05 August 2012

woodworkin' part 2

Day two rolled around pretty quickly - grey and rainy morning ... time to head for a warm, dry workshop to face the lathe.

I was pretty apprehensive, as I have never been anywhere near one of these machines before, and had promised to return home with all fingers intact (both hands).  The lesson involved a pretty quick demo of how to put a bit of wood onto the spindles, an explanation of the gouging and turning tools and their use, and an efficient display by Alastair of the steps involved ... and in seemingly no time he was holding up a stool leg and telling us that we were ready to go ahead.
And whadda you know - it just kind of magically happened!  Without claiming to be 100% in control of the process, I had a pretty OK looking leg within half an hour (and had apparently started to reveal my 'individual style' via a bit of semi-intentional shaping which didn't exactly match the demo version). 
Of course, the challenge was to get all 3 legs to match ... lucky my individual style wasn't too complicated.  By this stage I had fallen in love with the lathe and decided I was born to turn wood, so would have been happy to do 10 legs and pick the best 3 ... limited timber availability saved us from that fate.
Anyway - got there - then a bit of smoothing with sandpaper while the legs are still spinning, followed by burnishing.  This was done by grabbing a handfull of the shavings off the floor (and there were plenty - near ankle-deep) and cupping your hand under the turned leg with light pressure and letting the shavings rub the leg, leaving a really nice sheen.
Next, we turned our stretchers and that was that.  Back to the bench to pop the legs in and get that first tantalizing preview of the stool ...

Wow - 2 days work done and it's really looking like something's going to be there at the end!
For a FAR better summary of the process, here's Peter Galbert's youtube demo of the process - the man is a maestro, no question.

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