Woodcraft

tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Name
Tony
Today that chunk of wood shown above got mounted on my lathe to begin its new journey as a live edge bowl. Razor sharp chisels and wet wood are a great combination; the excess wood just peels away in curls. The grain in Red Oak is just beautiful. It's a long way from finished, as I have to dry it slowly to keep it from warping or cracking. After that comes lots of sanding before the finish coats can begin.

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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Name
Tony
This morning The Little Brown Truck dropped off a box of parts to upgrade the drive train on my 66 year old Shopsmith (which still works fine, if a bit noisily), as well as my newest lathe chisel. My musical instrument building has slowed down as I've dived in head first into the resurgence of my interest in woodturning. In fact, just today I'm finishing a new piece that will soon appear in this thread. The Red Oak piece above isn't quite ready.
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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Name
Tony
About 12 years ago, I was able to get a chunk of Black Walnut from a fallen tree. I decided to play around with it on the lathe, not really certain what I wanted it to become. I really don't remember why, but after a while I lost interest in the project, and put it on a shelf to finish "later". Image #1 shows what the piece looked like as it sat on a shelf in our garage for a dozen years. Image #2 shows what it looks like today, as a goblet-style candy dish. I thought I was finished with it, but as I was setting up for the second image, I saw some swirl marks in the finish that I didn't see in the dimmer light of the garage, so it will have to go back for more polishing and buffing, but the shaping and sanding are done.

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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Name
Tony
Happy Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year's to me. I decided to take advantage of an overcast but extremely mild morning to see if I could spot anything new at a nearby tree dumping site. Score. I gave a closer look at a huge Maple that I had passed on the last time I was there because it was so big. A test cut showed me it is Spalted Maple, a treasure I have tried to find in vain for some time. See pic #1. That should make for a couple of really nice bowls. Someone had also recently dumped a decent size Red Oak, so I also cut a few bowl blanks from that. A quick tally told me if I had bought this wood on eBay or Etsy, I'd be spending $400-500 USD or more after shipping. Again, score. There's plenty more left, but I'm beginning to run short of storage space in my garage. I wonder if my wife would be amenable to parking her car in the driveway to open up more space? :D

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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Name
Tony
The smaller of the Silver Maple pieces on the left in the above image has started its journey as a bowl. I spent much of NYE afternoon making shavings. The wood is still very wet, so the waste wood came out in long ribbons. I collected all of the shavings and put them in a large paper bag, burying the partially finished bowl in the shavings to prevent it from drying too fast. It is still very rough and will need a lot of sanding on my next session.

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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Name
Tony
My basement shop had gotten very cluttered and disorganized, so I've spent a lot of time since Saturday cleaning, sorting, and discarding unused/unwanted items. Two large garbage bags and two boxes full of stuff headed to the refuse bins. The space is functional again. Here are a few partially completed projects I'll be working on in the coming days.

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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Name
Tony
This morning dawned gloomy, cold, and windy, so I scrubbed my planned bike ride. Surprisingly, by noon the weather had improved to where it was comfortable but very windy outside, so I decided to throw open the garage and get in some lathe work. I refined and sanded the spalted Silver Maple bowl, to the point that it’s beginning to look much nicer. Still a lot of sanding before I turn it around and begin carving the interior, but I’m pleased with the progress. I also grabbed a piece of scrap from that project and began crafting a tiny end-grain bowl (cup?). With the grain turned 90 degrees from its larger sibling, the effect of the spalting is striking.

Earlier during the colder gloomy part of the morning, I was able to find the main crotch from the fallen Silver Maple that yielded the two projects above. It was a double crotch, and so massive I could barely lift it after cutting it from the main log. I cut it into four matching pieces in order to be able to move it, and so the pieces would fit on my lathe. Finding spalted wood is difficult; finding a spalted double crotch is next to impossible. Those are still big pieces of wood in the last image, and they are going to make four nice bowls. I was also able to get several nice pieces of Northern Red Oak, Black Cherry, and Hickory, all from discarded trees. All in all, a very successful and productive day.

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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Name
Tony
My instrument work has slowed to a near stop the past few months as I've plunged headfirst into the world of woodturning. Lutherie has nothing on that when it comes to being a rabbit hole of tools and supplies! I've been telling myself I need to balance out my woodcraft time, so today I spent my shop time working on a baritone ukulele I started way back in late Summer. It's being made 100% from woods grown right here in WV, down to the linings and braces. To the right of the baritone you see the shell of a tenor uke, also all made from local woods except for the old growth Redwood top. Both bodies are from quartersawn American Sycamore, and the necks from 100+ year old reclaimed American Chestnut. The braces will be from old growth WV Red Spruce. The bindings and end grafts will be Black Walnut. I cut, resawed, and thickness sanded the parts for both bodies from a single slab of Sycamore. In this image, I'm pre-bending the Yellow Poplar top linings after soaking them in hot water for about 30 minutes. In the background you can see some of my lathe projects, including a chunk of raw Apple that has been sealed to prevent checking. It's really, really cold in my garage right now, so I'm working in my small basement workshop.

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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Name
Tony
I put the finishing touches on a couple of my small woodturning projects this afternoon, using a woodburning pen to sign and scribe pertinent info on the bottoms, and applying a finish composed of beeswax and orange oil. No more woodcraft in the garage for a few days until we get out of this blast of Arctic air.

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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Name
Tony
Fun with science. My latest ukulele projects have fretboards and bridges I cut from locally harvested Osage Orange. A tough, hard wood, it can take years for UV exposure and oxidation to change the wood from its bright puke yellow to a darker chocolate brown. In my hopes of finding a way to pre-age the wood, I stumbled across the work of another woodcrafter who claimed it was possible to darken Osage Orange in a manner of days using ammonia. Though unsure of the veracity of his claims, I figured it was worth a few $$$ at a nearby store to give it a try.

I put a lid from a jar in the bottom of a plastic storage container, and put a few ml of ammonia in it. Then I attached my wood pieces to the lid with carpet tape, and sealed the container with the instrument pieces suspended over the ammonia. A few pieces of scrap wood were placed around the bottom of the container to keep the pieces from falling into the ammonia in case the tape came loose.

After just a few days, I was already beginning to see a difference. Much more so than the many days I had the pieces laying in direct sunlight last Summer. The image shows the pieces after several weeks of being sealed in the fuming box. An unexposed control piece is shown for comparison. Mission accomplished. For those inclined, here's a scientific discussion of the concept: Wood color changes by ammonia fuming :: BioResources

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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Name
Tony
Today's mini heat wave allowed me to throw open the garage and work on my hollow form project. First image shows a static representation of the hollowing process, second one shows the fully hollowed form off the lathe. Unfortunately, that lovely bark decided to start breaking off in chunks, which I expected because the tree was apparently cut down while it still had leaves. Nearly impossible to keep the bark intact under those circumstances.

The inside of this thing is going to require a *lot* of hand sanding. But first, the wood, which still contains loads of water, must reach moisture equilibrium with the surrounding environment. I packed it in a paper bag, surrounded inside and out with shavings from the project. I'll weight it every week and evaluate it to make sure it isn't drying too quickly. When the piece stops losing weight in 2-3 months, it will be ready for the next steps in the finishing process. Until then, more projects await.

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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Name
Tony
Several weeks ago when I was out in the woods, I found a charred section of a Sugar Maple trunk, with an unburnt branch attached. Something about the piece piqued my interest, so I sawed off the branch and threw the piece in my car. At first I wasn't sure if I could do anything with the piece, but then I decided to go at it with the sanding mop my wife bought me for Christmas. Lo and behold, under all that surface charring was a beautiful pattern of spalted wood.

I proceeded to work on flattening the bottom of the piece, hand sanding it on a flat board with sandpaper attached to it. Even old, weather-worn Sugar Maple is hard stuff! Then I chucked it on my lathe, carving out a caldera-like depression on the top. A lot of sanding followed, then numerous coats of wood stabilizer, sanding sealer, and Tung Oil finish, with more sanding between each coat.

It reminds me of a chunk of polished petrified wood. It has absolutely no function other than as a conversation piece, but I quite like the result. On to the next project.

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tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Name
Tony
Over the past few months, I've not been doing much instrument building, focusing instead on a series of non-instrumental woodworking projects. I've gotten a lot done, but my uke projects have languished. This afternoon I worked on the Sycamore top layout for the unfinished Kasha baritone ukulele. Both the tenor and baritone are now in the building forms with the tail blocks glued in place, and the baritone neck and top linings are glued, as well. There always seems to be several unfinished projects in my shop; when I get a project idea, I just have an insatiable urge to act on the idea. My Dad used to ask my Mom: "I wonder what Tony's going to get into next?".

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wee-pics

Hall of Famer
Location
Germany
Name
Walter
Over the past few months, I've not been doing much instrument building, focusing instead on a series of non-instrumental woodworking projects. I've gotten a lot done, but my uke projects have languished. This afternoon I worked on the Sycamore top layout for the unfinished Kasha baritone ukulele. Both the tenor and baritone are now in the building forms with the tail blocks glued in place, and the baritone neck and top linings are glued, as well. There always seems to be several unfinished projects in my shop; when I get a project idea, I just have an insatiable urge to act on the idea. My Dad used to ask my Mom: "I wonder what Tony's going to get into next?".

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Interesting fan bracing in your new project, Tony.
 

tonyturley

Legend
Location
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Name
Tony
Interesting fan bracing in your new project, Tony.
That's called Kasha bracing. The concept has led to some heated discussions in luthier forums, but some prominent modern ukulele builders are sold on the building method. Instead of fan braces, it uses a series of stiff but lightweight tone bars radiating from a thin bridge plate. The ukuleles I've heard built like that have sounded very nice, so I decided to give it a go.
 
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