Mesmerized by the ghost

Ever since I started down the path, through the forest of wood-working, my imagination has been captivated by turning. It always seemed so magical to me, yet intimidated me.

I remember my first experience at turning. The lathe was some old little piece of cast iron, attached to a motor by belt and pulley. I have no idea how many RPM’s the thing spun at, I believe it was a bit fast. My brother was showing me how to do it, fresh out of shop class (no offense bro).

File/Rasp handles, and a rugged candle stick.

The wood held captive on the lathe was a rugged, old, crusty piece of oak.  Not something I would choose to turn these days. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had harbored some barbed wire, deep in it’s bowels. The “turning tools”, were actually dull, poor quality carving tools, from a big box store.

So, the wood is buzzing away at who knows what RPM, and I hesitantly ease my little dull carving tool into the work piece. It was not pretty, and I’m amazed I didn’t rip a finger or two off. My career in turning lay stagnant after that, for a good long while.

But a day came when I regained some confidence, a little know-how, and tools. I started on small pieces of green wood, and I was hooked. I am no pro at turning, but find it to be one of the most enjoyable wood- working tasks. It’s highly meditative to me and relaxes my mind. It’s more of a shop past-time for me, besides the handles I turn for some of my saws.

One of my favorite fun-time projects is turning file and rasp handles. I can be as creative as I want, I experiment with new shapes and patterns on each new blank, and approach it with wonder and excitement. If I screw up on a handle, no big deal, it’s only scrap wood after all. It’s economical, fun, relaxing, and satisfying.

The ghost, working it’s mojo.

I’m not sure about the terminology of turning, but I call the outline you see on the work piece as it’s spinning, “The ghost”. I may have read this somewhere, I’m not sure. If you’ve done any turning this terminology may seem apparent to you. The work piece almost becomes translucent.

So when my mind is filled with turmoil, I find it very soothing to step up to the lathe, lose myself to the action of cutting spinning wood, and become mesmerized by the ghost.

Side note:  I am in the process of setting my shop up in Montana, and will be back in full swing in 2-3 weeks. Thanks for your patience – KLR

The Moxon and Ancient style carcase saw, in figured walnut

Moxon saw, in figured walnut

My last post was quite dull, so I just wanted to top it off with some pictures of a couple of saws I recently made for a client. I love how these saws turned out. The client did also. The Ancient style carcase saw is filed at 13 ppi, with a relaxed rake. It is filed without fleam, and rips and crosscuts nicely. I compared it to a japanese pullsaw and a well-known makers carcase saw, and it held its own. If you would like a spot on my back log for this saw, let me know. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am in the process of moving my shop, and will have a shop space set up in early june. Expect a delay.  The price for this saw is $325.00, $40.00 extra for specialty woods, excluding very exotic woods. I deal with these choices on a case to case basis.  I hope you enjoy the photos.

Have a fine day. KLR

Ancient style carcase saw, in figured walnut

One of the best tools in my shop

This stool has seen better days. And you might think I’m lazy for claiming it as one of the best tools in my shop, but it’s great. I love it. I also get a bit nostalgic about it, as I spent many hours as a child, hanging out on it, in my parents antique store. It’s been around the block a time or two.

ImageI use it to sit on, (obviously), and rest my feet. I use it to get the best angles on a blade or handle while sharpening or rasping, (lowering my working height). I use it to set my tools on while standing and rasping or filing. It’s great.  KLR

A new beginning

Owl family

“There are as many worlds as there are kinds of days, and as an opal changes its colors and its fire to match the nature of the day, so do I.”  

John Steinbeck

Due to unforeseen circumstances in my life, I will be relocating my shop from Fort Collins, Colorado to Missoula, Montana. I should l have a shop space set up by early June. I will also be doing some work on my website, so you may see a glitch or two.

Customers who have already ordered saws should expect a slight delay. I will keep you informed, and deal with this on an individual basis.

A couple of side notes:  I’m  tentatively looking at moving my shop and living quarters into an insanely huge and awesome, old train depot. it has a ten ton overhead crane, which would be very handy for moving my saws and tiny boxes of supplies around. I definitely need a ten ton overhead crane. It’s even occupied by a family of owls.

The other side note, mostly something for you to look at, and maybe give me some feedback on.

The following picture is of a small square I purchased while tool scrounging today. It was liberated from a box full of rusty detritus. It’s the coolest little square I’ve ever seen, with some very nice details. It has nice little ogee details on both ends, similar to old  try squares I’ve seen. It also has very small notches filed into it, spaced 1, 1/16″ apart, as well as another small filed detail. The dime is in the picture for scale.

I suspect it was a pattern makers square, probably user made. It appears to be cast, and has no makers mark, and exude’s a hand-made quality. It was also with other tools that appeared to be pattern makers tools.  Unfortunately it has a small crack in it, and is out of square. I am hesitant to file it back into square, until I know more about it. It’s the best $1.00 I’ve ever spent. If you’ve seen one similar to this or know what it is, let me know.

The other blurry picture is of part of the owl family that resides in my new potential shop. Such amazing creatures.

Thanks,  KLR

A gem of a square