Category Archives: Woodworking

Maple Bowl with Walnut Handles

Over the last two weekends I made this bowl.

It’s made from a maple crotch, so there’s a big bark inclusion going right down the middle, and you can see the center rings from both forks, one on each side of the bowl.

It’s been a while since I did any turning, and I had to re-learn the right feel of how to present the tool on the work, especially with the bowl gouge when working the inside.

Here’s how it ended up after last Saturday. There were several rings and gouges that I wasn’t really happy with, but it was getting late and I wasn’t getting any better.

I left it on the faceplate though, so that I could put it back on the lathe later if I felt more motivated.

Well, the weekend passed and I decided that I wasn’t going to be satisfied with how thick the walls were, or the big gouge marks, so I put it back on the lathe and started thinning things down.

I did have several more catches which ruined the rim and I had to make the bowl shorter to clean them up. You can see that the bark inclusion is now all the way through the rim, where there had been solid wood on the rim before.

Unfortunately this meant that the bowl was much weaker. I actually tightly wrapped the bowl in masking tape while turning the insides so it wouldn’t fly apart. The base was screwed to the faceplate too, so there was enough support.

In fact, once I took the tape off, I could grab both sides of the bowl and make pull them apart a little bit. To compensate for the weakness I drilled two holes on each side of the crack on each side of the bowl, and made these walnut handles from a log I had sitting around. The handles have pegs that fit into the holes in the bowl. I put some watered-thinned wood glue in the crack, and then glued the handle pegs into the holes.

After that, I did one more pass with 1200 grit sandpaper and wiped it all down with a mix of mineral oil and beezwax.

The handles are slightly offset, but I still like it. It was great to get back to turning. I’m glad the weather is getting warmer!

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Shopsmith Repairs: New bandsaw blade insert

The aluminum bandsaw blade insert was always a little bent and one day a piece of wood pushed it it into the blade. That twisted it all up of course, and it never really worked after that.

I’ve been using it without a blade guard for a while, which means lots of sawdust and little pieces of wood fell down inside the saw.

Tonight I was going to cut up a bunch of freshly cut crab apple wood, and I didn’t want (as much) wet sawdust piling up inside so it was time to make a new blade guard.

Bandsaw insert from a sawblade
Bandsaw insert from a sawblade

I got a pile of old saw blades with a ShopSmith I bought a little while back, and it looked like the blade was about the right thickness for the space.

I hammered the old insert flat and traced it onto the saw blade. Then I used an angle grinder to cut it out, and shaped it using a grinding wheel. I used a cutoff blade for some of the interior cutting, and then a file to round out the edges.

Closeup of the new bandsaw insert
Closeup of the new bandsaw insert

It sits about a millimeter below the surface of the table, and when I push it in it snaps into place and stays in place firmly.

I expect that this repair will last for a long time.

I’ve got to make another one for the Shopsmith jigsaw, but that’ll have to wait for another day.

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Wormy Oak Spoons (work in progress)

At my dad’s house there’s a stack of firewood in the garage. It’s been there since I lived at home — dad got a gas furnace not long after I left and the extra wood has just been sitting around every since.

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This summer I was at his place, in the garage, getting some wood for a camp fire and I came across a piece of oak that had a bunch of holes in the end grain. It looked interesting so I split it apart and sure enough, some worms had been very busy once upon a time.

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I started roughing out the spoons with a hatchet, but the oak grain and worm paths just wouldn’t cooperate, so I brought it home and used the bandsaw instead.

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I decided to make a pair of matching salad serving grabbers, which could also be used for serving rice or something like that.

I carved out the bowls using the hook knife, and used the belt sander to do a bit of shaping on the handles.

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After I had the spoons shaped the way I wanted to I used a couple of stiff brushes, a piece of wire and a tiny drill bit to remove as much of the worm poop sawdust as I could from the worm trails. The trails ended up being much more extensive than I thought.

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I haven’t finished these yet because I don’t know what kind of finish I want to use. I’m looked around a little bit for some food-safe glow-in-the-dark epoxy (or epoxy + glow powder mix) but I haven’t found a product I love yet.

I need something that can help fill the voids and strengthen the wood, which suggests epoxy, but I don’t love working with epoxy so I haven’t jumped to complete these yet. Maybe by the time Christmas comes around!

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