I seldom do the same type of woodturning twice. Being one-of-a-kind items, the pieces on this page all seem to fit into an “other woodturning” category. Click on any of the photos to see more details.
My Plate Series
I enjoy experimenting with new surface embellishments. Small plates make an ideal surface on which to test materials and techniques. Here are some of the results on plates ranging from six to 10 inches in diameter:
I like designing and making custom jigs, fixtures, and tools with which to make things. Often, the custom tools will take longer to make than the wooden pieces they create. Such was the case when I decided to turn miniature items and demonstrate that process to our woodturning club members. I made custom scrapers, hollowing chisels, and even a tool to make a “captive ring” on a goblet (see the second goblet from the left in the middle photo).
I made several sample pieces for a woodturning club demonstration on unique wood finishes. Most of these items are dyed with waterbased dyes or india ink. The results are quite stunning; especially on figured maple. The plates are about 5 inches in diameter.
A Special Apple
I turned this piece from a limb from a special apple tree that had been planted many years ago by my late father-in-law. An intoxicated driver veered off the road and smashed that apple tree, leaving little of the tree intact except for a small branch or two. I made apples for my three children from that wood, as they had fond memories of picking apples with their grandfather when they were young. I made this one from what little wood remained. A stress crack developed months after I turned it, even though the wood had air-dried for years. That didn’t bother me, as it seems fitting for what the tree had been through in its lifetime. In the apple is Lowly Worm, a character from the children’s books by Richard Scarry. The stem is shaped from a scrap of walnut. This piece measures 3-1/4 x 3 inches.
Black Board Bowl
I turned this shallow bowl from a piece of red oak. After turning it I decided it needed something to make it more interesting, so I textured a ring in the center, then dyed it black. 6 coats of gloss lacquer really popped the oak grain. This piece measures 3/4 x 7-1/2 x 4-1/2 inches.
I like to experiment with offset turning, which lends itself nicely to making pendants and other jewelry. I was inspired by a Tim Yoder video to try a unique dye finish over a distressed black undercoat. The pendants are nominally 2.75 inches in diameter.
I turned this plate from wood I bought at an estate sale without knowing what it was. A native-Hawaiian friend identified the wood as koa; I only wish I had more of it, because it is gorgeous! This piece measures 3/4 x 8-3/4 inches.
Dyed Hollow Vessel
I made this piece for a club presentation on dye finishes. The vessel actually consists of two bowls glued together to create the hollow vessel. Red aniline dye and black India ink, followed by six coats of gloss lacquer gave it great finish. This piece measures 1-1/2 x 4-3/4 inches.
A simple pen that I made at a woodworking show several years ago rekindled my interest in woodturning. Here are a few examples of pens I have made since then. I give away most of the pens I turn as gifts or sell them at benefit auctions. The first two pens in the photos are made from olive wood I imported directly from Jerusalem. The pen and pencil set on the right is made from acrylic.
I made some tiny hollowing tools and then decided to make some decent handles for them. I turned these from red oak to resemble the handles used in my Robert Sorby tools. Of course, my name isn’t “Robert Sorby,” so I printed my own name on the handles! The handles include ferrules made from brass tubing and measure 6-1/2 x 1 inches.
Here are a few of the dozens of tops I have made. Most were given away during woodturning demonstrations at craft shows and other events. The top in the far right photo is called a tippe top, which flips over while spinning. Many woodturners have difficulty getting the tippe top to work. Mine, however, worked the very first time. Of course, I studied several scholarly papers on the physics of the tippe top and used some of that research in the design of my top!
Natural Edge Spalted Pecan Bowl
I made this bowl from what I think is spalted pecan. Since I bought the wood at an estate sale, its true identity will remain a mystery. All I know is that if the wood were any more rotten, it would have crumbled into sawdust while turning it. This piece measures 4 x 7.25 inches.
Pine Christmas Ornaments
I was one of the presenters at our woodturning club’s annual “How to Turn Christmas Ornaments” demonstration. These trees range from 2.75 to 5 inches tall and are made of pine, fir, or whatever that 2×4 from the home center was made of. I made the tree in the foreground with offset turning and a bit of green acrylic paint to give it a sculpted look.
I made this truck as a gift for my grandson. The truck body is maple and the bed is made from sapele; the wheels and other turned components are walnut. I researched truck design (as any engineer would do) to determine appropriate shapes for fuel tanks, exhaust pipes, and wheels before making those parts from wood. The truck contains 25 components that I turned on the lathe; the lugged tires were particularly fun to make. Sure, you can buy pre-made wheels and axles, but where is the fun in doing that?