Stones River Woodworkers Club Murfreesboro, TN



Jay’s Ramblings


September 2015



I need to make another granddaughter a jewelry box as well a wooden box for our daughter to safe-keep (from her dogs) an Afghan Nancy made for her. I have the plans for a miniature blanket chest but will have to adjust the measurements so the Afghan will fit. The Afghan requires 25 cubic feet and the box design only provides 15. I am having a problem with the box-joint jig that I had at the meeting for the jig presentation, and it will no longer cut true so I have to do the whole calibration and setup before I can use it. I did buy a new solid carbide up-cut bit for my router, which should help.



One of my Keiffer pear trees died so I had to cut it down. It wasn’t very large so I don’t expect it to yield many projects but the pear wood should be nice to turn although very plain. The pieces are now Anchor-sealed and stored in my shed.


While in the shed I dug around in my box of Cherry blanks. This all went down around 2006 so I consider it all dried so I don’t have to twice turn my projects using this old Cherry. Since I have turned a bowl or two, I can’t get too enthused about bowls - but - a lidded box is another story so when I was digging through the box of Cherry blanks I was thinking Lidded Boxes so it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that the box had more box blanks than bowl blanks. The neat thing that I’m finding is that this old cherry tree wood has some nice figure so whatever I make with it, I have to consider the figure.



As I get older, I am less inclined to spend my day’s working in the heat or the cold so my productivity tends to wane in the Summer and Winter. I’ll probably do more talking about what I did in the past rather that about what I plan to do.



I just got my latest Wood Magazine yesterday and was drawn to an article about turning a mallet. I turned a couple some time ago out of Osage Orange in two sizes and with the head and handle as a one-piece unit. The article reminded me that although stebb drives are in vogue currently I find them not satisfactory for turning large pieces for bowls or lidded boxes. Yes, they provide less opportunity for catches; they also provide more opportunity for tightening the tailstock to prevent slippage. Two or four Tooth drives do provide more opportunity for a bigger catch, but at the same time they do drive the wood while not slipping and auguring into the wood. Personally I only use any of them to turn a tendon on the soon to be cylinder so I can grip it with my chuck while I round off the corners to make my cylinder. The other thing about the mallet is this “Old School” hand-me-down that a “Real Wood Turner” never leaves any indication as to how the work piece was held in the lathe so there is never a means to return to the lathe and make modifications or sand down to refinish. In my opinion this is “Bull Shit”!!! If a woodworker is inclined to make a mallet they should be aware that the head will get knocked about in use and therefore need to be resurfaced in the distant future. They could leave a small recess in the end of the head to expand a chuck into and a centering dimple in the end of the handle. This would allow them a means of gripping the mallet after gluing the handle in allowing them to turn the mallet to it’s final dimensions -- as well as in the future they could return it to the lathe to dress up the head after banging the hell out of it during it’s intended use. It is true that I personally prefer a recess over a tendon when ever possible where for instance on a bowl bottom it is hidden and is a good place for information about the given project.



I found in the Craft Supplies catalog some cork 9” diameter by 3/8” thick for making a trivet. Sounded like a good project so I purchased three. Now with the need to edge glue some wood together so I could make some 10” discs to mount the cork in, I remembered doing this in the past to make some stave bowl bottoms. “Waste not and want not” and in the guise of cleaning up my shop, I located two discs. Being only 3/4” thick, I double sided taped a faceplate to each disc. Turned the rim true to 10” diameter. Now my largest chuck will expand into a 6” recess, but I wanted the bottom support rim to be closer to the 10” diameter so I left a 3/4” rim around the outside, then turned the 6” recess in the center. I then removed about 3/16” between the outer rim and the recess to insure the trivet was supported by the outer rim only. I removed the disc from the lathe and engraved what information I wanted inside the recess. put the disc back on the lathe and finish sanded the bottom and applied Shellac Friction Polish to the bottom. I then removed the faceplate and gripped the disc in the center recess. I now finished shaping the rim and turned a 1/8” recess in the top 9” in diameter to fit the cork.


I again applied Friction Polish as well as some Cordoba wax while leaving the 9” recess unfinished. I applied double-sided tape to the cork and pressed it into the recess. I then completed the second trivet. I found a scrap piece of beetle-kill pine, jointed the edges and glued up a 10” square blank and turned the third trivet.



Here’s a thought. There are several kinds of double sided tape and the hardware store variety of carpet tape won’t hold a disc to a face plate so you should always use the much more expensive “lathe approved tape” from your supplier of woodworking stuff. At my local True Value hardware store, I found some double-sided tape made by Nashua in Franklin, KY and it is carried in 2” wide rolls, and I prefer it for most projects. I didn't even think about it and used it on the faceplates and encountered no problems. I hopefully will remember to use my Lee Valley tape on faceplates in the future, but it worked well for the cork. For my jewelry boxes, I spray 3M glue on poster board and glue felt or velvet to the board which I then use double sided tape to adhere the sandwich to the box bottom or where required and this is my tape of choice.



Going through a cabinet in the garage looking for something I never found, I did find two small cork trivets that I had purchased in the past so now I’m looking for scraps to glue up to make two more smaller trivets.



After some order problems with Penn State, I ordered three 4-in-one screwdriver kits from Craft Supplies. I got the kits but with no instructions or ferules. After making the handles, I epoxy’d the guts in and after the epoxy was hard I discovered that the screwdriver bit-shaft is direction sensitive and I had glued them in backwards. Now I had three screwdrivers that only the small bit could be swapped from flat blade to Phillips. You know that epoxy is really strong except when heated, so using a small torch, I heated the shaft until I could pull the guts back out. The epoxy cleaned off with a wire brush with no problems. When you glue it back together, the shaft needs to be in the insert as the shaft in the inside handle hole holds the insert in alignment while the glue dries. A little wax on the shaft keeps the epoxy at bay.



I have decided not to buy from the woodworking supply catalogs those copies the competitor that comes up with the original kit as they usually provide an inferior product for the same price. I have been buying my ice cream scoop kits from Craft Supplies, as theirs was stainless, not chrome or gold plated. Their latest catalog changed the description from stainless to “polished steel” so I had to call about it. I was assured that they were still stainless and when they arrived a magnet confirmed that they were. Being an old salt-water sailor, I do like stainless.


Jay