Peter specializes in crafting beautiful, praised wooden chairs in the Windsor style. His blog reveals him to be an open man, not one to firmly guard the secrets to his excellent creations. On the contrary -- the posts typically exhibit a barrage of photos that help readers comprehend exactly what they're getting into, and what they can expect out of it. Peter warns all who visit to practice all safety procedures.
Last week, I got news from the nephew of my friend Ray Duffy that he had passed away. Ray was one of the first people to reach out to me when I moved from New York to Massachusetts. He only knew me through Chairnotes but offered to let me use his ample workshop until I got set up here. Throughout my time as Rays friend, he showed a generosity and kindness that I've come to see as the binding force in the woodworking community. Whether helping me make a new maple syrup evaporator or offering to forge a replica of my favorite scorp, Ray was always looking for ways to engage and offer his time and expertise. Here is a photo of me and Ray with my book. Through a snag in the mailing, purchasers started receiving the book before me, so Ray came over with his copy so I could finally see the results of my efforts.A couple of years ago, Ray's wife passed away. I admit, I was concerned about his well being afterwards. I was relieved when Ray told me about his new lady friend Penny. He and Penny shared a passion for art and creating and Ray was very excited about their most recent projects together. I think that the way Ray shared his life and passions is a great blueprint for a life well lived. I hope to live the same way, more excited about the next project than the last and cherishing those who share the road. Rest in peace Ray.
A Little Extra Support
I'm in the midst of turning a bunch of legs for 3 kid's comb backs. They are a bit longer than the legs on adult chairs and a bit thinner.This means that vibration tends to creep in and slow down the process. I can turn them reasonably well by holding my hand at the back of the piece, but still, at some point, the piece will flex a bit and the chatter starts. I use the skew to shave away the chatter in most instances, which works great, but does take some care.A couple of years back, I gave my shop made steady rest to Tim Manney for the use on the reamers that he produces. It's the one featured in my book. I wasn't doing a lot of turning that required it and up until recently, a little slow down in turning time didn't bother me compared to stopping to make another. But I happen to have some nice plywood on hand so the other day I made a new steady rest.I covered this jig for the first time about 6 or 7 years ago, you can see the original post and plans here. I've learned a few things that I think make it worth revisiting, plus my own rediscovery of it's usefulness makes me think that you might feel the same. The plan dimensions in the original post are still good, but with this one, I made the notch in the support block 45 degrees on both sides.It's a very simple affair, basically a weighted wedge (the c clamp is perfect for added weight) pushes a block with a notch against the back of the workpiece, effectively cutting the turning in half, vibration wise. Even on a 23 inch leg, you are never more than 6 inches from a support, which means I can turn more aggressively and not risk chatter. This is especially helpful if you are focusing on developing technique or design.One of my favorite parts of this design is that you can cut right across the front of where the steady rest supports the work. The weighted wedge simply drops, pushing the block up against the smaller diameter.I position the rest directly behind the largest part of the vase. To set the steady for best results, turn the part to round, about 1/16" larger than the largest diameter, then place the steady block and wedge in position. Get the round spinning again and with the steady rest in place, take a very light pass across workpiece opposite of the steady block. This allows the block to seat on the piece and ensures that it's spinning true with the pressure of the block at the back.Using the same concept as my Galbert Caliper, if you place a piece of tape at the right spot on the steady block, you will know that your dimension near the steady rest is perfect when it just about touches the tape. Of course, something more permanent could do the job, like a stick on a pivot, but I just did this on the fly, so you get the concept. Then use some wax to lubricate the workpiece. I've found that there's no need for bearing guides if you just add some wax.Turning is fun, or it should be. I know that there is a conversation around certain jigs or techniques being crutches. I get it, but I'm having more fun at the lathe and thinking more about the shapes that I am making rather than the ways of avoiding vibration, which is a way better way to spend my day.
Back Home, sort of
Yes it's been quiet here, largely because I've been in Australia for the last 6 weeks teaching and traveling. I taught 3 courses at Rundell and Rundell in Kyneton just north of Melbourne about an hour. Everything went well and then I was joined by the lovely Stephanie H. for a couple of weeks of travel, including an amazing trip to the Great Barrier Reef.Coming back from vacation is always a bit jarring but this time is even more so because of the passing of our sweet pup Lily. She died unexpectedly while we were away, and while we did our best to make the best of our time in Australia, I'm finding myself struggling now that I'm back home. Solitary shop life suits my temperament, but I've never truly been alone out there, she was my constant companion for the last 11 years and it seems that there is hardly a move that I make that doesn't instinctively include reaching for her, spotting her out of the corner of my eye or calling for her to join me. Many of you know this feeling and I know better days will come, but the transition from being someone with a great dog, to someone with great memories takes time.I will be posting my teaching schedule for the next year soon, it's sparse, as I am focusing more on building chairs, but there are a few openings.Below is a little information about the condition that resulted in Lily's death, I hope that posting it might be helpful to others whose animals are at similar risk.Lily was staying with a local Vet that also boards dogs. She had a check up before the stay and even though she was 12, she was in excellent health. On her 8th day there, she vomited and collapsed while being walked, she died quickly. The vet said that she thought it was from a twisted bowel, which I'd never heard about. I new about bloat in goats and the dangers it poses, but not in dogs. Apparently it's a common killer in dogs and little can be done once it starts. Basically, for unknown reasons, the stomach flips, cutting off circulation to the intestine which also impairs blood flow to the heart, resulting in cardiac arrest. There are some factors that make dogs more susceptible. Dogs with large chests and narrow waists, like Lil, as well as dogs prone to anxiety, Lil too, are more likely to have the problem. Changes in routine, such as boarding or having a new dog in the house can also stress dogs as well, leaving them susceptible to the condition. There are early signs of the problem and steps that you can take to help prevent it if you think your animal is at risk. If you want to know more about this condition just google "Dog Twisted Intestine" and you will have reading for days.
- Nov 17, 2015 The other side of the Bench
- Nov 11, 2015 Back Home, sort of
- Sep 06, 2015 First you build the chair, then you build the finish
- Aug 03, 2015 It's a Two-fer...plus Letter to a Woodworker, conclusion...for now
- Jul 20, 2015 The Shop is Hummin' Now
- Jun 26, 2015 Humble Home
- Jun 12, 2015 Letter to a Woodworker Pt. 3
- Jun 04, 2015 Letter to a Woodworker Part 2
- Jun 02, 2015 Letter to a Woodworker Part 1
- May 28, 2015 Studley I ain't
- Apr 17, 2015 Added Classes and Fresh Materials!!
- Apr 01, 2015 The Eagle has Landed
- Mar 31, 2015 The Eagle has Landed
- Mar 06, 2015 Jo got Schwarzed
- Feb 27, 2015 I will not be intimidated...much
- Feb 19, 2015 Planes, Trains and Automobiles
- Feb 12, 2015 Now I Sleep
- Jan 05, 2015 Getting a Jump on 2015
- Nov 12, 2014 Spoons for Hunger is Back!
- Oct 24, 2014 Have coffee with me
- Oct 05, 2014 Sequestered
- Sep 09, 2014 The Drill Bits are Here!
- Sep 03, 2014 Big Tease
- Jul 15, 2014 Impossible
- Jul 07, 2014 I'm still here