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Blog series by Gary Fixler updated 1345 days ago 12 parts 33670 reads 124 comments total

Part 1: from ficus log to turned bowl preform

1853 days ago by Gary Fixler | 10 comments »

This past Sunday I decided to saw a Y-shaped Ficus log in half and get some bowl blanks out of it. I couldn’t fit the 14” section under my band saw’s 12” vertical clearance, so I just cut the first half, up to the Y split. Then I spent about 20-30 minutes sawing through the Y with my 24” carpenter saw. Good workout! I could fit a 10-7/8” circle on each log in the Y area, which I wanted to try turning for the twists in grain and color. I had to...

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Part 2: turnings - some failures as prelude to some successes

1850 days ago by Gary Fixler | 4 comments »

Earlier this week I ended up with some scrap baltic birch ply, and cut it into squares with the band saw. I sanded the faces a bit and glued them all together overnight with Titebond III and a Bessey K-Body clamp: A little turning later: And I was starting to get a wine glass shape: That’s probably where I should have stopped. I knew that going thin-stem with the plywood in this orientation was asking for trouble, but I just kept going anyway, mad with power: ...

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Part 3: European Olive champagne glass

1847 days ago by Gary Fixler | 6 comments »

Not a drinker, but I still appreciate the form of champagne glasses. I had a chunk of completely unsplit European olive from my pile of blanks, about the right length and diameter when turned to cylindrical to let me try my hand at something beyond plates and bowls, even though I’ve far from mastered them yet. I put the block between centers, turned it cylindrical, then swapped the head center for my Oneway Talon chuck, and used the tail center to support it a bit as I carved the out...

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Part 4: A bowl from that fallen Jacaranda wood

1843 days ago by Gary Fixler | 9 comments »

This past Wednesday, all in the span of an hour lunch break, I ran home, cut a chunk off the end of one of the Jacaranda logs from my recent haul, resealed the main log with Anchorseal and washed out the brush. Sliced the chunk in half through the pith, and turned one into a thin-walled, simple bowl, took a quick shower, and brought the resultant piece back to show off at work. Amazing what can happen in one hour! The turning itself took less than 15 minutes! I’m getting faster, if not ...

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Part 5: too thin a champagne glass turning

1843 days ago by Gary Fixler | 7 comments »

After knocking out a Jacaranda bowl in one lunch break, I was a little fired up that night to do more, so I got a stick of Jacaranda from the pile and cut it into some small pieces for making tiny champagne glasses. My attempt here was to go very thin-wall. I didn’t bother with process pics (it gets a little tedious sometimes :) You can see light shining through the walls into the interior of the glass: Unfortunately, I went a little too thin in the middle. Note how mu...

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Part 6: two natural-edge jacaranda bowls

1832 days ago by Gary Fixler | 13 comments »

I didn’t take process shots, but I rough-turned these two over the last week or so from the halves of a single jacaranda log resawed in half. Each was bagged immediately in its own shavings to slow drying and resist checking, though one has checked a bit anyway. Once they’ve dried enough to stop moving, I’ll chuck them up again and turn them back to round, and refine their shapes. I still consider myself in early training-mode, and as such, these are just more training piece...

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Part 7: ~9" wide face grain Jacaranda bowl rough

1829 days ago by Gary Fixler | 6 comments »

In my last post, I showed some Jacaranda log halves I’d cut up and sealed in preparation for turning them into bowls. Here’s the first one I turned. It’s a very simple bowl. I concentrated a lot here on just practicing techniques, getting a very flat, slightly rounded slope to the inside bottom, and not suffering any catches or gouges. I didn’t want to leave any tool marks this time. This is a rough turning, and has been drying now for 10 days. For the first wee...

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Part 8: red oak "70's ashtray" - square edge bowl turning

1827 days ago by Gary Fixler | 7 comments »

I found a nice 5’ piece of red oak at Home Depot that was a bit odd in hue, having more depth to its grain than what I usually see there. I had visions of turning some square plates, so I snagged it: I really slacked off on pics of this turning. This is the only one: In it, I’ve cut the end from the plank to square it up and remove the chipped edges. Then I cut 2 pieces off as long as the plank was wide (7-1/4”). Then I cut some squares of birch from a leng...

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Part 9: A turned Jacaranda bowler hat

1825 days ago by Gary Fixler | 14 comments »

Monday of last week, some 12 days ago, I was talking with a coworker who was wearing a small fedora. I commented that I should try to turn him a hat on my lathe. He thought it was a fun idea, and I mentioned I’d seen full-size, wearable cowboy hats online turned from green wood to very thin, then bent in jigs to hold them in proper shape with curled brims and dented-in top until dry, at which point they could be worn. The site was Johannes Michelsen’s, and his gallery ...

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Part 10: Newfound respect for hollow-form turners

1822 days ago by Gary Fixler | 10 comments »

Well, I tried out the tools I got from mom for my birthday recently. Of note: 1) My 1/2” Sorby Spindlemaster was not a good indicator of how the 3/4” and 1” behave. I’ve been using the 1/2” however I liked, never reading up on how to use it, nor watching any videos. I recently watched one and thought “Huh, I’ve been using it entirely wrong.” I’ve been holding it flat, and using a combination of things with both hands and the tool rest t...

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Part 11: first hollow-form failure update - major checking!

1810 days ago by Gary Fixler | 31 comments »

Just an update on this post. When I left off, it looked like this: I took a week’s hiatus – no motivation – and upon returning to the garage (last Sunday), I found this: Note it goes right to the pith, as every check I’ve seen in any log, branch, or twig in which I’ve noticed any checking does. This is why so many people remove the pith entirely from their blanks, and why pith-in end-grain turnings can be a bit of a craps shoot. Note that thi...

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Part 12: A small juggling pin

1345 days ago by Gary Fixler | 7 comments »

Been awhile since I posted anything! How’s everyone been? Work keeps me busy all the time anymore, but I do love it. Unfortunately it’s a very long drive, about 45 minutes to an hour in the morning, crawling along LA’s 405 and 101 freeways. Traffic ever since school started keeps it really busy until midnight, and with all the techy stuff I’m always working on, I tend to stick around at work until after 8PM, and often until 9 or 10, then the long drive home in heavy (b...

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