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Decorated in woodshavings_2014-04-05 18.31.05
CherryBowl_Outside_2014-04-05 17.53.32
AshBowl_withStarterRound_2014-04-05 18.12.55

35 more photos in my Snow Farm Scrapbook Album. Clicking on embedded images doesn't automatically take you to the album anymore; there's probably a setting for that that I'll discover later. More photos to be added Sunday...or as soon after as I manage.

There are a kazillion memorable, fun moments from Saturday. "You're being...creative." AKA the instructor's kind way of saying "that's not anything like it's supposed to look like." I wasn't the only person he said it to, but I was the first. :-)

I wore Daddy's face mask, complete with sawdust from 22 Grand Blvd. I'd put it in the car on a whim, only to discover after my arrival that we'd all be wearing them. Fun.

My 10" cherry bowl seems to be a 7.5" cherry bowl with the other 2.5" taking the form of cherry wood shavings. One might think I have a thing for the aroma of cherry being turned. One would be right, though that wasn't a conscious motivation behind the eventual size of my bowl.

While Snow Farm classes are limited to 12 people, the woodturning class was limited to 6. We each had our own lathe to work on. It of course makes sense, but I didn't know until I walked into the shop.

I was only the second oldest person in the class; 92-year-old Dick from Somers, CT came in as eldest. He'd last worked on a lathe in high school shop class, so it had been even longer for him. One of other 3 students was clearly a first-timer, and perhaps 2 of them were. If the third guy was a first-timer, he had mad skillz from the get-go. I'm betting he's worked on a lathe before, and considerably less than the 47-74 years it had been for Dick and me.

The shop didn't smell right until we started turning our cherry bowls around 3-3:30pm.

My feet were feeling it by the end of the day, but I was pretty much solidly on them for 7 of the 8 hours I was there. I'm glad they held up and didn't give me any real problems. Dick was surprised at how quickly the time went by; he thought it was just mid-afternoon when we stopped a bit after 6pm.

Instructor Rick Angus is excellent. Lots of demonstrations covering each step on the instructor's lathe with the 5 of us gathered round; lots of 1-on-1 guidance on the small ash bowl we did for practice; then stepped clearly back as we repeated the first of the steps on our larger cherry bowls. We'll turn the interiors of those bowls Sunday.

I'm still struggling with exactly where to place the gouge tool, mostly how to get the bevel in the correct position at the correct angle. Then, when to pull the end of the handle toward me and when to push it away and at what pace. That's all in the practice.

I don't expect to set a lathe up in the garage and start with a new hobby. Knitting is expensive enough and I already don't have the time I want for it. But, wow, I'll take this sheer bliss anytime. My day was filled with deep concentration, trying to get the feel of the tools and the wood, interspersed with radiant grins when I stopped the lathe, felt the surface of the wood with my fingers, and discovered that, yes, I'd nailed it.

And I get to power up the lathe again in another 8.5 hours in the hope of nailing it again with the interior of my cherry bowl. One of my classmates ruined his ash bowl at the very end of finishing the interior, so I know it can happen. And I've inadvertently set myself up with a challenge -- in the process of unintentionally turning into a 7.5" bowl, it turned into a trumpet bell shape as well. With a very thin rim. Hmmmm. It could easily turn into a curious art piece suggestive of a bowl.

One last note for tonight: I didn't deliberately save any lathe tools from Daddy's extensive supply because I didn't anticipate ever using them. But two ancient, small, short-handled tools found their way into the Cardis and thus followed me home to Toad Woods. Rick is going to sharpen them up a bit for me and tomorrow I plan to add a couple of decorative cut stripes in my cherry bowl using those tools. They're obviously older than any of Daddy's woodworking tools. They were most likely Grandpa Waldo's handed on to Daddy when he was young, and maybe even a generation older than that.

AKA More Bliss. And such happy, happy memories.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 6th, 2014 04:49 am (UTC)
ENVY! I haven't turned wood on a lathe in forty years, but I still remember how it felt and smelled. I made a bowl also, out of walnut. I sanded and polished that thing until it shone like glass. It got first place in the wood project division at the county fair that year!

Edited at 2014-04-06 04:51 am (UTC)
Apr. 6th, 2014 05:10 am (UTC)
First place! Whoohoo!

Daddy turned me loose with candlesticks. I never made 2 that matched; I never even tried. But I enjoyed seeing what shapes the different tools made, and was ever so pleased when I walked down to my basement toy room last night and picked one of those nearly 50-year-old candlesticks up from the shelf it was sitting on. I took it into class today and showed it to Dick, my 92-year-old classmate. When we were talking about turning green wood, I pulled out a Eucalyptus bowl Grandpa Waldo made in 1963. Eucalyptus changes shape *a lot* as it dries, twisting in interesting directions, which makes for a really interesting bowl...so long as it doesn't crack. This bowl didn't crack.

Later, when we were talking about grain patterns in our blocks of cherry so as to decide which grain pattern we wanted on the inside of our bowls, Rick wasn't able to put his hands on any examples of the normal "H" pattern you get on the inside...from end grain turning downward, IIRC. By pure happenstance, we'd all mounted our ash bowls so we had circular patterns on the inside, and the other samples in the shop were the same. I pulled out a black walnut plate Grandpa Waldo made, also in 1963, and asked Rick if it had the grain pattern he was talking about. It did, he showed everyone, and gave me a strong thank you for bringing it in.

I've been looking forward to this class ever since I learned of it and immediately signed up a little over 4 months ago. I'm utterly delighted I did.

I remember the sounds and smells, though I experience those for decades hanging out with Daddy in the workshop long after I stopped turning wood myself. But the feel was damned near foreign. I'm not sure I ever used a gouge tool on those candlesticks. Nothing I did on them was anywhere close to deliberately trying to make and then follow the curves that form a bowl. At this point, what I'd most like to do on a lathe is spend hours and hours turning wood into wood shavings as I work with the various tools enough to develop full comfort with them.
Apr. 6th, 2014 07:41 pm (UTC)
You inspired me to get that bowl out of storage in the basement and clean it up. It isn't as lovely as it once was -- slightly marred with use -- but I still love the feel and look of it.

I actually have a lathe, but it is a huge and very old thing that I'm afraid to plug in. It belonged to a friend's grandfather and was delivered to me by surprise about ten years ago. Someday I must either pass it on or try to make it work.
Apr. 8th, 2014 06:30 pm (UTC)
That is so neat! I love that you, too, were able to find the bowl you made so long ago. And that the feel and look is still so very pleasing. I hope to see it in person some day. Picture in the meanwhile?

I turned on all three of the wood lathes Daddy had as well as the absolutely ancient small metal lathe that I never remember seeing run in my lifetime. The lathes were circa 40-65 years old and all three ran beautifully, so age alone isn't sure to be a problem with yours.
Apr. 6th, 2014 04:53 am (UTC)
How wonderful! I've never done any wood turning. Looks pretty neat!
Apr. 6th, 2014 05:11 am (UTC)
It's big fun. A little scary, but big, big fun.
Apr. 6th, 2014 07:36 am (UTC)
Bliss indeed
I will think about you on Sunday and smile.
Have a wonderful time.
Apr. 6th, 2014 02:35 pm (UTC)
Sounds like an excellent time.
Apr. 7th, 2014 01:16 am (UTC)
I took the (metal) lathe safety course at the Tech-Shop - a prerequisite before they let you use one.
IT was a few hours of all the things you shouldn't do unless you want to rip a limb off, or merely all the skin on that limb (called "de-gloving").
I had a tiny little project I wanted to finish (a few tent pole tips that had to be the right size and shape), and I eventually asked a friend who has the Ginormous CNC Mill in his garage (its literally bigger than my car ) to make them. He just drew it, and the machine whipped them out. It took longer to clean up than to make them.
Apr. 8th, 2014 06:56 pm (UTC)
Lathe safety, oh yeah. It's vital for working with both metal and wood.

I grew up with a healthy respect for power tools thanks to Daddy's steady teachings on the subject. That, and the fact that Grandpa Waldo was nearly killed when a glue joint failed on a piece he had his lathe and the wood hit him on the head and knocked him out. It was a few memorable, very long days when no one knew whether he'd survive. He'd been working on a lathe for at least 4 decades when that happened, fully seating the lesson in my head that when it comes to power tools, it doesn't matter how much experience and expertise you have. You can't ever take safety for granted; you can only take the steps each and every time to stay as safe as you can.

A friend with a milling machine in his garage. You know the most interesting people!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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