Study Unit

Study Unit

I installed my latest project yesterday, a study unit. It is built from rustic alder. The desktop is solid alder and has a carved live edge.
The study unit includes LED lighting above and below the cabinets illuminating the desktop and the room. The lighting is dimmable and is controlled by a remote. The desktop includes two low profile pop up power/data outlets. They each have two USB ports and two 110v outlets.
The drawer boxes are solid maple with dovetails and there are four cabinets for hanging file folders. There is also a roll out drawer for the paper shredder. The drawer guides are full extension under mount guides. The door hinges are soft close.
From my client’s initial sketch I designed the project in eCabinets. I was then able to show my client photo realistic renderings for their approval prior to starting the project.

Split Turned Legs

Split Turned Legs

I am building a custom vanity cabinet.  The design features a couple pairs of split turned legs either side of each door opening.   I thought I would take the opportunity to document the process involved in creating a split turning.  Split turnings are typically used in furniture and architectural applications, as decorative elements.  The process has other applications in woodturning, including the “Lost Wood Process”.

Wooden Collar with Threaded Pewter Insert

Wooden Collar with Threaded Pewter Insert

In this post I’m going to share my technique for making a wooden collar for a hollow form with a threaded pewter insert.  In previous posts I have shown how I cast, turn and thread a pewter collar for a hollow form.  I’ve also shown an easy way to cast a texture onto a pewter collar for a hollow form.   Aesthetically, the main difference with this collar is that when the finial is screwed into the collar there is no pewter showing, however I am still able to retain the functionality of the threaded pewter.  It is a nice way to showcase a special piece of wood on the top of a hollow form.

PVC Gouge Handle with Aluminum Insert

PVC Gouge Handle with Aluminum Insert

I buy my bowl and detail gouges from Thompson Tools.   They come unhandled and I have always turned wooden handles for them.  I enjoy the process of turning a handle for a tool that I will be using for a number of years. However, as I have started to travel more for demonstrations, I’ve found that it is pretty challenging to pack long handled gouges.  So I decided to make some new handles for my bowl and detail gouges.

Modification to an Étagère

Modification to an Étagère

I received a commission recently from a designer.  Her clients had an Étagère which they were not happy with.  The piece was too tall for the room in which they had it displayed and so they wanted to know if it was possible to cut it down.  I met with them and the designer and we decided that the modification was possible.  The goal was to re-size the piece, while making the joints near invisible and also maintain the structural integrity of the piece.

Turning Hollow Forms Pith to Pith

Turning Hollow Forms Pith to Pith

I turn a lot of end grain hollow forms, primarily because I am adding a pewter collar to them and so need the wood to be in as stable an orientation as possible.  About 6 months ago I started turning end grain hollow forms from a whole log mounted pith to pith.  I was a bit apprehensive about it at first, worried that the base of the hollow form would be inclined to crack as it had the pith included, but after rough turning  and finishing a number of them I have been encouraged with the results.  I thought I would share the process and some of my thoughts and observations on turning a hollow form pith to pith.

Textured, cast pewter collar

Textured, cast pewter collar

During my demonstration at the Symposium in Tampa I showed a couple variations of my cast and threaded pewter collars for a hollow form.  One that seemed to generate a lot of interest is shown in the image below.  I thought I would share the details on how I make this collar.  It is a very simple technique and allows you to cast the texture directly so that the topside of the collar does not need to be turned.  The technique gives you a very organic texture and the collar, because it is not perfectly round, has a natural edge look to it.

Images from the 2013 AAW Symposium ~ Tampa, FL

Images from the 2013 AAW Symposium ~ Tampa, FL

The 2013 AAW Symposium in Tampa, FL was a great event!  It was held in the Tampa Convention Center which is in a beautiful setting near the water.   The Symposium ran very smoothly and it looked like everyone was enjoying themselves.

I personally had a great time.  My demonstrations went well, I spent some time in the Instant Gallery which is so inspiring, I brought some new tools home with me from the vendor area, I made some new friends and I spent some quality time with old friends.  What more could I have asked for!  Kudus to all those involved in the organizing and running of the event.  You did a great job and should be proud of yourselves!

Cast and Threaded Pewter Collar and Finial

Cast and Threaded Pewter Collar and Finial

The following are my demonstration handouts for the “Cast and Threaded Pewter Collar and Finial” demonstration presented at the 2013 AAW Symposium in Tampa, FL.

Pewter is a non-ferrous metal alloy primarily made up of tin (85 to 99%), with the remainder consisting of copper, antimony, bismuth and lead.   Modern pewter’s contain no lead and are actually Britannia metal.  One noteworthy use of pewter is the Oscar statuettes.  They are made of Britannia metal plated with gold.  The melting point of pewter is approximately 375 degree Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).  The low melting point and non-ferrous nature make pewter a great candidate for incorporating it into turned pieces.  A regular propane torch can melt it and it can be cut, drilled and turned with regular woodworking and woodturning tools.