Monday 27 January 2014

Shaving, on a horse, how do you do it?

Do you just use your arms or are you more of a rower?

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Centre marker for turning

I have had a run on strop and slip sets, so more need to be made. I make them in small batches and one of the more irksome jobs is marking the centres on each end. What I need is a centre marker  and  I will not pay X amount for a plastic job when I can easily make one from workshop scraps. It is always worth spending 20 minutes to make a jig to speed up an ongoing repetative job.
My jigs are never things of great beauty, what I want is functionality and a quick make.

The wood is ash and is cut and planed square.  It does not matter what size wood is used, just make it with what you have and to the size you most commonly use. This is a big one and could have easily been made smaller.
A 45 degree square was used to mark the line from the bottom left corner. Using a tenon saw I cut about half an inch into the wood. The metal marking strip is a bit of bandsaw blade with the teeth left on. This was easily enough banged into the sawn slot.

The bottom guide fence is placed square with the edge tapped with a hammer to make a mark. This mark is then sawn.

Not having ever banged a toothed bandsaw blade into a slot before I thought it best to leave the edge square instead of sharpening it first. I finally used a carbide sharpener I was given years ago. I still do not like it, bloody useless tool. Do any of you use one? Do tell, and do you find it useful? 

So onward to using a file. This was all taking too long for my liking so I banged the blade out and sharpened it on a linisher. This is what I would advise you to do, and bang it in with a block of waste wood between it and the hammer. The bevel is about 80 degrees, obtuse and durable.
Screw the guides in making sure that they are exactly 90 degrees to each other.

To use place the wood in the corner, do make sure it is a good fit if you want accuracy. A gentle tap will mark a diagonal line corner to corner. Turn the wood  90 degrees and bang again. The intersecting lines will be the centre of the wood.

I turn a lot of smallish beads. I make longer billets of wood, when one end has been turned with six or so beads then the wood whips to much. I cut the beads off and start turning the much shorter other end. This jig will mark cylinders as well.

The square edge of kiln dried oak can be sharp and does fray the lathe cord, so I make up a simple sleeve from MDF and Gaffa Tape to protect the cord and also the square edge from being damaged.

Sunday 19 January 2014

In memory

These last few months have been a difficult and very sad time for me and my family. I have never had anyone really close to me die. My mum, Jane, died on the 4th Jan.
Jane has always been very supportive of my art and craft, and has always valued it highly when I have given something to her as a gift. I have been making for decades and have always wanted to give her something different for each birthday and for festive occasions, and so this has been an influence on my exploring and discovering new crafts.

My family home is in rural Mid Wales; an isolated traditional Welsh cottage in a field, across a ford and up a rough track to a smallholding.
The funeral  bypassed the institutions. We buried her in a simple but most wonderful way, surrounded by family and friends, on family land and overlooking the Cambrian mountains.

My brother Toby has set himself a challenge in our Mum's memory, an epic task that I can not even begin to think about doing. A fundraising event called '9 events in 9 months', which includes marathons and Iron Man events, and even a sports event competing against a horse. All money raised is going to the charity Cancer Research Wales.

If you feel like giving, even if it only a pound or dollar, please do so at:-

Jane spent her last weeks in two different hospitals, and the staff of these institutions did their best for her. Our family has nothing but praise for all the professionals who looked after her. Her last weeks were spent in a small cottage hospital in Tregaron only 5 miles away from home. This meant that my dad, Glenn, could spend far more time with her than if she was in the large regional hospital, miles away in Aberystwyth. She was in that hospital initially, and I saw the physical, financial and emotional toll that it took on dad when he had to travel in daily.
I am a great supporter of the NHS. I am also very concerned that small hospitals are being closed and facilities are being moved into fewer, bigger hospitals. I am also very concerned that the NHS is being sold off very quickly to private business. This has huge bearing on peoples' lives, more so on the poor, and those who live in rural areas where facilities and public transport are lacking or non existent.
I am afraid that in my later life that I, and my family, will not have access to the NHS that I have contributed to all my life.