As The Lathe Turns #49: Slow Progress

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Blog entry by William posted 08-21-2013 02:52 AM 1663 reads 1 time favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 48: Pen Boxes Part 49 of As The Lathe Turns series Part 50: Still Learning »

It is getting to be normal lately for me not to feel much like getting online late in the evening when I finally get time to do so. I will try my best to start posting more often. I want to thank those of you who have been sending me emails and messages of concern and well wishes though. I appreciate it very much.
I have been able to get in the shop a little lately. It has not been nearly as much as I would like, but a little.

I made some more of the pen boxes a showed last time. From left to right are rosewood (two of them), oak, pecan, walnut, sapelle, and sycamore.

My buddy Bearpie, when he visited recently, left me some live oak burl with all the other wood he’d brought. I love burl. On the rare occasion I’m able to get my hands on some, I just can’t wait to turn a pen with it. Turning burl is like opening a Christmas present. You never know what beauty lies beneath the ugly wrapping until you get into it and see for yourself.

Next up, he also brought some spalted pecan. I’d worked with spalting before, and pecan, but never spalted pecan. So I couldn’t wait to see this one either.

Then it was on to another curiosity I had, the lignum vitae. This wood has been of interest to me for some time. This is said to be one of the hardest woods in the world. It is a nice looking wood. I think the pen would look better with some accent color added. Since I’d never turned it before though, I decided to leave it plain for the first go around to see how well it worked.
It is an easy wood to work with on the lathe in my opinion. It is hard as people say, but with sharp tools, that makes it easier to turn to a very nice and smooth finish.
I applied finish on this one. I wanted to see how it reacts with finish on it. I was told that it would turn a greenish color in a few weeks without finish. So I have this pen with finish on it, and another piece sanded. I will check back in a few weeks and see which way I like it best.

Also on the visit with Bearpie, I got some pointers from him on something else I plan on diving into in the future, segmented turning.
While considering some of the ideas I got from him, I decided to try a couple of rings out of scrap wood just to see how much trouble it would be. This turned into a day long adventure in figuring out why my Incra sled was a half a degree off.
Some of you may be wondering why I am worried about half a degree. That doesn’t seem to be a problem. This is wood after all. Well, if you take a half a degree off of each angle, that it one degree per joint. The piece on the right in the above picture has twelve joints. That adds up to twelve degrees. Now, a half a degree may sound like no problem, but twelve degrees is a huge problem. So I had to fix that.
After a whole day of finicky adjustments to my sled, I think I have it dialed into where I want it, and will try to make use of all this in the near future.

Here is another piece that was left that peaked my interest. I am not sure what it is. It was in a variety bag that was bought at one of the stores that I can’t remember. I am not sure what it is. It looked, before turning, to be pink died plywood.
It is a pink pen. I think that is all I have to say about that one.

I liked the oak burl pen. Actually, everyone I show it to likes it. Since I plan on keeping that first one for myself, I decided I had better turn another one before someone snatches mine up.
I have now had the opportunity to turn oak burl and cherry burl. Both of them had figure that simply amazed me. I hope I can find a way to acquire different varieties of burl one day. Each time I work with it, the beauty of it just blows me away.


27 comments so far

View JL7's profile


8667 posts in 2993 days

#1 posted 08-21-2013 03:03 AM

Good to see you back in the shop William…..hope all is well.

That is quite an assortment of goodies…lot’s of cool wood…...not sure about the pink one? Is that wood?

The boxes are looking good, but looks like you are missing the right bit for the magnets?

Keep posting the cool wood…..

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2703 days

#2 posted 08-21-2013 03:07 AM

It’s always a pleasure to see/read your posts.
I’m glad you are getting some shop time.

Segmented turning on the horizon….
Looking forward to what comes of that.

As much as I (and others) enjoy your posts….
Don’t feel obligated to post….
Post what you can, when you can!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2703 days

#3 posted 08-21-2013 03:08 AM

I bet Sandra would love the “PINK” pen!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2871 days

#4 posted 08-21-2013 03:10 AM

The pink one simply peaked my interest jeff.
It looks like died plywood.
I hate pink, but I bet there is someone out there that is going to go completely nuts over it.

I am missing the right bit, or the right magnets. The magnets are in between a 1/4” and 3/8”. So I guess it’s a metric bit. Or if I could find some standard size magnets. I tried covering them like Doe suggested in my last blog entry, but that prevents them from being strong enough.
These will do for now, but the process still needs a tad bit of refining.


View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2718 days

#5 posted 08-21-2013 03:10 AM

Always good to hear from you William.
That live oak burl pen is your best to date! Dallas sent me some live oak and I fell in love with it. It has the coolest knots (each one looks like a mini-burl).
Sandra will probably be begging for that pink pen!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2871 days

#6 posted 08-21-2013 03:11 AM

Thanks Randy.
And I’ll let YOU tell Sandra that about the pink pen. I’M not.


View William's profile


9949 posts in 2871 days

#7 posted 08-21-2013 03:12 AM

Thanks Andy.
Are ya’ll trying to get Sandra on my bad side tonight.

Sandra, if you read this, notice that I have said nothing about you liking pink.


View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 2642 days

#8 posted 08-21-2013 03:25 AM

William good to see ya back in the shop ,that live oak burl is a pretty one but the spalted pecan is my favorit you are mastering these pens

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View Ted's profile


2873 posts in 2240 days

#9 posted 08-21-2013 03:32 AM

Nice pens and cases, William. Your work never ceases to amaze me. I too favor the oak burl, but the pink whatever wood is nice too.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View Gary's profile


9333 posts in 3461 days

#10 posted 08-21-2013 03:33 AM

Super nice work, William. And I don’t blame you on that “Pink” suggestion.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3046 days

#11 posted 08-21-2013 03:56 AM

The pink layered wood is made of maple and yes it is dyed red but came out pink! Make all of them and the ladies will never fear losing them to their husbands! There might be some guys crazy about pink too! Or donate one to Breast Cancer for a prize in fund raising? I do have more oak burls at home, 2 of them, both about a foot deep and 2 feet in diameter! I’ll mail some to you when I get back home! I like the one you made! I found some turquoise at a gem shop in Utah and bought some, now to experiment a bit. I keep looking for unusual things and gadgets to use. Glad to see you are having fun with the woods I gave you!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2871 days

#12 posted 08-21-2013 04:21 AM

Thank you all very much.

I hadn’t thought about the pink being for breast cancer awareness. I forget things sometimes. I think I’ll turn the rest of them and give them to a local oganization that always has different fund raisers going on for breat cancer patients.
Thanks for letting me know what wood the pink was actually made of. I would not have guessed maple. It looks like layers such as in plywood, but more solid than anything I’d seen local.
I absolutely love the burl. I think I like burl in general, but this oak burl is something to behold. Thank you again.


View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3363 days

#13 posted 08-21-2013 09:17 AM

Beautiful oak burl pen William. The others are nice too. I found a wooden case similar to yours in my garage loft yesterday. Inside was a wooden pen and pencil set. My wife said she got them as a gift from her book club some years ago and she gave it to me. The interesting thing about it was that the case had a type of hinge on it that holds it tightly closed. Seeing your post made me think you might be interested in that type of hinge as it would eliminate the need for the magnet lock. I’ll bring it down and take a photo for you in case it could be of interest. I left it in the loft because the pen and pencils are too thin for me to use comfortably.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2832 days

#14 posted 08-21-2013 12:22 PM

Wow, William! You are now where in hell, (excuse the explitive), slow. Pens & boxes…........all, awesome!

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7604 posts in 2829 days

#15 posted 08-21-2013 01:48 PM

You’re a very talented guy, William!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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