Sunday, December 15, 2013

Eau Natural

Coloured yes, by dyes? No, this is Purpleheart, a coloured timber from the Americas often used in construction. The finial lid is Ebony. The finish is spray lacquer for the finial and Shellac for the form.


Monday, December 9, 2013

More colour

Just a small vase in Sycamore, but it coloured up nicely. Shots give a view around the piece with the final one an oblique view.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Another step.

I was very pleased yesterday to be approached via email by Jayne Edwards who is developing and running the new "Made in Pembrokeshire" website, specifically aimed at supporting and promoting Pembrokeshire Artists and Artisans with work by Aeron John (Photography), Alice Cahill (Fashion Wear), Graham Brace (Fine Art), Jacqs Scourfield (Quirky Jewelery), Rachel Mullet (Pembs themed gift items) and Sian Odoherty (Fine craft cushions).

Eventually I will be making items specifically for this outlet, and the first MIP item which is only available through the online store  is this very nice, Delicate Fruit Bowl  in Ash. (below)

Obviously I hope that MIP has much success in marketing our varied productions and I am delighted to have been invited. Do go and have a browse through the various treasures, (I am not a presence just yet, but soon will be!)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fishguard Festival

We arrived at Fishguard reasonably early, about 8:45, it was already raining steadily, so it was a bit of a rush to get all the stuff from the car to the table. The tables were set up inside two adjoining marquees which proved a little impractical as the inner sections of the roof funneled water right into the covered area, apparently the company had omitted to place the guttering!

Once we had set everything up a few visitors began to drift around the 8 or 9 tables and peruse the various items, but the conditions were far from ideal and a warm hall just yards away with the rest of the festival beckoned temptingly and folks did not hang around for long.

Still we managed to stick it out for a couple of hours, at which point, "H" the photographer next to us announced his stuff was now getting wet too, and was abandoning the event before he lost any more to the now sodden interior of the marquee, we were a little more fortunate in that the incessant drips were at least not hitting any of the display, though my cardboard boxes I used to carry stuff were beginning to look like they would be hard pressed to contain a polystyrene ball without falling apart they were so wet on the bottoms.

All credit though to Michael, the event organizer, as he quickly made alternative arrangements for the exhibitors under the now useless marquee, to have access to a separate room inside the building, warm and dry!  In a flurry of activity kindly assisted by staff members and other stall holders, we all managed to move our stuff and tables to the room and eventually got re-established and set up ready for the rush.

Unfortunately, the rush failed to materialize and although we had a steady flow of people they were very much in dribs and drabs with a good 75% passing right by without a second glance, so as such the footfall was pretty light and sales were matched. Nevertheless, this was the first time that Fishguard had tried including crafts at this event, it primarily being a food oriented affair, so no doubt many visitors arrived, not expecting to see the crafts.

We did get some very nice people visit our table though and most were nicely impressed with the selection and quality of the items, many took business cards which could possibly lead to sales a little later.

I would definitely attend the event again though, it's very rare for a first time thing like this to run smooth and successful, and I am sure a few lessons were learned by all that will go some way to making next years festival have a greater potential for success. I would like to thank the "Spirit of Enterprise" team and Michael the organizer for the opportunity to attend and display our creations. Thanks folks!

Jen manning the table in the tent.

Shot taken by "H" Cheers!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Old Curiosity Pot

While trying out different ideas for the delicate challenge I made this little oddity, it was an exercise in several techniques, inlay, colour and form. The inlays are Copper wire and a dark blue powder George sent me mixed with epoxy and run into a groove. The base is in Sycamore, the finial lid is Laburnum. Although the finial is pretty nice in form, I should have had something more substantial at the top, it would have balanced the piece better overall. Finish is high gloss Shellac, the soft highlights are a function of the light diffuser I use for the photography.

The lid is a very nice fit on this one, a smooth pop when it is removed and a precise shoomf when replaced!

 Detail of the inlay

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pre Fishguard festival

This week (1st & 2nd November) is Fishguard festival and I am fortunate enough to have been allocated a table through the Pembs Business inititative so much ado sorting through stock, price labels etc, meanwhile, this month's challenge on the UK workshop forum attracted my interest again with the theme of "Delicate" intriguing as this leaves a wide avenue of choices for the entrants.

Having already produced thin stemmed goblets I did not want to repeat that and so went for something a little off the wall and different.

A Pixie table lamp!

Sometimes it's nice to have a bit of fun on the lathe!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Having some fun.

Not posted anything new for a while as the turning has been put aside for other work for a bit. However, a forum challenge to make a rice bowl and chopsticks was something that definitely excited my interest, I had an idea in mind and wanted to progress it to completion.
I had seen several stunning pieces of work recently making use of various metallic colouring techniques and I was sure this would look good on the challenge, so I procured the necessary materials and set too. Here then is the result.

The interior of the bowl is coated with a type of metal leaf called Schlag metal, it is applied in the same way as Gold leaf and is very tricky to do, especially on such a tightly curved surface as this bowl's interior, but I think the effect is well worth the time and effort.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Natural Apple

I roughed this bowl out in May, it was pretty straightforward despite the knots, however, once dry it was a different story, the outside was OK, but the inside was hard as iron and very prone to making the gouge snatch and difficult to control, hence I ended up using a carbide scraper to finish off shaping the interior curve, naturally this resulted in a mishap (how unusual!) and an unpleasant pair of cracks appeared from the rim down through what is now the red coloured section, however, by judicious use of CA glue and liberal coats of lacquer  cut back I was able to effect a repair that is as good as invisible, what luck!

The natural edge looks a little strange, this is because it isn't trully natural, the section above the red bit was in fact sawn by the logger, so I had to do a little shaping, also the bark was extremely fibrous which meant I had to dispense with much of it as it steadfastly refused to tidy up, being utterly determined to look as hairy as possible.

The feathered section I have coloured Yellow combined with the overall scheme looks very like an idealised comet in the night sky, so I will likely market the bowl with that as a theme.

The colour is Chestnuts spirit stain and cellulose lacquer cut with buffing compound and polished on the 3 wheel system.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The path never runs smooth!

This Yew Pot looks reasonably straightforward eh? Well, it was at first, but then the original lid I had made flew out of my hand during the buffing stage and acquired 2 dents right on the rim, no way to rescue it, it had to be replaced. Trouble is, I have very little Yew left, a search through the various woodpiles though dredges up the remains of a branch, the diameter is barely sufficient. I get it mounted in the lathe and turn the inside first, deciding on a small safety factor I decide to incorporate a recessed area for an expanding collet, this will be a less marking means of remounting for the outside.

Having completed the interior, which had two steps to accommodate the rather unusual arrangement I had cut into the body (this was because I was rather making it up as I went along, no plan!) I remounted it and started to cut the outside, but just as the final details were being cut a chunk flew off, a weak section from the pith had split away.

I immediately found the piece on my very clean floor (translation, I searched for ten minutes through a three day heap of shavings) and found the offending bit, much muttering accompanied this part of the task.

I got lucky though, a good dollop of CA fixed it back and an hour later I was able to finish the cuts. The little finial lid is made from a bit of Lignum from an old bowling ball.

The finish of the body is once again chestnuts gloss lacquer, cut back with 400 grit and buffed to a gloss with the 3 wheel system.  The lid though is an experiment with Shellac, I bought some IDA and a packet of best blonde dewaxed Shellac, made up an equivalent 2lb cut mix in a small jam jar, (this was done a week or so back) I applied the shellac in thin layers using a small artists brush, I built up about six layers (it drys pretty quickly, each layer though needs to be at least partly dry before adding the next)  This was then left overnight to fully harden, then I cut it back with 400 grit by hand (i.e. not on the lathe)  and finally used the three wheel system to bring it up to high gloss. It gives a very nice look to the wood, colours it very little and doesn't look plastic, but it is quite time consuming and tricky to get an even coat.  I intend to try other pieces by this method to see it is a worthwhile method.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


I was delighted yesterday to get a phone call from Ian at the Boatyard Gallery, the very shiny vase below had sold!  Yippee!! :)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

High speed turning

Just for fun yesterday, Martin and myself made this time lapse video showing the roughing out of an Ash Bowl, the blank looked OK at first, but it quickly became apparent that it was not as it seemed, a large section of the interior had completely rotted away, this made it very tricky to reverse mount as the jaws had little to grip securely on, hence the outside of the bowl is done very carefully!

If you hit the pause button frequently you can see some of the individual snaps that make up the movie sequence.

See the video Here

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Getting the wet look!

Finishing is by far the most challenging aspect of turning, so much can, and indeed often does go wrong at this critical stage, and correcting such comes with its own attendant risks and problems, so achieving a high quality finish without having to make minor repairs or corrections is a prize to be enjoyed, because it is also a rare thing! (at least it is to me so far anyway!)

So it was with some trepidation and an element of disbelief that I looked at this finished vase, was it truly done without a hitch? No. But! The outside was! (The interior was a little more troublesome and did require some patching after reverse chucking the vase left some serious marks in the applied finish)
Nevertheless, the crucial part of the item from the standpoint of most visual aspect, the exterior, did indeed go as planned, with a lot of care and much careful hand sanding to denib etc prior to the final buffing and polishing went without anything causing me to bemoan my actions.

The end result is a very high quality gloss finish, glass like even, I finally got the "wet look" I was after.

The Vase is in Sycamore, taken from a small log with three side branches, these provide the "eyes".
To me the impression the colours and overall look of the thing remind me of walking through a deep woodland.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The beauty of wood.

The beauty of wood is surely revealed in these two little Olive Ash boxes, I knew when I turned the cylinder from the wet timber that it would be special, and now it had dried sufficiently to be used.

I wanted to make boxes in the style of George Watkins whose work with timber and acrylics I have long admired, and in this I feel happy with the result as they have a very nice balanced shape.

Click on the images to open up the slideshow with large pictures.