• Attended the Tennessee Association of Woodturners Symposium

    Linda and I went to the Tennessee Association of Woodturners symposium last Friday and Saturday. The weather improved to just enough to go even though the pet sitter couldn’t get out of his driveway until Friday.

    It was the first time I had attended a TAW event. It was well run and everything seemed to go smoothly. There were about 320 people in attendance. It didn’t seem like that many people, but I don’t know how they count. Trent Bosch, Barbara Dill, Doug Fisher and Kurt Hurtzog were the featured demonstrators.

    It was fun to reconnect with Barbara and Kurt and we hung out some with Doug too. Neither of us had met Doug before. What a nice guy!

    I had seen everyone but Doug demonstrate, so I sat in on all four of his sessions. They were great demos and there was a lot to be learned about his process. Have you seen a picture of his shop? It looks like an operating room. That just ain’t right! Wish I could keep mine even close to that condition!

    If you are looking for a regional symposium for early in the year, this is a good one.

  • New Bottle Stoppers on Etsy

    I just added a bunch more bottle stoppers to my Etsy store.

  • Crazy Canadian Passes

    paul moore  the crazy canadian

    Paul Moore – Crazy Canadian

    I just learned that Paul Moore, the Crazy Canadian passed away on December 28th, 2013.

    I first met Paul at a woodworking show several years ago and have spent a few minutes  talking with him every time I came across him at a show. He was always willing to take time for a short conversation. He was likable, funny and interesting. He was on of the highlights of the show for me. I will sure miss him.

    Condolences to his family and friends.

    Here is a link to his FaceBook page if you want to learn more.

     

  • Etsy Shop

    Well, I broke down and started an Etsy shop. There sure is a lot to learn – again. Artfire has been about paying for itself, which means I’m working for them and not for myself. I’m going to keep that shop open for a while to see what happens, but I don’t think it will be long. Just not enough traffic.

    I made a bunch of pepper mills for the last couple of shows I did and what’s left is on my Etsy page. Here are images of them. Nine in all.

    All are about 10 inches (25.5 cm) tall and 2 1/2 inches (6.5 cm) in diameter. They are made from spectraply, which is a plywood-like material made from dyed yellow birch veneers.  It is manufactured using a resin glue which makes these mills extremely durable.

    All the thumbnails are of just the top part. You will have to visit my shop to see the entire mill.

    pepper mill confetti pattern red, yellow blue and turquoise

    Image 1

    Image 1 is confetti. It is red, yellow, blue, and charcoal. Everyone that sees this one picks it up! So far, it hasn’t found the right person to give it a home, but they will come along.

    Red With Black Accents Peppermill

    Image 2

     

    Image 2 is one that is red with black accents. By that, I mean they apparently used black resin and red dyed veneers. I wasn’t sure when I first looked at this blank if I was going to like the patter, but it has become one of my favorites.

     

    pepper mill patriot color scheme red and blue

    Image 3

     

    pepper mill ember glow orange charcoal brown colors

    Image 4

    Image 3 is the “patriot” color scheme. Red and blue veneers make this mill stand out. It’s not as flashy as some, but it looks great on a table or counter!

    Image 4 is the “ember glow” pattern. It is yellow-orange, charcoal and brown. The earth tones in this mill make it stand out while complimenting almost any kitchen color palette.

     

    pepper mill bumblebee or yellow jacket patten yellow and black

    Image 5

     

    pepper mill yellow and purple

    Image 6

    Image 5 is a color scheme called “bumblebee”, but here in Georgia, it needs to be called Yellow Jacket”. It is yellow and black and really stands out. Perfect for any Georgia Tech fan!

    Image 6 is a yellow and purple color scheme. This one is lively and playful and really stands out.

     

    pepper mill gem wood orange, burgundy, blue and turqouis

    Image 7

     

    pepper mill blue, charcoal purple

    Image 8

    Image 7 is called “gemwood” and lives up to its name. Blue, turquoise, orange and burgundy work together to make this mill an eye catcher.

    Image 8 is blue, purple and charcoal. It isn’t as flashy as some, and it is understated, but when one gets close, the colors are beautiful.

     

    pepper mill green and charcoal

    Image 9

     

    Image 9 and last, but not least, is a green and charcoal mill. Again, one that I questioned when I first looked at the blank, but it too has become one of my favorites. It is colorful and really stands out.

    I hope you have enjoyed looking at these new mills. If you want to see other views and check out pricing etc. click on an image.

    Or, if you want to visit my shop to see all the other items, click  on the link at the top of the page, or click here.

  • The End of 2013

    It has been a while, but I’m back at my blog. I hope to keep it up and add to it more often now that our lives have settled down a bit. You will probably notice a new theme on this page. The old one was dated and balky when it came to adding widgets etc. so, although I liked the look of it, it was time for a change. I’m not totally sold on this one yet, but I’m going to let it go for a while and then decide if I need to change.

    Working our way through all the art/craft shows has been crazy this fall. To add a little spice to our fall activities, we moved my mother to a nursing home in late September and that entailed a  3,000 mile road trip to help with that.

    My mother was unable to keep her house cat in her new environment, so we brought the cat home with us. She made five. One the way home and about two hours into 23 hours of driving, we found a 4-6 week old kitten that someone had apparently put out in the four lane. Somehow it survived without injury and he has become part of the family too. That makes six! We were just down to four and it was manageable, then suddenly we’re back up to six. He has been such a hoot. Someone sure gave away an animal that could have been such a joy to them.

    Happy new year everyone. I hope you have a most prosperous and rewarding 2014.

  • 2013 Atlanta Mini Maker Faire

    Atlanta Mini Maker Fair logo

    Mini Maker Faire

    I’m going to be part of the Atlanta Mini Maker Faire again this year. I will be making tops for kids like I did last year.

    From the web site:“The third annual Atlanta Mini Maker Faire is scheduled for Saturday, October 26, 2013 at Georgia Tech from 10am to 5pm. Featuring both established and emerging local “Makers,” the Atlanta Mini Maker Faire is a free family-friendly celebration featuring speakers, workshops, and exhibits on topics such as robotics, green tech, electric vehicles, vintage computing, 3D printing, textile arts, home fabrication, a nd much more!”

    “Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers. They are of all ages and backgrounds. The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community.”

    “Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning.”

    For more information, visit the Mini Maker Faire web site at: http://makerfaireatl.com/

  • Hydrangea Festival

    spinning top

    Pink and Purple Spinning Top

    Over the weekend, I demonstrated at our local Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival where I made spinning tops for kids – and a few for those that are no longer kids, but are kids at heart. Most people have never seen a lathe before and have no idea how it works, so it invariably draws a crowd. I enjoy it and the kids love watching a spinning piece of wood turn into a spinning top. Occasionally, a parent will ask how much it costs and my response is that the only currency I accept is smiles. I even got a couple of hugs this weekend, so maybe I’ll have to increase my price from smiles to hugs!

    I always take a chatter tool with me so I can make patterns on the top surface of the top. Before I use it, I always tell the child that it should be called a screech tool, because that’s the way it sounds. That way they are not surprised or frightened by the sound and it builds the suspense. Sometimes they come back to my booth several times during their visit to hear the screech tool work.

    I take a package of Sharpie markers in a wide variety of colors and I ask each child what their two favorite colors are. Then I apply those colors to the chatter tool marks. Children, and adults as well, are fascinated by how the color magically appears when I touch the marker to the spinning wood. What would normally be just another wooden top becomes something special with their favorite colors highlighting the chatter patterns. Their eyes really light up when they see the colorful patters on their top.

    The best response of the weekend was from a little red haired girl of about four. She was very attentive when I was making her top, but I couldn’t get a word out of her. Then, when she and her mother were walking away, I heard her say, “This is SO awesome!” It made my weekend!

    I also met a very special ten year old this weekend. Her name was Adrianna and she fell in love with the lathe and how it works. She is definitely not an average ten year old! She asked questions about the lathe that were well beyond what I would expect from a child her age. She was with her mother, who was helping out in another booth, and by the end of the day, she had moved her chair into my booth and was helping explain what I was doing.

    During a slow period, we were sitting in our chairs and she was quiet for several minutes with a thoughtful look on her face. Finally she said, “I want to be like you!” “I want to make things and sell them at shows.” That was immediately followed by, “So, what are we going to make next?” So I made her a small lidded box.

    What a exceptional young lady and what a wonderful experience!

  • Untitled Post

    Largest sassafras tree in Georgia

    Largest sassafras tree in Georgia

    Recently I made a post regarding the cutting down of the largest sassafras tree in the state of Georgia. At the time I didn’t have an image to share. Now I do. One of our woodturning club members visited the farm and talked with Robert Asbury who said he was a caretaker on the property at the Sunflower farm. He is standing by the stump from the record Sassafras tree. As you can see it was not only large, but it was growing in a very awkward location.

  • How NOT to lay tile

    This is one of my non-wood posts.

    A few months ago, we had new tile laid in our master bath. We removed the old tile and backer board, so all the tilers had to do was lay the new backer board, lay the tile and grout. It was admittedly a tricky job. The room is a “T”. The entrance is the leg of the “T” with the bath tub straight ahead. To the left is a vanity on the right and the shower on the left with a small walk-in closet at the end. To the right is a vanity on the left and the toilet enclosure on the right with a small walk-in closet at the end. Hopefully that makes some sense.

    The tiler and two helpers (plus some kids) show up and proceed to install the backer lay the tile. Again, the layout was somewhat tricky and laying the tile was tricky so as not to tile one’s self int a corner, or in this case a closet. However, that is why one hires professionals – which we though we had. The right side got laid pretty well, but they didn’t bother to snap a chalk line to line up the right side, depending on spacers to keep the tile aligned. By doing so, they got a slight dogleg in the alignment. This resulted in a grout line that starts out at about 1/4″ and runs to about 3/4 to 1″ at one point. That is in about three to four feet! When we noticed it, one of the tilers blamed in on the room being out of square!

    To top it all off, two of the tile in the entrance have loosened and the grout has begun to break up. That’s when we decided to redo the job ourselves. When we began taking up the tile, we found that some of the tile could be removed without tools. Merely pulling up on the tile would break it loose. We found we could crumble the grout between our fingers it was so brittle. Also, they obviously did not butter the tile backs before laying them in the mortar and they neglected to place the backer board in a bed of mortar per manufacturer’s recommendation.

    So, today we removed the tile and backer and set the new backer in a bed of thin set. We screwed the backer to the floor with six in spacing as recommended by the manufacturer – the tilers put screws at least a foot apart. Tomorrow we lay tile – again. A $700 job has now turned into a $1,500 job thanks to “professionals”.

    That is how my day went. I hope yours was better!

  • Biggest Sassafras in Georgia

    Rutledge Sunflower Farm was, until recently, the site of the largest known sassafras tree in Georgia. The tree had to be taken down and my woodturning club was fortunate to get some of the wood. We are turning items to be sold at their 2012 Sunflower Festival June 30-July 1. Proceeds of the items made will benefit the Camp Twin Lakes which is a camp for disabled and seriously ill children (http://www.camptwinlakes.org/ .) My club is also going to have a booth at the festival in which members who have made items from the tree may display and sell their work.

    The tree had obviously been on the ground for a while and the wood is in somewhat less than pristine shape, but hopefully I will be able to get something out of it. I have two pieces. On a branch section about 6″ in diameter and other that is about 10″ in diameter. I will post what I am able to make.

    If you are in the area come out and enjoy the festival. It should be a lot of fun. The farm is located about 50 miles east of Atlanta. Directions may be found here.