I have to apologize. I have no new project or techinques or newly learned advice to share today. I just felt a need to post today about yesterday’s non-progress.
First of all, I did not make much yesterday. I did make my kids some sort of spinning top things. I call them “some sort of” because they weren’t great. They were just ideas I was working on as I went along. The kids liked them though. Before I could even think of whether I wished to snap a photo or not, they had broken one and spun the other one under a low lying heavy table where it may stay awhile before being retrieved. I may go back to this idea at a later day. I seen in the Penn State Catalogue where I can get ball bearing inserts for these and yo-yos. I think my kids would absolutely love those when I get to a point where I can afford to add that to an existing order.
On that note, the tops. While I seen them as an idea that I was kicking around, my kids seen them as fascinating new toys. The reason I bring this up is my evergrowing concerns about today’s youth. My kids are different than most these days. Yes they have video games, but I push them to work more than just their fingers on a game controller. They like simple toys, like jacks, marble, cards, and such. Watching them play with the spinning tops yesterday though reminded me that today’s kids aren’t much different than we were. Some of them just need to be introduced to simpler things earlier in life, while they are still young enough to enjoy them.
What I did do yesterday was mostly search and play. First, the search. I knew I had it, I just had to find it. I’ve been doing mostly flat work for so long that the highest grit sandpaper I had on hand was 400 grit, and seldom went that high. Now that I’ve started turning though, I’m finding myself more and more needed finer paper. I had stashed some away a long time ago. As usual though, when I put something where I’ll know where it’s at, I have troubles finding it when I need to know where it’s at. I found it, it is a box I had with a hoard of sandpaper I had bought a long time ago at a good deal. This is various grits all the way up to 2000 grit.
So I played around for a long time yesterday with sanding up higher on the lathe than what I’ve been doing. Boy does it make a difference. If you carefully sand up through the grits, and it doesn’t take long on a spinning lathe, you can get a sanded finish that looks almost like glass, and this is before you apply any type of finish. So now I can sand my turned projects to look better.
Some of you may remember my less than great opinion of the router bit tool I was recently given when I tried it on bowls. I told then that I would one day give it another go on spindle. Well, since I had messed up on one of the spinning top ideas yesterday, I took it as an opportunity to give that tool another try.
First all, you can see or order the tool here if you’d like. I did not put that in the original review of this item because, as it was a gift to me, I did not know exactly where to get one. It turns out it came from my favorite turning supplier, Penn State.
On spindles is where this tool shines. While I couldn’t do anything with it on bowls, it felt like there was little that I could NOT do with it on spindle stock. It cuts easier, with no sharpening so far, and leaves a finish that is ready for only the finer grits of sandpaper. The only drawback, and an expected one, was with the router bit that came in the tool. It seems to be kind of dull from the factory. Once I decided to try a better quality bit in it, it cut like hot butter.
My only gripe with this tool would be my percieved overall cost savings, which would be little to none. I learned the hard way long time ago not to mess with cheap router bits. The Freud bits that I buy locally run about thirty bucks a piece, so I only buy the ones I need. That being said, if I were to use one of these bits extensively in this lathe tool, I would worry about dulling one side more than the other, or messing with the balance of it. Therefore, if I was to use this tool much, I would lean towards buying bits just to be used in the lathe tool. At thirty bucks a piece, I can’t see the cost savings over prices I’ve seen for dedicated lathe tools.
So as usual, in my opinion, any tool that does many things, while it may do some well, usually does so with compromises. Even I sometimes decide to make those compromises if the cost savings are great enough to make it worth doing so. I still just don’t see that here. On the other hand, if you have many extra router bits that are not being used, such as when buying whole sets, then this tool may be just the perfect tool for you to finally put those extra bits to use.
The next thing I want to talk about is kindness. A fellow Lumberjock has given me an emial gift certificate. I am not at liberty at the moment to tell who or how much. I will say though that it was generous, and an unexpected act of kindness that left me speechless.
This person, although I’d seen and talked to (I think) a couple of times here on Lumberjocks, I really do not know on a personal level like I do some other jocks here. So to me, this person was pretty much a stranger. I’ve had friends do things for me before, and even those occassions kind of put me off guard. I’m just not the sort of man who’s used to people doing things for me. I do for myself with whatever I may or may not have left over after providing for my family. That’s just the way it’s always been. So, when someone I hardly know does something like this person has it just floors me.
Enough of that. I was speechless yesterday. Today I can go on and on about it. I just wish to say to this person, thank you from the bottom of my heart. It was extremely kind of you. I will be sending something your way as soon as I can as a token of my gratitude. Still though, it doesn’t repay the help you’ve provided to get me started with some proper pen making supplies. I pray that your kindness is returned upon you. If I lived closer to you I would come take care of your yard, do your dishes, or something.
Ok, I said enough of that didn’t I?
So, I had to figure out what to order with the gift certificate. Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? It is amazing though how many options there are in pen turning on the Penn State website.
I wound up ordering a mandrel, which I will have to have in order to make these proper pens. I ordered extra bushings because everywhere I read for advice says you need to have extras on hand. They are cheap too, so that wasn’t bad. Then, with bundle kits, I got a total of thirty eight pen kits. There isn’t a huge variety in what I ordered. The idea though, in my opinion, is to get started. These will give me the practice and then I can move up from there on trying different styles to see what I like best.
Again, thank you so much. I wish I could, but I can’t think of anything else to say on that matter that I haven’t already said. So on that note, I will end my rambling now for this entry.
Happy turnings everybody!