Turning with Son #1

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Blog entry by Maplenut posted 01-03-2012 05:00 AM 1639 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I haven’t turned any wood since I was in grade 8 woodwork class. It’s about the age of my oldest son is now and I thought I’d try including him in a project. Both learning to turn wood again and engaging my boy have proven challenging.

Anyway. I value the skills attached to woodworking, although I’m no craftsman, I get a kick out of trying to produce good woodwork and truth be known, there’s nothing I’d like more than having my sons in the shop with me doing stuff. But alas, life being the way it is, and ‘kids now-a-days’ and all that, it’s pretty hard to compete with the constant thrills of those dopamine smacking, adreniline thumping, heart racing games those boys of mine play. Sanding, comparitively, sucks.

Then it dawned on me, and I’m not ashamed to admit this, I figured rather than making the boy shovel snow senselessly for five hours, I’d actually pay him to be in the shop with me and try and learn something – I’m mean both of us learn something.

The following is how things shook down…today anyway.

That’s my boy Ike…he’s a good kid…tries hard…and right there, that’s a picture of him doing his old man a favour. He really doesn’t want to be there. Doesn’[t really like getting his hands dirty and dust bugs him. But he’s doing it, and my shop is a lot warmer than outside shoveling snow. So I get no grief from him. But I know he’s humouring me.

I start with the basics…truing up wood. I go over the compound-sliding miter saw with him showing him what square is all about and how to adjust both the saw blade and table fence. He nods politely. I get out a bunch of scrape maple (got lots and lots of that) and we go over the demensions of our potential cup/bowel thing. I show him how to aviod cutting his fingers off, don the right gear, and check and double check if the wood is square…gotta be square son. Not you boy…the wood.

After cutting four blocks up, 3 3/4 squ., each I go over the basics of gluing in a bid to get the wood all stuck together. “Laminating” I say…he nods…”less is better”, I say…he nods again. I do it once and then he does it. I say, again, “less is better son”, and proceed to scrape off a 1/2 pound of glue from the project with his glue stick and encourage him to give it another go. Then we get the claps out and I explain the difference between C claps and those Quick Grips and the use of scrap wood put between the the claps and the project and how that protects the project. He likes that…a little spark, I notice.

Then my own ignorance…I can’t remember how to make the wood round before fitting it onto the lathe. I figure I’d try using the joiner…you know…putting the fence at a 45 degree angle and shaving off the corners. But the block of laminated wood kicks back and my thumb ends up bleeding and my knuckle is throbbing. Damn…well, I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere – most likely for me. The boy is concerned, but I can’t discern whether it’s for my thumb or what I’m about to subject him to. I show him where the bandages are kept in the shop…it’s all good I say…ignore it.

Then I figure I’ll use the chop saw and chop the edges off. It looks dangerous and I suppose it is, what with the guard having been broke off years ago and my shaky hand and all. But he’s now looking less bored, although he can’t hide his nervousness any longer.

But I git ‘er done. We glue a piece of paper between the project and a block of plywood that the lathe gets screwed into. It’d all be good but I eye-ball the part where I glue the project to the plywood. Yep…way, way off.

So I got it on there…and considering it’s been more than three decades since I’d done that before I was feeling pretty good about things.

Here’s my boy given ‘er on the lathe.

...not bad eh. But then I get at ‘er, and…ouch!

Sorry about that son…

So, his interest is waning, and I start scrambling to get a soild chuck of fir on the lathe just to keep up his interest up.

He has fun for a while…”neat!” and that’s the best I could hope for. And then I hear, “I’m cold. Hunger. Can we call it quits for a bit?” And I loose him.

But with him out of the way I find that I really like this turning stuff. And finish the piece I chipped.

And I finish it up with shellac and a I little note on the bottom.

But before I call it a day I try laminating two pieces of fir…next time it’ll be the boy finishing it up.

Stay tuned….

11 comments so far

View Dlow's profile


70 posts in 2651 days

#1 posted 01-03-2012 05:28 AM

Don’t take this the wrong way because I think what you are doing with/for your son is a greater gift than he may ever realize and he’ll be a better person for it. But, if you don’t teach him anything else at least make sure he wears eye protection when he’s working in the shop even if he’s just watching you!

View MOJOE's profile


548 posts in 3233 days

#2 posted 01-03-2012 05:41 AM

I agree with Dlow…..gotta wear the safety glasses when in the shop. It will be tough to teach him shop skills if he can’t see.

-- Measuring twice and cutting once only works if you read the tape correctly!

View Maplenut's profile


70 posts in 3015 days

#3 posted 01-03-2012 05:41 AM

good point

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 2982 days

#4 posted 01-03-2012 05:52 AM

I agree with Dlow, a face shield is better than goggles, protects your whole face! I cannot tell you how many times chips have flown into my face and was stopped by the face shield, not to mention the piece that broke off the glue block and flew by my ear grazing the face shield!

Keep up working with your boy, he may not enjoy it now but one day he will be glad he spent some time with you.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View naked_wookie's profile


35 posts in 2315 days

#5 posted 01-03-2012 06:45 AM

I recently picked up a full face shield and boy does it make a world of difference not just for the protection from flying objects. but i find you don’t get as much sawdust floating up while sanding at the lathe.
Along with a good one shields the neck which I think is almost the most important part.
We all worry about the face but personally a few scars I can live with. A chunk of maple stabbed into my throat not so good.
Good first piece. I remember my dad trying to teach me wood turning/working as a kid. Sure I enjoyed it a bit but wasn’t my thing at that point. Now I owe him alot for my love in wood working.
So keep at it. Should pay off eventually.

-- nate.

View hvroberts's profile


40 posts in 3246 days

#6 posted 01-03-2012 03:57 PM

Modified the “Lathe” just a bit didn’t we….

-- Hvroberts, Up North In Maine

View Maplenut's profile


70 posts in 3015 days

#7 posted 01-03-2012 04:45 PM

Yes Mr. Roberts this here’s a unique one for sure. My brother-in-law Dan dropped it off a couple of days ago…said he got it at a second-hand store, I think, and it was all in pieces in a box. The motor tilts up and you can move the belt onto larger or smaller wheels on the lathe itself, depending on the speed your after…the thing can really fly on the smallest wheel. There’s been a fair bit of welding and chopping up of the ‘ol girl…but it works fine enough, although as your guessin’ I do got a lot of experience.

Dan visits this site and maybe he can weigh in here and give you more details.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3298 days

#8 posted 01-03-2012 05:01 PM

It’s commendable that you are doing your best to spend some shop time with your son. I think the secret to getting your boy interested is to get him interested in a project he can get fired up about. Something he can show off to his friends or maybe a gift for someone dear.

My grandkids (one 12 and the other 14) have a lot of other interests which are more important to them than woodworking but they still really enjoy doing the occasional project, especially at Christmas time. Just limited exposure when they are young might trigger renewed interest when they get older and when they might want to fill their free time with a creative hobby.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View dand's profile


15 posts in 2945 days

#9 posted 01-04-2012 08:51 PM

Frankinlathe was a gift from an old friend. It was in bits and pieces but now its alive….I’m really happy you and Ike knocked something out on it Randy. It was bugging me that she was just sitting under my bench doing notta.
Green wood is easier…have fun.

-- Dand Kaslo

View Maplenut's profile


70 posts in 3015 days

#10 posted 01-05-2012 05:18 AM

Thanks’s doubtful you’ll get it back.

View Maplenut's profile


70 posts in 3015 days

#11 posted 01-09-2012 03:30 AM

I’m having trouble figuring out this blog thing…I’ve started a ‘series’ called Ike and Me in the Shop. The first entry in the series is called Turning with Son #1 Part II…you know…if you’re interested…have a look.

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