Stones River Woodworkers Club Murfreesboro, TN

Jay’s Ramblings

February 2015

And Let there be light! At least enough to be able to see what your tool is cutting on a lathe. Years ago I bought on sale a small light with a flex shaft and an on-off magnetic base which I used for years on my band saw. A year or so ago I decided that it would work on my lathe and it worked pretty well -- not the best, but OK. The problem being that the lathe has very few flat surfaces and it vibrates. Occasionally the lamp base would vibrate off and hit the floor. Recently when it hit the floor the face plate for the magnet switch being plastic, broke and the vibration would cause the switch to gradually assume the off position and the lamp would again hit the floor. The last time my mood was such that the lamp required a swift kick just to insure that it was un-repairable. Success! Now I was in the dark so Nancy decided that a Christmas light was in order. I scanned all of my catalogs and settled on a Utility Lamp in the Lee Valley catalog. It came with a quick-connect on the end of the flex-shaft and a magnet, an L-bracket with a quick-connect socket and a quick-connect socket that you can mount to a thin steel surface. It looks like a good sturdy light and at a cost of $70 it well should be.

I found some 1” thick elm lumber and made a post that is basically 1” square and 22” tall. It has a small foot that is screwed to my lathe stand and with the light mounted on top of the post it can be adjusted to light most of my projects. I like to use LED bulbs as they last longer and are less affected by vibration so I found a package of 2 for $14 at SAMS Club. 60 watts turned out to be too bright so I found a 40-watt at Home Depot.

I got a call from Roger Evans and was asked to do a presentation on jigs for the January meeting. Gene Casto and I had discussed the subject some time ago so I’ve had a lot of time to think about it. One thing, I do have a shop full of jigs, both large and small. The presentation was no problem but the transportation and dusting of said jigs is where the work lies. Talking about woodworking has never been a problem. I want to thank everyone for trying to stay awake for the whole hour. I think Gene helped me out by having the presentation at the first of the meeting so everyone isn’t temped to sneak out early. I won one of Logan Henderson’s donated pieces of wood and have “First” turned a lidded box but the wood wasn’t dry enough yet so the project is in the attic drying. When the scales say it’s dry, I’ll finish it and bring it to show-and -tell.

Since I am not a big football fan, and I planned to do some work in the shop on “Super Bowl Sunday”. I selected a large Walnut bowl from the attic that I “First” turned on June 22, 2014 and had reached it’s lowest weight and was now varying with the weather changes. I number a large number of the bowls I turn so I thought that in honor of Super Bowl something or other, I would use Roman Numerals on this bowl. CCLXXV takes up more space but it’s the thought that counts. The bowl had some crotch figure in the bottom but was a natural edge configuration so harder to shape as well as sand. I think I’ve done my share of natural edged bowls so in the future I think I’ll steer clear of them. I’ve still got some wood in the shed that I cut the pith out of and Anchor sealed years ago that I need to “First” turn and start drying. Should be a good spring project. I have come to realize that I have a lot more wood than I can expect to use in this lifetime -- AND -- I have gotten better at making smaller projects and thus use less wood. Talk about shooting one’s self in the foot!! While I’m finding that what wood magazines that are left in business, seem to be coming up short on new project ideas, when I have a piece of wood spinning on the lathe, there seems to be infinite directions the shape can take either on purpose on by accident. I find that “Catches” are just artistic license to try a new direction. I’m very lucky because Nancy always likes the end result, so if she likes it then I can do my victory dance and pretend that another screw-up went unnoticed.

It’s been colder this winter and I’ve gotten older. When Nancy and I first started sailing catamarans in the early 70’s, we bought wet suits and started sailing as soon as the lake ice melted in Colorado. Years later in Houston, it was shorts and cutoff's weather before that cat ever left the back yard. At my age, I just don’t get very excited about firing up the kerosene shop heater and working in a semi-warm shop anymore.

Over the years we have collected hundreds of LP records and CD’s and the majority of them have been saved as digital files in a computer, but some of the LP’s still lack being digitized and having the hiss, scratches and pops filtered out. I decided that I needed a spreadsheet to keep track of all this music so that has become my winter project. Rather than wasting time playing solitaire, I could be editing some LP’s. Once you start, it’s hard to stop. There are times when I think Doug has the right idea, retire and lose the computer, but it’s too late for me, I’m hooked.

We’ve been informed of a pending great grandchild in Texas so the trips to the Dallas area have already begun. We’ll need a lot of music and audio books to get us through 2015. Someday I’ll get back into the shop -- maybe!!!