Woodworking

It starts with a drawing...

Actually that's not strictly true, it starts with the spark of an idea. I went to this month's Hampshire wood turners meeting this week. Only my second one, but it was cool. I had to offer up my beech bowl for critique, and got some useful thoughts on what I should do to improve it. Though that is a thought for another day... The bowl was last month's challenge. And this month there is a new challenge,... to make wooden bottle stoppers. One of the members who provided critique, Harry, had actually bothered to not only think up the challenge, but also bring examples and some corks to give us. These aren't regular corks, they are specifically for putting onto a home-made bottle stop, as they are tapered and have a hole through them. So...last night, inspired by my challenge, I was thinking about making bottle stoppers, and I recalled the examples shown had pretty 'burn' lines made, which help to make an otherwise plain piece have some interest. It occurred to me that I'd like to do similar on at least one bottle stop that I make (I will probably make a few) To make a burn line is pretty easy, just hold some picture wire against the piece whilst it's turning at high speed and let it heat up the wood until it goes black.

Although this can all be done by just holding the wire in your hand, I decided this was an opportunity to make some little wooden handles to make it into a proper 'tool' And so the idea was born, and so was the start of another project in the form of a picture:

Sketch of project
Sketch of project

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This was sketched in my fantastic 'Maker's notebook' which was a present from my awesome girlfriend Kat.

Then it was off to the garage to start work...

I started off with this:

rough turned applewood
rough turned applewood

[wp_caption id="attachment_58" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="rough turned applewood"][/wp_caption]

It's a little larger than I really needed, however it's always good to practice various cuts on the way to the final shape...

Here is a picture of it taking shape

part turned
part turned

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Getting generally carried away I didn't take many pictures in process. It occurred to me to use picture wire to make burn marks on the handles, but didn't take pictures of that in progress, however this is what the handle looked like just before finishing:

shaped and burned
shaped and burned

[wp_caption id="attachment_60" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="shaped and burned"][/wp_caption]

Initially I had difficulty getting the picture wire to stay in place under pressure, particularly on the steeper slopes. For the second handle I made little cuts with the skew chisel at the locations I intended to burn, which gave some start to the groove made in the burning. Pretty pleased with how this looks, of course I needed to make two, and copy turning is hard....

two handles
two handles

[wp_caption id="attachment_61" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="two handles"][/wp_caption]

And here they sit together, both ends. I'm happy with the way it turned out. and it stayed quite close to my original drawing. I made it fairly quickly, I think I could do a better job of the copy if I took more time over it. However there comes a point when the prospect of trying to finish in one sitting rather than come back another evening means I take a little less time over things than I should.... really need to work on that.

Anyhow, on this occasion it was drawing to realization in about 4 hours, which is pretty satisfying. Since this is just a tool for my own use I shall forgive it being a little scruffy. And it was great practice for making burn marks, before trying to do it on my bottle stoppers...

Now off to start drawing bottle stopper designs....