Fellow LJ's are wonderful people

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Blog entry by Carl Fisher posted 09-14-2011 04:09 PM 1221 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As my first blog entry, I just have to share how wonderful and giving fellow LJ’s are.

My kids, my wife and I all started turning pens recently. This meant several things. Costly start up fees so that we had everything we needed to get going, costly material fees to get enough kits and blanks to get started, and enough material to practice with.

The first 2 were easy enough and to some extent the 3rd wasn’t too bad as I’m sitting on a stock pile of mahogany from cleaning out a local mill of their cut-offs. They were selling by the cart, so I have quite a bit. However just turning a wood like mahogany does not give you a feel for the variety that is out there. I’m finding that many woods turn differently than others, react different to finishing techniques, blow out easier, etc… and the only way to know this is to experiment.

My cousin (Matt Seiler) is a wood worker up in Chicago and forum moderator over at Wood magazine. He helped a great deal with the equipment start up, but also recently sent me a sizable box of cut-offs from around the shop. Walnut, Cherry, Rosewood, and some absolutely beautiful silver maple, some with live edge that I’m holding for something special. This started me thinking, how many gorgeous blanks get thrown away because other people call them cut-off or scrap or garbage. One persons trash can definitely be another persons treasure in this case.

I posted a want add in the LJ swap forum asking for just that, scraps that were headed for the trash. 5-6” long 4/4×1” or similar. The response has been great and I’m currently waiting to see what is on it’s way to me. The LJ community has been a great source of information and although I’m fairly new to the community, I’m looking forward to being able to pay back that kindness.

Thank you LJ and it’s members.

-- Carl Fisher, Fort Mill, South Carolina --

4 comments so far

View Sodabowski's profile


2374 posts in 2830 days

#1 posted 09-14-2011 04:50 PM

Hehehe. Pen turning can be done on the cheap side too, as long as you minimize the amount of gear you buy to the strict minimum. I built a plywood lathe prototype that gets the job done fast & accurately, and I cut my own lumber from dead trees in the forest. All I had to buy were the kits, shaft, drill bits and pilots & cutter heads. $150 for a first batch of 10 pens is quite a win, right? And who needs expensive exotic woods anyway :p

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View jacen68's profile


54 posts in 3024 days

#2 posted 09-14-2011 06:12 PM

Throw some wood glue in the mix, and the possiblilties are endless. Glueing up laminated blanks like segmented bowl turners do.

-- So much to do, so little time.

View Sodabowski's profile


2374 posts in 2830 days

#3 posted 09-14-2011 07:23 PM

Particularly if considering cheap “(s)crap” wood like wooden crates or pallet wood :)

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2983 days

#4 posted 09-14-2011 08:46 PM

I had a very similar experience when I joined LJ. I build dollhouses so my useful wood is even tinier than yours! ;) Sometimes I still swap cutoffs or projects…. It gives me a lot of joy and I’m happy I can clean out a little bit of my wood pile for somebody who will really enjoy working with it.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

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