sanded using paste wax and didn't add any finish other than the paste wax.
 The second ornament I stained with mahogany gel stain and I am top coating it with spray shellac.

 Here are the 2 ornaments from last week with the wire added to hang them and the walnut one has 4 coats of shellac on it.

Last night I prepared some blanks for making pens and today my pen making supplies were delivered, I am looking forward to getting started making pens.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Lathe is Magnetic

I can't seem to stay away from the lathe, it is addicting. I went to the shop to work on the large counter top but while the shop was warming up I was drawn to the lathe. I had a piece of walnut in the lathe that I had made round the last time I was in the shop. I decided to see if I could make a small Christmas ornament. It was  fun little project and it came out pretty good. I plan to get some thin copper wire to hang it on. So far it has a coat of boiled linseed oil on it, I plan to give it a clear finish in a few days.

After working on the counter top I found myself digging in the scraps trying to find something to put in the lathe. I found a small chunk of oak in the scrap bin. I decided to make another ornament this one really looks like a top. I haven't tried to spin it with a string to see if it works as a top. I sanded it on the lathe using some paste wax and I think it came out nicely.

I am looking forward to adding more home made ornaments to our tree. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Starting to turn

Back in March I introduced my 1942 lathe that was in storage. Well I finally brought the lathe up to the shop, I am wanting to turn pens and some other gifts.
 I had to try the lathe once I got in the shop. The lathe tools were somewhat sharp and worked good enough to really make me want to turn more. In these pictures I was just playing with a piece of pine 2x2.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bowling Alley Counter Tops Part 5

After letting the smaller counter top cure in the climate controlled house for a week and a half I wet sanded to remove the blemishes in the final surface and then I delivered it to my in laws. They were thrilled with how it looked but they weren't ready to install it yet. But within a week the counter was installed. The center cabinets were recycled/salvaged and the two end cabinets were built by my wife's uncle. I am happy with how the counter top looks installed.

My makers mark was still visible from inside the cabinet
I have also been making some progress on the large counter top and have it all glued back together. I will be getting it ready to start finishing this week.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bowling Alley Counter Tops Part 4

I know my post about my projects can really drag out, but if I waited until the project was done to post something then there would months between post and that happens often enough. So thanks for putting up with small updates and multiple part post.

This week during my late night shop time I've been working to patch the holes in the maple edge on the large counter top. There were two larger holes where the lane was bolted down, I am patching those areas. I made a template and then used my router with a guide collar to route out the waste.

1/4" spiral bit with a 3/8" guide bushing does a good job clearing the waste
 After routing I clean up the corners with a chisel and then size the patch to fit, using combination of sanding and planing to make the patch fit.

There were a lot of holes in the edging from the nails. I plugged the bigger holes with maple plugs. There was one spot where the damage was bigger than a 3/8" plug would cover so I chopped out the area and made a small patch.

Next step is to flush trim all the plugs and patches and then clean up the face of the maple edge and glue the top back together. I hope to accomplish that this weekend and get the first coat of finish on.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bowling Alley Counter Tops Part 3

Since the last post I haven't had a chance to do much other than I got the rest of the large section taken apart. I plan to repair the two big holes in the maple edging and plug some of the nail holes tonight and start gluing it all back together tonight and tomorrow night. I have the smaller counter inside the house letting the poly cure more before I try and fix the couple of blemishes in the finish.

The projects are lining up for after the counter tops are done. The big entertainment center is going to be pushed back again. Both the kids are needing some bookcase for their rooms. The materials I had bought for the entertainment center will be re-purposed to build the book cases.  I also want to get my lathe setup to make some gifts for Christmas.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bowling Alley Counter Tops Part 2

I've been working on finishing the smaller piece of counter top for the last week. The weather has cooled off so for finishing I have to get the shop warmed up and keep it warm while the finish cures.

I am using Minwax Spar Urethane in satin on the counter tops. The spar urethane really adds a richness and warmth I am happy with how it is looking.
I started by applying a coat to the bottom side

I marked the counter top with my brand in a location that will be visible from inside the cabinet.

After the first coat

After the first coat has dried.

After the first coat has dried.
 I've put 4 coats on the counter top and still have some work to do on it to take care of some flaws in the finish.

While the smaller piece cures I started working on the large section. I will taking this one all the way apart and re-assembling with glue. First step was to remove the old finish, I again used my hand plane to remove the finish.

 Next step was to flip the counter top and then start pulling it apart. There are a lot of nails in there. This is where I had to stop for the night last night.
7 rows out of 24 removed and de-nailed