Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Getting used to posting on a regular basis isn't a habit that I've developed yet. Well, last fall, one of my turning clubs brought in JoHannes Michelsen, a woodturner from Vermont, to demonstrate how to turn one of his signature wooden hats. These are turned from a single block of wood, very green, and made to fit. On Saturday, Hannes turned a full-sized hat, and on Sunday, a few of us spent the day learning to turn a 'mini hat'. The full-sized hat turned on Saturday was raffled off during the lunch break...and guess who won the raffle? Yup. So that hat was turned to fit me.

A couple months later, in November, I traveled to Manchester, Vermont and spent three days in Hannes' studio, where I learned how to turn a wooden hat. Above is a photo of the pair; the hat on the right is mine, which was turned by Hannes, and the hat on the left was turned by me in Hannes' studio. It is made to fit Dave, and yes, he can and does wear it.

Turning a hat from a single block of wood requires some specialized equipment; the grind of the tools is different than anything I've done, but can now recreate that grind easily. Holding the 'hat blank' on the lathe required a special chuck, that allows light to pass through it...that's how thin the hat is. In the beginning, the block of wood weighs more than 50 pounds, and finished, the hat weighs a few ounces. So as I am turning it, I can tell how thin the walls get by the amount of light that I can see as I'm turning. Dave and another woodturning friend (Mike Green) made one of these chucks, and Mike also made the curved tool rests needed to access the inside top of the crown. So, I'm all set to try another one....hope I didn't forget everything I learned last November!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Good Day

The dogs let me sleep 'late' -- I got up at 7:00 a.m.

The sun had already been up for awhile. After taking care of some inside the house chores, Eddie, Max and I headed outside and were greated with 41 degrees of sunshine. Followed the usual morning ritual of throwing the tennis balls and poop patrol (don't ask), I split some firewood. Pulled out the chainsaw, and cut some more cherry and heritage oak, for rough turning bowl blanks in the shop.

This was the first time this year that I could work in the shop with the overhead door open. Without the pressure of needing to create inventory for an upcoming show, I could spend some time focusing on shapes and refining some cuts.

Later in the afternoon, a few more sessions of tennis ball throwing, more firewood splitting, a little yard work on the blackberry bushes that tend to creap and take over the yard, and finished up with a couple hours of spoon carving.

That's my definition of a pretty good day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Although Dave is back to work after several days off, we still took time this morning to snow shoe in the 'back 40' again. The first day of 2008 brought another snowstorm, dropping another six inches. This time I took the camera with me, and took some photos.

The snowfall was heavy and wet, forcing the smaller saplings to bend and fall over the trails. Dave took the lead on the walk, and knocked the snow off the trees. Part of the trail was completely covered by the snow-bent trees, and most of it had snow tunnels that had formed because of the trees.

We'll now feel the temperatures drop this afternoon as we enter a cold snap. As I write this, the temps have been dropping steadily, and will plummet to below zero F by tonight. This will be a good test for our new source of heating the house -- entirely by the woodstove. I'll keep my turtlenecks, wool sweaters and the dogs close by, as back up.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A New Year

We celebrated the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 by snowshoeing in the 'back 40' last night and again this morning. We've had a record snowfall in New Hampshire ....over 44 inches for the month of December, which breaks the old record in Concord, NH, which stood since 1867.

The guys were with us this morning, Eddie and Max, who had a blast running through the fresh powder. This morning's run also gave us the chance to do some badly needed trail maintenance, which has been neglected over the year. We never go into the area after spring because the deer flies are unbearable. And if the deer flies don't get you, the ticks surely will. One fall, after an already hard frost, I expected the ticks to be killed off. I walked the trails with a machete to do some clearing; as I came out of the woods, there were over 50 ticks climbing up my kakhi colored pants. I used the machete to 'scrape' them off.