nut cracker #1: School daze

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Blog entry by BigTiny posted 12-16-2011 11:29 AM 1661 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of nut cracker series no next part

Greetings all.

First, let me apologize for my protracted absence hereabouts. Health troubles, both my own and my wife’s, have left me little time for the web and my wood working family here at LJ.

Ms Debby has suggested to me that I do a class some time in the new year on doing that familiar symbol of Christmas (at least to opera fans), the “toy soldier” style nut cracker.

Now let’s get something straight right off the bat here. If I do take this on, it will be as much of a learning process for me as it will be for those following along. The project is, for the most part, a lathe job, and I haven’t touched a lathe since before many of you were born! It’s been almost half a century since I did any lathe work and that was back in junior high school.

I’d love to take on this challenge as I enjoy stretching myself and this would provide the incentive I’d need to go for it.

If we do this, I’ve been told there is a good chance we can hold a contest afterwards for nut crackers with the usual prize structure for LJ contests, Also, as with all classes here, certificates will be sent to all who complete the course.

So, what do you all think? Anyone else like to make one of these beautiful and useful items? Any of you willing to give me some leeway in doing something very new to me?

Let me know, and if there is enough interest, I’ll blow the dust off my lathe, get it up on its stand, and try to find my chisels.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

7 comments so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2975 days

#1 posted 12-16-2011 11:37 AM

Morning, Paul! It is good to see you back – you have been missed. I would love to see this done and I would like to participate. I may have to partner up with Keith for the lathe portion, but perhaps if the work is easy enough it may get me to finally try it for myself. I think it would be a lot of fun!

Sheila :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2836 days

#2 posted 12-16-2011 12:42 PM

Good to have you back !
And definately interested.


-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View lew's profile


12154 posts in 3811 days

#3 posted 12-16-2011 03:22 PM

I’m looking forward to following along, Paul!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View a1Jim's profile


117160 posts in 3633 days

#4 posted 12-16-2011 05:22 PM

Welcome back
Go for it Paul. I hope you and your wife are much better.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3490 days

#5 posted 12-16-2011 05:41 PM

Good to have you back Paul, we missed you.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2990 days

#6 posted 12-16-2011 08:56 PM

I hope all your troubles are things of the past.

It is a great idea. I for one will be following the class without actually participating.
I have no tuning experience and no lathe yet.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2944 days

#7 posted 12-16-2011 10:41 PM

Hi again all.

Thanks for the good wishes and welcomes. It’s nice to know one is loved by their family.

As for those with little or no lathe experience, welcome to the club. I bought one a while back (see my gloat about it) because I’ve always wanted one and i couldn’t pass up the deal I got on it. However, I’ve been so scared of the darn thing I still haven’t set it up, even after our brother LJ member Poopiekat, who is a fellow Winnipegger, gave me his old stand when he upgraded his. I’ll have to make room for it somewhere downstairs and assemble it to do the class, then try to remember what my junior high shop teacher taught us back in the early 60’s. The last time I did any turning, Nixon was president and Sonny was still singing folk songs with Cher in coffee shops instead of hymns in Heaven. Even then, it was a cake plate and a screw driver handle to go with the screw driver blade we made in metal shop. That’s about the sum total of my lathe work, so we’ll be learning together. From what I have seen, the turnings seem pretty straight forward, and while not exactly simple, they are for the most part pretty forgiving. Only the joints have to be very accurately turned, but they are straight turned tenons.

The more I think about this, the more fun I think it’s going to be, and I look forward to sharing it with you all, mistakes and all. I promise, no editing out the mistakes. If I blow it on a piece, it will be included, along with what I did to correct it and what I learned from the error. What’s the old saying? “I did NOT waste the afternoon and get nothing done! I learned 99 ways how NOT to make this thing!” (grin)

Okay, who else wants to join The Blind Leading The Blind 101? If you bring an apple for the teacher, make it an iPad.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

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